Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Irish Lace Wedding Traditions

Many Irish wedding traditions have ancient roots often tied to nature and originated in folklore and/or steeped in superstition. They’ve been passed down from one generation to another and are still practiced by Irish couples around the world and are now often embraced by others who love nature, or who want to incorporate ancient traditions in their wedding ceremony. One tradition not really linked to nature or superstition is Irish lace. This is a wedding tradition that dates back to the potato blight of Ireland and an act of kindness to help the poor of Ireland.
History of Irish Lace
Irish lace is a special Irish wedding tradition rooted in an act of kindness that took place at a time when many in Ireland were dying because of the potato blight of the 1800s. At the time, many poor families lived in tiny thatched cottages on land called crofts and they were so poor they had little money for necessities. In 1829 a school in Limerick was started to teach lace making; but when the potato blight hit (1845-1851) thousands of families starved. Ursuline nuns who were acquainted with Venetian lace started teaching women the fine art of crocheting what later became known as Irish lace. This lace was sold to more affluent families and the money was used to help the poor. Families created their own designs and motifs and passed the pattern on from mother to daughter. The details were kept so secret that some of Irish lace patterns disappeared over time when families died out or fled the country to live elsewhere. Today, including Irish lace in the wedding in some way has become a popular tradition all its own. 

Four Ways to Include Irish Lace in your Wedding

  • Wedding Handkerchief: The bride carrying a handkerchief is a tradition in itself which some historians say dates back to 1000 B.C. Irish lace wedding handkerchiefs make a beautiful keepsake for the bride and are often given as gifts to the bridal party as well as the parents of the bride and groom. In some families, the  wedding handkerchief is handed down from mother to daughter.
  • Irish Wedding Garter: Irish wedding garters decorated with lace, shamrocks, Claddaugh charms and other popular Irish themes are another way to include Irish lace in your wedding tradition.
    Irish Wedding Garter with Claddaugh Charm

  • Irish Lace Wedding Dress: Irish lace is still a popular choice for modern wedding dresses, too. Irish inspired wedding dresses can be found in vintage styles as well as modern patterns like mermaid wedding dresses, as well as maxi or short length wedding dresses.
  • Irish Lace Streamers on Bridal Bouquet: Traditionally Irish brides carry a bridal bouquet of wildflowers or wear a wildflower wreath instead of a veil. Adding Irish lace streamers to the bouquet is a traditionally beautiful trend.

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Photo credits: pixabay, Wikimedia

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