More and more couples tying the knot today are thinking of creative ways to make their special day unique. They may write their own vows, choose an unusual location for the ceremony, or have a special theme for the day. Something that has been done for decades, and doesn’t show any signs of fading, is having your wedding rings engraved. There are no rules about what words you can and can’t have engraved on your rings; it’s one of the few elements of a wedding that doesn’t have a host of traditions and superstitions attached to it. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of ideas for engravings on your wedding ring.
Irish Terms of Endearment
A great way to both express your love for one another and acknowledge your family’s history and heritage is by having Gaelic words engraved on your wedding ring. Gaelic is an ancient, very beautiful and musical sounding language, so it fits in quite well with the themes of eternity, commitment and love. It’s also a language that has many different words to describe the same thing. So luckily, you have plenty of options to choose from!
Here are some common Gaelic terms of endearment, all of which are short enough to be able to fit on the average sized wedding ring.
A Chara: Means ‘friend’, and can be used to address anyone, in formal or informal settings.
A Stór: (pronounced ‘store’) Means ‘my treasure’, usually used to express affectionate friendship, especially for parent and children relationships.
A Chroí: (pronounced ‘cree’) Means ‘my heart’, a stronger version of the above, meant more for lovers to use.
Mo Ghrá (pronounced ‘graw’): Means ‘my love’, for relationships that are that little bit more serious!
Mo Cuishle (pronounced ‘coosh-la’): Literally means ‘my pulse’, for the person who makes your heart beat. Often generally translated as ‘my darling’.
A Thaisce: (pronounced ‘hash-ka’) Means ‘my treasure’, another version of ‘a stór’.
A Chumann: (pronounced ‘come-an’) Means ‘my sweetheart’, but is also the word for ‘society’, which can be confusing!
Mo Shearc (pronounced ‘hark’): Means ‘my love’ Another simple version of ‘mo ghrá’.
Mo Rúnsearc (pronounced ‘roon-hark’): Literally means ‘my secret love’, there is no direct equivalent in English.
Mo Mhuirnin (pronounced ‘mur-neen’): Means ‘my little darling’ or ‘my dear’, a more formal phrase
Mo fhíorghra: (pronounced ‘heer-graw’) Means ‘my true love’, one of the most romantic phrases around.
Mo shíorghra: Means ‘my eternal love’, sometimes used as a term for ‘soulmates’.
A Ghrá mo Chroí: Means ‘my heart’s beloved’ or ‘the love of my heart’.
A Ghrá Geal: (pronounced ‘graw gee-yal’) Means ‘my bright love’, often the term used to describe a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Seanleannán (pronounced ‘shan-lan-awn’): Literally means ‘old love’, or ‘old flame’.
A Pheata (pronounced ‘fat-a’): Means ‘a mother’s darling’, for a mother to express endearment for her children.
A chéadsearc (pronounced ‘cade-shark’): Means ‘my first love’, or ‘my one and only’.
Irish Words for Love
There are plenty of different ways to say ‘I love you’ in the Irish language. Just as there are many different types of love – the love between a mother and child is different to that of a man and wife, for example – there are different words for each type of love in Gaelic. If you think that sounds somewhat confusing, then you’re correct! Nonetheless, here are some of the most common words for ‘love’ in Gaelic, all of which would be perfect for a wedding ring engraving.
Grá: General love! This is the most common word used for love in the Irish language. It denotes the love between couples, family, friends, significant others.
Cion: Affectionate love. The kind of love between close friends, relatives, parents and children. Platonic rather than romantic love.
Gean: Another less often used word for affection. Informal love rather than the ‘formal’ love between a man and wife or lovers.
Searc: True love, eternal love, primary love. This word is a lot more passionate and more serious than ‘grá’, so only use it if you really mean it!
Breá: Love of a thing or activity rather than a living person. For example, you would say ‘Is breá liom cáca milis’ (I love cake) rather than ‘Is grá liom cáca milis’, which is grammatical nonsense.
And here are some popular ways to say ‘I love you’ in Irish…
Is tú mo ghrá : You are my love.
Is tú grá geal mo chroí: You are the bright love of my heart.
Mo ghrá thú: literally ‘my love you’, i.e. ‘you are my love’, the most common expression
Tá grá agam duit: I have love for you
Táim i ngrá leat: I’m in love with you
Tá mo chroí istigh ionat: My heart is within you
Tá cion agam ort: literally ‘there is love/affection at me on you’, or ‘I have a soft spot for you’.
Grá mo chroí: Love of my heart
Thabharfainn fuil mo chroí duit: I’d give you the blood of my heart
A stór mo chroí: Love of my heart
Mo Leannán: My lover
Grá buan: Love forever
Is tú mo rogha: You are my chosen one
A chuisle mo chroí: My heart’s beloved
Tá tú mo chéadsearc: You are my true love
Is tusa mo ghrá: Literally “You are my love”
Ádhraím thú: I adore you
Is grá mo shaol í (é): She/he is the love of my life
Le grá go deo: with love forever
Mo shíorghrá: My eternal love
B’fhearr liom thú nó céad bó bainne: I prefer you to a hundred milk cows!
If Gaelic words or words in general don’t really tickle your fancy for a wedding ring engraving, consider some Ogham writing. Ogham is an ancient script that was used to write Gaelic before the introduction of the alphabet we know today came to Ireland. Rather than the concept of letters we are all familiar with, the ogham alphabet was instead made of a series of strokes intersecting a singular long, straight line. The different angles and lengths of the strokes and how many are clustered together is what determines the letter.
Ogham uses this somewhat unorthodox system because of how it was written; not on paper, since its invention hadn’t reached the inhabitants of the island yet, but on rock and wood instead. The long straight line was carved along the edge of a slender, standing stone from top to bottom, while the intersecting strokes were added from side to side. The writing on the stone normally spelled out the names of noblemen or chieftans and was in effect a gravestone.
Ogham engravings on rings look really unique and (surprisingly) quite modern, and as well as that, they’re a great conversation starter too. They also keep your declaration of love for one another a little more private than if you used an English or Gaelic engraving; the vast majority of people speak English, most Irish people know at least a small amount of Gaelic, but only your long forgotten ancestors know how to translate ogham!
So many couples come up with wonderful, personal and truly unique ideas for their wedding rings. While the classic engravings of the couples initials or the date of the wedding is beautiful, here are some alternative ideas to get engraved on wedding rings.
Family symbols. The symbols of each person’s families are engraved on both rings to illustrate the coming together of the two families. For example, the O’Connell family crest features a deer while the Murphy crest features a lion. If you are interested in finding out more about your coat of arms read our guide on How to Intrepret your Irish Family Crests
Nicknames. Not for everyone but there is nothing more personal than engraving your own special nicknames for each other onto your rings!
Outside vs Inside
Many couples these days debate about whether they should place their engravings on the outside of the ring or on the inside (or both!) It’s completely up to the individual couple and style of the couple involved of course, but here are some practical considerations to be aware of:
Depending on what metal you choose for your wedding ring, engravings may show signs of wear and tear once enough time has passed. This is especially true of exterior engravings on sterling silver which is a softer metal than white gold or Platinum.
The main advantage to interior engravings is that the message is hidden from view. For those that prefer a minimalist style you can still personalize your rings. The same can be said of exterior engraved rings however; it’s just a matter of deciding if you want the message to be just between the two of you.
Exterior engravings make your wedding ring unique and something more eye-catching than the standard plain band. It also offers a whole realm of possibility when it comes to complimenting or matching with the woman’s engagement ring.
If you intend to pass on your wedding rings to the generation that comes after you, interior engravings may be more appropriate.
Claddagh Design Wedding Rings
At Claddagh Design, we create unique wedding rings as well as our other jewelry ranges. All of our pieces are hand made by our resident Irish silversmith and are hallmarked in Dublin Castle. We can make traditional plain bands, custom engraved pieces, or for something that little bit extra special. How about the traditional symbols of love, loyalty and friendship the Claddagh Wedding Ring? You can see our Celtic Irish Wedding Ring Collection or contact us directly to order your engraved Irish Wedding Ring We’d be delighted to work with you on that special one-of-a-kind piece for you and your significant other.