(Closed) Any Irish (actually Irish) Bees out there?

posted 6 years ago in Europe
Post # 3
3697 posts
Sugar bee

First off, “actually Irish?” I think you mean “Irish-born,” “living in Ireland” etc. I don’t think you really mean to imply that Irish-Americans aren’t actually Irish, right? Wink

I’m Irish-American – but I attended a wedding in Ireland a couple of years ago as a guest musician, and I had many of the same questions you did before I went, about whether I needed to be aware of doing/not doing anything, etc.

For the most part, it was very similar. One thing I noticed that was different is that at the reception, there is a tradition of placing bets (!) during the speeches/toasts! It was really funny: at each table, everyone put 5 euro (I think) in a kitty in the middle of the table, and then each person wrote down a guess as to how long the speeches would take. I was totally clueless … I don’t remember what I wrote down, but I must have had beginner’s luck (or luck of the Irish-American?), as I won the pool for our table! It was fun. You would probably need an emcee to explain it, but you could totally have your guests do this at the reception if you wanted!

Post # 4
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Two things come to mind – my fiance (born and bred in Northern Ireland) told me he had never heard of a dollar dance before (I’m only bringing this up because I’ve read other bees imply it was some kind of tradition amongst Irish Americans) and he was also appalled at the idea of an open bar (if you had an open bar in Ireland you’d be bankrupt by the end of the night, haha). He said they usually put a set amount behind the bar and everything after that guests have to pay for.

Some Irish weddings have a ceili (pronounced KAY-lee – traditional dancing, kind of like square dancing or line dancing in the US). SO MUCH FUN, really, I’ve been to a few and have always enjoyed myself immensely. I would love to have a ceili if we can afford it (really hard to find a ceili band in Seoul though).

You can google “irish wedding traditions” but just know that a lot of those traditions aren’t even practiced in Ireland anymore (like handfasting – my Fiance gave me a confused look when I asked him about it). Some traditions I was thinking about including in my own wedding:

The bride carries a horseshoe for luck. (Doesn’t have to be a real one, haha.)

Bells instead of confetti for the exit.

Handfasting ceremony for our vows.

Post # 5
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

My dad’s side of the family is in Ireland, so I’ve been to quite a few weddings over there … The only difference I can really tell is the inclusion of the Ceili (which the PP mentioned). Everything else is pretty much standard. 

We may or may not be including a handfasting ceremony (which my family has never done), but I don’t know for sure yet!

Post # 6
32 posts



I’m a real real Irish Bee 🙂


Ok first off…..I’ve been to a gazillion weddings and never ever once has there been a ceili lol! Now, that’s not to say they don’t happen, but it is not the norm, at least not in the last couple of decades anyway….I can’t speak for beforehand.  In saying that I have seen ‘riverdance’ type displays being used to provide entertainment for guests as part of the day which can be a nice touch.

The general order of the day for an Irish Catholic wedding goes as follows.


Church wedding usually between around 12noon and 2pm.

From here the bridal party go and get their photographs done either at the reception location or somwhere else pictuesque nearby.  The other guests usually go straight to the reception venue and have some drinks/nibbles.


Bride and groom along with the bridal party arrive at reception venue and mingle for a little while before dinner (Dinner is usually at around 5pm or so).

Once everyone is seated speeches usually commence followed by a sit down meal. Bridal party sits at a ‘top table’.  Wine is often provided for the tables during the meal and a champagne toast.  Other than this guests generally pay for their own drinks (as pp said you’d be bankrupt with an open bar!)

After the meal the cake is usually cut.

Next everyone tends to leave the room for a little while whilst it is set up for the evening reception and usually there is another area for more drinks and mingling.


At around 7/8pm the ‘party’ kicks off in style!

Bride and groom have first dance and then for the rest of the evening it’s one big party with lots of dancing!. You can have have a band, a dj, other entertainment or all of the above!

Around 10pm a finger buffet is often served (helps soak up some of the alcohol! Wink)


This usually continues until the bar closes and they turn the lights on at 1pm…..and even then half the guests will hit the residents bar and party on until the small hours!


The party atmoshere is a really big deal at an Irish wedding.  Even if you are having small numbers for your ceremony and meal often people choose to invite a ton of other people to the evening reception to join them in celebrating their marriage.  Often Irish families are large so often there are a lot of people but all these people are very closely knit so even tho there may be hundreds it still feesl cosy Smile.


Before wedding bee I had never heard of a ‘first look’ (bride is always seen first when she walks down the ailse), we don’t do rehearsal dinners or anything like that…..it’s pretty much all about the wedding day itself tho it can be nice meeting up with people the next day for lunch and another mini celebration before jetting off on honeymoon.

Custom wise when it comes to the bridal party the bride and groom generally foot the bill.  Over here we woudn’t dream of asking bms/groomsmen to pay for their wedding attire…..we chose what they are wearing so we pay.  That can be right down to shoes, accessories, hair and makeup….although in my case, as her wedding gift to me, my Maid/Matron of Honor is acually paying for our hair and make up (I”m only having a Maid/Matron of Honor, no bms).


Right now I can’t think of anything else but if you have any questions let me know and I’ll help all I can.

Good luck planning your special da!y xxx



Post # 7
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Another actual-Irish bee here, from Dublin.


@Weebagpuss is right about the party atmosphere being really important, more than the ceremony almost!


In terms of traditions, we have much less of the little rituals than you guys do: I have no idea what a dollar dance is, or what the garter thing is about, I’ve never seen a father-daughter dance at the wedding. Usually some time during the first dance, or for the second song, the bridesmaids and groomsmen join the couple on the floor and then everyone starts dancing. As weebagpuss said (PS I love your name!) the couple normally foot the bill for bridal party expenses, although not always. Also over here it’s common for guests to give gifts of cash, to cover the cost for the bride and groom (I’ve always thought that a bit weird, but just don’t be offended if some of the IRish guests do it!)


Dinner can really be any time, but that break in the afternoon is pretty long. I always think it’s nice to actually tell people what time things are happening, so that hey can choose to go have a nap or a walk or whatever if they want and not miss anything.  Big thing really is keep feeding your guests – there’s nothing worse than 3am coming and being STARVING. We are typically pretty hardcore at weddings (the couple aren’t obliged to stay till the end). Irish weddings are BRILLIANT craic, but many of your guests will be somewhat the worse for wear the next day – I once got in trouble for playing the piano in the breakfast room of the hotel at about 4am, that kind of thing. One thing I think is nice as well is seeing people casually at breakfast the next day, so letting people know where and roughly what time you’ll be up and about. That’s really it – lots of food, and a great DJ and you’re sorted!

ETA a couple of things! I know one couple that did a handfasting, but that was their only ceremony – it’s not at all common. I’ve never seen a ceili (although some people spontaneously impersonate Riverdance after a few whiskeys alright). The betting thing one of the PPs mentioned, yes, I love this! You can either bet on the timing of the speeches or play wedding bingo for words and phrases you predict. But a word of warning – most people throw in a fiver and the winner usually buys a round for the table, so winning can end up costing you!

Post # 10
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@Weebagpuss:  @Bulba:  Every family wedding I’ve been to has had a few ceili dances, so I guess it’s just where you’re from (farmers from Donegal! Wink)


@CaroBee:  As long as you keep the party going, all your guests no matter where they’re from will have fun!




Post # 11
2517 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

My SO is also Irish (he’s been here 2 years, he’s the only one from his family in Canada, the rest are back home.)  

He claims the only Irish tradition he knows is the ‘residents bar’.  He’s also gobsmacked that we do open bars (and we are having an open bar.)  And inviting people for ‘afters’ instead of dinner and the dancing (that’s not happening.  It’s simply not done here.  If they’re invited to the party they’re invited to dinner too!)  And we are footing the bill for the bridal party (my girls don’t get it – so they keep saying they’ll pay for their own and just tell him we paid.)  We haven’t gone dress shopping yet, so we’ll see what happens.  We are definitely paying for the groom’s men, he’s the youngest of 5 so his side is his brothers and Brother-In-Law. 

I have to hit up his sister and SILs for help.  

We are currently arguing if we’re going to be piped in or not.  My family is mainly Scottish descent.  And everyone before me has been piped in at their weddings.  I don’t care that I wasn’t born in Scotland. My family still celebrates with a lot of the Scottish traditions.  I think I have him convinced.  I did promise to get a harpist for our ceremony.


Post # 12
128 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@sostobe:  hahaha…your so is funny but very correct about the residence bar!!! It usually costs the bride +groom up to 1000e to get the hotel to do it….and if you dont have one it will be the talk of the town.

Re the irish dancing. Its very common in the south for the siege of ennis to be played- the guests irish dance to this them selves- a fave of my family.

I had the uillean pipes into the reception and formal presentation to the dinner- irish version of the bagpipes. 

With the betting on the tables during the speeches – if you win the pot and dont buy a round of drinks for the table ypu will be remembered for your meanness forever more. Its seen as completely ignorant and rude.

Post # 12
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

CaroBee:  Hey!! I’m Irish – AND we live in Ireland. I see you are marrying on August 23rd…we are marrying in NYC on August 22nd.<br /><br />Your post was written a year ago, so you peobably have everything sorted by now, but if you have any questions feel free to send em my way 🙂

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