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Scottish Wedding Traditions in Scotland
Whether you are getting married in Scotland, or being married abroad, here are some great Scottish Wedding Traditions that can add a flavour of Scotland to your wedding!
Give your love a Scottish brooch, called a "Luckenbooth", as a token of your love or as a marriage gift. It is usually made of silver and is engraved with two hearts entwined. Many couples will then pin this to the blanket of their first baby for good luck.
Show Of Presents
Every lady who sent a wedding present is invited by the bride and her mother to their house for tea and cakes (or something stronger). All the wedding presents are opened and laid out for everyone to see. Scottish men have long suspected that this is just an excuse for a party. However, so far, there has been no actual evidence to substantiate this outrageous and scurrilous claim.
After The Show of Presents
The bride is dressed up by all her friends who parade her through the town, while banging pots and pans. Although embarrassing for the bride, it was financially rewarding as onlookers were encouraged to throw a coin into a bucket or pot for good luck.
The Stag Night
A few days before the wedding the groom is taken out on the town by his friends to celebrate his last nights of "freedom" by having "few" drinks. Depending on his friends, this can also lead to a blackening...
Either on the stag night or any other time, the groom is stripped to the waist (or more) and covered in treacle, soot, feathers, or flour. He is then paraded through the town with much noise and hilarity. The purpose is to embarrass the groom as much possible - and it never fails to do that!
A Sixpence in the Bride's Shoe
Traditionally, a small silver coin, called a sixpence, was placed in the bride's shoe for good luck. As sixpences no longer exist, this has been replaced by a penny or any modern "silver type" coin.
A Sprig of Heather
Another custom to encourage good luck was to hide a sprig of heather in the bride's bouquet.
The Bride's Wedding Dress
Traditionally, the bride would always wear a white dress to show her purity. Little touches of tartan are also nice.
The Groom's Clothing
Either full Highland dress or modern day dress. The modern version of the kilt wedding outfit consists of a short, Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket, a waistcoat, a kilt, white socks with tartan flashes at the top, brogue shoes, kilt pin, skean dhu (Scottish Dirk knife), sporran, black belt with buckle, and a winged-collared shirt with a black bow tie. A sprig of white heather is usually worn on the lapel for luck.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
This is absolutely essential for any good Scottish bride. Something old can be a piece of jewellery from the bride's mother, something new can be the wedding dress, something borrowed can be jewellery or clothing from relatives, and something blue could be a blue garter, which symbolises love.
Traditionally, it is white carnation buttonholes for the groom, best man, and ushers. Red carnations for all other male guests. The female guests can wear buttonholes of carnations, camellias, or orchids.
The Bride Leaves With Her Right Foot
When a bride leaves her house, on the way to her wedding ceremony, she should always step out with her right foot for luck.
The Scottish Quaich or Loving Cup
The Scottish Quaich or Loving Cup is a traditional way of involving all your family and friends in the wedding. After the ceremony, the bride fills this two handled bowl with whisky and passes it around the guests so they can all have a celebratory "dram".
This is where the bride and groom are "creeled' as they leave the church. Two people, on either side of the door, hold up fishing basket with ribbons. The happy couple then cut the ribbons and the basket falls to the floor. This is done to bring health and wealth to the couple.
Throwing The Bouquet
After the ceremony, the bride throws her bouquet over her shoulder and the first girl to catch it, will be the next to marry. In older times, they used to throw a shoe.
The Tying of The Shoes As well as the obligatory tin cans or balloons, you should always tie some shoes to the back of the "newlyweds" car. Lady readers will be glad to hear that as well as being essential to your health and happiness, shoes are also a symbol of good luck. In fact, in Tudor times the guests used to throw shoes at the bride and groom for luck. A very useful fact to tell your husband when you buy that next pair of shoes that you "just had to have"!
The traditional symbol of good luck. After the ceremony, a page boy will present the bride with a horseshoe as she leaves the church.
The Wedding Scramble
This is a great wedding tradition for children and is said to bring financial good luck. As the bride and groom are getting into the car after the wedding ceremony, the brides father throws a big handful of silver coins onto the grass for the local children to "scramble" over. This is marvellous for the children and great wedding entertainment for the adults.
Grand March at the Wedding Reception
This is where the bride and groom are piped in to the top table at the wedding reception. They are followed by the maid of honour and best man, both sets of parents, and finally all the other guests.
The bride sits with her feet in a tub of water while all her friends wash them. Usually a married woman would throw her wedding ring into the tub. The first single girl to find the ring would be the next to get married. It could be a great party game!
The Groom Carries The Bride Over The Threshold Everyone knows this one. The groom does this to prevent evil spirits or bad luck entering their house.
Finally - however you do it - and wherever you do it - have a great Scottish wedding!
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