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Irish Wedding Ceremony


Celtic & Irish Wedding Rings


May your hands be forever

clasped in friendship

And your hearts joined

forever in love

A ring is the ultimate symbol of the marriage vow and, long after the big day has passed, it remains as a reminder that you have pledged your heart forever to another. One of the most popular ring designs among those of Irish descent is the Claddagh (pronounced clad-ah). The tradition of these rings being passed from mother to daughter as treasured heirlooms is now being revived among those who find meaning in the beautiful symbolism of the ring itself.

Claddagh Ring

Named after a fishing village located where the Corrib River meets Galway Bay, Claddagh rings have been in use in Ireland for several hundred years. The first such ring is believed to have been crafted around 1690 by the blacksmith Richard Joyce. Initially only popular in Joyce’s local village of Claddagh and around County Galway, the rings later gained popularity throughout the country and today, Claddagh rings are found all around the world. Outside of the purchase of the family boat, the purchase of a ring was often a family’s biggest financial outlay and as a result these rings tended to be passed from generation to generation. Claddagh rings can serve as an engagement ring or a wedding ring or, indeed, as both.

Today, many couples like to express their Irish heritage by having Claddagh rings as their wedding bands. The design of the ring itself is filled with special meaning. It depicts two hands holding a heart that is topped with a crown. The heart is of course the symbol of love. The hands on either side represent friendship, and the crown represents loyalty and fidelity.

The manner in which the ring is worn has a symbolism of its own. If the wearer is married, the ring is worn on the wedding finger and the heart faces inward, denoting that one’s actual heart is taken. The same holds true if the wearer is engaged, although in this case, the ring may be worn on the right hand. If your heart is not taken or if you’re free to love, the heart is faced outwards toward the world indicating your openness to inviting love into your life.

The Claddagh design can be taken one step further and used as a theme for the entire wedding. It is appropriate for use on invitations, wedding programs, and thank you cards for example. You might choose to have Claddagh vases hold your floral centerpieces or even to have a Claddagh cake topper.

Excerpt From: Áine Minogue. “A Celtic Wedding: How to add the perfect Irish touches to your wedding.”


Christian Wedding Services - Handfasting


Have you ever wondered why it’s called “tying the knot?”

The term originates with the Scottish wedding custom whereby the hands of the bride are tied to those of the groom. This symbolizes the couple’s “fasting” or being bound together. 

For this ritual you’ll need a length of ribbon (a silk scarf or even the end of priest’s stole will do) and two tartan sashes, one representing the bride’s clan, the other the groom’s. The sash (or a scarf) is placed around the woman’s shoulder signifying that she is now part of the man’s family. The bride’s family tartan is then placed around the groom’s shoulder and he is forever linked to his wife’s family. 

Traditionally, the couple stood side by side and their wrists were tied together, not to be undone until the marriage was actually consummated! Nowadays, you’ll be relieved to know, the “tying of the knot” is typically just for a few minutes during which time the couple makes a pledge to each other (this could be combined with the vows). 

A little history for those who are interested: Prior to the Catholic Church’s Council of Trent in the middle of the 16th Century, marriages, especially among the common folk, could be sealed by little more than mutual consent. That is, all that a couple had to do was to pledge themselves to each other. Customs like handfasting were a way to mark the occasion of these unions. After the Council of Trent, however, it was decreed that only those marriages performed by a priest were legitimate. The tradition of handfasting, while not a part of the sanctioned ceremony, was often still enacted once the “official” wedding was safely over. 

Here’s a lovely poem for your handfasting ceremony:

Final Blessing: 
These are the hands of your best friend, holding yours on your wedding day as you pledge your love and commitment from this “day on."

These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future and share your innermost secrets and dreams.

These are the hands that will love you and cherish you through the years. They will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times - comfort you when you are sick, console you when you are grieving.

These are the hands that will give you support as you encourage each other to chase down your dreams. Together, everything you wish for can be realized.

May you see these hands as healer, protector, shelter, and guide.

For more Handfasting Blessings, please click HERE


Ceremony Music


"If music be the food of love, play on." -- William Shakespeare

Throughout the ages, beautiful Celtic Music and melodies have proved to be some of the most enduring. These melodies have the power to transport us to another time and place. When you want to mark a special moment on your wedding day, this music will set the right tone.

This music is the music of the heart. It's perfect for moments to pause and reflect, moments of interlude and meditation, those special moments when you light a candle, pass a rose, seal a vow…

These selections will work for unity candle lightings, for moments of meditation, or simply for those moments when you wish to pause, take a breath and reflect.

There are even more selections for your “quiet” moments… 

1. Blessing. (Sung) (1:13) 

"May the longtime sun shine on you, 

all love surround you, 

and the pure light within you, 

guide you on your way.... Akal, Akal, (infinity)... no end...." Old Irish Blessing.

2. Bridget Cruise. (2:42) Harp & Strings. Gorgeous romantic melody.

3. Southwind. (2:02) Fiddle/Violin. Beloved Scottish melody.

4. An Bhoutais. (4:11) A unique Irish air with sweeping strings, evoking the beauty of the landscape. 

5. Kilcash. (2:38) Irish whisle, cello. Another gorgeous air from the north of Ireland. 

6. Greensleeves. (3:19) Also on our Processional section,  this perennial favorite may be used for almost any part of your Day.

7. Fair Haired Youth. (5:04)  This Irish whistle solo makes for a wonderful meditation.


Click HERE to see a Full list of musical arrangements for every part of your Wedding!

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  1. 1 Blessing (Sung) 01:13
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  2. 2 Bridget Cruise 02:44
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  3. 3 Southwind (Version II) 02:02
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  4. 4 An Bhoutais 04:11 Info
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  5. 5 Kilcash 04:01
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  6. 6 Greensleeves 03:19
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  7. 7 The Fair Haired Youth 05:04 Info
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These next selections broaden your choices to include a song in Gaelic as well as a song for choir from Wales. Many of the tracks emphasize one particular instrument, so if you love Irish whistle, cello or fiddle/violin, you're in luck! There's even a melody from Scotland.

Because these selections draw upon the music and instrumentation of different Celtic countries, your guests will feel the full richness and variety of Celtic traditions. These choices are ideal for those peaceful moments during your service.  You can mix them in with more upbeat pieces from the other collections available here on our site to create a lovely soundtrack for your special day. 

1. The Mermaid. (2:24) 

2. My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose. (1:38) A beloved Scottish melody featuring the 'fiddle.' Its short length lends itself well to the lighting of the candles by the bride and groom or any brief ritual such as giving flowers to parents (roses maybe;) guardians and loved ones or pausing to remember those who are not present.

3. Blind Mary. (3:01) One of O'Carolan's most beautiful melodies. Played on harp with lush string accompaniment. Brides like this one!

4. Calon Lan. (3:01) Wales is renowned for its wonderful singers. This is one of their famous choral pieces in four-part harmony, which translates to "Shining Heart."

5. New Light. (2:45) Cello lovers will enjoy this lovely melody - it starts out peacefully and builds.

6. Marbha na Luinmeach (2:50) This beautiful free-form melody on the Irish whistle is from County Limerick.

7. A Story. (3:25) This original piece is ideal for peaceful moments.


Click HERE to see a Full list of musical arrangements for every part of your Wedding!

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  1. 1 The Mermaid 02:24 Info
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  2. 2 My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose 01:38
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  3. 3 Blind Mary 03:01 Info
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  4. 4 Calon Lan (Reprise) 02:58 Lyrics
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  5. 5 New Light 04:25 Info
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  6. 6 Marbha Na Luimneach 08:34 Info
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  7. 7 A Winter Story 03:25 Info
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