If you or your partner are Scottish and are planning to get married, you might want your nuptials to be a traditional event that emphasises your rich northern heritage. Read on for some tips and advice about staging the perfect Scottish wedding.
The right venue
Thoughts of Scotland call to mind the sprawling, rugged countryside and grand, imposing castles, and this might be something you’d like to work into a traditional Scottish wedding. There are numerous fortresses in the nation that are licensed for weddings, so do a little research into these venues.
Not all castles have an unfinished stone appearance – some are painted white and have an elegant air, so you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes, whether you prefer historical ruins or somewhere with chic appeal. You’ll also need to give some thought to the sort of backdrop you’d like for your photographs; the castle would add drama to your wedding images but you may also want some natural elements in your pictures, like landscaped gardens or a mature woodland backdrop. This is something to consider when you’re browsingvenues.
Another consideration may be whether the venue has overnight accommodation, as it’s customary in parts of Scotland – especially in the Shetlands – to hold wedding celebrations over two nights.
The right entertainment
Live music is commonplace at wedding celebrations, and you might decide to hire a band or some bagpipe players to reflect tradition on your big day. The music will be especially important at the reception if you plan to arrange some traditional dances like the Lang Reel or the Grand March.
The Grand March is usually the first dance of a Scottish wedding and involves the bride and groom marching to bagpipes or a band. The maid of honour and best man join in next, followed by the parents of the happy couple and then everybody else. The Lang Reel, meanwhile, takes place in fishing communities and involves the wedding party beginning a dance from the harbour and through the village, with guests leaving as they pass their homes until only the bride and groom are left.
The right traditions
If you want to make sure you include the traditional Scottish wedding customs in your big day, you might want to ensure that the bride has a sixpence – or another coin – in her shoe, as this is supposed to bring her good luck, as is a sprig of heather in her bouquet. Another custom is for the father of the bride to throw a handful of coins into the car as his daughter gets in and invite any children at the wedding party to collect them, which is known as a scramble or a warsel.
Other traditions include creeling, which sees the married couple ‘creeled’ at the end of their ceremony. This involves tying a fishing basket across the door which the newlyweds cut down as they leave the venue. This is hoped to bring the couple good health and prosperity.
The bride’s cog is another element of customary Scottish weddings, in which a vessel for holding ale is filled with a potent alcoholic mixture – often combining whisky, brandy, gin, sugar and pepper – which the bride drinks from before passing the cog around guests. The vessel is filled routinely so that everyone gets a taste.