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Scottish Wedding Traditions and Customs

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During the engagement, Scottish brooches (Luckenbooth) are given as tokens of love and they are usually made of silver and engraved with two intertwined hearts. If the couple pins it to the blanket of their first born it will bring the family luck.

After the bridal shower, the bride is made up and dressed in long trains made of old curtains or whatever party material is around or some garish costumes. The bride then has to carry a small plastic potty with salt in the bottom, and she is taken around town where the women proceed to make a lot of noise banging pots and pans to herald the bride's status. The bride then exchanges kisses for money that are dropped into the potty, and this is said to bring good luck, prosperity, and fertility.

Like the Bride's "Taking Out," the groom gets a stag night where he is dressed up and taken around town in order to completely ridicule him. Sometimes the groom is dressed up in a padded outfit to resemble a pregnant woman, and he is often the butt of practical jokes from his groomsmen who also help him celebrate by drinking in excess. At the end of the night, the groom is dropped off on the street in front of his house stripped of his clothes and tied up.

Another pre-wedding tradition involves the ceremonial feet washing, where the bride's female friends would wash her feet in a tub. A wedding ring from a happily married woman was previously placed in the tub and whoever found it would be the next to marry.

On the day of the wedding, the bridal party would make their way to the church strewing flower petals on the way, but if they encountered a funeral or a pig it was considered bad luck and they would have to turn around and start over. The clergyman would then meet them and during the mass he would bless the food brought by the guests and kiss the bride.

The bag pipes or traditional Gaelic hymns are typically played or sang in the ceremony. Traditionally, the groom wears a kilt, a kilt jacket, and a sporran in his clan colors and the couple participates in a hand fasting ceremony where their wrists are bound together by a cloth or string.

At the end of the ceremony, he adorns his bride with a sash in the same colors to welcome her to his family (clan), he presents his bride with an engraved teaspoon to ensure that his bride will never go without food, and he may also present the bride with a family sword to be given to their first born son or the bride's family might present the groom with their sword as an act of acceptance into the family.

As the bride walks out of the church, a toddler would hand a horseshoe to the bride for good luck, and the bride and groom would then scatter coins for the assembled children to collect, so that their kindness would be returned to them throughout their marriage.

Finally, all the guests accompanied the newlyweds to their home where before the bride entered her new home, a piece of oatcake was broken over her head and a piece of cake was passed around to everyone, then the groom must carry his new bride over the threshold to protect her from bad spirits.

With the minister's blessing over the house, the newlyweds, and their marriage bed, the ceremony was finished.

ID: 1561