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make it a celtic wedding
This site is dedicated to offering ideas to Make it a Celtic Wedding! This is your day to create as you wish. Whether you want to add only a small Celtic Touch, or go all out with everything Scottish or Irish, here you will find ideas to help you, provided by Mark Hamilton, Highland Bagpiper.
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Please CLICK HERE for a Printable PDF file of our Celtic Wedding Ideas.
CELTIC RINGS
claddagh ring Begin your betrothal with Celtic rings. There are beautiful Celtic designs for men and women in gold, white gold and sterling silver. Diamonds and other precious gems may also be incorporated into the design. Celtic ring designs most commonly use the Celtic Knot or Celtic Interlacing as the central design theme. Celtic Knots are symbolic to both Scottish and Irish cultures. Some of the more ornate versions may be found in old religious manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells, or on the monolithic Celtic High Crosses which dot the Irish and Scottish landscapes. There are many, many variations on the Celtic Knot. The Celtic Knot is symbolic of eternity. If you trace the interlacing, you will not find a beginning or an end.
claddagh wedding band The Irish Claddagh is used for both menís and womenís rings, and there are many different designs. The Claddagh is a legendary symbol of Love (Heart), Loyalty (Crown) and Friendship (Hands), and a beautiful symbol. Legend has it that the Claddagh was created by a man from Ireland for the Love of his Life. It is said that if the heart points toward the wearer, it tells all that he or she is taken.
CELTIC MUSIC
bagpiper Prior to the ceremony, guests will arrive, talk and visit as they wait for the ceremony to begin. Celtic music played at this time is a great way to create a Scottish or Irish mood right from the start. If you choose to go with live music, there is nothing like a Bagpiper dressed in full regalia to give that Celtic Touch. There are many online resources for finding a Piper. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce, or contact Bagpipe bands in your state to find a Piper. Have the Piper play while your guests arrive. Position him or her outside the church entrance, just inside the entry way, in back of the church or in the balcony. If you are in a small indoor setting, remember that the pipes have some volume to them so you may not want to position the Piper right next to sitting guests. Outside he or she may stand and play about anywhere and still be heard.
pipes and drum Or perhaps you would rather go with a folk group. Consider a group that specializes in Celtic music, and ask them to play some of your Irish or Scottish favorites. Ask the group about instrumentation. A nice sounding Celtic group might include a Fiddle, Tin whistle, Guitar, Mandolin, Bodhran (Celtic Drum) and Irish Uilleann Pipes or Scottish Small Pipes (there are many variations of pipes).

Celtic Music will enhance the ceremony too. Mark has piped many Brides down the isle, and not once has he played Here Comes the Bride or the Wedding March! If you go with a Bagpiper or a Folk Group, ask for their recommendation if you donít have any music or specific tunes in mind. Remember, this is your day! Plan it as you wish. You may wish to have music as the Groom and Groomsmen proceed down the isle. An easy march would do nicely here (but nothing too heavy or fast). For example, Mark has been asked to play Scotland the Brave and 42 Highlanders. An Irish equivalent might be Minstrel Boy or Kelly the Boy from Killane. Something with a nicely paced walking tempo for the men. For the Bridesmaids procession down the isle, switch to something slower like a slow march. The idea here is to create contrast between the Groomsmen and the Bridemaids. And you also want to create anticipation, as all are really waiting for the grand moment, the Brideís entrance and procession down the isle. Take a pause after the Bridemaids are in position. Continue with different music for the Bride, such as a melodic Celtic Air or a slow 4/4 March. Mark's favorites are Rowan Tree (Scottish) or Down by the Sally Gardens (Irish) for the Brideís procession. Something with a lot of melody and the feel of elegance, a tune that will allow the Bride to walk slow and not rush, and build on the culmination of the moment. Lastly, after the pronunciation of Husband and Wife, an up-beat Quick March is most appropriate for the recessional. Mairiís Wedding and Highland Wedding are traditional favorites.
LUCKENBOOTH
luckenbooth The Luckenbooth Brooch gets its name from the locked jewelry booths which were situated along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the brooch was commonly sold. The Luckenbooth is a symbol of love and may be given as a gift by either party as a token of their everlasting love. It is customary for the Groom to give a Luckenbooth to the Bride on their wedding day. And the Luckenbooth was thought to fend off evil. The M found in some designs is thought to be inspired by Mary Queen of Scots who gave a Luckenbooth to one of her lovers.
SIXPENCE HORSESHOE
sixpence Something Old - Something New - Something Barrowed - Something Blue Ė and a Sixpence in her Shoe. Yes, you could place a sixpence in her shoe. Or if you rather, you could sew a horseshoe in her gown (most brides probably wouldnít go for that) or place one in her bouquet (be sure to remove it before throwing!). Either way, be sure to point the horseshoe up so the luck doesnít fall out when using this traditional good luck charm. A nice alternative to these is to simply give a sixpence or horseshoe as a gift.
RING BEARER
thistle keepsake box If you have a Tartan dear to you, place a piece of Tartan on the Ring Bearer's Pillow. Or have the Ring Bearer carry the Rings in a Celtic Keepsake Box. A keepsake Box will also provide a special place to store your precious wedding rings when they are not being worn. Not to mention they look lovely on your dresser or nightstand as another remembrance of the special day.
UNITY CANDLE
claddagh unity candle The Lighting of the Unity Candle during the ceremony is a beautiful moment, bringing two spirits together as one. Two smaller taper candles are lighted, one representing the Bride the other the Groom. The Bride and Groom each take their candle and light a larger single candle in the center, signifying their unity as one spirit. There are lovely Unity Candle Holder Sets with Celtic and Claddagh Designs which will also look great on your buffet or dining table after the honeymoon. As an alternative to the Unity Candle lighting, you may just want to consider two Celtic Candlesticks to use and later admire. Candles are a part of any wedding ceremony, and incorporating your own Celtic Candlesticks gives you another special remembrance of your day.
SAND
celtic vase Another variation on coming together as one is the pouring of sand. The Bride and Groom each take a hand full of sand and together they pour the grains as they blend into one. Add a Celtic Touch to this by pouring the sand into a nice piece of Irish Belleek China or similar Celtic vase.
TARTAN
tartan Do you have a favorite Tartan? Do you have a Scottish Clan Tartan? Or maybe an Irish County Tartan? Did you know there is an Irish National Tartan? There are literally hundreds of Plaids or Tartans. Tartan material can be purchased by the yard and a splash of Tartan in the church or reception hall will really give your wedding a Celtic touch. Inside, find creative places to display Tartan material, such as using Bows or Rosettes at the end of pews for the immediate family. Find places to weave Tartan material, such as church railings. Outside, weave Tartan material through the wedding arch or gazebo railings. Or use Tartan material to make bows around flower arrangements. Get Creative!
HANDFASTING
handfasting Handfasting was traditionally used to signify marriage in the absence of a preacher. This can be incorporated into your ceremony too. Before the final introduction as Husband and Wife, the Bride and Groom place their hands together and the preacher or member of the Wedding Party wrap a piece of Tartan material or cord around both hands and "tie the knot".
DANCERS
dancer If you really want to liven up the reception, find some Irish Step Dancers or Scottish Highland Dancers. Check with local dance studios or search online. Both styles of dance are very popular and you are surely to find some dancers in your area. Dancers love to perform and will add yet another Celtic dimension to your wedding. Mark's daughter is a Highland Dancer and they have performed at many weddings together. They loved to wait for the Bride and Groom to enter the reception, then they would position themselves right in front of the newlyweds and make an announcement like "In honor of this beautiful occasion may we perform for YOU the Highland Fling", and they pipe and dance just for them. Awesome memories for all.
WEDDING CUPS
claddagh wedding cup And what better way to begin your life together, than toasting from one cup? A pewter Claddagh Irish Wedding Cup, is a lovely cup from which to share in the moment.
scottish loving cup The Scottish version is the Quaich, also known as the "Loving Cup", the "Cup of Friendship", or the traditional "Toasting Cup". In days of old, the Quaich served as both an eating and drinking vessel. In the 1500s, King James VI of Scotland gave Queen Anne of Norway a Quaich as a Wedding Gift, lending to its name as the "Loving Cup".

Just to add to the Celtic flavor, ask the Best Man to recite a nice Scottish or Irish Toast, and there you are! Both of these wedding cups will be admired for the rest of your days together and sure to become a family heirloom.
CAKE TOP
claddagh cake top

celtic cake server
And don't forget the Cake! Ask your wedding cake supplier to come up with some Celtic designs, whether it be Shamrocks, Celtic Knots, Rampant Lion, St. Andrew's Cross or Irish Flag. And top it off with an Irish Claddagh or Bride with Kilted Groom Cake Topper! And even if you force feed cake to each other, you still need to cut the cake. So cut it with a Celtic Cake Knife and serve it with a Celtic Cake Server!
ATTIRE
wedding couple To quote Mark's wife, "there is nothing like a man in a Kilt!" How about a Kilted Groom? Or the Groomsmen too? Dad's always wanted a reason to sport a Kilt, so outfit Dad. And if the men aren't man enough to wear a Kilt, shame them into it by dressing the wee Ring Bearer in a Kilt, he will look simply adorable.

These are wonderful options and will make your wedding day all that more memorable. If you are thinking just the Groom, than Mark recommends buying a Kilt. For the price of renting, you are at least 25 percent toward the purchase price of a new Kilt. Purchasing your own Kilt will give you a traditional piece of clothing that you will be able to wear for years to come. If you are serious enough about your heritage to want to make it a Celtic Wedding, than you ought to own a Kilt anyway. We believe a Kilt is an investment in your heritage. Either way, don't skimp. Remember, you get what you pay for. Ask what your Kilt is made of, who is making it and is it quality wool. Anything less and it will not hang or hold the pleats as well.

And if a Kilt is too much, the Groom or Groomsmen can go with a Tartan Tie or Cummerbund. Other Tartan options include the Bride, Bridesmaids or the Moms wearing a Tartan Sash.
TARTAN GARTER
tartan garter Then of course there is the moment where the Groom removes the Bride's Garter to toss to the bachelors in the group. How about surprising the Groom with a Tartan Wedding Garter!
DECOR
claddagh wedding flutes In terms of decoration at the reception, get creative. The head table can be dressed with Tartan Material. This is also a great place to display the Unity Candle, along with flower arrangements with Tartan ribbon. To complete the head table, add Irish, Scottish or Celtic Wedding Flutes or Wine Glasses. Options here include pewter or crystal glasses adorned with the Claddagh or Celtic Knots. Other thoughts might include Heather or Shamrock plants atop a piece of Tartan at the dining tables. Use your Celtic imagination!
GIFT GIVING
It is traditional to give the Wedding Party Gifts in appreciation of their support and participation. Here is a list of Celtic Gift Ideas which you may find helpful. Many of these work equally as well as wedding gifts for the happy couple.
Bridemaids

Irish Jewelry
Scottish Jewelry
Celtic Keepsake Boxes
Celtic Candlesticks
Celtic Champagne Flutes
Belleek China
Tartan Scarves
Celtic Picture Frames with Wedding Photos
Groomsmen

Quaichs
Celtic Flasks
Celtic Beer Tankards
Celtic Cufflinks
Celtic Money Clips
Kilt Pins
Tartan Scarves
Celtic Picture Frames with Wedding Photos
Please CLICK HERE to visit our online store to see our Scottish and Irish Gifts, including our Celtic Wedding section.

Please CLICK HERE for a Printable PDF file of our Celtic Wedding Ideas.
Copyright ©Highland Trading Company, 2011