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In the days when a couple wanted to be married, but as there were no roads a minister could not get up in time to marry them.
In order to be married they practiced what was called a handfasting. This was done by binding the couple's hands and pronouncing themselves married. They were married for a year and a day and after that they could choose to remain married and get married in the church or go their separate ways.
There was also a blood binding which would mingle the couple's blood thereby making them even more one.
There was a bit of a ceremony that went along with this along with the actual ceremony. The wrist was cut on man and woman's hands and their wrist bound to let the blood mingle; as this was done words were said.
"Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One,
I give you my Spirit, till our Life shall be Done."

Early Wedding Lore

Our forefathers believed that a bride would have bad luck if she met a priest, a monk or a hare on the way to church, and good luck if a spider, toad, cat or wolf crossed her path.Horse shoes, once kept on barn doors to ward off evil spirits, are still given to young couples, but the fear of marrying during the month of May is no longer with us.

Mothers used to warn their off-springs: "Marry in May and yer bairns will decay."

Present Day Wedding Traditions

Scottish weddings vary little from the modern customs in America. But such a wedding that adorns the altar with the brilliance of tartan and the splendor of the bagpipe is guaranteed to linger in the memory of every bride, groom, and honored guest for years to come.

The engagement ring continues to represent the seal of an agreement to marry, and 54 percent of brides choose a solitaire diamond engagement ring. The majority (91 percent) of British couples marry in the church with only 4 percent marrying at the register office. The remaining 5 percent marry at hotels, at home, or in a castle.

The Engagement Party

The Scots, always ready for something to celebrate, regard a wedding as a grand excuse for merry-making. Naturally the celebration begins with the engagement party. It could be held at the parents home with both parents attending, or a night club with invited guests, or even the village hall with the whole village present.

On The Eve Of The Wedding

On the wedding eve the bridegroom's friends throw the Stag party that often involves a combination of pranks and local customs. In Fife,a version of the custom of feet-washing still persists although only the good humored bridegrooms permit the whole ritual that used to involve sitting in a tub of water while his chums pulled off his stockings and smeared his legs with a mixture of grease, soot and ashes. In many parts of Scotland variations of this are performed on the groom - all meant to guarantee good fortune in his future marriage.

The Hen's night for the bride takes place on the same eve as the Stag party. The lady is usually dressed up by her friends, festooned with streamers and balloons and often daubed with soot and flour and paraded through the streets - to the accompaniment of rattling cans, clanking pots and pans, whistles and bells and general uproar to avert evil spirits. In many places the friends carry with them a chamber pot into which well-wishers throw a coin for good luck. This is used to raise funds towards the wedding feast - today some lassies receive a cash gift of over $100 in this unorthodox fashion!

Wedding Attire

Most brides prefer a white wedding dress. Favorite materials are still white satin and tulle embroidered with lace, although organza, beaded silk, cotton or taffeta is also used. The Victorian look is most popular.

Formal wear for the groom is either full Highland dress or day dress that is kilt and tweed jacket, or morning dress with gray topper and tails. Traditionally the groom, best man, and ushers wear white carnations and other male guests wear red ones. Lady guests may wear a buttonhole of carnations, orchids, or camellias to match their outfits.

The Wedding

The average white wedding will have up to three bridesmaids with a flower girl and kilted page boy usually about age three. The task of the page boy is to present a lucky silver horseshoe to the bride as she steps out of the church on the arms of her husband. At many Scottish weddings a piper is on hand to lead the happy couple from the church to the waiting car. As the car moves away the groom may throw a pile of silver coins out the window to be gathered up by expectant children.

The average Scottish wedding begins at 4 PM followed by the reception with formal meal, champagne toast, and speeches at 5 PM and then the wedding dance at 7:30 PM until the wee small hours!

Wedding Gifts

Most modern couples have a show of wedding gifts, or a shower as we know it. Food and drinks being part of the affair, may turn this into quite a party. It is usually hosted by the bride to be and her mother.