Wedding traditions in Scotland

Scottish wedding

Over the years, at Country House Weddings we have seen many wonderful ceremonies, inspired by myriad different topics, including historical eras, movies and colour palettes.

Scottish weddings are always spectacular and certainly memorable. They are also commonplace, as many of our couples have one or both bride and groom of Scottish origin.

In this blog post series “Wedding traditions in the UK”, we will look at the most traditional of weddings celebrated nowadays in the United Kingdom, those inspired by our centuries-old traditions. The traditions are so rich and varied, that there is so much to cover. These are wonderful ideas for wedding themes; and what a better venue to hold them in that a traditional English Country House?

In this blog post, we will concentrate on Scottish courtship and wedding traditions. Keep an eye on our blog for our posts on English, Welsh and Northern Irish wedding traditions. We hope this information will inspire you on your own wedding!

Scottish pre-nuptial traditions

Pre-nuptial traditions in Scotland date back several centuries, and are as alive nowadays as they have ever been.

The Proclamation was a very serious wedding tradition, in which the wedding was announced from the pulpit, after the lass (bride-to-be), had accepted a wedding proposal from her lad (groom-to-be). After this, the best man or maid of honour would give a spoken invitation to the community.

Carrots were a symbol of fruitfulness – as a Scottish courting tradition, the fiancée would give her husband-to-be a small bunch of carrots – certainly a very memorable gift! In turn, the groom would show his affection by giving her small love tokens, such as sweets – or small pieces of jewelry.

One popular piece of jewelry is the Luckenbooth, a Scottish brooch that the newlyweds will then pin to their first born child’s blanket to bring them and the family good luck.

Think your best man or maid of honour have a lot of responsibility on their plates? Then you haven’t heard of the Scottish prenup,  traditionally known as Sgeadasachadh! It was up to the best man to organize a whitewashing of the groom’s house, a very serious endeavour indeed.

In turn, the maid of honour was in charge of the sewing and preparation of household items for the newlyweds’ home. In addition, she would gift the couple a china set.

Scottish wedding traditions

The most visible and striking feature of a Scottish wedding is the groom’s attire. On most weddings we are used to the bride’s being the most memorable outfit. Undeniably, Scottish weddings are an exception! The groom’s dress consists of a kilt, a jacket and a sporran in his clan’s colours.

At the end of the wedding ceremony, it is customary for the groom to gift his bride a sash with the colours of his tartan, symbolising her inclusion in his family. We have scoured the Internet to find some other ideas for Scottish bridal dresses, made entirely out of the groom’s tartan motives. Certainly a bold and memorable choice!

Bag piperSome parts of Scotland follow the tradition of the “sixpence in the bride’s shoe”, particularly in Aberdeenshire and Angus. Another Scottish tradition having to do with money on the wedding day, is that when the bride steps into her car, her father will throw a handful of coins for children to collect. This is said to bring financial fortune to the newlyweds.

During the ceremony it is customary that a piper will play the bagpipe, or a Great Highland bagpipe if the couple are very observant of traditions.

A Scottish wedding

Scottish weddings in England are well-loved, as they are always so memorable, both because of their tartan colour palette and the wonderful tunes played during the ceremony. If you are in the middle of organizing a wonderful Scottish wedding, have you thought about celebrating it in a castle, or a wonderful mansion house.

At Country House Weddings, our team will help you along the way to design the perfect wedding that incorporates the charm of worldly traditions.

Photo by vagueonthehow

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