Scottish Wedding Outfit

Traditional Scottish Dress

A Scottish bride will usually wear a traditional white or cream wedding gown, and the groom’s party and her father may come to the wedding resplendent in full Highland dress in the traditional clan tartan of his clan. She might wear a horseshoe on her arm for good luck, or a pageboy might deliver one to her as she arrives at the ceremony.

For the bride a universal custom is the 'something old; something new; something borrowed; something blue' - of course the 'something new' can be the bride’s dress! The 'something new' at the wedding can become the 'something old' or ‘something borrowed' at the next generation’s weddings. The bride sometimes wears a blue garter (symbolizing love) which plays a part later at the wedding reception. It was also traditional in some areas for the bride to put a small silver coin in her shoe to bring her good luck.

Something Old

A gift from mother to daughter to start her off for married life, and symbolising the passing on a bit of mother's wisdom.

Something New

A gift symbolising the new start married life represents. Something borrowed

The idea here is that something is borrowed from a happily married couple in the hope that a little of their martial bliss will rub off on the newlyweds.

Something blue

There are two likely sources for this. Roman women used to border their robes with blue as a sign of modesty, love, and fidelity. Also blue is the colour normally associated with Mary the mother of Jesus who is often used to symbolise steadfast love, purity, and sincerity.

Traditional outfits can bring a touch of splendour to the ceremony.

It consists of:

Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket and waistcoat, kilt, tartan flashes to match, white hose, gillie brogues, kilt pin, sgian dubh, black belt with buckle, formal sporan with chain strap, wing collar, shirt, black or coloured bow tie, and a piece of lucky heather on the lapel. He also has the option of wearing a fly plaid, which is anchored under the paulette on the shoulder of the jacket and secured by a large plaid brooch.

Bridesmaids may wear whatever the bride has chosen to match her dress and it may include a little tartan accessory. Before 1500 women just wore the best dress that they had, but in 1499 Anne of Brittany wore white. This caught on. Some have interpreted it as a sign of chastity.

Bouquets may include tartan ribbons or bows.

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.

Cutting the cake is a traditional part of the reception and, at a Scottish wedding, the piper may hand his dirk to the couple to use for this ceremony.

After the wedding ceremony it is traditonal for flowers, petals, or pretty paper confetti to be thrown thrown at the departing couple. In some rural areas the couple throw coins to the children who have gathered outside the church to watch. This is called a “scramble”. This is the reason children make a bee-line for local weddings. As the couple leave the ceremony the groom dips his hands into his pockets (or sporran), and throws all his loose change out on the ground for the children to scramble for.

It's a good idea not to do this at the roadside. Church grounds are ideal since diving onto grass is less likely to result in scraped knees, and traffic accidents.

Traditional wedding reception festivities can easily last all night and the newly-wed couple lead off the dancing. Before the evening is finished the bride and groom leave as quietly and secretly as they can and go to a pre -arranged destination for their wedding night - often leaving for the honeymoon the next day. At the end of the evening guests often gather in a circle before leaving and sing "Auld Lang Syne".