Wedding Traditions and Meanings

In this global world we live in, different cultures are everywhere around us, and we see some of these differences in weddings. Each country and culture has their own traditions that they follow when it comes to weddings. We have decided to showcase three  wedding traditions that make up the beauty of some of the cultures around us. This month we look at Irish wedding traditions.

How the Irish Wed

1. The Ring

In a U.S. wedding, the ring is simply called a wedding ring. With an Irish wedding, the ring is called a Claddagh ring. This ring is a heart that is held by two hands. On top of the heart is a crown, which symbolizes honor. The two hands represent faith, and the heart represents love between the two people. There are many different types of American wedding rings. In both countries, when the wedding ring is worn on the left hand that means they are married.

2. Traditions

The place that people are married in America varies. Some people choose to be married in a church, while others may choose different venues. With an Irish wedding, the couple typically walks to the church together before they exchange their vows. As they walk to the church, people will throw rice and other items, such as pots and pans, to bless the marriage.

3. Wedding Dress

In America, most brides choose to wear a white wedding dress, which symbolizes purity. In an Irish wedding, the bride typically wears a blue wedding dress, which also symbolizes purity. Some brides in today’s time choose to wear white in Ireland.

4. Flowers

An American bride will choose a wide variety of different flowers for her bouquet. With an Irish wedding, the bride chooses English lavender, which is an ancient symbol for loyalty, love, luck and devotion. These flowers are typically mixed in with other flowers the bride chooses.

5. Hair

In an American wedding, the bride can choose to wear her hair in a variety of ways. With an Irish wedding, it is a tradition for the bride to wear her hair in a braid on her wedding day. This braid is a symbol for luck and feminine power.

6. The Honeymoon

The honeymoon in America can take place in a wide variety of different places, and is a place the groom typically chooses. In Ireland, the translation for honeymoon is mi na meala, which translates to the month of honey. Some Irish newlyweds would spend an entire month together drinking honey wine and be well secluded. They would do this in hopes the bride would become pregnant during this time.

7. Entertainment

With American weddings, the traditional wedding song is played while the bride walks down the aisle. The bride and groom typically choose music to be played during the reception. With an Irish wedding, a harpist typically plays Irish music before the wedding. Bagpipes play as the couple exits the ceremony or during the reception.

8. Wedding Cake

The wedding cake for an American wedding can be done in a variety of different ways, and is something the bride typically chooses. With an Irish wedding, the wedding cake is typically a fruitcake that is made with honey. The cake is then soaked in an Irish whiskey and frosted with a sweet glaze.

9. Wedding Gifts

With an American wedding, the bride will typically register at a certain store and list the wedding gifts that she would like to receive. In an Irish wedding, the traditional wedding gift is a bell. Chiming the bell is thought to keep evil spirits away. Some couples will actually ring the bell while they recite their vows.

10. Throwing the Bouquet

The throwing of the bouquet tradition is the same for both the U.S. and Ireland. The bride throws the bouquet to a crowd of women and whoever catches it will be married next.

Celebrate The Differences

At Morris House, we take pleasure in hosting both Irish and US weddings, celebrating our differences.As a venue we always go the extra mile to ensure your wedding is as unique as the couple.

By |2016-03-29T03:53:04+00:00July 5th, 2013|Philadelphia Wedding Venue|2 Comments

About the Author:

Luke Wistar Morris was part of the Morris family who built what is now the Morris House Hotel. Luke had many interests including brewing beer, and was an engineer in Philadelphia. Follow Luke on Google+


  1. […] Italian wedding though can be compared to a festival atmosphere whereas an American wedding more of a party […]

  2. Sarah Crippes January 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Hello. I am using this for a source of my speech. Is there an author of the article” Wedding Traditions and Meanings” ? Thank you.

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