Scottish Wedding Symbols

Scottish wedding symbols and traditions still practiced today include Celtic Knots, Clan Plants and Badges, Clan Mottos, The Saltire, and the Scottish Thistle.

Celtic Knots

The Celtic race is known for their symbolism and the beauty of their Celtic knots. They abound in every day life, in their art, and on their clothing accessories. Naturally, many of these have become traditional Scottish wedding symbols ~ Celtic Knots, Clan Plants and Badges, the Saltire, Scottish Thistle.

The interlaced lines symbolized no beginning, no end and everlasting love with a binding, or intertwining together, of two souls.

The Trinity Knot is the simplest of Celtic knots, symbolizing a triune Godhead. For the Celts, all important things came in threes, which Christianity adopted as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

As Scottish wedding symbols, all aspects of the knots were given meaning. The crossing of the strands of the knot represented the way in which the lives of the bride and groom were to be intertwined.

The repetitious knots with each knot
connecting to the next was like an unbroken chain of generations. The interlaces also represented intertwined hearts which, of course, represent love.

Embroidery knot images can be found at

Clan Plants & Badges

Each clan has an identifying plant. To exclude these from your wedding planning would be remiss. They are an integral part of each clan, and as such Scottish wedding symbols not to be overlooked.
Image courtesy
Image courtesy
Image courtesy

Find your clan plants.

Your clan mottos can also be used as Scottish wedding traditions.

The Saltire, or St. Andrew’s Flag

Legend has it that Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, refused to be crucified on a cross like Jesus, feeling he was not worthy to receive the same treatment as his Lord. So he was crucified upside down on an ‘X’ cross.

In 370 A.D., some of Andrew’s remains were stolen from Constantinople by St. Rule and taken to the ‘ends of the earth’ for safe keeping. He buried them in a Pictish settlement on the east coast of Scotland. This settlement became known as St. Andrews.

In 832 A.D., the Picts, under Angus MacFergus, were fighting the Northumbrians of England. Legend says an ‘X’ cross appeared in the sky, encouraging the Picts and scaring the Northumbrians away.

On the Saltire, the field is blue with a white ‘X’ cross.The azure blue symbolizes the sky, the white is St. Andrew's cross. The King, Angus MacFergus, adopted this symbol as a national emblem.

The Saltire at Tiree courtesy of,
Alexander Boden photographer

From that time onward, the Saltire, or St. Andrew’s flag, has been the national flag of the Scots. It was also worn on the tunics and bonnets of Scottish soldiers as a way to identify one another on the battlefield.

Today the Saltire is believed to be the oldest national flag still in use. Many of the kilt rental companies also rent the Saltire, making it easy and economical to include it in your Scottish wedding symbols as traditions in your Scottish theme wedding.

Scottish Thistle

This has been a symbol of Scotland since the 1500’s. There are two stories about how the Scots came to revere the thistle.
Image courtesy

One version is that during the Viking invasions, an attacker stepped on a thistle and cried out, thus awakening the Scots and saving the day.

The second version tells of the English army advancing upon a Scottish castle at night. Unknowingly, the soldiers took a route through a stand of dried thistle. The rattling of the dried heads and leaves alerted the castle…

The Scottish King Kenneth III gratefully adopted the thistle as his nation’s emblem.

Even though it is prickly, many wedding traditions have arisen around the thistle. Sometimes fresh flowers are used, but silk ones are now available. Motifs of the thistle can be seen on napkins, invitations, and cakes as Scottish wedding symbols.

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