Think of a Scottish wedding and I am almost certain the first thing to pop into your head will be a man in a kilt. The kilt is certainly synonymous with the Scottish wedding and there are many different jackets, sporrans (a small waist pouch), sgiandubhs (a single bladed knife worn tucked into the sock of traditional Highland Dress), kilt socks and shoes to choose from. At most weddings there will be a wide assortment of tartans, jackets and hose worn. I have even seen kilts made from plain grey tweed rather than tartan. Don’t believe anyone who tells you have to be Scottish to wear a kilt.At my brother’s wedding all the men wore kilts, even they if they were English. Admittedly it’s not exactly sticking with tradition but all the men seemed to enjoy the experience.
The Scottish Bride
A Scottish bride will often wear a sash, or may simply carry a bouquet of Scottish flowers. There are many ways to incorporate a Scottish theme into your bridal wear.A tartan sash is probably the most authentic. There are centuries old traditions regarding the wearing of the sash. Usually, it is worn over the right shoulder, across the breast and secured with a brooch. You may wear your own tartan or that of your husband to be. If you are marrying outside your clan, but want to wear your own tartan then, to follow tradition, you would wear a long sash over the right shoulder, secured with a brooch and tied in a bow at your left hip. Nowadays, you can really get away with most things, so perhaps you would like a plain sash and make a statement with a lovely Celtic brooch. To have a more subtle Scottish theme, keep your gown free from tartan and sashes and simply choose Celtic jewellery and a bouquet of traditional Scottish flowers – thistles and heather perhaps mixed with roses and tied with a tartan ribbon.
Good Luck the Scottish Way
We all know about brides being given a lucky horseshoe to carry, but in Scotland the tradition is to have an old sixpenny coin in one of your shoes!
Scottish Wedding Favors
At every Scottish wedding I’ve ever been to the guest have been presented with a favor. Often this takes the form of five sugared almonds, representing health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility, but to add a truly Scottish flavor, shortbread is a popular choice. There are many companies who will supply you with authentic Scottish shortbread, often cut into heart shapes and prettily decorated. If you have a sweet tooth you might prefer to have tablet, absolutely delicious. Often the favors are presented in bags tied with tartan ribbon.
The Scottish Loving Cup (Quaich)
To give your wedding ceremony a traditional Scottish element, incorporate the Quaich into your ceremony. This two handled Scottish Loving Cup is used to symbolize love and togetherness.The newly married couple jointly take a sip from the cup to cement their new relationship. While whiskey is the traditional drink, you could also fill it with champagne, or mix a drink which represents your own backgrounds, for example, water from both the bride and grooms area of the country. Often the cup is passed around the wedding party,so all the guests can join in celebrating the love, happiness and trust of the newly married couple. This lovely ceremony would enhance any wedding regardless of the nationality of the bride and groom.
Having a piper, dressed in full highland regalia,take the newly married couple and their guests, from the church to their reception, is a fantastic way to start married life. One of the most joyous scenes I have ever witnessed was a bride and groom and all the guests, following a playing piper through the streets of Edinburgh, from St Giles Cathedral to the reception.
A ceilidh (pronounced kaylee) is a traditional part of a Scottish wedding. A band plays traditional Scottish country music and all the guests enjoy taking part in Scottish country dancing. This may sound daunting, but in actuality it is usually very informal and great fun. Although many Scots know how to perform most of the dances, it is now usual for the band to have a Caller, who will guide the guests through the steps. Don’t worry about making mistakes, as this just adds to the fun and usually results in much hilarity.
I hope you can see that Scottish weddings are joyous affairs.Rather than sitting watching events unfold the guests all participate. Whether young, old, or somewhere in between, all take an active role in celebrating the union of the couple, they really are a time for eating, drinking and being merry.