Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow

Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow
9 min read
12 December 2022

Scotland is a warm, welcoming place full of beautiful scenery and kind people. You can't blame anyone for falling for this delightful country. There's nothing more romantic than getting married in the Scottish Highlands, where couples can relax into their happiest moments and enjoy beautiful sights such as glens, moors, lochs, or feel the rush of adrenaline at one of the many local white water rafting spots. There are thousands of individual Scottish wedding traditions that couples may choose to incorporate into their special day.


Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow


Most social events have their own idiosyncratic traditions and ceremonies that are passed down from generation to generation and infused with different meanings over time. In light of this, today we will focus on the unique stories and customs related to Scottish weddings. As a result, whether you plan on organizing your own Scottish wedding or would simply like to include a few references for an elder relative in your own day as a way to honor them, perhaps adding these details to your ceremony is overall just a little bit more special.


Handfasting | Tying the knot.

Did you know the term "tying the knot" comes from an old Scottish custom of handfasting? It was a tradition in which couples would oftentimes get married without being able to attend a church wedding. (Sound familiar? We have Spotify Weddings nowadays after all!) So handfasted couples used this tradition as a way of formalizing their union and commitment as they would tie the knot while they continued to live separately. In other words, they would bind their hands together so that they would always be together. Like the act of tying up one's ankles with shoes or boots, handfasting is a symbol of unity between two people who are committing themselves to each other. Nowadays, many weddings - including religious ceremonies - include a handfasting. Some Scottish couples choose to have material from the bride's wedding dress or from their families' tartan fabric as their bond . These can be tied together by a symbolic ribbon or cord during the ceremony. The symbol of the cloth knot is believed to be an "everlasting love"; this is what sets it apart from other knots. Also, you are encouraged to both date and write down any vow that holds special meaning on top of your knot to remind yourselves that you have committed your future—together—to each other.

Types of ceremonies that can include Scottish wedding traditions.

Getting married anywhere in the world with just about anyone isn’t as cut and dry as one may think. Just because you have someone officiating a wedding doesn’t mean that it will go according to plan, so to help avoid running into any unnecessary obstacles down the line, here are a few important points you need to consider before committing to anything officially.

The Quaich – The loving cup.

The Quaich is also known as the loving cup. The Quaich was originally invented several centuries ago, when clans ruled Scotland and would meet up to hold their events. The leaders of both clans used to drink from the Quaich which usually contained whiskey. In order to show that they came in peace and had no desire to fight, when drinking from the Quaich, one would have to use two hands to lift the cup; thereby signifying that the other party couldn't attack them because there were armed with weapons. Starting a business for the first time can be difficult, but it's important to keep in mind that you don't have to do everything on your own. Business partnerships have been key drivers of success since they started so why not expand your startup circle and work with someone you trust and who will also bring an unique perspective to the table?

Selkirk Grace

Selkirk Grace is a Scottish poem that has been said at special occasions. It’s usually said by the best man or prominent guest of honour after a speech, among other occasions such as weddings. This poem is about thanking the food and drink in front of you for the nourishment they provide. The speaker notes his gratitude for all those who come together to serve the meals and drinks so thoughtfully, wishing them well in their careers.

Ceilidh Dancing

Scottish country dancing is a popular part of many weddings in Scotland. A ceilidh band makes up the live music for a wedding ceilidh, which is where you might have come across this Highland tradition. There are many different types of Scottish country dancing; two of the most popular ones are the Gay Gordons and Strip The Willow. If you don't have access to the services of a ceilidh band, then all you really need are Scottish country dance records or CDs from your local record store or online retailer such as Amazon. 


Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow


What most Scottish people love about it is that you get to dance with everyone. You change partners and are an excellent way for everyone to mingle and get to know each other better.

Lucky Sixpence.

A popular tradition in parts of the world, including Scotland and England, is the bride putting a 6 pence coin in her shoe. It is a long-standing good luck charm that she receives from family or friends. In some cases, the bride wears less throughout the day to ensure good luck. The original 6 pence coins had become obsolete by the turn of this century so it has been replaced with a replica substitute. However, wearing one in your shoes is still seen as a sign of good luck!

Kilts & Tartans:

Kilts and Tartan are the national dress of Scotland. Kilts originated with an Englishman. King James V hired an English clothier to outfit his court in kilts and tartans made from wool. Since then, Scotland has passed down tartan symbols between clans as a way to determine family tartan - meaning that you don't have to be Scottish to wear a kilt!


Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow


Tartan Kilts can be purchased for around $49 when you shop online from Scottish Kilt They are worn with high shoes, keep in mind that laces should go up and around the leg with socks or Kilt hose about knee hight. The knife goes on your dominant hand side. These items are Well as Scottish Sporrans which is a little purse worn around your waist strapped with a belt where you can store things such as cell phones or wallets and any other money making tools since Kilts do not have pockets to hold anything at all!

A helpful alternative for a man or woman who does not want to wear a kilt or a dress at a Scottish wedding is to wear tartan trews. In these parties, the whole bridal party can wear the same tartans or their own family one.


When people think of Scotland, one of the first things that come to mind are bagpipes.
Bagpipes were first invented in 1000 BC. Bagpipes can be used for any type of wedding ceremony; however, their role is most popular during the following times of the wedding:


Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow


1. As the beginning of the ceremony is approaching, you will hear the piper play some music to greet the guests.

2. The bride can be marched down the aisle. The most common song is "Highland Cathedral."

3. Couples after their ceremony can be accompanied back to their seats

4. If the bride and groom have a desire to have their guests serenaded during the reception, hiring piper musicians may make for a wonderful addition.

5. Pianists will often play the top table guests during the speeches.


Speeches before the meal:


It’s customary in parts of Europe that people wait until it is time to eat before they give speeches at a dinner party. Of course, this can be quite daunting if the speaker is already nervous and suffers from stage fright. A way around this hurdle is to have all of the speakers get their part done, so to speak, before the meal is served. This allows everyone at the table to enjoy their food in peace and minimizes embarrassment for anyone who has performance issues when addressing large groups.


Scottish Wedding Traditions - What Real Scots Actually Follow


When planning a Scottish wedding, it's often nice to take the time to go overboard. Truly, no matter what you do for your wedding and for your husband-to-be, he will appreciate the amount of effort that went into planning it - within reason. So try to make things as fun as possible!

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Deniel LEe 3
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