You certainly don’t have to be Irish or have distant Irish Heritage to appreciate the sentiment of an Irish wedding blessing! But, if you have Irish heritage, you can embrace it on your wedding day by including a collection of well-loved blessings or maybe even prayers, spread throughout the celebration.
Just make sure you select your ceremony blessings with care and keep the more lighthearted (or inappropriate) verses for after the wedding formalities, because, while some Irish blessings might not quite be appropriate for a ceremony, they can certainly add some humor to the less formal reception!
Your first task will be to distinguish the Irish Prayers from the Blessings. In the simplest description, a prayer is considered a direct conversation with God or a higher power. During a prayer you can ask for something for yourself and others and maybe even offer praise and gratitude, while a blessing is a form of prayer, typically requested on behalf of another. It’s a subtle but distinct difference.
Your next task is to decide who will recite the reading, and when the prayer will be included in the wedding mass or ceremony. This honor is typically reserved for family, godparents, or very close friends, and generally a prayer would be recited early on in the ceremony, and possibly as part of the welcome address or even the sermon. While a blessing is generally recited towards the end of the ceremony after most of the big formalities have been completed.
Irish blessings at weddings are used as a way to send the newly married couple off into the world with overflowing positivity, and typically whoever is officiating the wedding would give the final blessing, but alternatively, a very close friend or family member could also recite the blessing. If you need further guidance on this, be sure to talk to your priest, as they will be your best reference when planning out your wedding mass and ceremony.
With all of that fresh in your mind, here are a few of the most uplifting Irish Wedding Blessings and Prayers!
Irish Wedding Prayer
“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.”
Excerpt from St. Patrick’s Prayer:
“I arise today, through the strength of heaven, the light of the sun, the radiance of the moon, the splendor of fire, the speed of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth, the firmness of rock.
I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me from snares of devils, from the temptation of vices, from everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.”
Irish Wedding Blessings
“May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!”
“May joy and peace surround you both, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now, and God bless you evermore. May you live your life with trust, and nurture lifelong affection, May your lifelong dreams come true for you, move ever that direction.”
“May God grant you always a sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you, faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”
“In good times and bad times, in sickness and health, may they know that riches aren’t needed for wealth. Help them face problems they’ll meet on their way—God bless this couple who marry today. May they find peace of mind comes to all who are kind, may the rough times ahead become triumphs in time, may their children be happy each day—God bless this family who started today. As they go, may they know every love that was shown, and as life it gets shorter may their feelings grow. Wherever they travel, wherever they stay, God bless this couple who marry today.”
“May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace. May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase. May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love. Your lives are very special, and God has touched you in many ways. May his blessings rest upon you and fill all your coming days.”
In closing we’ll leave you with one of our favorites:
“May the blessings of each day be the blessings you need most.”