Scottish Wedding Traditions
Do you dream of having a traditional Scottish wedding? There’s a lot to Scottish culture when it comes to getting married, and there are plenty of Scottish wedding traditions to consider …
Our Favourite Scottish Wedding Traditions
Before the Ceremony
- The bride traditionally gives the groom his wedding shirt as a gift, known as the ‘wedding sark’. In return, the groom also gifts the bride her wedding dress.
- When the bride leaves her house on the way to the wedding, she should exit with her right foot forward to prevent bad luck.
- As the bride steps into the car, her father throws a handful of coins for the children to collect. This tradition, called the ‘wedding scramble’, is believed to bring about financial good fortune.
During the Ceremony
- In the traditional ‘wedding walk’ to the church, a fiddler leads the wedding party to the church. Behind the fiddler, the groom walks with the maid of honour; behind them, the bride walks with the best man.
- Tying the knot – literally! For many years, Scottish brides and grooms would each provide something to tie together. A rope, a scarf, a piece of cloth (usually in their clan tartan), anything. During the ceremony, the couple would tie these two things together in a knot to represent their union (known as the ‘handfasting ceremony’) and then keep it after the wedding as a symbol of their marriage. Many couples have their knots framed and mounted in their homes. The ritual of handfasting is where the phrase ‘tie the knot’ originated.
After the Ceremony
- The married couple leaves the church followed by the best man and the maid of honour. Traditionally, it is lucky for the procession to cross running water twice.
- If you’re on a tight budget, you could have a ‘penny wedding’. This traditionally means the guests bring their own food and drinks to the reception, while the bride and groom spend more on the wedding cake.
- After the legal proceedings, the wedding party sip from the Scottish Quaich, or ‘loving cup’. This is a two-handled silver or pewter bowl, often inscribed with the date, that the bride fills with whisky (or, nowadays, anything else the couple prefers). Once the couple have both drunk from the Quaich with both hands, they then pass it around so that everyone can have a dram.
- Paying the piper, but not in a negative sense! In Scottish tradition, it is lucky to have a piper at your wedding, especially at the dinner after the ceremony. Bagpipes are thought to drive away evil spirits, thus protecting the newly married couple and blessing their marriage with good luck. However, you must always pay the piper for this to work. It is usually the groom who toasts the piper and pays him, in this case, with a dram of whisky from the Quaich.
Where Will Your Wedding Take Place?
If you want your beautiful Scottish wedding to take place in the perfect fairy-tale setting, we have also talked about why you should have it in a castle.
If you’d like to have the perfect Scottish castle wedding at Barcaldine Castle, visit our Weddings page.