A traditional Irish wedding
Romance fills the air in Ireland, it is one of the most magical countries on the planet to host your fairytale wedding – which is the reason that couples from all over the world come here to say “I do”
From the Causeway Coast and the Wild Atlantic Way to the Sunny South East and the 11 cities in between, including the charming capital, Dublin, Ireland offers a host of delightful locations that are picture perfect for your wedding celebrations.
The Republic of Ireland is also honeymoon bliss for couples seeking lush green scenery, rugged landscapes, pretty villages, buslting towns and a warm and friendly welcome from the locals.
There are 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland, each with its own identity. Ireland’s special charm is that it remains unspoiled, in fact, exploring the country is like stepping back in time, when the pace of life was slow and uncomplicated. The best way to enjoy the full Irish experience is to tour by car. But be sure to find time to savour a Guiness or two and sing along to Irish folk music in the local tavern.
The Republic of Ireland is still a member of the EU and a parliamentary democracy with a president as head of state. There are 4.3 million people living in the Republic of Ireland of which one third of the population is under the age of 29 – and their reputation for throwing a truly wonderful party is legendary, so it’s not just the beautiful landscapes that inspire Paul McCartney, Dita Von Teese, the Beckhams and Pierce Brosnan to say “I do” here.
Getting married in Ireland
For old world charm, there couldn’t be a better choice of wedding venues – there is an incredible choice of fairytale castles throughout Ireland, such as Ashford Castle in County Mayo as well as stunning country house hotels and golf and spa resorts, such as the K Club, Mount Juliet, Killarney Park Hotel, Aghadoe Heights Hotel and spectacular seaside resorts, like Inchydoney Island Lounge & Spa and the Park Hotel Kenmare, all of which can host weddings of all sizes in their richly decorated rooms or beautifully manicured grounds.
You can marry with a religious ceremony in one of the beautiful churches, or a civil service in the great outdoors – on a beach, in the countryside, on a golf course or in a rustic village the choices are endless.
Getting married in Ireland is straightforward once you are aware of the procedures and legalities and know the kind of marriage ceremony you want. There are usually three types of wedding ceremony in Ireland – religious, civil (done by a state representative – a registrar) and a humanist (non-religious) ceremony.
Catholic weddings are by far the most common religious wedding ceremony in Ireland. Policies on conducting marriage ceremonies vary from church to church, so once you have decided on the church it is essential to meet and discuss your request with the priest of the parish to ask if the request can be granted (there’s no guarantee that the priest will allow you to have the wedding in the parish if you’re from outside the area). It’s imperative to confirm the details – church, date, priest a minimum of 3 months in advance, so make an appointment to give notice to the Civil Register of Marriage ASAP to obtain a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). You will also need documentation including baptismal certificate, confirmation certificate and a letter of freedom from each parish you have lived in since you were 18 years old. You must also complete a Marriage Preparation Course and provide a certificate to the priest in advance of the wedding.
Civil Ceremony Wedding
You must notify your registary office of the county you intend to marry a minimum of three months in advance, with a longer lead time for popular dates and times. If you plan a wedding at an alternative venue, check that it is licensed for civil ceremonies and be aware that it will incur extra cost for the civil Registrars, and they will only marry you Monday to Friday – not at weekends. Each county office has its own rules, check with your chosen office on the details.
Since April 2013, when the Civil Registration Amendment Act 2012 came into force, couples can be legally married in a humanist ceremony, with the officiant a celebrants accredited by the Humanist Association of Ireland. The form of the ceremony is flexible and led by the wishes of the couple and can include poetry, readings, vows, music and traditions according to your own preferences. As with religious ceremonies, each couple must give notice to the Civil Registrar of Marriage a minimum of 3 months in advance. For further information: www.humanism.ie.
A fairytale Irish wedding
Why not add a touch of traditional Irish magic to delight your guests on your wedding day by embracing those old superstitions to ensure you have a marriage filled with good luck and good fortune!
Local traditions, cultures and superstitions can add colourful, magical elements to your wedding, giving it a distinctive local flavour. Irish superstitions and rituals can become an integral part of your celebrations, making your wedding ceremony or reception original and unforgettable.
If you don’t know too much about Irish wedding rituals, you will be intrigued to learn the history and meaning behind them, which can be charming, amusing and whimsical. But before the bride accept the marriage proposal in the first place, it is worth bearing in mind an old English rhyme which suggests that it is unlucky to marry a man whose surname begins with the same letter:
To change the name and not the letter
Is to change for the worse and not the better!
Once you’ve passed the first hurdle with flying colours, there’s another traditional rhyme to consider before you pick the wedding day of the week:
Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all
It’s probably best to take that old superstition with a pinch of salt, bearing in mind that most happy marriages take place on Fridays and Saturdays. However, you might like to keep the third rhyme in mind when choosing the month of your wedding:
Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind and true
When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorry both you’ll know
Marry in April when you can, joy for the maiden and for man
Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go
Those who wed in August be, many change is sure to see
Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last!
Now you’ve decided on the lucky date, you can ensure that you have the luck of the Irish by customising your wedding in true Irish style.
Claddagh Engagement Rings
Traditional Irish Claddagh Rings are an elegant choice for Irish weddings. The Claddagh ring is given as a token of affection and symbol of faithfulness. For hundreds of years Irish couples have worn Claddagh rings in lieu of plain gold bands. Couples can now choose gorgeous Claddagh rings embellished with solitaire diamonds or emeralds, delicate engravings or tiny precious gems.
Irish Wedding Vows
There are many Irish wedding vows to choose from, but if you are looking for simple, beautiful words you can use the Irish Vow of Unity:
We swear by peace and love to stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now
Confirming this, our Sacred Vow.
Tucking a pretty hankie, decorated with Irish Lace into a wedding gown is thought to bestow fertility and good luck upon the bride. Some Irish brides embroider lucky horseshoes onto their wedding hankies for extra luck.
It’s considered unlucky to put on your own wedding veil on the big day. If you want to ensure good luck, have a happily married woman do the honours for you. In many countries, wearing a wedding veil is thought to disguise the bride and outwit evil spirits.
Shoes for luck
For yet more good luck put an Irish penny into your shoe. Still on the subject of shoes, guests should to tie a pair of shoes to the back of the newlyweds’ car as they drive off after the wedding to bring good luck to the couple.
Don’t worry if it rains on your wedding day. It can bring good luck. According to Irish legend a rainy day is a guarantee of a happy marriage, which is just as well, because the Irish weather is unpredictable at the best of times! If you don’t want it to rain on your wedding day then put a statue of the Child of Prague (a holy statue) in your garden the night before the wedding!
It’s good luck to wake up to a twitter on your wedding day, and no, we don’t mean a gossip on the Internet, we mean good old fashioned bird song!