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Scottish Weddings

Scottish weddings are beautiful festive affairs deep in old traditions.  The party following the ceremony has lots of music, dancing, food and drinks.  The celebration lasts into the early morning.

The groom’s friends give him a stag party on the night before the wedding to celebrate his last night as a free single man.   One of the common, old local customs is feet-washing.  Variations of the traditional ceremony of the future husband stepping into a vat of water while his buddies rub his legs with a combination of grease, ashes and soot often take place in the belief this ritual will bring good luck to the marriage.  As young men typically do, male members get drunk and cause mischief.

The bride’s friends spend the night before the wedding dragging her through the street decorating her with streamers, ribbons, and balloons.  They sometimes put soot and flour on her clothes.  In many places, her friends bring a pot where neighbors can toss money into while wishing the couple a happy marriage.

Scottish brides usually choose a white or cream wedding gown often made from satin or silk with lace.   Brides subscribe to the common practice of “something old; something new; something borrowed; something blue.” 

The groom choices of dress are full Highland dress in the tartan of his clan or a kilt and tweed jacket, or gray topper and tails.  The groom, best man, and ushers traditionally wear white carnations while male guests wear red ones.  The female guests wear carnations, orchids, or camellias to match their outfits.

One of the old traditional weddings is called The “Penny Wedding.”    It is still occurs in parts of Scotland on the western side of the country.  Instead of catered affairs, the guests bring homemade food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages to the party.

In the church, he wedding vows can be spoken in ancient Gaelic or of course English.  Imagine watching the bride being piped in and at the conclusion of the ceremony, the happy couple walks down the church aisle accompanied by bagpipe music or Gaelic hymns.  The bride receives a silver horseshoe for luck as she leaves the church from the page boy. 

The more typical Scottish wedding reception of today is a big feast at a restaurant or the family’s home.  The beautiful sound from the bagpipes accompanies the bride and groom as they are introduced as husband and wife.  The Highland Wedding songs are is usually played along with Traditional Highland dancing music by an authentic Ceilidh band.  And the band caller will help the guest with the difficult steps.

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