A Traditional Celtic Wedding with a Flare of Modern Taste

celtic engagement photo



Having a Celtic Wedding?

A Celtic Wedding can be a meaningful way to honor your or your fiance’s Irish roots. St. Patrick’s Day is a popular and lucky day for a Celtic wedding, but did you know that traditionally, Irish weddings took place in the spring on any day except Saturdays? Marriage ceremonies between May through August were avoided because these were the busiest months for harvest. Many modern Celtic weddings today take place in March, but also throughout the warmer months of the year. Here are many of the Celtic wedding traditions and how couples have blended a modern touch while still honoring their ancestral roots.

Emerald Green

Emerald green has long been seen as a lucky color for the Irish and more so because of the lucky green clover. It’s also a bold and fun color to incorporate into your wedding, from the decorations, flowers, cake, shoes, bridesmaids dresses and even the groom’s socks.

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Braided Hair

Traditional brides braid their hair with lace and ribbon woven through the strands. This signifies luck and feminine power. Modern Irish brides have started braiding their hair while losing the ribbon and lace.




Many weddings took place in March and the springtime when wildflowers were in full bloom. Traditional brides wear a wreath of wildflowers instead of a veil and incorporate wildflowers, including a sprig of English lavender and Bells of Ireland, in their bouquets and ceremony decorations.



A Lucky Horseshoe

Carrying a horseshoe is a sign of luck for an Irish bride, but be sure you keep it upright. Brides today find creative ways of incorporating the horseshoe, from wearing a small one in a necklace to carrying one in their bouquet or tying one to their garter.

The Claddagh Ring

Wearing the Claddagh Ring is a sweet and symbolic tradition with the motto, Let love and friendship reign. The heart with two hands and the crown symbolize your heart being open to love, the friendship between you and your husband (or significant other if you are not yet married) and the loyalty to your spouse with the crown. Women who wear the ring may be single, dating, engaged or married – it all depends on how you wear the it! Make sure you wear the ring on the left hand with the heart facing toward your heart if you plan on wearing the ring on your wedding day. Many modern brides wear the Claddagh symbol on a necklace, bracelet and even incorporate it into their cake and decorations.



Blue Wedding Dress

Although many brides choose to wear white, some brides who want to bring all the Celtic wedding traditions into their big day opt for a blue wedding dress. Why blue? Blue was the symbol of purity for hundreds of years before the color white became symbolic of a pure soul. Although green has traditionally been incorporated into other aspects of a wedding, it’s traditionally considered bad luck for a bride to wear a green dress. Today, many brides find fun ways of incorporating emerald green into the wedding, including the bridesmaid dresses.


Grooms and Groomsmen Wearing Kilts

Many Celtic wedding traditions go back hundreds of years, but this isn’t the case for grooms and groomsmen who wear kilts. Irish men began wearing kilts as wedding attire in the 1880’s after significant Irish men of influence started wearing them. It’s common for the groomsmen to wear a kilt if the groom wears a kilt. Today, grooms either wear a full kilt and jacket or they opt to wear a tux with a green tie.

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Walking the Town

Another sweet tradition is the bride and groom taking a stroll through town to collect gifts and well wishes from their friends and family on the way to the ceremony. This would work well in a smaller town, but many couples today wait to collect the well wishes and gifts at the reception.

Celtic Music

Traditional Celtic wedding music is beautiful with a harp before and during the wedding ceremony and bagpipes while you leave the ceremony and through the reception. The bold sound of the bagpipes make a clear announcement of your new marriage. You can hire Celtic bands to play during your ceremony and reception or have your wedding DJ pick out the best songs to to honor your heritage.


The tradition called hand-fasting dates back hundreds of years and is symbolic of the couple uniting together forever. A bride a groom crosses their wrists and their hands are tied together with ribbon, creating the infinity symbol. Today, some couples follow this tradition while others incorporate the infinity symbol in their decor and wedding cake.



Make-Up Bells

Couples who had been married for a long time were wise and knew that married life would not always be bliss, which is how the tradition of incorporating make-up bells into the wedding and as a present for the couple came about. The chimes of the bells are supposed to remind the couple of their wedding vows. Couples who want to incorporate this tradition today often hand tiny bells for guests to ring as the newlyweds leave the ceremony.

Food, Drink and the Reception

A traditional Celtic wedding reception incorporates many specific Irish dishes and drinks. Corned beef is often served during the cocktail hour and dinner includes potato soup. Mead is the traditional drink for the couple and they would continue to drink it for a month after the wedding. Many couples today incorporate Guinness beer, Jameson whiskey and beer and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Many couples are opting to include other beers and even a customized mixed drink that incorporates their favorite cocktail or martini with a side of green. Receptions today often blend Celtic traditions with modern flare, including decorating the tables with emerald green and making a fun cake that blends traditions.


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Did you have a Celtic wedding? We would love to see pictures of the traditions you incorporated and how you added your own modern twist.

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