Celtic weddings are becoming more popular as couples search to make their special day less commercialized and more personalized.
A Celtic ceremony. is a good way to make this happen. the Celtic tradition whether in pagan or Christian form is a way to bring meaning and depth to marriage ceremony.
What is a Celtic wedding? One would think that question would be easily answered but it is not. The nature of the Celtic wedding differs in many regards depending upon the tradition one chooses to draw. In some cases you might have a ceremony that follows the patterns of a typical (if there is such a thing as typical) Irish wedding, in others a Scottish pattern, others Welsh, some mix traditions, some want pre-Christian elements, others do not, and so forth.
I will comment on the elements that might be included to create a Celtic theme in a wedding and avoid commenting on differences that might give the wedding an Irish, Scottish, or Welsh flavor in order to keep this post manageable.
Celtic elements. One basic element in a Celtic ceremony has to do with Celtic design. That is, the participants select a favorite Celtic design to use as a border around the edges of your wedding invitations, select wedding rings that employ Celtic designs (say Celtic love knots), the cake can have similar designs, as can the wedding dress, the wedding book, program, and so forth can use the Celtic knot pattern you have selected.
With a bit of thought, you will be able to create an wedding with a Celtic theme throughout. For instance, you might select the trinity Celtic knot (as per the illustration) as your design theme. This knot represents various things depending upon the context. At its most basic form, it symbolizes eternity and eternal love (it also has been connected with life stages, the Christian Trinity, as well as other things). Thus, you might use it to symbolize your commitment to one another. It then becomes the design you have embossed on the wedding program, napkins, etc. It gives the entire ceremony unity and depth.
You might also employ Celtic elements in the wedding, such as the Caim. The Caim involves drawing a circle around you and your intended while you take your wedding vows. The circle is a sign of your commitment to one another in God's eyes. As the circle is drawn, the bride and groom say "The Mighty Three, My protection be, Encircle me, You are around, My life, My Love, My home, Encircle me. Oh sacred Three, The Mighty Three." This is a powerful commitment to one another in God's eyes. It also continues your trinity theme (you, your intended, God).
You can also light a Unity Candle. In essence, three candles are placed in a row on the wedding alter, Two of the candles are lit at the beginning of the ceremony and at the proper time, the bride and groom use the two candles to light the third (this is referred to as "Lighting the Unity Candle"). If you want to symbolize, that your former life is over, extinguish the two candles, if you want to indicate that you remain as you were with a new beginning as a couple all three candles remain alight. This ceremony also represents the unification of the families. Naturally, the candles can be decorated with the motif you have selected (the trinity knot, for instance).
For those who are going to make their vows truly Celtic, the following Celtic Wedding Pledge might be appropriate:
"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 cannot command me for I am a free person,
But I shall serve you in those ways you require.
And the honeymoon will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry out in the night,
And the eyes into which I smile in the morning.
I pledge to you the first bite from my meat,
And the first drink from my cup.
I pledge to you my living and dying, equally in your care,
And tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding to you.
This is a marriage of equals.