Peak wedding season is just a few months away, and most brides and grooms will have nailed down the big things by now. They have booked the venue. Dresses and suits are ordered. The guests have rsvp’d. They’ve arranged for the band or DJ and ordered the cake too. Is it too late to give your wedding reception an Irish theme? Not at all! You can still follow these last-minute wedding reception tips to make your event a bit more Irish.
What is an Irish wedding reception like? While no two are the same, most have a few things in common. Most receptions in Ireland are held in hotel function rooms. Guests enjoy their dinner while the couple sit at the top table, flanked by their parents and / or wedding party. The father of the bride and the best man will usually give a speech before the meal. After the food comes the DJ or band with music and dancing late into the night. But it’s after they finish up that things get really Irish.
The Food & Drink
Is the menu completely finalized yet? Even if the main courses have been decided, you have plenty of options for adding some Irish-themed appetizers, desserts and drinks. Brown bread with salmon is a popular Irish appetizer. Drinks are easy – make sure stout and whiskey are available. But the test of Irishness is what food appears late at night, at the point where non-Irish people might think the party was ending. That’s when the cocktail sausages and ham and cheese sandwiches come out.
Ireland’s rich heritage of symbols make it easy to pick a visual theme to decorate your reception venue. The Claddagh symbol features a heart held in two hands with a crown above it. It represents love, friendship and loyalty. Celtic knots have one shared feature, whatever the design. The lines don’t have a beginning or end, which symbolizes eternity. The trinity knot features three points, which can represent the holy trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) or the past, present and future.
Of course, you can ask the band or DJ to play some traditional Irish tunes or even your favorite Irish rock or pop band’s hits. But eventually the professional entertainment leaves, and at an Irish wedding reception, that’s when tradition takes over. No matter how trendy the wedding has been until that point, it goes trad when the band leaves. That’s when it’s time for an old-fashioned singing session. Someone should have a guitar or maybe even a fiddle or tin whistle. And in every Irish family, there is someone with a shockingly beautiful voice. Or at least someone who at that point in the festivities believes they have a shockingly beautiful voice. She Moved Through the Fair. My Lagan Love. Molly Malone. The Star of the County Down. Or even The Rattlin’ Bog.
The spirit of an Irish wedding reception transcends the details. It’s the feeling of singing along with your nearest and dearest, joyfully slagging each other into the early hours that makes an Irish wedding special.