A church would be a good setting for your Irish theme wedding, or if the season and weather permit for it, a garden or meadow with a view of rolling green hills reminiscent of the Emerald Isle. You might ask around to see if anyone knows of a priest or minister with an Irish brogue who could perform the ceremony using Irish wedding traditions.
Since lace has for years been an Irish favorite, a white lace bridal gown would be in keeping with this theme. You could add colored accents, such as an emerald tiara or necklace, or a mixture of wildflowers and shamrocks fastened in your hair. Put shamrocks in your bouquet, too. Real shamrocks tend to wilt fast when out of water, so faux might be a good choice. You can easily make your own with stiffened green fabric hot-glued to green floral wire.
For the groom, a white tux would make a shamrock boutonniere really stand out. Complete the look with a green ruffled shirt and white tophat. If he's daring, the groom might agree to wear an Irish kilt. Check online for suppliers of these and other traditional Irish gear.
A few Irish-language expressions of love would add unique flavor to your Irish theme wedding vows.
Give your Irish theme wedding invitations an Irish style with elegant Celtic-knot patterns and a Celtic font. Or, if you prefer something more lighthearted, cut your invitations in a pot-of-gold shape, print rainbows on the fronts, and sprinkle fairy dust (glitter) inside.
You might hang an Irish blessing over the door for your guests to walk under as they enter. Many good examples can be found online.
If your wedding date is near St. Patrick's Day, stock up on items such as shamrocks, candles, leprechaun or harp figurines, or even a rainbow/pot-of-gold banner. Items bearing the famous Claddagh symbol (two hands clasping a crowned heart) would make romantic wedding decorations or favors and can be found online throughout the year. The hands signify friendship, the crown, loyalty, and the heart, love. Gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins in a small leprechaun pot would make cute favors, too.
Ivy grows rampant in Ireland. Faux ivy garlands hung on walls or arranged along tables would impart a fresh, cool look.
You might wish to try a traditional Irish wedding cake for your Irish theme wedding. This would be a dense fruitcake iced in white. You could make the top tier an Irish-whiskey cake and save it to share on your first anniversary. For a "lucky" cake, have the layers baked in a shamrock shape with shamrock charms inside.
Irish wedding traditions include feasts that are traditionally potluck. For real Irish flavor, serve traditional dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, or Irish stew and soda bread, washed down with mead (honey wine, sometimes flavored with fruit). Or, you could have sandwiches and cookies cut in a shamrock shape and serve "leprechaun punch." Use a lime-flavored powdered-drink mix for a color base and go from there.
Here are some fun old-time Irish wedding traditions you might wish to incorporate into your wedding:
- A "lucky" horseshoe carried by the bride. This could be a porcelain reproduction, or even one made of fabric and worn as a bracelet. The ends should always point upward, so the luck can't spill out.
- Tossing an old shoe over the bride's head after the ceremony will bring her good luck (provided the person tossing it has good aim and doesn't give her a black eye!)
- If the groom's mother breaks a slice of wedding cake on the bride's head, she and her daughter-in-law will become lifelong friends.
- The Irish love a good toast. You can find many to choose from online in English or in Irish. Have guests kiss "the Blarney Stone" before making speeches at the toast.
No Irish theme wedding can be complete without Irish music. This is at its best played live, so hire a fiddler or an Irish uillean (elbow) piper (the bagpipes we frequently hear are Scottish, not Irish), or an entire Irish band. A musician playing a metal-stringed Celtic harp would add an ethereal and authentic sound.
Why not learn to dance an Irish jig? The bride and groom performing this dance in their wedding clothes would be the hit of the reception. However you choose to design it, your wedding from the misty, magical Emerald Isle will stand out "go bragh" (forever) in the memories of all who attend.