What Irish wedding favors
should you give your guests?

The best Irish wedding favors not only reflect your Celtic pride...
They also show your family and friends how much you appreciate them.

Understanding the history behind this Irish wedding tradition and how it has evolved for the 21st century will help you choose the perfect Irish wedding favors to give your guests.

Giving wedding favors is a longstanding gift-giving custom in Ireland. As is the case with many Celtic rituals, nobody really knows why gifts were originally given to Irish wedding guests, nor can they be exactly sure what wedding favors were given.

But it was customary for the bride and groom to give a small memento of their wonderful day to their invited wedding guests.

Traditional Irish Wedding Favors

One longstanding Irish wedding tradition is to place a small serving of the wedding cake into small boxes labeled with the couple's names and the wedding date, so the guests can take away a small memento of the special day.

Perhaps to make it distinctively Irish you could seal the boxes with your favorite Irish or Celtic symbol. Shop Irish offers very inexpensive Claddagh envelope seals that would work well to seal the gift boxes.

Another traditional way to give Irish wedding favors is to place little charms within the wedding cake itself.

Guests would receive different charms such as a ring, a thimble, a button, a dried pea, and a coin.

So when your guests are served a piece of wedding cake, they'll have fun finding out what they have received.

As with all Irish wedding traditions, the meaning of
these charms is steeped in superstition and folklore.

  • If your piece of cake contains a ring, you will be married within the next year.

  • If you receive a thimble in your cake, you will live a life of spinsterhood.

  • If you find a button, you'll be a lifelong bachelor.

    (Perhaps the button-recipients should strike up a conversation with the thimble-recipients!)

  • Finding a dried pea inside your piece of wedding cake indicates you will live a life of poverty.

  • But getting a piece of cake with a coin inside means you will find wealth!

    (Irish wedding tip: To make for lots of happy guests, be sure to put plenty of coins inside the cake, and very few dried peas!)

Modern Irish Wedding Favors

Although the ancient custom of giving wedding favors fell out of favor for a while, it has recently come back into vogue.

As such, although it is not really necessary that you give out wedding favors to all your guests at your reception, the idea of doing so is always seen as being a nice gesture.

Today it is more customary to give your wedding reception guests a small Irish wedding favor when they arrive at the reception as a keepsake of the great day.

If your budget does not allow you to do this, perhaps you could just present Irish wedding favors to your wedding party instead.

Regardless of whether you give them to all your guests or just your attendants, the following items would make excellent favors for an Irish wedding:

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Deborah A. Felker
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