Irish Wedding Reception

The wedding organisers may opt for an old Irish custom of hiring a piper to accompany guests on their way to the reception hall. Ideally, the piper picks up the last tune played at the church and goes and changes the songs along the way to the reception venue; this way, the guests will be entertained with smooth melody from the ceremony to the reception. To make the piper's sound even smoother, there have been suggestions to use one of the traditional Irish Uilleann pipes instead of the more popular Scottish bagpipes.
During the reception, guests may use the tiny bells given to them in the ceremony to express their well-wishes for the bride and groom in lieu of their glasses. But whoever is going to be the first well-wisher to the bride, it's never going to be a woman.

Dancing will also be part of the reception and music will be provided. But don't expect the bride to dance with both of her feet off the floor because the Irish believe it will be easy for watchful fairies to take her away. Some weddings may hire Irish dancers to further enliven the happy feelings in the reception. Those dancers may also become great helping agents for guests who consider themselves to be untrained dancers. Still, some heavily Irish-themed wedding parties would ask the groom's male friends to burst in to the hall and dance in straw masks as if they were straw boys, famous in Irish folklore to interrupt a wedding reception by dancing in the middle of its procession. These straw boys are believed to bring good luck.

The guests may be further entertained by an Irish singer and musical players singing and playing Irish songs, especially when the bride and groom cut the wedding cake. The wedding cake itself is traditionally a fruit cake by Irish standard, as a symbol of good fortune and prosperous times. However, many modern couples may opt for a custom-made cake consisting of a fruit cake on the top layer and other flavours on the layers below it.

Towards the end of the reception, the couple, especially the groom, is to take a few gulps of Bunratty Meade, an original Irish beverage made of white wine, honey and herbs. The old custom had it that this drink possessed the power of virility and fertility, so a marrying couple had a ritual of drinking it for one full month after the wedding as a form of insurance that their first child would be born not later than nine months after the wedding day. This ritual gave birth to our modern day term 'honeymoon'.

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