Why Marriage? Modern Marriage In The West of Ireland

Why Marriage? Modern Marriage in the West of Ireland

Marriage in the west of Ireland

Why do modern couples marry? I’m delighted to say that a great many do, and I have officiated and co-created many beautiful ceremonies as a result! My marriage ceremonies in the west of Ireland can be spiritual in their content, and I work with couples to create ceremonies that honour whatever is special to them. Often couples are from different cultures and religious backgrounds, or different Christian denominations such as Catholic and Church of Ireland or Methodist etc. Many couples have no religious beliefs but have their own spirituality, which can be expressed in the way they choose through their ceremony.  Marriage in the west of Ireland

Marriage in the west of Ireland

As part of the process I use for creating a ceremony, the couple are given a set of reflective questions about themselves and their relationship. Questions about how they met, for example, or what attracted them to each other. What marriage means to them or how they knew they had met the right person. It always amazes me to see how similar the answers can be between individuals and couples with entirely different backgrounds and personality types. A pattern emerges from the answers to my questions, which indicates that there is a very natural process, taking place from meeting someone special, to popping the question! It’s a process with it’s own rhythm influenced by natural forces, personalities and tradition, but at this special point in Irish history, there is a wide choice as to what parts of established traditions couples take forward into the future and what they choose to leave behind. Couples are embracing this choice in their life-style, expectations and their ceremonies.


The couples coming to me, and to other Interfaith Ministers tend to want to make their own choices about what they include from a traditional Christian marriage ceremony. They may want Bible readings-they may not, they may want an exchange of rings-they may not. Many choose readings from indigenous cultures such as North American Indian; others may choose Buddhist prayers or poetry from famous poets or family and friends. Some brides/grooms walk the isle; others wait in the room for their guests. Some couples write their own vows and others use established traditional vows. Some ceremonies take place in the round, some with traditional theatre seating.

Marriage in the west of Ireland

Modern marrying couples have often been living together for a few years before they get married. They have had time to save and to plan, they want to create a really special event for their friends and families, a ceremony that says who they are, how much they value their love for each other and perhaps their children and what their own priorities are.


Meeting the right person and falling in love has a very important place in our lives. For modern couples, the next stage, living together, planning a life together, saving to get married, perhaps living with each other’s children, supporting each other through difficult times, is a crucial testing ground. I don’t tend to meet the couples that have lived together and don’t make the walk up the isle, but the ones who do, seem to have relationships very much grounded in reality. They seem to me to have created together, through tough times, good times and old-fashioned romance, precisely the right outlook and circumstances for great marriages.


My understanding, through performing 50 or more weddings along the west coast of Ireland for the past 3 years is that the couples I regularly encounter want to marry because it is a stage in their development together, their love for each other. It is a very deep commitment that they make based on the practical experience of living together within the pressures of modern society all over the world (my couples have come from the USA, England, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, the Caribbean, The Philippines…. The list goes on).


Marriage doesn’t occur mainly through societal pressure, although peer pressure is probably a factor. Marriage is an ancient tradition, creating a lawful union, which many modern couples choose to look forward to as an opportunity to arrive at a point of focus for their future together. Where they can re-establish their direction together, celebrate their love with their families and friends. It’s a choice, not an obligation. Often it is a well-earned reward for a tough few years establishing a home and a loving family together. A celebration of something already established, and not, as in the past, a new beginning.


Take the best of the traditions, add your own ideas and make your wedding your own. If you are a couple choosing to wed, give yourself a wide and broad-minded choice for your wedding ceremony. Seriously consider the reasons why marriage is important to you, and include that sentiment in your ceremony through your choice of readings and the composition of your own vows.

Marriage in the west of Ireland

The weddings I have had the pleasure to officiate in the west of Ireland are joyful, beautiful, honest celebrations of commitment, and of the love between the couples and their families and friends.

If anyone were to ask my advice as to where to choose to get married, gay or heterosexual, male or female, from any where in the world, I would advise them to seriously consider the many opportunities open to them currently in the west of Ireland for creative ceremony and a wide and varied choice of venues and locations. Marriage in the west of Ireland

Article By Rev Helen Webb Interfaith Minister/Legal marriage solemniser


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Wedding Ceremony Music; The uplifting power of Live Music

Wedding Ceremony Music; The uplifting power of live musicwedding ceremony music the uplifting power of live music wedding ceremony music the uplifting power of live music

Wedding Ceremony Music; The uplifting power of live music

I am an ordained Interfaith Minister, currently creating and performing legal alternative wedding ceremonies in Ireland.  I am delighted to see more and more of my marrying couples using powerful live ceremony music to enhance their wedding ceremonies. I also work with my partner Liam Mac Amhaila, an established, talented Connemara musician and composer in a musical collaboration called An Anu.

My musical experience through many years of performance, ranging from opera at Covent Garden to international touring with my own band, has brought me to a place where I see the power and energy of live performance is as important as the actual music. My study of music in ceremony and healing as an Ethnomusicologist, have led me to the conclusion that music in ceremony has a very important role to play in our modern world.  Bringing universal healing and regeneration to our gatherings.

As An Anu, we create music with a spiritual theme, and a powerful energy of celebration and love. Our music is strongly vocal, as we are both singers. We incorporate concert flute, Irish whistle and guitar. Also darabuka (North African hand drum) and bodhran. We perform Irish traditional folk plus roots music such as blues, jazz and gospel. The music is rooted in both our cultural origins, Irish and African/Caribbean both original compositions (some inspired by the writings of John O’Donahue are increasingly popular for my ceremonies)  and well known songs and instrumentals. Wedding CeremThe uplifting power of live music.

Wedding Ceremony Music; the uplifting power of live music

The feeling of achievement that comes from performing music in a ceremony that I have created in collaboration with a couple, and that I am also officiating, is satisfying because of the many positive functions it fulfils. There is a sense of healing and balancing, of purifying and clearing the atmosphere and mood of the ceremony. There is a great sense, also of focusing the intentions of everybody present into a feeling of one-ness and unity, and the consequence is a shared positivity and a relaxed and happy start to the wedding celebrations. The flavour of which permeates the whole day.

Using Uplifting Live Music For Your Wedding Ceremony Music; The uplifting power of live music

If you are interested in live music for your own wedding ceremony, here are a few points to encourage you to go ahead:

1.Your guests will be entertained during your ceremony in a way that cannot be achieved by playing a CD or a digital file, and this will help them relax and experience the ceremony more deeply.

2.While the music is going on, you will have created some breathing space, some meditative space for you and your partner during the ceremony, this helps you experience the moment more, rather than get through feeling nervous and forget a lot of the experience.

3.You can include songs that have a special meaning to you both, or that mean something to your family, you will be communicating emotions, music can do this for us all, so why not use it to empower emotive and significant times in your life such as your wedding ceremony.

4.You can use the lyrics of the songs you choose to amplify what is meaningful to you and your partner. Through live music you bring an ancient form of culture, used in ceremonies for centuries to your wedding day, for all to share, enjoy and appreciate.

Article by Rev Helen Webb BA. Mus Interfaith Minister and legal solemniser, vocalist, musician and composer. Wedding Ceremony Music From An Anu, An Anu www.ananu.net  www.weddingceremoniesireland.com Contact Rev Helen Webb

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Weddings in Ireland; Linking The Old and the New

weddings in Ireland
wedding ceremony with Rev Helen Webb

Interfaith Minister weddings In Ireland

I am an Interfaith Minister and legal wedding solemniser in Connemara, County Galway in the Irish Republic.  I have performed up to 30 weddings in Ireland (per year) for the past 3 years including this years bookings.  I believe this gives me a pretty good idea of how the wedding industry is going on these western shores.

Spirit of Inclusion Weddings In Ireland

Well, we’re moving forward with great creativity, heart and a spirit of inclusion of the old and the new. The energy and character of Irish weddings is focusing through great efforts made in the hospitality area, the legal side (particularly the introduction of legal same sex marriages and the inclusion of Interfaith Ministers on the government’s legal solemniser’s list) and through meaningful spirituality (without necessarily including denominational religion).  This “Irish Wedding” energy, as I perceive it here in my region, has a huge warm heart, a creative soul which welcomes the new whilst gracefully including elements of the traditional and the magic of the indigenous culture of the west.

I mention above the non-denominational nature of ceremonies.  I should also mention that many of my own ceremonies have included elements from the Catholic Mass at the request of my clients, elements such as the Prayers of the Faithful, Peace Be With You etc.  These elements can respectfully bring together those from Catholic and other religious or non-religious backgrounds in an atmosphere of inclusiveness and acceptance.  Jewish elements have also been included;for example, the breaking of the glass by the groom to mark the end of the ceremony.

Ceremonies can also be simply meaningful and heartfelt expressions of the marrying couple’s love for each other, with beautiful readings and vows, and a focus on bringing friends and relatives together to honour and support the couple’s decision to “tie the knot”  That expression actually comes from the ancient Celtic tradition of hand-fasting where the couple’s hands are tied as a symbol of their union, with a hand-fasting cord or “croix” I have had many requests for this to be included in ceremonies, it’s a wonderful way to link in to ancient traditions.

Overseas Visitors Weddings In Ireland

Many many overseas guests are coming to Ireland for their weddings.  In my opinion Hotels in the west are offering the best hospitality to be found anywhere in the world, and something for every style and budget, beautiful ideas and packages from Castles to country houses, to Barns and yurts.  Surprisingly realistically priced packages. Well worth a thorough investigation for any marrying couple.

Wonderful Venues Weddings In Ireland

I highly recommend Zetland House Hotel, Connemara for an exclusive small wedding (up to 60 guests) Dromoland Castle County Clare for a larger more stately occaision,  The Loughrae Hotel and Spa for their beautiful roof-top terrace overlooking the Lough, Carrygerry Country House, family run, near Shannon Airport, The Slieve Aughtly Centre for a wedding with riding and woodland adventure trails, The House Hotel and marine Spa on Bofin Island for Island life and culture.  The list could literally go on and on, and the activities and hospitality offered is off the scale.  Enjoy your venue hunting and get your flights booked to Shannon.  The new wedding culture in the west is waiting! By Rev Helen Webb, (Interfaith Minister and wedding musician/vocalist) weddingceremoniesireland.com