Old Irish wedding traditions and customs for the groom and the bride kept everyone on their toes on the big day. Do you know why the Child of Prague was so useful on an Irish wedding day?
As the summer months pass, a line of beautiful brides will step down the aisle with their objects new, old, borrowed and blue, avoiding their future husband in their dress for fear of bad luck. Yes, modern-day weddings are full of superstitions and traditions but compared to an old Irish wedding day customs they're a walk in the park.
From avoiding being whisked away by fairies to choosing the correct person to place the veil on her head, the traditional Irish bride certainly had her work but out for her.
We look at some of the strangest old Irish wedding traditions through the years.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: The Honeymoon
The couple drank mead, a honey wine, on their wedding day to promote virility, fertility and to keep the fairies away. The month following the wedding day, the couple would continue to drink the mead and this is apparently where the word honeymoon comes from.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Horseshoes
Irish brides carried a real horseshoe with them on their wedding day for good luck.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: The Irish hanky
A lucky Irish Hanky carried by the bride on her wedding day also promoted good luck. The hanky was then turned into a christening bonnet for the first baby with just a few stitches.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Wildflowers
Irish brides would often wear a wreath of wildflowers in her hair as well as carrying them in bouquets.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Avoiding the evil eye
It was a tradition for the bride and groom to eat salt and oatmeal at the start of the wedding reception to protect them from the evil eye.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Escaping the fairies
While dancing, the bride was prohibited to take both feet off the floor in case the fairies came and swept her away. Apparently, fairies love brides.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Child of Prague
To prevent rain on the day of the wedding, the bride’s family put a statue of the Child of Prague outside the church before the ceremony.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Good luck vs bad luck
If the bride and groom heard a cuckoo the day of the wedding, it meant good luck for life. If the newlywed couple met a funeral on the road, it meant bad luck for the couple for life.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: The original confetti
Upon leaving the church a wedding guest would throw an old shoe over the bride’s head so she would have good luck.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: The Mother-In-Law
After the wedding ceremony, the bride’s mother-in-law would break a piece of wedding cake over the bride’s head as she entered the house so both women would be friends for life.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Placing the veil
It was important that a happily married woman put the veil on the head of the bride so she would be happy in her marriage for life.
Irish wedding traditions and customs: Beautiful children
It was said that if a bride looked directly at the sun when she was leaving her wedding that her children would be beautiful.
Irish wedding traditions and customs for the groom: Flashing cash
The groom often tossed a handful of coins into the crowd after the wedding ceremony. It was believed to bring good luck to the newly-married couple.
What is your favorite Irish wedding tradition or custom? Are there any specific to your family? Let us know about them in the comments section, below.
* Originally published October 2014