For newbie planners, there’s nothing simple about a Gaelic wedding, especially if the couple is taking the traditional route. However, seasoned planners know that Irish wedding ceremony scripts are not too difficult to understand. Like other cultures, guests pay witness to the couple as they recite their Celtic wedding vows. Vikings also firmly believe in receiving wedding blessings during the ceremony.
Typically, a wedding ceremony ranks high on the list of iconic life events that everyone should experience. Of course, this is regardless of whether you’re a wedding guest or the dashing bride and groom. Everyone knows that the exchange of wedding vows is an essential tradition in a Celtic wedding ceremony. In this article, we’re going to look into two core aspects of a Celtic wedding.
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Celtic Handfasting Vows
Celtic vows may seem unusual to other people. However, if you’ve ever attended a Celtic wedding, you know that their vows are as straightforward as taking an oath. You’ve also probably noticed that Pagan ceremonies borrow heavily from Celtic handfasting vows. This is because handfasting symbolizes that two lives are binding to become one.
The officiant starts by explaining the ritual, after which the bride and groom willingly join their hands. As the vows are read, the couple’s hands are wrapped in cords. It’s not uncommon to see twisted or braided ribbons even though they don’t appear in the handfasting ceremony script. It is also at this point that the officiant speaks wedding blessings over the couple’s marriage.
As this knot is tied, so are your lives now bound. Women into this cord, into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the entwining of this knot I lie all the desires, dreams, loves, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last.
By this cord you are thus bound to your vow. May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last. May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.
Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to love one another through both good times and bad, and watch as your strength grows. Remember that it is not this physical cord, but what it represents, that keeps you together.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East.
Communication of the heart, mind, and body
Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun.
The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South.
Warmth of hearth and home
The heat of the heart’s passion
The light created by both to illuminate the darkest of times.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West.
The deep commitments of the lake
The swift excitement of the river
The refreshing cleansing of the rain
The all encompassing passion of the sea.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North
Firm foundation on which to build
Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives
A stable home to which you may always return.
Now you are bound one to the other
With a tie not easy to break.
Take the time of binding
Before the final vows are made
To learn what you need to know –
To grow in wisdom and love.
That your marriage will be strong
That your love will last In this life and beyond.
Traditional Celtic Marriage Vows
Gaelic wedding vows are some of the most ancient oaths taken to date. Both parties recite their Celtic wedding vows out loud to the officiant, guests, and God. Traditional Celtic vows are so romantic they almost seem like poems.
However, unlike modern Gaelic weddings, people didn’t recite their traditional marriage vows before an officiant. The wedding guests would form a circle around the couple and witness as they tied the knot. Moreover, the Scottish viewed the handfasting ceremony as a trial marriage contract meant to last one year and a day. If things didn’t work out within that time, they were free to go their separate ways.
“I, (name), in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us all, by the life that courses within my blood and the love that resides within my heart, take thee (name) to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. To desire thee and be desired by thee, to possess thee, and be possessed by thee, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity of my love for thee. I promise to love thee wholly and completely without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself.
Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give
You cannon command me, for I am a free person
But I shall serve you in those ways you require
and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
“By the power that Christ brought from heaven, mayst thou love me. As the sun follows its course, mayst thou follow me. As light to the eye, as bread to the hungry, as joy to the heart, May thy presence be with me, Oh one that I love, `til death comes to part us asunder.”
I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine, from this day it shall only your name I cry out in the night and into your eyes that I smile each morning; I shall be a shield for you back as you are for mine, no shall a grievous word be spoken about us, for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance. Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honor you through this life and into the next.
“You are the star of each night,
You are the brightness of every morning,
You are the story of each guest,
You are the report of every land.
No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank,
In field or valley, on mountain or in glen.
Neither above, nor below, neither in sea,
Nor on shore, in skies above, Nor in the depths.
You are the kernel of my heart,
You are the face of my sun,
You are the harp of my music,
You are the crown of my company.”
“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and just be my friend.”
I, groom , take thee, bride, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for fairer and fouler, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereunto to plight thee my troth.
I, bride, take thee, groom, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonny and buxom at bed and at board, to love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.
When it comes to weddings, numerous couples are looking to try something different. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Scottish or Irish; anyone can adopt the Celtic wedding vows. Medieval marriage vows are no different from Western wedding vows. What matters are your intentions with your partner. That said, before reciting these old marriage vows, it’s essential to do your due diligence. Attend an Irish ceremony, and witness vintage wedding vows at their best.