The ONLY guide written to help you plan a Tartan Wedding - a
wedding filled with romantic charm and resplendent pride!
Celtic Renaissance Wedding
A wedding is the highlight of most any woman's life; a day
with years of planning. But where do we get our wedding traditions?
Many of these traditions are from deep within the Celtic Culture
from long, long ago. Once the betrothal has been agreed upon, the planning begins. The bride
plans the wedding and there are many customs that she might choose to use in her wedding.
In the old days family members grew up within close distances and the gathering would
draw friends and relatives who would travel for many hours, by walking twenty or thirty miles. The feasting
and drinking and revelry might last for days.
As you can guess many of the rustic wedding customs of our
ancestors do not travel very well to our present times. Breaking a loaf of bread over the head of the bride
or the groom as they leave the church ; what are the chances that the unmarried youth present will scramble to
eat a bit of it off the ground to ensure a good match for their own marriage.
Thus we have customized this tradition of throwing rice or more
recently bird seed. It was also traditional to salute the bride and groom by firing guns into the air
outside the church. It just wouldn't work the same way today.
It was customary in some locations that the couple would spend their wedding night in
the barn. The bride's friends would dress her for bed and tuck her in. Then the male guests would enter
and kiss her good night.
Then there were pranks and peeping until everyone was too drunk
or exhausted to remember. The grandparents would plan ways of escape and thus tying cans to the back of
cars came into popularity.
The salmon leap was also the traditional way the groom joined his bride in the
wedding bed. This was symbolic to imitating a salmon swimming upstream to spawn.
Musical traditions travel though time better. Having a piper lead the bride to
the church or down the aisle dresses the occasion with heritage. This is probably the most common way to honor
the bride and groom that gives the wedding a Celtic flavor.
The white wedding dress is a relative new tradition in Celtic lands. In the 19th
century colored bridal dresses were quite common at country weddings. The groom wearing a kilt to the wedding
is also certainly a Celtic tradition, but should not be worn if the groom does not have the confidence to wear a
Posting of the banns of marriage were required in areas under British rule,
includingWales,Scotland andIreland. The banns consisted of an announcement in church for three Sundays prior to the
wedding. This prevented people from marrying in haste and to give anyone any who might object time to learn
of the match.
Handfasting was practiced in Medieval Scotland, Northern England
andIreland. It seems to have
meant betrothal and in other countries genuine marriage. Many interpreted it as a trial
It was practiced that this tradition is for a year and a
day. A year and a day was the length of time for a couple to be married in order for a spouse to have
claim to a share of inheritable property.
This tradition can be a part of the religious or civil wedding ceremony. The
hands of the bride and groom are joined as in the familiar scene as the person officiating the ceremony asks "Who
gives this woman to be wed?" and then takes her hand from her father or whoever is giving away the bride and clasps
it to the hand of the groom.
In olden days the priest or minister would wrap the clasped
hands in the end of his stole to symbolize the holy trinity. This symbolic binding together in marriage
evolved into the practice of wrapping the clasped hands with a cord or an embroidered cloth made especially for
The Road to Camelot
Avalon: Celtic Wedding Slide Show
Our knowledge of what common folk did at their weddings prior
to living memory is limited to a very few accounts recorded by travelers in the 19th century. Prior to then
what the common folk did was of no interest to the literate. Many married with very little fuss. Much
different from the big fanfare of today.