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Celtic Weddings

May 28, 2014
By Cecilia Durham-Moen , Emmetsburg News

Wedding season is right around the corner and those June brides are busy making final arrangements and checking 'to-do' items off their lists! It seems brides are always looking for that little something special to make their wedding unique. In this community, where the Irish first settled, I thought it would be interesting to know a bit about wedding traditions from Ireland. Maybe some of our local brides will incorporate one or more of these ideas to help give their wedding that distinctive flare! My thanks to for these great ideas.

Tying the Knot: The phrase actually comes from an old Irish tradition to symbolize the marriage bond, much the same way that exchanging rings does in today's ceremonies.

At the appointed time during the ceremony the couple clasp their hands together and a tie is wound around their hands as a symbol of their commitment to spend their lives together. The tie can be a ribbon, cord or rope. It's often brightly colored and/or matches the wedding color.

The Scottish also claim this tradition and it's been verified that this tradition was widespread throughout Europe. It was even part of Will and Kate's British royal wedding!

Blue Dress: Traditional bridal gowns were blue, not the popular white we've come to expect. Today blue wedding gowns are ultrarare.

Perhaps in the era of the British monarchy in the time of Queen Victoria white took over as the color to represent virginity and purity.

Porcelain Horseshoe: This is an uncommon tradition today but in its time brides would carry a horseshoe on their wedding day to bring good luck to the ceremony and by virtue of that, the entire marriage.

Horseshoes are well-known for bringing good luck and in many social circles people are known to hang a horseshoe over a door to bring good luck to those inside.

Since it isn't exactly handy to carry around this piece of iron, brides in Celtic nations carry around small symbols of the horseshoe. These are generally made of silver or porcelain and are tucked in the bouquet or carried along with it.

Claddagh Ring: This is one old tradition that's widely known. The Claddagh ring represents Friendship, Loyalty and Love. This traditional ring is often given as a gift by young Irish men to their girlfriends. Many of these rings are passed down to the next generation.

Single women traditionally wear the ring on their right hand, with the ring facing out. When the woman is in a relationship the ring is turned inward. When engaged the ring is moved to the left hand, pointing outward. Once married the ring is turned inward.

The ring remains popular for engagements and weddings because of all that the ring represents.

Wedding Bells: This is NOT the same as ringing the church bells to congratulate the fortunate couple. The old, superstitious story tells us that the sound of the bells were believed to ward off malicious spirits.

As with the way of the wedding horseshoe this symbol has also been altered and it's popular now to give guests small bells at the wedding. Some brides choose to wear a bracelet or charm with tiny bells or this is another item that could be incorporated into the bouquet.

Brides and Brides-to-Be: there are five beautiful, historical traditions with which to personalize your special ceremony! Congratulations!



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