If you are having your wedding around the middle of March, you are likely aware of that special day for the Irish that occurs on the 17th, St Patrick’s Day. Actually, if you are reading this, you may have chosen your wedding date around St Patrick’s Day because you have a little Irish in ya’. Regardless of why your wedding is near the holiday, you may want to consider incorporating a little irish music to make those guests that are Irish, feel a little more at home. I’ll break this into three parts… the bride that is herself irish and really wants the Irish theme to be obvious, the bride who thinks it would be cool to take her guests on a little irish journey once or twice throughout the day, and the reluctant bride who is only having Irish music because her long lost aunt insists.
For the die hard: I would suggest to saturate the night with Irish whenever and wherever you can. This includes, prelude music before your ceremony. Enya has some beautiful music for this time. Also for the ceremony time, take a listen to Aine Minogue‘s album called The Vow. Maybe choose something a little less traditional for your recessional, perhaps something by the Saw Doctors, such as “She Always Gives Me More”. If you are really daring, try “If I Should Ever Leave This World Alive” by Flogging Molly… it’s a bit eclectic, but not wholly inappropriate for an uplifting, fun recessional. Another out-of-the-box idea for a recessional is “Happy Man” by The Prodigals.
Cocktail Hour is somewhere that you can load your guests up with green beer and a variety of green music. Depending on the tone you want to set for this period, you can find a plethora of irish music on any music site, my favorites are itunes and lala.com, recently acquired by Apple Inc. What I will say is that if you intend on having irish music played during the reception, you may want to save some of your favorites and standards for the reception time.
The reception has so many places to squeeze in the green. For example, the introductions, the first dance, even the parent dances. For introductions, my most popular irish song suggestion for a bride and groom’s grand introduction is “Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys, who have another song or two that work well later in the night. I’ve had a few couples use The Irish Wedding Song for the first dance, although it’s not the most romantic of songs. And if you are looking for something to dance with dad that relates well to the Irish, “Daughter of Mine” (John Mcdermott or Andy Cooney) is a sure-fire choice. Roger Whittaker, a folk singer that has recorded many irish songs, sings a song called “A Perfect Day” that is written about a Father and Daughter on the wedding day. Grooms, don’t worry, I have a recommendation for you too. One of my favorite Mother/Son songs is “Have I told You Lately”, and Van Morrison sings a version of this song with the Chieftains… check it out!
As for the rest of the reception, I suggest using any time that guests are not dancing to play irish songs, saving the Irish drinking songs for later in the evening. If the guests are into the irish thing, later in the celebration you will likely get some dancing out of it and certainly some singing along.
For the “I’m not irish, but think it would be fun” bride: If you like to go out on St Patricks day, have a pint of that green ale, and sing along with the best of them, but you’re just not willing to turn your wedding into a St. Patrick’s Day party, fear not. You can sprinkle some irish music throughout your reception without making it feel like your at the pub. My recommendation is to use the standards in one of three ways. Make your cocktail hour an irish music escape. This will surely satisfy the irish in anyone. Another option would be to sprinkle the hits throughout the reception during times when guests are not dancing. For example, place a song or two during the salad course, another couple during dinner, and maybe one more around the time your guests are eating their dessert. Alternatively, you could play one set of irish music at any given time during the reception. Choose 4 or 5 of your favorite irish songs, and have the entertainment play them all at one time to give homage to your irish guests. My recommendations for the best irish songs include “The Black Velvet Band”, “Bog Down in the Valley”, “Drunken Sailor”, “The Galway Girl” and “M.T.A.”.
“I hate Irish Music but my Dad insists”: Understood. You shouldn’t feel bad not incorporating irish music into your wedding regardless of when your wedding is. However, sometimes it’s hard to escape the request from close family and friends. If this is your situation, I have a recommendation for you as well. My recommendation is to use the dinner portion of your reception to play a couple of irish songs. I realize that no irish song sounds good to you, but I’d say three would satisfy those who insist that you have irish music played. The time when guests are eating their meals is typically a time when the music is soft and whatever is being played generally doesn’t disrupt any flow you may have for the day. Choose wisely, because if you pick three songs that are unrecognizable as irish music, this will fail. Ask those that are insistent what their picks are. This will eliminate ambiguity and they’re more likely to keep their ears open to hear their requests.
Whether you are choosing to have your wedding day around St Patrick’s Day by choice or it just happened to coincide with the holiday, you have to decide if you want to tie the irish spirit into your day. If you do, I hope the information provided above gives you some ideas.