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Irish Wedding Reception Traditions and Customs Irish Wedding Decorations Sharing Riches Kissing Decorating Irish Weddings Receptions Toasting Wedding Article


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Exploring Traditions for an Irish Wedding Reception

If you are planning to have an Irish wedding reception, there are plenty of traditions you might wish to include in your special event.

Decorating the Path

One tradition, dating back to 19th Century Ireland, is called Decorating the Path. This custom involved leading the way from the bride's home to the church using floral garlands, evergreen boughs, lanterns and torches. This custom could be adapted for modern nuptials by attaching floral bouquets to trees and signposts. Cost-conscious brides could substitute balloons or bows for the more expensive floral arrangements. For a truly Irish flavor, Celtic symbols such as the Tricolor flag, shamrocks or Claddaughs would be suitable alternatives.

Reception Decorations

For an Irish-themed wedding, using pots of shamrocks as centerpieces would be very festive. Those who prefer more traditional arrangements could employ native Irish flowers such as Burnet roses, violets, hydrangeas, foxglove, Bells of Ireland, daisies, Irish orchids, ivy, ferns and primrose.

Food and Drink

Traditional Irish fare would include dishes such as Colcannon, Irish stew, Boxty, Coddle and soda bread. As for drinks, have plenty of Irish whisky and Guinness on hand. The bartender should know how to make Irish cocktails, such as Irish Spring, Irish Dog, Irish Highball, Irish Seaman, Irish Lady, and Irish Lady Champagne Punch. It might be a good idea to supply the bartender with a copy of Irish Wedding Traditions by Shannon McMahon Lichte - as the book contains all of these recipes.

Wedding Cake

The traditional Irish wedding cake is fruitcake. If fruitcake is out of the question, the baker can provide a regular cake decorated with Irish symbols such as swans, harps, shamrocks or the Claddaugh.


There should be no problem providing traditional Irish music at the reception. Prominent Irish musicians include The Chieftains, Celtic Thunder, Gaelic Storm, Da Danaan, Christy Moore, James Galway, U2, The Wild Rovers,and Enya. Compilations of Irish party and dancing songs are also available for purchase.


In Ireland, it's customary for the bride and groom to use the same cup for their wedding toast. A quick Internet search should yield many chalices and goblets with Irish designs.

Sharing Riches

In Ireland, it is customary for the bride and groom to make a donation to a charity. Instead of having guests throw the traditional rice at the bride and groom, why not give them a small pouch filled with Irish pence to toss? Later, the coins could be collected and donated to a worthy cause.

Wedding Planning Tips and Ideas

Irish Hand-fasting Ceremony

In this beautiful Irish wedding ceremony, a rope or length of fabric is wrapped around the hands of the couple being wed. The “wrap” should be chosen as something that has meaning to both the bride and groom.

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More Irish reception traditions Advice

Irish Ceremony Customs
Celtic Wedding Ideas
Irish Wedding Rings
Irish Wedding Bagpipes
All Irish / Celtic Wedding Planning

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