Many mainstream wedding traditions that are commonly practiced in the modern world grew out of Celtic wedding customs (or, often, the way that religious officials who arrived much later attempted to rein in local beliefs); Celtic weddings always involved a party and feast as part of the celebration, for example, and the term “tying the knot” comes from the literal practice of handfasting, in which the hands of the couple were ceremonially tied together by the officiant to seal either a marriage or engagement. The term “bride” itself is a derivative of “Brigid”, one of many Celtic deities later changed into human saints by the Catholic church in order to lure converts.
Celtic themed weddings complete with dress, decor, and specific ceremonial practices have become popular as they allow couples to hold unique weddings that celebrate their marriage, incorporating images, history, and symbolism with which they identify.
The body of art, custom, and history collectively known as “Celtic” is a broad survey of the traditions of many regions and time periods, mainly Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany. The most commonly seen nod to the time and place of this culture is the recent resurgence of Celtic knot work in art and fashion. Celtic knots, though often said to represent specific ideals depending on the shape and style of knot, are in fact simply the art (not language) of the Celts and are thus difficult to codify with definite individual meanings. However, the themes of eternal love and loyalty can generally apply to all of these designs, and some have interpretations more backed by research and discovery than others.
Even modern weddings that don’t follow the full Celtic wedding theme can enjoy incorporating a bit of this history. By far the most popular way to do this is choosing and exchanging themed wedding bands like Celtic love knot rings or similar styles. The intricate designs and lovely symbolism of a Celtic knot band can add just the right meaningful detail to your wedding day.
The clothing of the couple and wedding party can also follow or reflect these ideas of cultural history, with touches like using the family’s tartan for couples of Scottish descent, incorporating the wedding spoon tradition for couples of Welsh heritage, and Celtic knot or claddagh embroidery for those with irish ancestry.
Celtic motifs can make your wedding a day to remember for all in attendance, whether you choose to go all-out with historically accurate clothing, vows, and menus or just add in a few modified versions of these old practices that hold special meaning for you.