Many Irish wedding traditions focus on luck and a smidge of superstition. It’s all about starting your new life together on the right foot and avoiding anyone being abducted or cursed by faeries. If you want to add some luck of the Irish to your wedding day and your future marriage, try some of these traditions.
The journey to your wedding is not just a time for last minute nerves; it’s time to plan and watch carefully for omens good and bad. Start by planning a route that would not cross paths with any funeral processions. Meeting a funeral procession on the way to your wedding is bad luck. Of course, with today’s technology you could simply send an advance scout with a mobile phone a block ahead of you to make sure the way is clear.
What you do want to see is birds. Many brides feel a bit cuckoo on the morning of their wedding with so many details to manage, but if you hear a cuckoo bird, rejoice. That is considered a herald of good fortune on your wedding day, whether or not you actually see the bird. Hearing the distinctive call is enough. Along the way to the wedding, keep an eye out for magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy, goes the old Irish saying.
A Wonderful Start for a Beautiful Future
Of course you probably have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. For some luck of the Irish, consider borrowing a horseshoe or at least using a horseshoe motif in your reception decorations. Just remember to keep it with the front of the shoe down, like the letter U. Otherwise, all the luck will fall out – and that is very unlucky! You can use a horseshoe motif for anything from table decorations to a motif for your wedding cake.
It’s also considered good luck for the bride to carry a lovely, lacey white handkerchief down the aisle. It isn’t to wipe away any tears of joy – it is to be converted to a wee bonnet for the couple’s future children to wear on their christening day. You can find ‘magic hankies’ that are designed to convert to a baby bonnet very easily.
While Irish culture has maybe more than its share of superstition, it’s also very pragmatic. So aside from hoping to find good omens and avoid bad ones, Irish wedding traditions include a practical tactic for dealing with the inevitable disagreements every couple will have.
The bells in the church steeple aren’t the only wedding bells. Couples would traditionally receive a small bell on their wedding day, a wee version of church bells. In years to come, when one would start to lose the head in anger, the other would ring the bell, reminding them both of the joy, love and commitment of their wedding day to provide some perspective to whatever sparked the quarrel.