Every country across the globe is proud of its individual wedding traditions – and nowhere more than Scotland. Many of the traditional Scottish wedding customs are rarely practiced but there are some lovely ideas that we have uncovered – how many are you planning to include in your traditional Scottish wedding?
For The Bride
Feet washing – Strange as it may sound, there is a Scottish tradition of the bride having her feet washed and dried by an older, married woman the night before the wedding. It is supposed to symbolise good fortune so you may wish to include it in your traditional Scottish wedding!
Pop a sixpence in your shoe – Most people know the saying, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” – items that the bride should wear on her wedding day for good luck. But in some parts of the country there is a less well known final line, “and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”
Bearing in mind that sixpences are no longer in circulation, you may need to head to Amazon or eBay to find one. Then simply pop it in your shoe and enjoy your day.
Heather in your bouquet – Popular in the Scottish Borders, brides hoping for good luck will add a sprig of white heather to their bouquet.
For The Groom
The Luckenbooth – Before the wedding you should give a Luckenbooth – a silver brooch featuring two entwined hearts – to your fiancee as a token of your love.
The wedding sark – Your wedding shirt – known traditionally as the wedding sark – should be a gift from your bride. And you must pay for the wedding dress in return for the good luck tradition to work!
The Kilt – whilst not a good luck tradition, a traditional Scottish wedding would not be the same if the groom didn’t wear a kilt. And if the groom wears a kilt, all the groom’s men should be similarly attired. Many grooms chose their family tartan but it’s also acceptable to choose a tartan that co-ordinates with the colours worn by the bridesmaids. In fact, even if the groom isn’t Scottish, most Scots agree they would be delighted to see a non-Scot choosing to wear the national outfit.
The Wedding Day
The warsel – This is a Scottish tradition, also known as the wedding scramble, where the father of the bride throws out a handful of coins on the street as the bride enters the wedding car to go to church. The coins are supposed to be gathered up by watching children – hence the scramble – and is another good luck custom.
The wedding walk (part 1) – This is the formal march by the wedding group to the church. A piper or fiddler should lead the way, with the groom and maid of honour behind, and the bride and best man following after.
The wedding walk (part 2) – After the ceremony, the bride and groom should leave the church, escorted by the best man and maid of honour. For extra good luck, the group should pass over running water twice!
The Scottish Quaich – This is a two handled silver bowl known as the Loving Cup. The bride fills it with whisky then passes it round the wedding party so all can take a sip – let the celebrations begin!
The Traditional Grand March – This is the first dance at the wedding reception. The bride and groom start off by marching to bagpipes, then the best man and maid of honour join in. Next up are the newlyweds’ parents and finally all the guests.
Presents For The Newlyweds – Tradition states that the best man gives the happy couple a clock; the maid of honour should gift them a tea set.
If you’re planning a traditional Scottish wedding then incorporate some of these great and fun customs into your celebrations, and bring yourselves plenty of good luck at the same time.
If you’re planning to have your traditional Scottish wedding in Dumfries, the Dumfries Caledonian hotel in the heart of Dumfries could be the perfect venue for your wedding reception and for guests to sleep over. Contact us if you would like a copy of our wedding brochure.