Wedding Day Customs

Many wedding day customs have grown and waned over the years regarding the actual day of the wedding. Any of these wedding day traditions could be fun when added to your Scottish theme wedding plans.

A Rainy Wedding Day

Rain on your wedding day was ok, if everything was on schedule or close to it.

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The inconvenience of the rain showed that the two of you could work well together under pressure, in the face of obstacles. Therefore, the marriage would be a success. It seems the only negative thing about a rainy wedding day is that you’re almost guaranteed a ‘bad hair’ day.

Some people believed if it rained on your wedding day that you would have many children. While other wedding day customs say that rain on the wedding day represented the bride's old suitors crying after her.

So if there’s a skarrach, or swiftly passing shower of rain or a light snowfall, on your wedding day, rejoice. Otherwise, like most brides, you’ll hope for a braw, or good, day.

The Bridal Concomitant

In the 1800’s, the bride would sew a bridal flag or ensign for her wedding day. It would be embellished with wedding symbols, like the Claddagh, Celtic knots, the Luckenbooth. On the wedding morning, the flag was flown from the rooftop of her parent’s home.

A Look in the Mirror

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When the bride was ready to leave the house for her wedding ceremony, a last look in the mirror would bring her good luck. If she viewed her whole body, she would have bad luck. And returning to the mirror, once she had begun her journey, would bring bad luck.

The Procession

The procession from home to the church played a very important part in the wedding day ceremonies. This custom can be seen in the movie ‘Under the Lighthouse Dancing’.

Often flower petals were strewn in their path by the accompanying family and friends…perhaps even another duty for the flower girl.

As part of the wedding day customs, if a pig or a funeral were encountered, this was bad luck. The procession turned around, returned home, and started over again.

The First Foot

As the procession went to the church, the first person encountered was dubbed ‘The First Foot’. As part of the celebration, the First Foot was given a coin and a drink of whiskey by the bride. In turn, the First Foot had to walk with the procession for one mile. He was then free to continue on his own way.

Good Omens

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Seeing a chimney sweep on the way to the wedding was thought to bring good luck. In Great Britain, a chimney sweep can be hired to attend the wedding ceremony.

Other good luck omens, when seen on the way to the ceremony, included lambs, toads, spiders, black cats, sunshine and rainbows.

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The Bridal Bouquet

Scottish brides carried a sprig of white heather, for good luck.

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The Groom’s Boutonnière

The groom often selected a flower for his buttonhole from the bride's bouquet. This harkens back to Medieval times when a Knight would wear his Lady's colours to display his love ~ another of the Scottish wedding day customs.


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Horses in general were first a luxury, then an important holding. To see a gray horse was good luck. To ride to the wedding in a carriage drawn by a gray horse was even better.

The Horseshoe

Once they had horses, the brides began carrying a horseshoe in their bouquet for luck. They carried the horseshoe open side up to catch the luck and eventually began decorating the horseshoe.

In some areas the bride would have a silver horseshoe sewn into the hem of her wedding dress. Other brides have the ringbearer carry a decorated horseshoe, with ribbons to tie the wedding rings in place. In some areas the bride would have a silver horseshoe sewn into the hem of her wedding dress. Other brides have the ringbearer carry a decorated horseshoe, with ribbons to tie the wedding rings in place. This tradition has evolved in the U.S., especially in western-themed weddings, where the decorating is “cowboy”.

In other areas, another good luck traditional was for a toddler to hand a horseshoe to the bride as she walked out of the church with her new hain, or husband.

Horseshoes from the hind hoof of a gray were the best of all lucky horseshoes.

A Walk With The Sun

One of the popular wedding day traditions was for the bride to walk with the sun for good luck. On the south side of the church, she would walk from east to west. Then she would continue to walk around the church three times.


Bridesmaids were dressed similar to the bride. Their purpose was to be decoys, confusing the evil spirits and faeries, thus protecting the bride.

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