Gone are the days when Great Auntie Ann (once removed) could expect to dust down her favorite hat for the wedding of a relative she hardly ever met.
Nuptial celebrations are fast becoming a lot more personal and rigid expectations of who should be asked, what should be worn and where the ceremony should be held are no longer set in stone.
Just like every other aspect of our lives, wedding fashions have become influenced by American and European trends. Brides and Grooms are often well travelled themselves and they have a very concrete vision of THEIR big day. This is to some extent due to the growing trend of older couples getting married and because of this they tend to finance the big day themselves.
Many people would prefer a smaller group of friends and to be able to put their own stamp on the day. A increasing number of couples are having a small Civil ceremony in advance, to get the legal aspect of their marriage finished with and then following this with a reception or a blessing.
It is true that with smaller groups of wedding guests the couple can cut back on their budget, but they can also blow a big budget on the more intimate gathering - taking over a castle or exclusive location for the day or even a weekend.
Aside for the ceremony and reception, other changes are fast becoming introduced and behavior once considered rude is becoming part of modern etiquette. For instance, the wedding registry. This of course is a much more sensible option to storing lots of unwanted items in the attic, which used to be the case in more conventional Ireland.
A very clever gift idea lately has been offering guests the option of contributing money towards the honeymoon. Themed weddings are also fast becoming the 'IN' thing and even same sex marriages can be blessed. Even though it is not yet recognised by the Church or State it is hugely popular.
Even though Auntie Ann may turn in her grave at all this carry on in Ireland, there is no going back now!