Celtic Love Symbols for Weddings

Celtic Love Symbols for Weddings

By Kathi Hennesey

As wedding season gets into full swing, future brides and grooms, along with their families, are busy planning their special day and looking for ways to make it unique and memorable. One popular and time-honored practice is to include symbols of family cultural heritage. And so the wedding day joins two people, celebrates their newly-shared ancestry, and strengthens the bonds between generations.

For this newsletter, the focus will be on Scottish, Irish and Welsh love symbols, and ways to incorporate them into a wedding. The wonderful thing is that these expressions of love and affection can be used before, during and after the big day. As symbols of the new couple‘s bond, they‘re perfect for special occasion gifts and cards, such as anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine‘s Day, Christmas and baby showers.

Most readers here will be familiar with the popular symbols of the love bond used by these cultures for wedding ceremonies: The Scottish Luckenbooth, the Irish Claddagh and the Welsh love spoon.

The Scottish Luckenbooth usually includes one or two hearts with a crown on top, and can include other embellishments such as a thistle. The tradition of the Scottish Luckenbooth dates back to the 15th century, when these types of brooches – usually made of silver – were given as betrothal or wedding gifts, then pinned to the newborn children for protection.

The  Irish Claddagh features a crown and a heart held by two hands. Legend tells us that the crown stands for loyalty, the heart for love, and the hands for friendship. The Claddagh ring has been a traditional design for engagement and wedding rings, in Ireland, for generations. It continues to be extremely popular today.

The Welsh love spoon, carved from wood, can include a variety of designs on the handle, including hearts, locks, crosses, bells, dragons, wheels and Celtic knotwork. It was traditionally given to a young woman by her suitor. The earliest known dated Welsh love spoon dates from 1667.

For a more universal Celtic-theme – and less specifically Scottish, Irish or Welsh – there are wonderful knotwork heart designs to symbolize unending love or the joining of two people in the love bond. The familiar symbol of the heart representing love and romance developed in 15th century Europe and its popular use with Celtic knotwork is a perfect marriage of designs.

So with a few specific motifs in mind, we return to the idea of using them for a wedding. The perfect place to introduce a special love symbol is on stationery: the engagement announcements, then the wedding/shower invitations and save-the-date cards. Many couples choose to design and create these items themselves, or have them custom made with their unique symbol and added personalization. The Scottish Luckenbooth, Irish Claddagh, Welsh love spoon and Celtic knotwork hearts, with all their variations, are all beautiful and elegant designs for stationery and paper products.

For the big day itself, the possibilities are endless. From the guest book, to the décor, wedding favors and gifts, this is a place for creativity to shine.

Here are some places where Celtic, Scottish, Irish and Welsh love symbols can be used:

* Guest book cover and guest book table décor (setting the stage!)

* Decorations: Banners, wedding favors, table cards and card holders.

* Wedding reception: Engraved glasses for bride and groom toasts, unity candles.

* Wedding cake: Cake topper, cake pulls (special themed charms), cake embellishments, engraved/decorated cake serving sets..

* Gifts for bride and groom: Household items, such as engraved glassware, wall plaques, photo frames, framed prints, keepsake ornaments.

* Jewelry worn by the bride and her bridesmaids, wedding rings (especially the Irish Claddagh).

* Groomsmen gifts: Engraved money clips, flasks/barware, business card holders, and pocket watches.

After the wedding, love symbols can continue the theme in wedding scrapbooks and memory books, thank-you cards and even anniversary gifts.  Keepsake items from the wedding, such as toasting glasses engraved with love symbols, can be displayed in the newly-married couple’s home.

This article just scratches the surface, but hopefully it will provide a few ideas and some inspiration for anyone involved with an upcoming wedding. There’s no lack of wonderful websites with many more ideas and DIY projects that can be found through Internet searches. Pinterest is also a great place to browse for themed wedding boards and great visuals.

Let us end with an Irish wedding toast:

Here’s to you both, a beautiful pair
On the birthday of your love affair
Here’s to the husband and here’s to the wife
May yourselves be lovers for the rest of your life

(You might also like the article on Loving Images.)

Celtic Wedding Knotwork Hearts Stationery ideas by Kim Victoria

Celtic Wedding Knotwork Hearts Stationery ideas by Kim Victoria