Whether you come from Irish ancestry or just really admire the country and its culture, having an Irish themed wedding is a fun and different way to celebrate your marriage vows in a way that shines with your personality. While the ultimate would be to go to Ireland, find a beautiful old castle and incorporate every Irish wedding tradition you can find, this is not always practical. Here are some ideas for your Irish themed wedding that you can do without leaving home.
Consider a very old-style stone church or chapel with a lot of stained glass. Most churches that meet these requirements are, of course, Catholic. If you are looking to have a secular service, consider finding a lush, wooded grove. Wineries are great places to look for beautiful outdoor settings, as are parks. Depending on the place you choose, you might be able to host the reception in the same location.
Traditional Irish dance groups are all over. If you attend Highland Games, Irish Festivals, or even some Renaissance Faires, you can make contacts there. Other options for finding dance groups are to talk to the local musical groups, dance supply stores and music stores. These people will know their regular customers and they can put you in touch.
There are many Irish and Celtic musical groups that you can hire to play music for the ceremony as well as the reception-although you may want to switch to a DJ at some point for dance music everyone can relate to.
If you are going to go with a secular ceremony, consider contacting your local Wiccan or Pagan church. The Celtic theme goes well with these modern traditions, and often you will find that they may offer a lovely, light service that will fit your theme nicely. You might choose to exchange Claddaghs, which are traditional Irish rings that look like two hands holding a heart, instead of traditional wedding bands.
Although the Scottish great kilt is not traditional for men in an Irish themed wedding, they have become quite popular in the United States, often with Irish tartans. More traditional in Ireland would be an Irish style kilt in a solid woolen, though these will be much harder to come by for rental. Alternatively, the groom may select simple suits for the gentlemen. Earth tones and tweeds and a more casual feel are more in fitting with a Celtic celebration than are slick tuxedos.
For women, there are many dresses available in the Irish or Celtic style, but you may have to spend some time on the Internet to find them. A wreath of wildflowers in the hair is a sweet and authentic tradition, and the bride should carry a horseshoe for good luck.
Irish Themed Wedding Favors
Depending on the direction you want to go with your wedding, you can go either kitchy or authentic with your gifts. A simple Google search will turn up a plethora of wedding gifts and favors with shamrocks and other Irish themes. For a more authentic Irish gift, give bells to your guests to ring during the procession that they can then take home. Bells are believed to keep evil spirits away.
It is easy to introduce a few Irish customs and items to infuse your wedding with your love of the country. Whether you go for a full-blown Irish wedding with every detail oozing with Irishness, or you just incorporate a few things here and there, you are sure to always remember your Irish themed wedding.