Scottish Wedding Customs and Traditions 

Wearing of tartan
The iconic symbol of Scottish culture is wearing of tartan.

Piping in the Bride
In Scottish weddings bride and groom were always treated equally, so the bride was not given away by her father as was the custom in England. This allows for a number of  wonderful precursors to the wedding and a very different form of processional, which fits all couples perfectly, regardless of whether you are two brides, two grooms, or a bride and a groom.  Also great for double weddings (a great idea for thrifty couples, twice the fun and huge savings on the reception and other costs).

Scottish Style Bridal Processional


Scottish style Bridal Processional
skirts the golf links at Hillstone St Lucia
Photograph courtesy of Alison Cooke Photography

The Oathing StoneOathing
                  Stone with commitments written in Gaelic lying on the
                  Scottish Nation Tartan
Taken from the ancient custom of setting an oath in stone, including an oathing stone in the vows can be deeply moving.

Handfasting Scottish Style
Contrary to popular belief, the term 'handfasting' signifies a handshake, and the use of the cord is a modern re-interpretion. Centuries ago it was sufficient for a couple Tartan Handfasting
                  Band with wedding rings on a pillowto join hands in the presence of witnesses and declare their commitment to one another, for their marriage to be recognised. The church didn't like it, but had to recognise it. Nonetheless incorporating this feature into the ritual is visually moving, particularly when the hands are bound by The Ban' (generally tartan ribbon or a length of woollen tartan fabric).

Sharing the Quaich
Thistle engraved quaich and can of Irn-Bru on
                  a cream linen tablecloth embroidered with purple
                  thistlesA loving cup ceremony using the quaich, the traditional Scottish two handled shallow communal drinking vessel, adds a special touch to the ceremony. I have a beautiful quaich that is available for use in your ceremony. What you choose to fill it with is up to you. Traditionally, it would be whisky. And for my money you can't beat a good single malt. But Scotland is also producing the most wonderful botanical gins. And, if you choose to go non-alcoholic, there really is only one choice!

Sashing of the Bride and Presentation to the Groom
The sashing of the bride is the moment when the bride is welcomed into the groom’s family and clan.  The presentation of the bride's family sword to the groom is likewise is a very special moment. This is when the groom is welcomed into his wife's family and charged with the responsibility of defending her and her honour. These customs can be adapted for same sex couples.
The Bride photographed with all the kilted men
Bride with all the men in kilts - Brisbane
                      Botanic Gardens, Jennifer Cram, Brisbane Wedding
A charming custom is a group photo of the bride with all the men in kilts.

Don't forget the ThistleRing Bag with Thistle
There are many ways to incorporate the floral symbol of Scotland into your wedding. You can add a Scottish touch to common wedding rituals that are not necessarily Scottish, such as the Warming of the Rings, by incorporating the thistle.

I present every couple with a ring bag on which a thistle has been embroidered. You can also incorporate the thistle in bouquets, boutonnieres, and on the linen on the signing table. I have several vintage/antique hand-embroidered cloths which I'm happy to lend you the ceremony.

More information on marrying in the Scottish Tradition