There are many Scottish wedding traditions that have evolved over centuries and incorporating a few of these into your wedding can create special memories for you and your guests. As a guide I’ve put together my top 10 traditions as a little inspiration for you.
A traditional hand fasting ceremony. Photo credit Eric-René Penoy
1. Sixpence in your shoe
You may know the rhyme “Something old, new, borrowed blue” and in Scotland it ends “and a silver sixpence in her shoe”. This is given as a token of good fortune and placed inside the shoe.
2. Lucky White Heather
When it comes to your flowers it is considered good luck to have a sprig of white heather in your bouquet. It’s also a nice touch adding this to buttonholes.
3. Hire a piper
Piped music is romantic and traditional before, during and or after the ceremony. A piper will traditionally pipe the bride into the ceremony and the couple out afterwards. My favourite tune on the bagpipes is Highland Cathedral.
4. “Tying the Knot”
This saying is said to stem from the Celtic tradition of hand fasting. Traditionally this was just the term for a wedding ceremony but more recently has been used as part of a ceremony where the hands are joined and tied loosely with a length of fabric or ribbon as you “tie the knot”.
5. Pinning of tartan
To welcome a bride to the family a groom or his family may pin a sash of their fabric to the bride. In return the bride and her family can present the groom with his fly plaid and pin this on to him.
6. Toast with a quaich
Also known as “the loving cup” a toast with a quaich and is a great way for a couple to share their first drink together. By presenting each other with a drink and accepting this it’s a show of your togetherness. It can also be presented to the parents and or guests as a sign that you’re now all one family.
7. A scramble
The Groom (sometimes the bride’s father or Best Man) will take coins from his wallet or sporran and scatter out at waiting children, who then “Scramble” for them. The scramble is a made as a gesture for good fortune and wealth throughout the marriage.
8. A penny wedding
A community based wedding where the guests bring their own food and drink. It’s a great option for a budget conscious couple and for those who want to include everyone in their celebrations.
A traditional Scottish Ceilidh (dance) is a great way to get a party started. A caller will often lead the dances so everyone can get involved. It’s unlikely you’ll have anyone sitting on the side-lines during these Scottish tunes.
10. Traditional gifts
Traditional gifts usually include a clock (usually given from the best man) and a luckenbooth brooch. The Luckenbooth brooch is pinned to the bride and then to the shawl of their baby at baby’s christening. The bride will also gift a shirt (a wedding sark) to the groom, in return the groom would buy the wedding dress.
A pewter quaich to share a toast with.
I hope this helps with a little inspiration for your Scottish wedding. Let us know what Scottish traditions you used for your special day.