Written by:

Last Updated:

Weddings are a tapestry of rituals, weaving together traditions and cultures to create a unique and meaningful celebration. Today, let’s explore a delightful custom rooted in old Irish tradition: the Bell Ringing Ritual.

Imagine infusing your ceremony with the sweet sound of bells, creating a symphony of joy that’ll leave your guests beaming.

Plus, it’s not just music to your ears; it’s a sustainable choice for eco-conscious couples, offering a green alternative to confetti.

Join us as we dive into the origins of this heartwarming tradition and unveil how you can make your wedding day ring with the magic of the bell ringing ritual.

Let’s make some joyful noise

a shelf display at a wedding full of bells for guests

The origins of the bell ringing ritual

The Bell Ringing Ritual originated in Ireland during a period known as the Penal Times.

This tradition has deep historical roots and is closely tied to Irish and Celtic customs.

During the Penal Times, church weddings were banned in Ireland, leading couples to exchange vows in less formal settings such as barns and cottages.

To celebrate the union and wish the newlywed couple good luck and prosperity, guests would bring bells and ring them at the conclusion of the ceremony. This practice served as a substitute for the ringing of church bells, symbolizing the start of a new life journey for the couple and offering protection from negative influences.

Beyond its symbolism, ringing bells on a couple’s wedding day was believed to ward off potential evil spirits.

The Bell Ringing Ritual, with its deep historical roots and enduring symbolism, has become a cherished tradition that adds a joyful and meaningful touch to modern weddings, not only in Ireland but also in various cultures around the world.

Image: Sarah Fisher Photo

How to do a bell ring ritual

1. Choose the Bells:

  • Select a set of bells that resonate with you and your partner. These can be wedding bells specifically designed for this purpose or any meaningful bells that you both adore.

2. Decide on the Timing:

  • Determine when you want the bell ringing to take place during the ceremony. Common moments include:
    • During the Processional: As you and your partner enter the ceremony space, have the officiant or a special guest ring the bells to announce your arrival.
    • Exchange of Vows: After exchanging vows, you and your partner can ring the bells together to seal your promises.
    • As You Exit: After you’re pronounced married and make your exit, invite your guests to ring the bells in celebration.

3. Assign a Bell Ringer:

  • Choose who will have the honour of ringing the bells. This could be the officiant, a close family member, or a designated friend. Make sure they understand when and how to ring the bells.
couple walking dow steps after wedding ceremony and guests waving wand bells

4. Explain the Tradition:

  • Before the ceremony begins, your officiant or a member of the wedding party can explain the significance of the bell ringing to the guests. Share the tradition’s history and meaning.

5. Provide Instructions:

  • If you want guests to participate, place a small card or note in their ceremony program or provide verbal instructions before the bell ringing moment. Let them know when to ring the bells and why it’s meaningful.

6. Practice:

  • If you and your partner are going to ring the bells together, practice the motion so that it’s synchronized and meaningful. You may also want to practice with the designated bell ringer.
couple cheering while guest wave bells and wands around them.

7. Ring the Bells:

  • When the appointed moment arrives, ring the bells with intention and joy. You can ring them once or several times, depending on your preference. Let the sound fill the space with happiness and positivity.

8. Share the Moment:

  • Take a moment to embrace the symbolism and the energy of the bells ringing. You can exchange a loving glance or share a private thought to commemorate the occasion.

9. Incorporate into the Reception:

  • Consider bringing the bells to your reception. You can use them to signal the start of the reception, announce your entrance, or encourage guests to join the dance floor.
couple exiting wedding and guests waving wedding bell wands

Wedding Wands

Wedding wands, with or without bells are the perfect confetti alternative. They make for some amazing wedding exit photos.

They are also a lovely keepsake for guests, so can double as your wedding favour also!

You can get your DIY on and make your own wedding wands. Or head over to Etsy for some pretty handmade options.

You can have guests wave and ring them after your ceremony instead of confetti or use it for your wedding exit later in the evening.

More blogs you will love!