Planning an Irish-style wedding means staying true to some unique customs, dating back to ancient Ireland. In recent times, Ireland’s weddings have incorporated the preferences of the couple who may accept some traditions, and reject others, for the special day.
Traditionally, Irish couples hold the ceremony in a church setting. However, in ancient times, they would get married outside, in nature, or in a spiritually significant outdoor venue. Later, brides began marrying at their home. Then, weddings moved to the church steps. Finally, today’s custom of marrying inside the church became a tradition.
Today, there are many ways to propose. In ancient Ireland, the man stood outside the woman’s house and threw his hat into the open door. If the woman that he wished to marry tossed the hat back out of the entrance, that was her way of declining the proposal.
Couples traditionally married during the period from Christmas to Lent, because no marriages took place during Lent, a spell of 40 days. The next time a couple were allowed to marry was after Easter. Brides and grooms certainly did all they could to arrange the ceremony, so the family could come together to celebrate their good fortune. Now, most weddings occur during the summer months, taking advantage of the great weather and beautiful scenery.
Until the 12th Century, Ireland had very relaxed marriage customs. Couples sometimes married for a year, before deciding whether to remain in the marriage. Marriage was considered a contract for procreation; therefore a wife could leave her husband if he turned out to be infertile. Men had to own land to marry because, without it, the husband brought nothing to the union.
As co-lord with their husband, women were able to exercise their rights. In Irish tradition, the husband protects and respects the wife, and they work together to build the foundation for the family. Ireland’s unique marriage customs still continue today.