If you are engaged and looking for unique ceremony ideas for your Irish or Irish-themed wedding, consider a salt ceremony. While not specifically an Irish tradition, the salt ceremony is a way to express your love and commitment in a time-honored way. The addition of this ancient religious practice can be a beautiful and meaningful way to celebrate your love.
Irish Wedding Traditions
Salt ceremonies combine well with other elements of an Irish wedding. Those having a more traditional, religious Irish ceremony may need to check with the religious venue and officiant about what ceremonies may be performed at the wedding. Salt ceremonies have their roots in Biblical texts and should not pose a problem at Catholic or Protestant churches.
Symbolism of Salt
Salt has been used for thousands of years and was a valued commodity for its flavor as well as its preservative qualities. Salt is referenced in the Bible as a component of binding covenants, due to this "eternal" or preservative nature of salt. In ancient times, contracts were sealed with a symbolic sprinkle of salt into the other's pocket.
The Salt Ceremony
The bride and groom each carry a container of pure salt to a larger receptacle. The two pour their salt into the receptacle, symbolizing their two lives being intertwined and inseparable, just as the salt is mixed together so that no one can separate the bride's grains of salt from those of the groom. For this reason, salt for the salt ceremony should not be colored or dyed.
Consider using special containers for your wedding salt that have sentimental meaning to you or your partner. You could look for bowls emblazoned with Celtic love knots, crystal wine glasses or pottery. The color green, as well as shamrock designs, are other ways that you could incorporate an Irish theme into your salt ceremony. Many couples will want to save their salt after the wedding, so consider using a receptacle that can be sealed and used as a decorative element in your new home.
As salt has a tendency to stick together in humid conditions, couples who are marrying in warm or humid climates should look for larger-grained salt, such as rock salt, for their ceremony. If the salt ceremony will occur in the middle of the wedding program, couples may prefer that a family member hold their container until the appropriate time, as it could interfere with the other elements of the ceremony. Alternatively, you can designate a table where the ceremony will take place and arrange the containers and receptacle there in preparation for the salt ceremony.