Scottish Wedding Inspiration

Scottish Wedding Themes & Ideas

A Scottish wedding ceremony can be as simple or elaborate as you wish, and whatever theme you choose to make you big day Scottish will be sure to make your wedding perfect! 

A Scottish wedding is that of a fairy tale with the sprawling green glens, glistening lochs and grand castles. With options for all budgets, traditional Scottish surroundings easily add to the ambiance before a single piece of bunting or fairy light is hung. Explore the various elements of a Scottish wedding that blend tradition with modern style.


Scottish weddings of the past are full of tradition, many of which have been passed down the generations over centuries. Many of them involve activities that happen before the big day - such as the exchange of a luckenbooth as a promise to wed - and a few are still regularly practiced today.


The handfasting ceremony is an activity that dates back centuries and is known to be part of a Pagan ritual. The ritual was a sign of engagement in the middle ages and showed that the couple were betrothed to each other. The activity involved wrapping a piece of cloth or rope around the couple’s hands binding them together and signalling their intentions of a lifelong union. Modern versions of this ceremony include handfasting ribbons in the family tartan, representing the addition of the bride to the groom’s “clan” (or vice versa).


Sashing is modern take on an old wedding ritual in which the bride and groom would tear pieces from their wedding attire (which generally pieces of their clan tartan) and would tie them together to represent the joining of each other’s clan. This tradition is carried on today, though instead of tearing apart your expensive kilts and wedding dresses, a piece of tartan in the form of a pin or sash is given to the other person as a similar sign. Sometimes this is done between the bride and groom, and sometimes the mother/father of the bride or groom will do it as a welcoming gesture.


scottish wedding music bagpipesMany Scottish themed weddings incorporate a ceilidh, a Scottish dance, into their celebrations. While the custom is not particular to weddings, it is common to hold ceilidhs during most celebratory occasions. A band will play traditional Scottish folk music and learned dances with be performed. It is encouraged for all to join in and is a great way to top off a wedding day. Traditional music may also be included in the ceremony by way of a fiddle or harpist and it is also common for a bagpiper to pipe the bride down the aisle and the newlywed couple out of the ceremony. They’re clothed in full highland dress and provide the background music for much of the wedding, even being in charge of handing the bride and groom a sharp dagger to cut the cake with!


If you’re getting married in Scotland, you’re in luck. Thanks to Scottish law, you can get married practically anywhere pending there is a registered officiant conducting the ceremony and the area is not compromised for any reason. This means that white sandy beaches, gardens and even tops of mountains are options! The most sought after weddings in Scotland, though, have got to be castles.

Castle Weddings

scottish castle weddingWhat could make you feel more like royalty on your big day than getting married in a fairy tale castle? Many girls dream of becoming a princess and this is the perfect setting. Luckily, Scotland is chock full of castles of many sizes and varying levels of luxury and catering to suit all tastes. Most castles that rent out for venues offer different packages depending on your needs and number of guests. These packages tend to include basic decor, food and sometimes even entertainment! The grounds provide a stunning backdrop for photos and can be used as the ceremony site if you’re looking for an outdoor option, though with the ambiance of the dark and romantic rooms of a castle, it’s a toss up of choice depending on your preferences. If you are planning a religious ceremony, many castles still have chapels on the grounds so you can have the entire day from start to finish on the grounds. Some may even have rooms available for your guests to stay.

Outdoor Weddings

Outdoor weddings can be tricky in Scotland, due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, but can also be absolutely stunning as long as you’ve prepared for anything! As mentioned, Scottish law allows you to marry just about anywhere so you can have that beach wedding without leaving the country! Scotland has no lack of breathtaking scenery and can easily provide the perfect backdrop to your big day. Always make sure to have a backup in case of extreme weather or rain, though, even a well anchored marquee to save the day. 

Church/Cathedral Weddings

The most classic of all options, the church or cathedral wedding is for those who want to go down a more traditional route. Scotland, again, has no shortage of grand cathedrals and churches that are available, though you must go via the local Registrar beforehand to legally be allowed to marry. Many choose to have their ceremonies in a church or cathedral, with the reception/dance in a nearby location.


Traditional Scottish weddings tended to be more rustic and modest so, depending on the venue you choose, you can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. Incorporate a few classic Scottish pieces including tartan, traditional flowers, and Scottish themed favours into your decor to bring the whole look together. Decorate to show your personality and be as bold or as elegant as you’d like!


wedding flowersFlowers are a large part of any wedding but there are a few that are extra important in a Scottish wedding. Heather, particularly the rare white heather, is a symbol of good luck and it is advised to include a sprig in the bride’s bouquet. Scottish thistles, the national flower and a symbol of Scotland since the 1500s, are also widely used as the purple and green shades of the flower play off the colour of many family tartans and are a true sign of Scottish heritage. Thistles look great in bouquets and especially in the groomsmen’s buttonholes. Wrap the bouquets in tartan for another added detail.

In the end, your wedding day will be a representation of you and your bride/groom and should showcase your values and personalities first and foremost. If having a Scottish theme is important to you, be it for heritage or other reasons, minding tradition while blending with your own modern take is a guaranteed way to make sure you have the wedding of your dreams - fairy tale castle and all.

For more Scottish wedding ideas check out our Pinterest Scottish Wedding Inspiration board!
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