Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gettin' Cultural and Stuff

I always love reading about the many beautiful cultural touches many couples incorporate into their weddings. There are so many special and meaningful things that can be added to celebrate family and cultural traditions, but sadly, Mr. Cola and I don't have much to work with.

I'm very Irish (and Mr. C is a self-proclaimed mutt, with a many European cultures in his family's background), and, well ok, so we ARE having an open bar (with Guinness as one of the 6 beers on tap), but there's not much else that sounds neat enough to do that's "Irish."

There are, however, some
interesting options that I came across when I Googled "Irish wedding traditions":
  • There's one quaint custom where the groom was invited to the bride's house right before the wedding and they cooked a goose in his honor. It was called Aitin' the gander — it has to be where we get the expression 'his goose is cooked!'
  • Bunratty Meade is a honey wine that's served at the Bunratty Castle medieval banquet. It's from a recipe based on the oldest drink in Ireland and if you've never tasted it, it's well worth trying. In the old days, it was consumed at weddings because it was thought that it promoted virility. (If a baby was born nine months after the wedding, it was attributed to the mead!) Couples also drank it from special goblets for a full month following the wedding, which is supposedly where we get the word honeymoon. This was to protect the couple from the fairies coming to spirit the bride away.
  • Lucky horseshoe. Irish brides used to carry a real horseshoe for good luck. (Turned up so the luck won't run out). You can get porcelain horseshoes which most Irish brides carry these days, or one made of fabric which is worn on the wrist.
  • Magic Hanky. This charming custom involves having the bride carry a special hanky that with a few stitches can be turned into a christening bonnet for the first baby. With a couple of snips it can be turned back into a hanky that your child can carry on his/her wedding day.
  • Make-up bells. The chime of bells is thought to keep evil spirits away, restore harmony if a couple is fighting, and also remind a couple of their wedding vows. Giving a bell as a gift has become an Irish tradition. You could also have your greeters hand out tiny bells to your guests to ring as you process.
  • Irish Dancers. Consider hiring a group of Irish dancers to hand out your programs before the ceremony. Dressed in their full regalia, it would add a wonderful touch of pageantry and color. They could also dance at the reception later.
  • Flowers. In the old days, many Irish brides wore a wreath of wildflowers in their hair; they also carried them in bouquets.
  • Ancient custom: In the old days, couples ate salt and oatmeal at the beginning of their reception: Each of them took three mouthfuls as a protection against the power of the evil eye. Also, when a couple is dancing, the bride can't take both feet off the floor because the fairies will get the upper hand. Fairies love beautiful things and one of their favorites is a bride. There's many an Irish legend about brides being spirited away by the little people! For the same reason, it's bad luck for a bride to wear green.
{Source of these traditions is from}

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not into the fact that so many of these traditions have to do with babies or fairies! So we'll have our open bar and be done with the traditions for our wedding day.

However, for the rehearsal dinner, I will be pulling in a bit of culture, even though it's not ours! One of Mr. Cola's oldest friend's, Groomsman P's parents gifted me some gorgeous jewelry while we were in Mr. C's hometown after Christmas. GM P's family is from India, and it's a very important tradition to gift the bride beautiful jewelry in their culture. Mrs. Jasmine gave a wonderful overview of the importance of jewelry and the different types in her Bejeweled post, from which I learned why there are loops on the top of the earrings I was given (because the earrings are heavy, the loops go over the tops of your ears to support the weight).

Since I already have my wedding day jewelry, I plan to wear these gorgeous pieces with my rehearsal dinner dress--I think the white and gold hand beaded jewelry will go perfectly with my white dress.

And doesn't the flower on these earrings and necklace look familiar? As in almost like our flower punches we used on our STD belly bands and favor boxes! How perfect!

(this picture and jewelry pictures above are personal photos)

So there you have it, although we won't be doing much to celebrate our own cultures, wonderful people we know are helping us incorporate a little of their culture in our wedding celebrations. And it doesn't hurt that I got some fabulous jewelry out of it either ;) !

How will you be incorporating your cultural traditions into your wedding? Got any more amusing traditions you'd like to share?


  1. Haha - I'm loving the bridal brainwaves we share! That jewelry is so gorgeous. My FMIL is retiring and then heading off to India for two months this weekend. She's going to buy my wedding jewelry and sari there - I can't wait to see what she picks out. And yes, I can attest that those earrings are heavy!

  2. Your jewelry is gorgeous, and I have never heard of those Irish traditions before! Thanks for sharing. We’re of Irish heritage, too, so we’ll have an Irish wedding blessing read as part of the ceremony.

  3. The jewelry looks beautiful! I didn't know about those traditions either so thanks for sharing!

  4. That is awesome that the jewelry pattern matches the STD punch out! I like the idea of Irish Dancers :)

  5. You did some very investigative how the flower on that necklace matches up to your previous projects. I have heard there are lots of Irish traditions...I wouldn't worry about incorporating anything too much. We don't really have anything culturally significant planned for our ceremony but I know it will still be personal and special.

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