It is traditional at Irish weddings to give the guests a handkerchief made of fine Irish linen or lace. It is also an Irish tradition to give the guests a small piece of the wedding cake in decorated boxes marked with the names of the couple and the date of their wedding.
Irish tea makes a nice wedding favor especially for an afternoon wedding, and can be paired with biscuits or tea rings. Other edible treats might include iced sugar cookies or foil-wrapped chocolates in the shape of shamrocks, Celtic crosses or the Claddagh.
A classic and very appropriate traditional Irish wedding favor is the Claddagh, the Irish symbol of love, loyalty and friendship. It depicts two hands holding a heart with a crown on top. It adorns many gifts such as picture frames, plaques, candle holders, and cups, and is the perfect way to show your friends and family that you appreciate them.
Another unmistakably Irish symbol is the shamrock. You might wish to give your guests shamrock charms, pins, a shamrock corsage or wreath-crown, or a small potted plant. The three-leaf shamrock has been considered sacred since the time of the Druids, and was used by St. Patrick to symbolize the Holy Trinity. Its reputation as a good luck charm carries forth to this day, and could bring luck to your guests. You may wish to include a tag or card with your shamrock favor that briefly explains this story.
Whatever you choose to give as an Irish wedding favor, it is likely to contain the color green. The "Wearin' O' The Green" was a symbol of rebellion and independence in Ireland in the 19th century, and remains to this day a sign of Irish pride and solidarity. You might use green as your primary color with gift bags and boxes, or give candy in green tulle bundles or "crackers" (tubes with candy or charms inside, tied at both ends and meant to be pulled apart) wrapped in shiny green paper.
You may also choose to give your guests a traditional Irish blessing, of which there are thousands. You can also find small gift books from many different publishers dedicated to the subject of Irish blessings and toasts. A small gift card with a blessing printed or done in calligraphy, perhaps with a pressed or artificial shamrock for decoration, makes an intimate and lovely wedding favor. Here are a few samples:
"May your heart be light and happy, May your smile be big and wide, And may your pockets always have A coin or two inside!"
"May you get all your wishes but one, So you always have something to strive for."
"May you have all the happiness And luck that life can hold- And at the end of all your rainbows May you find a pot of gold."
With these tips and the love and loyalty of your friendship, your Irish wedding favors will create lasting memories for your guests on your wedding day.