Bridal Wear Traditions

Many Scottish weddings have practiced bridal wear traditions ~ the Last Stitch, the Wedding Veil, Bridal Shoes, Paisley, Lucky Sixpence, and Wedding Dress Colors.

The Last Stitch

Though it was considered bad luck for a bride to sew her own dress, one stitch was left incomplete. On her wedding day, the bride would sew the last stitch, to fulfill another of the bridal wear traditions ~ bringing good luck.

The Wedding Veil

As a wedding tradition, bridal veils were originally used to
Image courtesy

hide the bride’s face. She didn’t want the faeries to steal her for her finery.

Later the wedding bridal veil came to symbolize purity and chastity among the bridal wear traditions.

Bridal Shoes

New shoes were bad luck ~ they also hurt your feet after a few hours of dancing.

Less well known was for the bride's father to give the groom a shoe belonging to the bride. This symbolized the passing of responsibility for the daughter from the father to her new husband.


In the mid-18th century, Paisley dresses or shawls came into vogue and remained a fashion of bridal wear traditions for seventy years.

Lucky Sixpence

Something old, something new
something borrowed, something blue,
and a lucky sixpence in her shoe.
Brides carried a lucky sixpence in their shoe so they would always be well off financially in their marriage.

This bridal wear traditions rhyme originated in Victorian times although some of the customs referred to are much older.

Something old represented the couple’s friends, who would hopefully remain close during the marriage. Traditionally something old was a garter, given to the bride by a happily married woman. It was hoped that her happiness in marriage would be passed on to the new bride.

Something new symbolized the newlyweds' happy and prosperous future.

Something borrowed was often loaned by the bride's family and was a highly valued family heirloom. The bride had to return the item to ensure good luck.

Something blue goes all the way back to an ancient Israeli custom, where the bride wore a blue ribbon in her hair to represent fidelity.

Image courtesy

And a lucky sixpence in her shoe. Wealth in the married couple’s life was sure to happen, if the bride wore a siller, or silver, sixpence in her shoe. Here, in the US, some brides substitute a penny in their shoe, as the sixpence is less common.

Have you heard this rhyme?

Find a penny pick it up,
all the day you’ll have good luck.
Find a penny, leave it lay,
Bad luck you’ll have all the day.
Image courtesy

I grew up with the wedding tradition that for the penny to bring the bride good luck, she had to find and retrieve a penny someone had dropped and left laying. I slipped one I had found into my wedding shoe in 1965.

Wedding Dress Colors

In some eras, brides simply wore their best dress to their wedding. The color was whatever they liked.

It’s a myth that white was a sign of virginity. Instead, white was always associated with 'joy' and thought to ward off evil spirits.

In 1499, when Anne of Brittany married Louis XII of France, she wore the first known white wedding dress. Silver had been the traditional color of Royal brides.

In the 16th century, the wealthy began wearing white wedding gowns. Queen Victoria chose to be married in white, as it was her favorite color.

Image courtesy

Today, most brides marry in white, which is believed to symbolize maidenhood. As so few people really look good in white, ivory has become the second choice of color.

The following traditional rhyme offers advice on the color for a wedding dress ~

Married in White, you have chosen right,
Married in Blue, your love will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Brown, you will live in town,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink,
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.

There’s an old wedding tradition that a woman married in a 'green gown' was promiscuous, as her dress was stained green, due to rolling in grassy fields.

But any Celtic bride will tell you a green dress is a badge of pride and has no connection with her purity or lack thereof.

To leave Bridal Wear Traditions and return to
Scottish Wedding Traditions just close the page

Leave Bridal Wear Traditions and return
to Scottish Wedding Dreams Home Page