The origins of the traditional Scottish wedding:
Scotland always seems to do things in it’s own way and style – and a Scottish wedding is no exception to the rule. In the 21st century, the Scottish wedding is an intricate blend of ancient highland tradition mixed in with modern, streamlined rites. Present day Scottish wedding traditions have their origins as far back as the 13th century. Back then the medieval Celtic church would proclaim the ‘banns of marriage’ for three successive Sundays. This practice of announcing a forthcoming marriage lasted for 600 years – until in the latter years of the 20th century it became standard to ‘give notice of intent’ to a registry office several weeks before the intended event.
Medieval Scottish wedding traditions:
It was normal practice in olden times for an entire village to get involved in the preparations for the ‘big day’. People would line the streets to the church to cheer on the happy couple before they took their vows. In pre-reformation times, there is evidence that two Scottish wedding services would frequently take place. One in which the priest would address the party in Scots dialect and lead a ceremony outside the church. Whilst the more formal Latin mass and nuptial ceremony would take place inside.
The exchange of the rings has always been a main feature in Scottish wedding dj in nashville tennessee ceremonies from ancient times . A ring has no beginning and no end and as such symbolises the love within a marriage. The kissing of the bride follows on from this exchange of rings, and often leads to a cheer from the body of the kirk.
Following on from the formal church ceremony, a piper or group of pipers would frequently lead the entire group of guests down the streets, often to a relative’s house, for a non-stop night of celebration, feasting and enjoyment. Local musicians led by pipers would get the dancing started and tradition has it that the first dance, normally a reel, would involve the newly wed couple. Following on from their efforts, the rest of the guests would then dance all the way into the sma’ hours. In this respect, little has changed over 800 years – maybe apart from the dress code and the type of beer on tap.
When the wedding celebrations were over, the married couple would then leave to spend the night in their new home. The ancient tradition of carrying the bride over the doorstep was linked to the superstition that evil spirits inhabit the thresholds of doors. Hence the bride is lifted over the thresholds – and into the wedding bed. In medieval times, a priest would often bless the house and bless the wedding bed at this time. Then for the first time, as man and wife, the newly weds would have some quality time on their own.
Other wedding rituals such as the Highland custom of ‘creeling the bridegroom’, involved the groom carrying a large creel or basket filled with stones from one end of a village to the other. He continued with this arduous task until such times as his bride to be would come out of her house and kiss him. Only if she did, would his friends allow him to escape from the ‘creeling’ otherwise he had to continue until he had completed the circuit of the town.
Modern Scottish Wedding Traditions:
In more modern times, a lot of the superstition and rituals have been replaced by more showpiece proceedings. However, many of today’s traditions still hark back to the past.
The bagpipes can be used to add atmosphere and grandeur to a wedding. The piper, in full Highland dress, stands at the church door and plays as the guests arrive. Later he leads the couple from the church to the car. The piping traditions continue, the married couple are frequently piped to the top table of honour along with the bridal party. With the cutting of the cake, again a piper is often asked to perform and a dirk, ‘sharp highland dagger’, is traditionally handed over by the piper to start the ‘cutting of the cake’. As the bride slices the first piece of cake, custom dictates that her hand is guided by that of her new husband.