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Celtic Wedding Traditions

Celtic Wedding Traditions

There are a number of wonderful Irish Wedding Traditions in the Irish and Scottish culture that date back for centuries and many are still practiced today. The Irish loved celebrations, specailly a weddding. Many of our mondern wedding traditions come from the Celtic culture and most people do not know that. The traditions come from the history, superstition, nature and mistery of the Celtic culture. The Irish were big in family and many tradition include the family in all aspects of the wedding. You will find that many of the traditions will bring a life and happiness to any wedding. Make your wedding one of tradition and bring homage to your celtic roots.

Something old, Something new....

"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a five pence in your shoe." The victorian rhyme and wedding tradition popular in IReland and the Celtic Lands. Blue is considered a lucky color in Ireland, something borrowed from a good friend to symbolize friendship, a bridal handkerchief is usually something new fro good luck , something old is the connection to family, and the five pence so you will always be well off financially on your marriage.

Bridal Bouquet

Tuck a sprig of shamrock into an Irish bouquet or a branch of white heather for the Scottish. Each thought to bring good luck.

Celtic Pebble Toss

Couples in ancient times were often married near some sort of water source such as a lake, river or holy well, believed to be favored by the Celtic gods. Wedding guest were given small stones to cast into the water while making a wish for the couple's future happiness.

The Irish Grushie

The tradition of tossing a handful of coins to the wedding guest is thought to bring good luck and prosperity to the groom and his bride. Likewise, individually wrapped candies can be tossed to the children to ensure "plenty" through the years.

Irish Horseshoe

To be sown into wedding gown or the be tucked into the bridal bouquet. The horseshoe has always been associated with good luck because of the level of importance the Celts placed on their livestock, particularly their horses.

Irish Wedding Coin

During the marriage ceremony, usually after the blessing of the rings, the groom presents his bride with a silver coin and says,"I give you this as a token of all I possess." The coin symbolizes his willingness to share all that he has or will have in the future. The coin is kept as a family keepsake and is passed down from mother to her eldest son on his wedding day. A newly minted coin can be used to start the tradition.

THe Last Stitch

From Co. Cork, come s the tradition of marking the last stitch onthe bride's gown onthe day of her wedding for good luck.

Lavender Tradition

Lavender, and ancient symbol of love ,loyalty, devotion and even luck. Placed in the bride's flowers to help insure a happy and long-lasting union.

The Marriage Bell

Celtic tradition has it that every young couple should receive at least one bell as a wedding gift. The bell is placed strategically in the newlyweds' home, visible to all. When the inevitable argument or disagreement takes place one of the couple may ring the bell to end the discord and declare a truce without an admission of guilt or fault.

The Caim

Th Cain is an early Celtic custom, to begin a Celtic wedding ceremony the bride and groom would draw a circle around themselves as a sign of their unity with God. As the circle is drawn the words, "Th Mghty Tree , My protection be, Encircle me, You are around, My life, My love, My home, Encircle me. O sacred THree, The Mighty Thee."


Ths type of Celtic wedding ceremony, the coupl stands together with wedding guest forming a circle around them. No clergy was needed, the couple simply pledged themselves and had their hands gently bound together with a cord or strip of cloth or tartan. The expression "tying the knot" may have come from their hand-fasting ceremony. Hand fasting was originally a trial marriage contract that lasted for a year and a day, if it didn't work out the couple went their separate ways. Nowadays handfasting can be incorporated into a Christian or civil ceremony as a part of a connection to our Celtic Culture.

Lighting of a Unity Candle

The unity candle ceremony is the lighting of candles to symbolize the joining of two families or clans. The outside taper candles represent the families of the bride and groom, and the larger center pillar candle representes the new fanily formed by the marriage.

Quaich or Loving Cup

THis two handles cup was traditionally used during wedding feast to symbolize sharing between the newly wedded couple. Presented using both hands, the recipient must receive it with both hands. Continuing the tradition, the quaich is still serving its purpose today, uniting friends and the two families inthe Celtic wedding ceremony, or at the reception following.

Wearing the Tartan

The bride and her ladies-in-waiting and women wedding guests can get int the Celtic spirit by wearing a tartan sash, skirt or shawl. There are several ways to wear a sash. For the bride, a rosette of tartan and sash is lovely pinned to the shoulder with a Celtic brooch centered int he rosette. Tartan wore by men is not reserved for the kilt only. Men can wear a formal bow tie and cummerbund with their evening-wear.

Wearing of the Kilt

One of the most unique ways to bring the spirit of the Celts into your wedding is to have the men and boys in your wedding party dress in authentic kilts. To see your men dressed in full regalia of formal kilt attire is truly spectacular. The full formal kilt attire consists of a tartan kilt, Prince Charlie Jacket and vest, fur or leather sporran, kilt socks and flashes, and any dress shoe will do. A tuxedo shirt and black bow tie are worn but a lessformal button-down Oxford shirt with a tweed day jsacket or an Argyll jacket with tartan tie is appropriate. Additional items are kilt belts and sgian dubh, a small knife with or without a sheath worn slipped into the top of the kilt sock.
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