Scottish wedding traditions to make your day special

Traditional Scottish wedding customs

The Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness has everything you need for a magical Scottish wedding. A flexible venue with a choice of event spaces, beautiful gardens, delicious food and drink and an experienced team to make sure all runs smoothly. We cater for weddings large and small, with a maximum capacity of 200 guests for a ceremony, 300 for a wedding breakfast and 350 for an evening reception. Our setting in the heart of the Highlands makes us ideal for a traditional Scottish wedding. So today we are sharing some wedding customs and traditions to give you a little inspiration…

Highland dress

Traditionally, Scottish grooms wear full Highland dress on their wedding day, which includes a tartan kilt, shirt, waistcoat, necktie, jacket, sporran, socks and flashes, sgian dubh and ghillie brogues. They may also wear a plaid in matching tartan over the shoulder. Brides traditionally wear a white dress, and they might add a flourish of tartan such as a rosette or sash.

A wedding dress and kilt suit hanging in a tree


Bagpipe music is often played at special occasions in Scotland, and especially at weddings. A piper, dressed in Highland dress, may play the bagpipes to mark the arrivals and exits of guests and the wedding couple, and also as entertainment during the day. But you can choose where and when you would like to have bagpipe music.

Close up of a piper playing the bagpipes


Handfasting is a Celtic ceremony of binding a couple by tying their hands together with a cord or ribbon. This is where the saying “tying the knot” comes from, and it symbolises two people coming together as one. It can take place during the vows or as a separate ritual.

Hand fasting at a Scottish wedding


You could choose a Scottish wedding blessing or romantic poem as part of the ceremony readings. A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns, for example.

A book with open pages forming a heart shape

The Quaich

A quaich is a special cup with two handles. It is filled with whisky and passed from person to person, who each take a sip, symbolising trust between the fellow drinkers. At a wedding, the quaich may be used by the couple during the ceremony or passed between the wedding party at the reception.

Traditional Scottish quaich filled with whisky


A ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a party with dancing, similar to a barn dance, and Scottish folk music. There are several traditional dances, but you don’t need to know the moves. The ceilidh band will call out instructions as you go. Participants are in pairs, but the pairs often swap around and interact. It’s a great way to bring people together at the wedding reception.

Ceilidh band's instruments

At the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, your Scottish wedding can be as unique as you are. Explore all that we have to offer with a choice of luxury wedding venues, custom wedding packages, wedding planners, accommodation and more. We can also suggest local suppliers, such as pipers, ceilidh bands, celebrants and outfitters, who can help to bring these Scottish wedding traditions to your big day. Chat to us today.