Scottish culture brings a wealth of tradition which could provide inspiration to your wedding plans. Those with links to Scotland often find that featuring aspects of their own heritage within their ceremony brings an individual touch to a truly memorable day. Scottish traditions have been expanding in popularity around the globe too, influencing brides and wedding planners looking for unique touches all around the world. Here are some suggestions which will help you make your Scottish wedding truly authentic, whether you are looking for a few subtle hints or an all-out traditional Scottish wedding.
1. A Wedding Shawl
Perhaps one of the most elegant ways to bring a touch of Scottish style to your wedding outfit, is a beautiful Shetland lace shawl. These intricate shawls have been produced for generations, using the softest, single ply wool to create fine, cobweb like patterns. The finest examples are so skilfully produced that, even though a wedding shawl will generally be around six foot square, it can be pulled easily through the bride’s wedding ring.
Today these shawls are still worked by families in the Shetland Islands, and can be ordered from anywhere around the world – which is fortunate for those without the time or skills to work up their own! Don’t be fooled by the gossamer thin construction, because these lace shawls are surprisingly warm, and likely to be much appreciated by the bride on the day – especially if she’s thinking of using a venue in Scotland!
The picture to the right shows a beautiful Shetland lace shawl, designed and created by Sheila Fowlie (copyright owned by Sheila Fowlie). Her range of bespoke shawls can be found here http://www.shetlandlaceshawls.co.uk
Many people are vaguely aware of hand fastening, or ‘hand fasting’ ceremonies, which have strong roots in Scottish tradition. It is thought they were used in some parts of Scotland as a sort of trial wedding, with the ceremonial binding of the hands replacing the use of rings, committing the couple to stay together for a year and a day. Today, hand fastening ceremonies continue to be a popular alternative to religious ceremonies, and can also be a lovely way to renew your vows.
3. Artisan Bridesmaid gifts from Orkney
A more contemporary trend is the gifting of mementos to bridesmaids. Generally, the bride will choose something small with a personal touch, to thank her friends and remind them of the special day they will have helped her put together. Modern bridesmaids are likely to appreciate a modern gift – and there are plenty of contemporary Scottish jewellery designers offering simple, sweet pieces which are likely to tick all the right boxes. Ortak, the Orkney jewellery artisans, are currently offering these dainty earrings, which are adaptable enough to suit any bridesmaid dress.
With their dainty, heart shaped leaf motifs, this pair of drop earrings would provide a lasting reminder of a Scottish wedding, and be the perfect accessory on day itself too. Click here to view the Archibald Knox style Sterling Silver Earrings in the Jewellery of Scotland shop.
4. Tartan and Kilts
Having the male members of your wedding party wear kilts rather than a morning suit is not a new trend, particularly where a family has Scottish family connections to celebrate. If you don’t have your own links to Scotland, but would love to have tartan feature at your wedding, why not design your own? This will go down much better with any genuine Scottish guests, than simply choosing a clan pattern with which you have no associations. There are many online sites which allow you to choose colours which have some significance to you and your partners, and even order them in a woven form.
Alternatively, if a full complement of kilts isn’t quite your style, you could still use tartan for other aspects of your wedding décor. How about printed napkins and menus, themed in your chosen colours? Ribbons can look particularly smart in tartan styles, and might be the perfect, subtly Scottish, finishing touch for your wedding cake.
5. Oathing Stones
Oathing stones are the traditional – and slightly classier – version of carving the name of your loved one in a school desk. Before the widespread availability of paper and ink, important promises were often recorded by being carved in stone, or other hard materials. The Scottish tradition of holding a stone in the hands whilst making wedding vows reflects this. Most likely, the tradition also has its roots in early pagan beliefs, that making promises near running water and stone landmarks tended to bode well for the future.
Using an oathing stone is not just an interesting way to mark the part of the wedding ceremony most likely to smudge the mother of the bride’s mascara – the stone itself will be kept by the couple for the rest of their lives, as a tangible reminder of the promises made to each other.
Oathing stones are a long held Scottish tradition which has only recently started coming back into vogue. Perhaps the most authentic way to engage with this old folkloric belief, is to use a pleasing pebble which the couple choose themselves. Why not take a walk on the Scottish coast with your loved one, and search for the perfect oathing stone together? Alternatively, bespoke oathing stones can be specially ordered with custom engraving – perhaps a favourite line from you wedding vows, or a reminder of the happy date itself.
There are a wide range of styles of Oathing stone available via etsy, including this one created by sjEngraving. The picture shows an example of SJ Engraving oathing stone (copyright owned by SJ Engraving).
6. Celtic Inspiration for your Wedding Ring
If Celtic traditions are close to your heart, why not embrace your heritage and choose a wedding ring which reflects your individuality? Celtic inspired patterns have a timeless, enduring appeal, and add subtle femininity to an otherwise plain wedding band. Contemporary brides tend to prefer clean, modern lines in a piece of jewellery which they will want to wear every day, for the rest of their lives. This Ortak designed ring achieves the perfect combination of old and new: the traditional swirling Celtic knotwork livens up a plain band, without detracting from an overall classic effect.
Orkney based jewellery designers’ Ortak Celtic Wedding Band can be seen by clicking here.
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