The Ultimate Guide to Irish Wedding Traditions & Irish Wedding Customs

irish wedding traditions


Are you thinking of having an Irish wedding?  Not sure what you’re getting into if you do? We’re here to help with our Ultimate Guide to Irish Wedding Traditions. Whether you’re Irish or just want some Irish luck, there are a number of charming Irish wedding traditions you can consider to enrich your wedding day.

Irish Wedding Superstitions 

There are a few fun Irish superstitions that you need to know about for your wedding. For example, if  the sun shines on the bride, it brings good luck to the couple as does hearing a cuckoo on the morning of the wedding.

Picking a Wedding Date

In Ireland the last day of the old year is thought specially lucky for weddings, as is getting a sun filled day. Christmas & New Year’s Eve are lucky times to get married too which may surprise most.

Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

This tradition is fun and typically stresses most brides. Trying to find a piece of family jewelry for something old. Maybe finding a new pair of shoes (or the dress obviously) and then getting something borrowed. Most people don’t know that the “wearing something blue” portion of this tradition dates back to biblical times when the color blue was considered to represent purity and fidelity.

The Irish Love Throwing the Bouquet

The custom of the bride tossing the bouquet didn’t come from Ireland, but is a popular Irish wedding tradition. The idea is that the woman who catches the flowers is the next to marry.

And a silver sixpence in your shoe

Placing a silver sixpence in the bride’s left shoe is a symbol of wealth. This is not just to bring the bride financial wealth but also a wealth of happiness and joy throughout her married life.


Banns of marriage were required in areas under British rule, including Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The banns consisted of an announcement in church for three Sundays prior to the wedding. This prevented people from marrying in haste and also gave any who might object time to learn of the match. Giving three months notice to the registrar is still a legal requirement in Ireland.


In some places and times it seems to mean betrothal and in others genuine marriage. Many interpret it as a trial marriage or a step beyond betrothal but not nearly as permanent as marriage. It is often repeated that this handfasting for a year and a day would normally lead to regular permanent and valid marriage but if either parties chose to leave, the relationship was null. Handfasting, it is claimed is a holdover from pre-Christian Celtic marriage laws.

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  1. Susan Winlaw

    There are movies with an Irish wedding theme: Leap Year (2010), Laws of Attraction (2004), The Commitments (1991 but not really much in this one), Ryan’s Daughter (1970 – set in 1916 era) and The Quiet Man (1952). All present various traditions that you might want to follow and others that you surely don’t. I’d love to hear if anyone knows of any more movies with Irish Wedding traditions. All are fun to watch.

  2. Tokie Laotan-Brown

    This is my Celtic wedding theme information

    There is an Irish saying, “Marry in April if you can, joy for maiden and for man.”

    Irish themed wedding attire: The bride’s gown can be complimented by adding a Celtic Trinity Knot necklace, which can be found by browsing online shops. A custom made cloak of Irish linen, fully lined with raw silk and attachable hoods, will give an authentic cover up for the bride marrying in colder climates and wanting the Irish look. The groom can also keep with the Irish theme by donning a green cummerbund and Irish tuxedo vest.

    The horse shoe plays integral part of an Irish themed wedding. It can be used in favors, on a necklace for the bride and her bridesmaids or simply as an ornament to enhance seating cards.

    Shamrock plants make great wedding table centerpieces, favors and even small bouquets.

    The four leaf clover symbolizes wealth, fame and good health, so use that image everywhere/anywhere in your wedding decor. Best for printing on wedding programs, invitations and favors. Bride’s wedding day hankies can have clover embroidered into the fabric for that sentimental touch.

    No respectable Irish themed wedding can be without use of the traditional Waterford crystal.

    You may still require a trip to Ireland to fully integrate the Irish culture with your wedding plans. Happy travels!

  3. Aine Ireland

    I have to say, weddings in Ireland can be amazing. If you can afford it, a castle along the west of Ireland cannot be beaten. This is the main reason so many celebs decide to enter the Emerald Isle and get married. France for engagement, Ireland for wedding. The dream destinations.

  4. Mike Burke

    Agree with Aine so much. Castle wedding here can be so amazing.
    The Claddagh ring is an old Irish wedding ring – myself and my wife have them. It is named after an area in Galway in the west of Ireland. The Crown signifies loyalty, the Hands signify friendship and the Heart, of course, for love.
    The brides veil is generally pinned in place by the brides mother.
    Probably the one tradition missed here is the putting of “The Child of Prague” (Catholic statue) in the garden to ensure good weather on the day of the wedding. This is put in the garden on the night before the wedding by the brides family.
    Celtic music is not a must for your wedding, brides tending more towards contemporary music though there is a growing trend to have a Celtic Dancing group provide some wedding entertainment before the music starts.

  5. garret

    Hi Mike,

    The very first ever claddagh ring is on display in Dublin at the moment, sii it at Weldon’s Antiques.

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