The number one question I was asked when planning my wedding was: what makes a wedding Irish?
For our May wedding in Dublin, Ireland we wanted to combine traditions for a part Italian-American, part Irish wedding. There would be oysters accompanied by baby glasses of Guinness. There would be an a cappella group bursting into the dining room at dinner, singing O Sole Mio (to my Italian-American mother, as it turns out). We would dance our first dance to Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan singing “Girl from the North Country”. My husband would stand up and sing the classic Irish song “The Auld Triangle” during the dessert course. The late night piano man would inspire all the late night revelers to join in on a noisy rendition of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis. Food and music: the best of two cultures in one day.
The location also made our wedding Irish. I got ready at the gorgeous Merrion Hotel, and walked across the northern flank of St Stephen’s Green in my wedding gown to the venue. At the Hibernian Club, our dinner was held in the very room where the poet W.B. Yeats held his Nobel Prize acceptance dinner. We took photos in St Stephen’s Green across the street, wandering along paths where we strolled at every stage of our relationship. People hooted at us on the street; buses honked and riders cheered.
All Irish weddings have one thing in common: the loss of sense of time. You’re too busy dancing and laughing with friends and sharing stories to realize that the sun is coming up. That’s how we finished our wedding, emerging into the bright, silent streets of Dublin just before 6am. We walked in the middle of the road a few blocks back to the hotel, the city quiet and ours, the birds barely awake, not a single car in sight.