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Wedding Traditions: Irish Knot Tying

August 24, 2015 by The Marquardt Ranch

Here at the Ranch, we are big fans of incorporating your culture and heritage into your wedding day. Whether that looks like your Southern charm, your big Italian feast or your Celtic ceremony traditions, we are always excited to see what our melting pot of brides bring to the table.

If you’ve ever been to an Irish wedding–or better yet, you’re an Irish bride–then you’re pretty familiar with what you’ll see here today.  It’s called Tying the Knot–literally.  It’s similar to the symbolism behind the exchanging of rings that you’d see in any wedding you attend. Instead of just the rings though, the bride and groom join hands and are bound together by brightly colored rope or cord.  In earlier days, pieces of the bride and groom’s wardrobe were what was used when tying their hands together. It also served as a symbolic visual of two lives intertwining and becoming one.

There are five different knots used when performing the knot tying portion of the ceremony.  Each knot holds a different meaning and we can’t help but feel a little romantic at the symbolism on this list:

  • Fisherman’s Knot: Not only durable, but it strengthens under pressure and weather conditions
  • God’s Knot: three cords–one for the bride, one for the groom and one for God–braided together like the covenant relationship now shared
  • Infinity Knot: A large figure eight is woven through the couple’s joint hands, signifying the never ending nature of their love
  • Mystic Knot: Good luck, harmony and long life are symbolized through this knot’s six loops
  • Trinity Knot: Most common in Irish ceremonies, used to signify mother, maiden and crone or Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This tradition may have its roots in Ireland and Scotland, but it affects more than just those people groups.  Many of the traditional wedding sayings you hear come from this tradition. Of course there’s “tying the knot”, but also “bonds of matrimony” and “hand in marriage” because the tradition is sometimes known as “Irish Handfasting”.

Regardless of your heritage or religious background, knot tying could be an option for you.  Many non-Irish brides have chosen to incorporate this tradition based solely on its vivid symbolism and romantic undertones.  No matter which route you choose, we hope your marriage is as strong and as unending as the bonds of this knot tying.

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