A Celtic Wedding
Celtic Wedding Traditions   |   Celtic Wedding Blessings & Toasts
Celtic Wedding Music   |   Store   |   Reserve Aine

Contact Us 

Irish Wedding Blessings

Old Irish toasts to Celtic love poems, tradition runs deep.

“A blessing is a form of grace. It is invisible.” 

— John O’Donohue (1956-2008), Irish Poet & Philosopher

It’s no secret that the Irish have a deep and enduring love of language. Our “gift of gab” – particular talent for talking - is world-renowned and the ability to express oneself in a lyrical and precise way is something that Irish people prize even today. The 7th Century monks writing in their remote island monasteries, the medieval bards, the 17th Century seanchaí (story-tellers) who wandered from village to village, and Ireland’s many writers and poets - all have taken pride in breathing life into language so as to better communicate ideas, stories, and sentiments.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the traditional blessings that one finds in Ireland and wherever the Irish diaspora has spread. In the Irish language every greeting is a blessing in itself. For example, instead of simply saying “goodbye”, we say, “go dté tú slán” – “safety be with you” or “may you go safely.” Such has been the enduring popularity of blessings that they have been translated into English and passed from village to village, down through the generations, and across oceans.

While many blessings were simply a part of everyday language and greetings, other blessings were developed to mark threshold moments, occasions deemed to be of particular significance for individuals, for clans, and for the community. A wedding, not surprisingly, was considered a key threshold moment. Blessing the couple was a way for friends, family, and community to both signal their approval of the match and to wish “the newlyweds happiness, luck, and long life. 

I’ve included a selection of some of the most enduring wedding blessings below. You’ll notice some recurring themes such as a focus on Nature, on its rhythms and seasons. This reflects the language of a farming culture, of lives lived close to the elements, where the rain, wind, sun, and stars were never far from one’s mind. Of course, love is also an enduring theme. Love was considered an important part of marriage both for its own sake and because a marriage built on love and loyalty was the essential building block of communal life.

While some of the blessings here pre-date Christianity and focus exclusively on the Natural elements, they are all suitable for inclusion in everything from a secular service to the most traditional religious ceremony.

Excerpt From: Áine Minogue. “A Celtic Wedding: How to add the perfect Irish touches to your wedding.”

 



For Marriage
-John O'Donohue

As spring unfold the dream of the earth, 
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.
As the ocean finds calm in the view of land
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.
As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.
As kindly as the moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.
As surprised as the silence that music opens, 
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.
As warmly as the air draws in the light, 
May you welcome each other’s every gift.
As elegant as dreams absorbing the night, 
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.
And as twilight harvests the day’s colors, 
May love bring you home to each other.


Traditional Irish Blessings of a Bride and Groom
I wish healing upon you
The healing of Mary with me,
Mary, Michael and Brighid
Be with me all three.

Fly with the birds of the air
Fly with the wasps of the hill
Swim with the sea-going whale
For they are swiftest

Be upon the clouds of the sky
For they are the rainiest
Be upon the river’s current
Cascading to the sea



Love for Love
God above increase our love.
Let love and friendship reign.
I long to be made one with thee.

Time shall tell I love thee well.
God’s blessing on thee and me.

Love for love.



Welsh Love Poem
by Dafydd ap Gwylym (1320-1370)
It was sweet, sweetheart, a while
Beneath the birchgrove’s shade to live.
To cuddle up was even sweeter,
In the wood’s retreat close hidden,
Wandering hand in hand along the sea shore
Lingering hand in hand along the wood shore...
Lying beside each other in the grove,
Mutually shunning folk, complicit in complaint,
Living together with kindness, quaffing mead,
Resting in each other’s love, one heart,
Keeping tryst with love’s secret.



Blessing of a Lover from Gaelic Scotland
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 fact of my sun
You are the harp of my music
You are the crown of my company.


The Invocation of the Graces
I bathe thy palms
In showers of wine,
In the lustral fire,
In the seven elements,
In the juice of the rasps,
In the milk of honey,
And I place the nine pure choice graces 
In thy fond face,
The grace of form,
The grace of voice,
The grace of fortune,
The grace of goodness,
The grace of wisdom
The grace of charity,
The grace of choice maidenliness,
The grace of whole-souled loveliness,
The grace of goodly speech. 

Thou are the joy of all joyous things
Thou art the light of the beam of the sun
Thou art the door of the chief of hospitality
Thou art the surpassing star of guidance
Thou art the step of the deer of the hill
Thou art the step of the steed on the plain
Thou art the grace of the swan of swimming
Thou art the loveliness of all lovely desires.



Closing Blessing
May the meaning of this hour be fulfilled through the days and years to come.
May the love of this man and this woman, their unity of spirit, grow deeper and stronger in the uncertainties and changes of life they will share.
Loving each other, may they love all persons. 
Trusting each other, may they learn to trust life. 
May their love reach out to the love of all, that their lives may bless all whose lives they touch. 
May they find comfort together in shared hours of shadow, as well as in the bright sunshine of joy. 
May they be to each other both strong and gentle. 
May all who follow their lives with interest and affection have cause to rejoice not alone in their happiness, but in their brave and generous living which makes life beautiful and significant.”

Excerpt From: Áine Minogue. “A Celtic Wedding: How to add the perfect Irish touches to your wedding.”


 

Irish Wedding Toasts

“I was blessed, and could bless.” 

— William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish Poet and Nobel Laureate

The tradition of raising a glass to the new couple is one of the most anticipated parts of any wedding reception. In Irish culture, toasting someone over a drink is seen as a way to “seal the deal” or to make the good wishes “stick.” Prior to the 20th Century, most wedding receptions would have taken place in a private home, either the bride's or groom’s parent’s house. Music, dancing, and endless rounds of toasting were essential parts of the merriment and receptions typically lasted into the wee hours of the morning. 

The blessings and toasts included on this page are suitable for anyone called upon to make a speech at the wedding reception, whether speaking on behalf of the bride or groom. Some are substantial enough to a constitute a short speech in themselves while others offer the ideal way to end more formal remarks and get all of the guests to their feet for a toast.

As with the blessings in the Blessings Section, those included here invoke the Elements and Nature as well as Home and Hearth.

Go forth and toast!”

Excerpt From: Áine Minogue. “A Celtic Wedding: How to add the perfect Irish touches to your wedding.”

 


DRUID'S BLESSING
We swear by peace and love to stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand.
Hark, O Spirit, and hear us now,
Confirming this our Sacred Vow.



BLESSING OF HEAVEN
Ancient Blessing /Byrne

Blessing of heaven - cloud blessing
Blessing of earth - fruit blessing
Blessing of sea - fish blessing
Blessing of sun - rank blessing
Blessing of moon - honor blessing
Blessing of ale - food blessing
Blessing of lite - dew blessing
Blessing of wisdom - valor blessing
Blessing of grain - plough blessing 



OLD BLESSING
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the hollow (palm) of his hand

May God be with you and bless you
May you see your children's children
May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in Blessings
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward

But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the joys of today
Be those of tomorrow.



TRADITIONAL IRISH BLESSING OF
A BRIDE AND GROOM

I wish healing upon you
The healing of Mary with me,
Mary, Michael and Brighid
Be with me all three.

Fly with the birds of the air
Fly with the wasps of the hill
Swim with the sea-going whale
For they are swiftest

Be upon the clouds of the sky
For they are the rainiest
Be upon the river's current
Cascading to the sea



WEDDING BLESSING
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,
God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you
And fill all your coming days.



FAMILY BLESSING BY THOMAS MOORE
I have known many, liked not a few, loved only one, I drink to you.
Be you rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness and
From this day forward.
May the joys of today
Be those of tomorrow.

May your anger set with the sun and not rise with it again.
 

FAMILY BLESSING BY JONATHAN SWIFT
Love, life and happiness
May your troubles be few and
Your blessings many.

Length of life and sunny days
and may your souls not go homewards
until your own child falls in love

Health, Happiness....... and a little wealth never hurt

May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May there be a generation of children
On the children of your children.

May you live all the days of your life.

May those that love us, love us
And for those who don't love us
may God turn their hearts.
And if God cannot turn their hearts,
may He turn their ankles,
so we may know them by their limping.

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

May the blessings of each day
Be the blessings you need most.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within.
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet along the road.

May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.



INVOCATION TO THE ELEMENTS
May the gentle breeze bear witness to this ritual and carry its message to all lands
May the sun, warm their hearts, and its ever-burning fire fuel their desire for each other.
May the sea provide for them from its bounty, and comfort their souls with her sounds.
May the earth lend its strength, and reveal its mysteries.



COME AND BE ONE
Come and Be One
Come And Be One 
Become One, Be One 
Be



LOVE FOR LOVE
God above increase our love.
Let love and friendship reign.
I long to be made one with thee.

Time shall tell I love thee well.
God’s blessing on thee and me.
Love for love.



WELSH LOVE POEM
In was sweet, sweetheart, a while
Beneath the birchgrove's shade to live.
To cuddle up was even sweeter,
In the wood's retreat close hidden,
Wandering hand in hand along the sea shore
Lingering hand in hand along the wood shore...
Lying beside each other in the grove,
Mutually shunning folk, complicit in complaint,
Living together with kindness, quaffing mead,
Resting in each other's love, one heart,
Keeping tryst with love's secret.

by the Welsh love-poet Dafydd ap Gwylym (1320-70)


BLESSING OF A LOVER (FROM GAELIC SCOTLAND)
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 fact of my sun
You are the harp of my music
You are the crown of my company.



THE INVOCATION OF THE GRACES
I bathe thy palms
In showers of wine,
In the lustral fire,
In the seven elements,
In the juice of the rasps,
In the milk of honey,
And I place the nine pure choice graces 
In thy fond face,
The grace of form,
The grace of voice,
The grace of fortune,
The grace of goodness,
The grace of wisdom
The grace of charity,
The grace of choice maidenliness,
The grace of whole-souled loveliness,
The grace of goodly speech.

Thou are the joy of all joyous things
Thou art the light of the beam of the sun
Thou art the door of the chief of hospitality
Thou art the surpassing star of guidance
Thou art the step of the deer of the hill
Thou art the step of the steed on the plain
Thou art the grace of the swan of swimming
Thou art the loveliness of all lovely desires.



IRISH WEDDING BLESSING
May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within.
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet along the road



CEREMONY - IRISH WEDDING BLESSING 
This traditional Irish Wedding Blessing is often used at the end of the Wedding service with attendants raising their hands as an act of blessing.

May the meaning of this hour be fulfilled through the days and years to come.
May the love of this man and this woman, their unity of spirit,
grow deeper and stronger in the uncertainties and changes of life they will share.
Loving each other, may they love all persons. 
Trusting each other, may they learn to trust life. 
May their love reach out to the love of all, that their lives may bless all whose lives they touch.
May they find comfort together in shared hours of shadow, as well as in the bright sunshine of joy. 
May they be to each other both strong and gentle.
May all who follow their lives with interest and affection have cause to rejoice not alone in their happiness,
but in their brave and generous living which makes life beautiful and significant.



CEREMONY - IRISH WEDDING BLESSING #2
Another popular Irish /Celtic short Wedding Blessing traditionally recited at the end of the wedding ceremony.

May you will feel no rain, for each of you will be a shelter to the other.
May you feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
May there be no loneliness for you;
Though you are two persons, but there is one life before you.
May you go to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long together.


CHRISTIAN BLESSINGS

Blessings for the Ceremony
A General Blessing

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, God has touched you in many ways.
May His blessing rest upon you and fill all your coming days.

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the hollow (palm) of his hand.



The Blessing of the Marriage
May the gentle breeze bear witness to this union
and carry its message to all lands.
May the sun warm their hearts and its ever-burning fire
fuel their desire for each other.
May the sea provide for them from its bounty,
and comfort their souls with her sounds.
May the earth lend its strength,
and reveal its mysteries.

May you will feel no rain, for each of you
will be a shelter to the other.
May you feel no cold, for each of you
will be warmth to the other.
May there be no loneliness for you;
“Though you are two persons,
but there is one life before you.
May you go to your dwelling place to enter
into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long together.



From Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
May you be blessed with 
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.