There are hundreds of long and short Irish wedding blessings. However, you need to select one using caution.
Many-an-awkward silence has followed a speech or Irish toast that someone found online and thought would be appropriate.
While there are plenty of great Irish wedding readings that are the perfect addition to your big day, there are twice as many to avoid!
Some quick need-to-knows about Irish wedding blessings
Before we take a look at the Irish wedding readings themselves, there’s some important things you need to be aware of:
1. Always double-check what you see online
Finding traditional Irish wedding blessings seems easy when you first search on Google. However, a huge number of websites flaunt guides to ‘old Irish wedding readings’ that are in no way Irish, so beware.
2. A trap to avoid
One common mistake that those from outside of Ireland in particular tend to make, is to try and find a blessing that oozes “Irishness”. They tend to look for old Irish wedding blessings that wax lyrical about the emerald isle, shamrocks, misty magic, and the luck of the Irish.
While you’ll find the occasional blessing that might mention a shamrock here and there, don’t get flustered if you don’t find any that aren’t “Irish” enough. In fact, it’s often much better to stick with a simple yet meaningful Irish wedding reading.
3. Where you use them is up to you
When it comes to your big day, the key to making it a memorable and happy experience is to remember that it is your big day. You can use long or short Irish wedding blessings when and where you like, even if it’s not strictly traditional. You’ll typically hear them said by the priest during the ceremony, or by close friends and family during the readings at mass.
Alternatively, you could have a blessing said before the meal, before or during the speeches, or anywhere else you think they’d work. Some couples even write blessings on cards for each guest or table. Don’t overthink it – go with whatever feels right for you.
Our favourite traditional Irish wedding readings
Right, now that we have all of the above out of the way, it’s time to get stuck into our favourite Irish wedding readings.
Below, you’ll find a mix of short, long and funny Irish wedding blessings to choose from.
1. An iconic Irish blessing
This is a pretty well-known, somewhat iconic Irish wedding blessing that can also be used as a toast. It wishes the couple good fortune in their future travels and endeavours.
Something to note with this one is 4th and 5th lines as they can throw some readers, as they don’t flow as well as the previous lines.
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
2. Sunshine and rainbows
If you’re looking for short Irish wedding blessings that are easy to memorise, this one is a good option.
Filled with poetic imagery and plenty of ‘Irishness’, it’s a sweet blessing that can be said by friends or family and fits into almost any part of the wedding.
“Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through”.
3. One of the longer Irish wedding prayers
This is one of the longer Irish wedding readings in this and it can work well at religious and non-religious weddings alike. It works well during the ceremony, but can also be used as a stand-alone reading.
Wishing for their love to grow over the years ahead, it’s a no-nonsense blessing that encourages the couple to love one another through the good times and the bad that might be ahead.
“May the meaning of this hour be fulfilled through the days and years to come.
May the love of this here couple, their unity of spirit,
grow deeper and stronger in the uncertainties and changes of life they will share.
Loving each other, may they love all persons.
Trusting each other, may they learn to trust life.
May their love reach out to the love of all, that their lives may bless all whose lives they touch.
May they find comfort together in shared hours of shadow, as well as in the bright sunshine of joy.
May they be to each other both strong and gentle.
May all who follow their lives with interest and affection have cause to rejoice not alone in their happiness, but in their brave and generous living which makes life beautiful and significant.”
4. A slightly quirky reading
With references to the mist of Irish magic and lilting Irish laughter, this Irish blessing is one of the more popular for those looking for a blessing that captures that elusive “Irishness”.
It’s a little cheeky, with a quirky ending that makes it a good light-hearted choice too.
“May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load,
may the mist of Irish magic shorten every road,
may you taste the sweetest pleasures that fortune ere bestowed,
and may all your friends remember all the favours you are owed.”
5. To a blessed future
This is another nice Irish marriage blessing that wishes the couple all the best on their journey together for the rest of their lives.
Like many traditional Irish wedding blessings, it has deep religious undertones.
“May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special, and God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you and fill all your coming days.”
Related read: Read our guide to 21 of the most unique and unusual Irish wedding traditions
6. A poetic toast to love
This is a nice blessing for friends or parents to bestow upon the happy couple, and it also works well as an Irish wedding toast.
It’s a wish for nothing but joy and happiness for the couple as they begin their new life together.
“May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours.”
7. A simple and short Irish wedding blessing
This is another of the Irish wedding prayers can also work well as a toast, but can easily fit into any part of the wedding.
It’s beautiful in its simplicity and may be said by friends, family, or celebrants.
“May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings
Right beside your door”.
8. One for a wedding card
I always thought this blessing works best written in a greetings card.
It can be a nice touch for guests wishing to give their blessings to the couple, but who aren’t likely to make a speech or raise a toast in front of the whole room.
Writing it down also seems to make it a little more personal.
“May you have love that never ends,
lots of money, and lots of friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do,
and may God send many blessings to you”.
9. A blessing of light
This is one of the longer Irish wedding readings in this guide and it’s full of imagery without being overly gimmicky.
It’s arguably best suited to a ceremony, slotted in with a mix of other readings.
“May the blessing of light be on you. Light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire.
May your home be filled with laughter. May your pockets be filled with gold
And may you have all the happiness, Your Irish heart can hold.
May your blessings outnumber, The Shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you, Wherever you may go.
May luck be a friend to you, And be with ye in all your days,
And may trouble be to you, A stranger, now and always.”
10. One that’ll need a bit of practice
This is another of the Irish wedding prayers that can work well as a reading or said by the priest during the ceremony. It’s not overly religious in tone and would work equally well at a non-religious Irish wedding.
However, due to its length and the way the second half flows, it can be a little tricky when read aloud the first few times.
“In good times and bad times, in sickness and health, may they know that riches aren’t needed for wealth.
Help them face problems they’ll meet on their way—God bless this couple who marry today.
May they find peace of mind comes to all who are kind,
may the rough times ahead become triumphs in time,
may their children be happy each day—God bless this family who started today.
As they go, may they know every love that was shown, and as life it gets shorter may their feelings grow.
Wherever they travel, wherever they stay, God bless this couple who marry today.”
11. A blessing of opposites
This is a short Irish wedding blessing that’s packed with meaning, while using opposites to convey its message.
It wishes luck, wealth, and friendship, but most importantly, happiness.
“May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
Quick to make friends,
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but
Happiness from this day forward.”
Related read: Read our guide to 21 of the best Irish toasts for your big day
12. Short and sweet toast
This is a fantastic Irish marriage blessing that we think works really well as a casual toast.
Short and sweet, it conveys its message brilliantly in just a couple of poetic lines.
“May you both live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.”
13. A blessing for the future
We’d argue that the best Irish wedding readings flow nicely off the tongue, and this next one does just that.
This does a good job of wishing for a love that grows over the years and encourages the couple to work together to achieve their dreams.
“May joy and peace surround you both,
contentment latch your door,
and happiness be with you now,
and God bless you evermore.
May you live your life with trust, and nurture lifelong affection,
May your lifelong dreams come true for you, move ever that direction”.
14. A rustic blessing
This is the longer version of the first Irish marriage blessing we looked at. It adds several more lines and harkens back to agrarian days when the weather played such an important role in everyday life.
The blessing uses the weather as a metaphor for a life of goodness.
“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend(s)
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”
Related read: Add a dash of ‘Irishness’ to your day with these Irish wedding poems
15. A blessing for a long, rich life
The next of our Irish wedding prayers focuses on the important things in life, happiness and gratitude for the blessings you have.
It works well during the ceremony, but can also make a good toast.
“May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness.
From this day forward.”
16. A blessing from the sun and moon
The imagery in this Irish wedding blessing is pretty nice, mixing mystical pagan traditions with Christian ones, grounded by the very human blessings of laughter and friendship.
A bit of a mixed bag of a blessing, but a pretty one that works well said by friends and family, or written in a greetings card.
“May God grant you always a sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you,
faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”
Related read: See our guide to 17 of the greatest Irish wedding songs
17. Thanking your lucky stars
The next of our Irish wedding prayers one also uses a mix of exotic and everyday blessings to wish the newlywed couple a happy and fruitful future together.
It’s another of the trickier Irish wedding readings when it’s read for the first time so practice may be needed.
“Lucky stars above you,
Sunshine on your way,
Many friends to love you,
Joy in work and play—
Laughter to outweigh each care,
In your heart a song—
And gladness waiting everywhere
All your whole life long!”
18. To you and yours
This is another one that sounds a little like a tongue twister at first glance, but it’s actually a really nice blessing that can typically be used between the two families who are coming together.
“Here’s to you and yours
And to mine and ours.
And if mine and ours
Ever come across to you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do
As much for mine and ours
As mine and ours have done
For you and yours”.
What Irish marriage blessings have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Irish marriage blessings from the guide above.
If you have any Irish wedding prayers that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about Celtic wedding readings
Since kicking off our Irish wedding series a while back, we’ve had a massive amount of emails asking for info on Irish wedding wishes.
Below, you’ll find the most commonly asked questions that we receive. Have one we haven’t tackled? Ask away in the comments section!
What is the traditional Irish wedding blessing?
There are many traditional Irish wedding readings. One of the most popular (number 1 in this guide) is, ‘May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back…’
Is a wedding blessing in Irish a good idea?
Arguably the most FAQ we get. It’s a good idea if 1, you get the right translation and 2, you have someone that’s comfortable in reading it out.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.