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Celtic Weddings

May 6th, 2021 |


Celtic Weddings are certainly one of a kind. They are full of a slew of traditions, most of which have been passed down for hundreds of years. 


Ready to “Tie the Knot”?

The origin of that turn of phrase is accredited to the Scottish “handfasting”. During the middle ages, “handfasting” was the term used for an engagement or betrothal throughout the British Isles. A handfasting ceremony took place about a month to a year before the official wedding as a way of showing the couple’s commitment and intention of marrying. 

In the Scottish tradition, a handfasting quite literally requires the couple’s hands to be bound together with ribbon or piece of fabric, like a tartan sash. After the handfasting, the couple can exchange a gift, most commonly rings, as a token of their love and devotion. At Donegal Square, we offer a variety of handfasting ribbons, and can even get you one in your family tartan. Perfect for your next Celtic Wedding.


The Quaich 

The word ‘quaich’ derives from the Gaelic ‘cuach’, which simply means ‘cup’. It is a traditional Scottish drinking vessel, typically reserved for a dram of whisky or brandy. Today they are mostly made of pewter or solid silver, and decorated with traditional Celtic knot work. 

The quaich’s unique handles, or lugs (a Scottish term for ‘ears’), symbolize trust. 

In traditional wedding ceremonies, the “Cup of Friendship” is handed to the bride by the groom’s parents, then to the groom by the bride’s parents, with each taking a sip from the quaich, to symbolize the welcoming of new family members. It is also passed around the wedding party to celebrate the newly wed couple.  Straight from Scotland, our Mullingar Pewter quaichs are a wonderful addition to your Celtic wedding. 


The Claddagh Ring

In the early 16th century, an Irishman named Richard Joyce was fishing off the coast of Galway, Ireland. One week before he was to be married his currach (fishing boat) capsized. Captured by pirates and sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith, he crafted a special ring for his one true love fashioned of three symbols: hands signifying friendship, a heart signifying love, topped with a crown for loyalty. When released from slavery, Richard returned to Ireland and found his true love waiting for him. They married and settled in the village of Claddagh [kla-dah]. Ever since, the Claddagh ring has been worn as a sign of love, loyalty, and friendship.

The heart pointed toward you means your heart is taken; the heart pointed away from you means your heart is free. Worn on the left ring finger, heart pointed towards you- represents a wedding band. The claddagh is traditionally used as a wedding band, and are passed down from generation to generation. The true Irish Claddagh bears a mark of authenticity, which cannot be imitated. A genuine Irish Claddagh ring is one that is handcrafted in Ireland, assayed in Dublin Castle, and hallmarked by the Irish Assay master. Claddagh rings can come in yellow gold, white gold, and can be adorned with any jewel of your choice. At Donegal Square we take great pride in creating the perfect Claddagh ring for your wedding day. 


Welsh Love Spoon

The tradition of carving and giving a love spoon originated in Wales hundreds of years ago. A young man would lovingly carve, from one piece of wood, a spoon with symbols like hearts, celtic knots, horseshoes, and bells. He would present the spoon to the girl he wished to marry. Today Welsh love spoons are presented as a gift to commemorate weddings, anniversaries, and more. For Celtic Weddings, a welsh love spoon is an excellent item for your registry. You can find a variety of Welsh love spoons in pewter, silver, wood, and more, at Donegal Square. 


Traditional Highland Wedding Attire

Celtic weddings are known for the wearing of the kilt by the groom and groomsman. At Donegal Square we offer the full regalia for rental- complete with kilt, shirt, bow tie, jacket, sporan, plaid, brooch, socks, flashes and all. Did you know we make custom kilts in your family tartan? Visit us in our store to explore the opportunities of traditional dress! First get your measurements, choose which pieces of the attire you’d like, and we cover the rest. Three day rentals for a set price, with additional fees for an extended rental. To book an appointment with one of our kilt specialists click here !