Irish Traditions to Embrace on Your Wedding Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Learn about customs to use on your big day.

You may want to embrace your roots throughout your wedding. Learn about 10 Irish traditions that you may want to consider incorporating in your celebration.

Photo: Collin Pierson Photography

They say everyone’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but if you are actually of Irish heritage, you may want to embrace your roots throughout your wedding. Though your nuptials are primarily about your love, the day is also about family. Therefore it is a natural choice to highlight your cultural background. Ireland is a country rich with history and traditions. Below are 10 Irish traditions that you may want to consider incorporating in your celebration. 

irish wedding traditions, irish traditions for your wedding day

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography; Planning & Design by EVOKE

- Claddagh rings. Even if your beloved gave you a different style of engagement ring, you can still embrace the traditional piece of jewelry on the wedding day. Remember that the crowns should face outward towards your fingers after you are married.

- Bagpipes and kilts. Though these are often thought of as Scottish customs, both bagpipes and kilts are part of a larger Celtic tradition. The Irish were kept from wearing their kilts while under British rule, so many are starting to take back their cultural garb. 

- Handfasting. Catholicism may be the predominant faith in Ireland, but if you don’t practice the religion you may like to tie in the unity ceremony used since the ancient days of the Celts. 

- Blue dress and Irish lace. Green may be the stereotypical color to represent Ireland – and you can certainly use it throughout the décor – but old Irish traditions state that a blue bridal gown is what brings good luck. For an extra special touch, choose a dress that incorporates Irish lace instead of the more popular French styles. 

- Whiskey and Guinness beer. Be sure to include Irish whiskey (look for the “e” as whisky spelled without the extra letter is from Scotland) and the ever-popular Guinness beer at the bar of your cocktail hour and reception. 

- Potatoes and soda bread. Instead of rolls, consider using Irish soda bread as your starter. Potato dishes are always a popular side, and you can have them prepared however you’d like. 

- Horseshoe motif. Another Celtic tradition, carrying a horseshoe is said to bring good luck – as long as it’s held upright. Some brides incorporate an actual horseshoe into their bouquet, but you could also use it as a design element. 

- Bells. Believed to keep away evil spirits, bells are a traditional wedding gift to couples. If you receive any before the big day, you and your new spouse can ring them together after your marriage pronouncement. Alternatively, you could give small bells for guests to ring during the recessional. 

- Braided hair. Although already a popular mainstream trend, adding a braid or two in your bridal ‘do symbolizes power and luck in ancient Irish tradition. Representing power is a great way to bring modern sensibilities into your wedding day while still embracing ancient traditions.

- Bring in performers. Add a little something extra to your reception by hiring Irish step dancers to put on a show for your attendees. 

 See green wedding details and read what real brides share about their cultural traditions