Irish Wedding Traditions beyond the Claddagh Ring - ShanOre Irish Jewlery

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Irish Wedding Traditions beyond the Claddagh Ring

Planning a spring wedding?  Right so, don’t be afraid – it might seem to be in the distant, hazy future, but there is a reason to start planning the details now: there are a LOT of details.  But they are not all as traumatic as finding a wedding photographer whose work is not featured on any photo hall of shame websites and a band or DJ who can manage not to give anyone middle school dance flashbacks.  Some of it is even fun.  Honestly.  So for those who are in the throes of tasting cake samples and finding colors that all of the bridesmaids like (because yeah, of course they are going to wear those dresses over and over …), we are happy to provide some fun Irish traditions you can use to make your wedding even more personalized and meaningful.

Claddagh Wedding Band
Claddagh Wedding Band

Of course, you know about the Claddagh ring – the heart held by two hands with a crown symbolizing love, friendship and loyalty.  A Claddagh wedding ring is a beautiful way to celebrate your Irish heritage in your marriage, not just on your wedding day.  But there’s more.  Three easy and fun Irish wedding traditions involve horseshoes, bells and cuckoos.  (The birds, that is, we’re not talking about in-laws in this article.  You’re on your own there.)


  • Horseshoes are widely recognized as a symbol of good luck when upright so the luck is contained in them.  Turn them upside down, and the luck runs out.  But in days gone by, Irish brides would often carry a horse shoe.  Perhaps the good luck was that few people would question the dresses or menu chosen by a bride wielding a bit of iron.  In today’s lawsuit happy society, we’d recommend finding an alternate to an actual horse shoe such as using a horse shoe motif in the decorations or wearing a horse shoe charm on a bracelet.
  • Bells featured in Irish weddings of old, and they are a fun way to mark the couple’s exit after the ceremony instead of throwing confetti or flower petals.   The idea is that when the couple quarreled, the sound of a ringing bell would remind them of their wedding vows and the joy of their wedding day, and they are sometimes called ‘making up bells’.
  • It was also considered good luck for the bride to hear a cuckoo on the way to the ceremony.  Unless you are fortunate enough to be getting married near a nature reserve in an area where cuckoos are found, we feel a cuckoo clock should suffice.
Knot Work Wedding Band
Knot Work Wedding Band


A wedding can be such a huge event, and of course every couple wants theirs to be a unique statement about who they are.  You can use these Irish traditions on your wedding day without making it more work to plan, and your guests will really enjoy them as well.

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