Scotland has long been associated with romance. In the County of Dumfries lies the village of Gretna Green, a place that’s shrouded in stories of forbidden lovers and runaway weddings. To this day it remains one of the most popular wedding destinations in Europe.
Whether you’re planning to marry in one of Scotland’s bustling cities, or to say your vows immersed in the magic of The Highlands, there are some elements to consider if you plan to have a Scottish themed wedding.
When it comes to Scottish wedding fashion, a kilt is the most obvious choice for the groom. Kilts are traditionally associated with Scottish clans, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t an option for non-clan members. Taking inspiration from the Scottish rustic aesthetic is the perfect way to incorporate Gaelic style into your big day, without attributing yourself to a clan.
For a fresh take on the traditional Scottish wedding outfit, choose an understated tweed or tartan kilt and socks, full dress sporran and modern Braemar jacket. Bridal fashion in Scotland is very similar to that of the rest of the UK, although you may wish to add a tartan sash to your ensemble.
Traditional Scottish weddings are filled with music and dance, so consider hiring a live band, or professional Scottish sword dancers to entertain your guests. Bagpipes are an integral part of Scottish culture – we recommend hiring a professional bagpipe player to bring some authenticity to your big day.
If you plan to put together a wedding playlist, include some traditional Scottish music like ‘Maairi’s Wedding’ and ‘Queen of Argyll’ to keep things on theme.
Traditionally, the first dance to take place at a Scottish wedding reception is the Traditional Grand March, which begins with the newlyweds marching together to the sound of bagpipes. After a minute or so, the maid of honour and the best man join in, and are eventually followed by both sets of in-laws and the rest of the guests!
For centuries, it’s been a Scottish tradition for the wedding cake to be made as soon as the couple announce their engagement. Traditionally, Scottish weddings have a sweet fruit wedding cake that’s mixed with brandy (not unlike a traditional Christmas pudding!). The cake is then left to rest until the week of the wedding, when it will be iced.
The top tier of the wedding cake is traditionally kept and eaten on the Christening day of the couple’s first child.
There are a variety of gifts and good luck trinkets which are traditional to a Scottish wedding. These include:
The Luckenbooth: A brooch that’s given by the groom to his fiancée before their wedding day as a token of love. The brooch itself is traditionally made from silver, and is engraved with two intertwined hearts, as well as a crown to represent Mary Queen of Scots. Some couples choose to pin this on the blanket of their first born child for good luck.
White heather and right foot forward: It’s tradition in Scotland for the bride to have a sprig of white heather in her bouquet, and to enter the wedding venue with her right foot first.
Sixpence in the shoe: Another interesting Scottish tradition is for the bride to place a sixpence in her shoe on her wedding day. However, with sixpences no longer in circulation, a five pence coin will do!
Feet washing: In some areas of Fife, Dundee and Angus, it’s traditional for the bride to sit on a stool on her wedding day while an older, happily married woman washes her feet. Sometimes, the older woman would even drop a ring into the water which would mean marriage for the first single lady who found it.
Leonardo Hotels has accommodation all over Scotland; many of our hotels are in the region’s most sought-after wedding locations. Take your first steps as a married couple through the historical streets of Edinburgh or Glasgow, or explore the city of Perth.
Our Boutique Hotel Huntingtower Perth, Glasgow West End and Edinburgh Murrayfield Hotel all hold a wedding license, so you can spend your special day in ultimate comfort, before heading out on your Scottish adventure.
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