Irish wedding songs

Irish Wedding Songs

Whether you’re planning an Irish destination wedding or want to infuse a Celtic touch into your playlist, including Irish wedding songs in your selection is a great idea! After all, music is an important part of any Irish wedding, from walking down the aisle to late night sing-songs. We Irish love music and dancing and of course we have a long and rich musical history to draw on. From traditional Irish wedding songs to chart-toppers from Irish artists, there are so many options to choose from.

But where do you start? Creating your wedding soundtrack is a challenging task – and one many couples mistakenly leave until the last minute. Music can really set the tone for your wedding, make a big grand entrance, stir up emotions, provide insight into your relationship. It’s important to give the process some time and thought so that you pick the right Irish wedding songs for you and your wedding style.

Irish wedding songs harp

Then, of course, there are practical considerations too. For example, if you’re getting married in a Catholic church, there may be limitations on the music you can use. Or if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, you’ll need to ensure that guests are able to hear your music properly without the sound getting carried away in the wind. There are different needs in terms of space and equipment, depending on whether you are having live instrumentals, a singer or choir, or playing a favourite tune out of a speaker. (A wedding planner will be able to help with all of these!)

Irish Wedding Song ideas

But the first step is to know exactly where you’ll need music at your wedding. Here is a basic list.

Key Events for Wedding Music

  • background music before the ceremony
  • processionals
  • ceremony music, including an interlude during the signing of the registry
  • recessional
  • cocktail hour
  • the newlyweds’ entrance into the reception
  • the first dance
  • any family dances (for example, father-daughter or mother-son)
  • ambient music during dinner
  • songs to get the party started
  • the last song of the night

Irish wedding songs musicians

Top Irish Wedding Songs

So now that you have the basics covered, here are some of my favourite Irish wedding songs. This list includes both traditional pieces and modern songs, and ranges from the soft and sentimental to Irish wedding songs that will keep the dance floor full all night long!

  • All I Want Is You (U2)
  • Beautiful Day (U2)
  • Calliope House (Instrumental)
  • Carolan’s Concerto (Traditional)
  • Crazy Love (Van Morrison)
  • Don’t Go (Hothouse Flowers)
  • Down by the Salley Gardens (Traditional)
  • Dúlamán (Traditional)
  • Galileo (Declan O’Rourke)
  • Give Me Your Hand/Tabhair Dom Do Lámh (Traditional)
  • Haste to the Wedding (Traditional, covered by The Corrs)
  • Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison)
  • Kentish Town Waltz (Imelda May)
  • Lewis Bridal Song/Mairi’s Wedding (The Irish Rovers)
  • Love You ‘Til the End (The Pogues)
  • MacAllistrum’s March/Mairseail Alasdroim (The Chieftains)
  • Midnight Walker (Traditional)
  • My Lagan Love (Traditional)
  • She Moved Through the Fair (Traditional)
  • Sweet Thing (Van Morrison)
  • The Book of Love (Gavin James)
  • The Irish Wedding Dance (Remember White)
  • The Irish Wedding Song (Andy Cooney)
  • The One (Kodaline)
  • The Parting Glass
  • The Sweetest Thing (U2)
  • When You Say Nothing at All (Ronan Keating)
  • Women of Ireland/Mná na h-Éireann (Traditional, covered by Sinéad O’Connor and The Chieftains)
  • You Raise Me Up (covered by various artists, including Westlife)

Irish wedding songs first dance

Finally, a note of caution, especially when it comes to choosing Irish wedding songs for key moments like your first dance. Listen to the words! Some of the most popular wedding songs over the years have unfortunate lyrics and meanings. For example, The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ or Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’. Closer to home, some lists of Irish wedding songs include Sinéad O’Connor’s beautiful ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. This song is generally associated with grief and breakups rather than happy moments, so you may want to avoid it too. Of course, the ultimate choice is yours, but it’s always worth reading through the lyrics before you make a decision.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer, Eric Kelley, Paula O’Hara, Christina Brosnan & Fred Marigaux Photography