The Ultimate Guide To Surviving A Northern Ireland Wedding

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You have a show-stopping outfit, the perfect gift, and are revved up for the big day…what could possibly go wrong? A Northern Ireland wedding is usually one to remember, but that doesn’t mean it comes without challenges.

Think of it like preparing for battle – if you have a clear-cut strategy in place, a positive mindset and a plan for the unexpected, victory is practically yours!

Don’t risk awkward reunions, fashion fails and dance-floor disasters. Consult our Ultimate Guide To Surviving A NI Wedding and get set to claim your crown as Wedding Guest of the Year!

1. Prepare For The Tan-Off

Since we spend much of our time covered by clouds and rain here in NI, many of us tend to overcompensate with the fake tan. This is never more true than at weddings, so you must be prepared for The Tan-Off.

If you are a fan of the tan, keep it subtle. Orange streaks and burnt, leathery skin is not a good look. There will always be one guest who will out-tan the rest, and it doesn’t have to be you.

For those who prefer to embrace their natural skin tone, don’t be surprised if you are eclipsed by an orange army in the photographs.

northern ireland wedding

2. Deal With Judgmental Relatives Effectively

Whether it’s your marital status, the outfits or the food, some relatives will always find something to complain about.

NI folk are often quite upfront and don’t hold back when it comes to their opinions. They key to dealing with judgmental relatives and friends at weddings is to try and steer the conversation in a more positive direction.

Avoid giving too many of your own opinions in retaliation – it’s not the time. Humour the judgmental, try not to take anything to heart and keep the conversation light!

uh mom

3. Don’t Steal The Bride’s Thunder (Trust Me, You’ll Thank Me Later)

This is a golden rule that is just as important at NI weddings. We like to involve every one when it comes to a celebration, but this doesn’t mean we don’t want to feel like royalty on our special day.

Of course, it’s important that you feel great so don’t be afraid to look your best, but avoid wearing white (a cardinal sin to most brides!).

Don’t make yourself the centre of attention by having one too many drinks – you’ll enjoy the day much more if you pace yourself. Plus, this may affect your ability to deal with the next point…

little girl

4. Avoid The Drunk Uncle

The tipsy uncle (or aunt, for that matter) may be quite entertaining, but he will undoubtedly make a show of himself on the dance-floor. Worse still, if you have gone over your limit, it’s likely you will be less able to say no when he pulls you up to do The Macarena.


5. Embrace Tradition

Tradition is a hallmark of most NI weddings. Whether it’s your thing or not, it’s best to embrace it.

Certain traditions, religious or otherwise, give people a sense of security and togetherness. Try and join in on the fun regardless of your views and enjoy being part of the community!


6. Be Ready For Old Family Feuds To Resurface…

Weddings can be the breeding ground for old family feuds – the aunt whose birthday you forgot, the cousin you fell out with in secondary school – and someone might choose today to bring up the past.

The best way to avoid conflict is to not feed it. Get some perspective by taking a walk outside and realise that this is not a day for arguments.

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7.…And Resolve Themselves After A Few Pints

Having said that, Northern Irish people want to have a laugh more than anything. So, your familial tensions may be all but forgotten once the drink gets flowing.


8. Use Humour To Get Out Of Any Awkward Situation

One thing we pride ourselves on here in NI is our fabulous humour. A self-deprecating joke or a witty remark can take the sting out of any awkward situation. It’s all just a bit of craic, after all.


9. Take Care Of The Grannies

With the younger generation hopping around to the latest dance hits, Grandparents can often get left behind at wedding parties.

It’s important to pay attention to their needs as well, so take the time to include them in conversation. Grannies and Granddads can be immense fun at family weddings and you might even learn something from your elders’ experience!


10. Prepare To Party!

At the end of the day, the most important thing to do at a NI wedding is have the craic. Bring on the laughs, the wine and dancing into the wee small hours! Just expect a few sore heads in the morning…


By Abby Williams, Excalibur Press

NW Brides Edition 10