The Tryste
Scottish Wedding Traditions

As a Scottish wedding tradition, the tryste, or betrothal, included the following Scottish customs ~ Fede ring, Lukenbooth Brooch, and Claddagh Ring.

Fede Ring

Since the Book of Genesis, rings have been given as pledges. A wedding tradition of the Romans was to give a betrothal ring. In the Middle Ages, the Scots began the wedding tradition of giving a silver fede ring. This ring was consigned to the kirk, or church, when arranging for their proclamation of marriage.

Luckenbooth Brooch

Silversmiths and goldsmiths sold their wares from open market stalls along the Royal Mile, adjacent to Edinburgh Castle. In the early 1700’s, these stalls were replaced with booths that could be locked at night ~ thus luckenbooth.

The jewelers created a brooch that’s become a wedding tradition. They used intertwining hearts, topped with a crown that was symbolic of Mary Queen of Scots. The hearts often formed a stylized “M”, as the original Luckenbooth’s were styled after Mary’s royal monogram.

Another wedding tradition was to engrave the inside with a pledge of love. These were treasured by the bride ~ worn at her wedding, then carefully stored away. When their first child was christened, the brooch was pinned on the christening gown. Then it was put away again, only to be brought out for the eldest child’s betrothal.

Here’s an interesting twist ~ in 18th century North America, Iroquois Indians traded for Luckenbooth brooches. They copied the design from Scottish settlers and Highland soldiers they met during the French and Indian War.

In Areana, Wisconsin, there’s even a Luckenbooth Restaurant , where you can celebrate a Robert Burns Dinner.

Sandy Dixon has a CD entitled The Luckenbooth, a dance popular with Scottish Country dancers.

Claddagh Rings

There is a tradition that a young fisherman, named Richard Joyce, was captured by Algerian Corsican pirates ~ a week before his wedding.

He was sold to a Moorish goldsmith who apprenticed young Joyce and taught him goldsmithing. In 1689, he was released as part of a general amnesty agreed upon by William III of England and the Moors. Returning home, Joyce found his bride awaited his return.


As a token of her faithfulness, he fashioned a special ring, of three symbols ~ the hands signifying friendship, holding the hearts signifying love, topped with a crown signifying loyalty.

Since they lived in the village of Claddagh, we now have the wedding tradition of the Claddagh ring. Since they lived in the village of Claddagh, we now have the wedding tradition of the Claddagh ring. But don’t go looking for the village, it no longer exists.

In Gaelic, Grá, Dílseacht agus Cairdeas (pronounced 'graw, dealshocked ogis cordiss') means a trinity of "Love, Loyalty, and Friendship".

The hands are there for friendship, The heart is there for love. For loyalty throughout the year, The crown is raised above.

Other folklore correlates the Claddagh ring and the shamrock as one of the oldest symbols of the Holy Trinity among the Celts. This interpretation describes the crown as a symbol of the Father, the left hand as the Son, and the right hand as the Holy Ghost, all caring for the heart in the center, symbolizing humanity.

The Claddagh symbol is popular as a gift for the tryste, as a token of unfailing love, and as a wedding decoration.

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