Scotland’s traditional Celtic and Gaelic origins are still a fundamental part of the country’s culture and often play a prominent role in traditional Scottish wedding ceremonies.
If you’re thinking of incorporating a Scottish wedding tradition into your special day, but aren’t sure where to start, we look at the different options, what they mean, and how to get you on the road to selecting the right one for you and your partner’s big day.
What is a Scottish Wedding Blessing?
A Scottish wedding blessing is essentially a Scottish wedding toast, prayer, or a thanksgiving speech that is traditionally given by the father of the bride and is often comprised of well wishes, compliments, and amusing anecdotes. It is then preceded by the groom with a speech of thanks to the wedding party, guests, and his now-wife, and then by a speech from the best man.
Traditionally only four speakers are expected to give blessings before the wedding feast, which are usually the three speakers referenced above, with the fourth being the vicar or priest (if the celebration is of a religious tone). More modern weddings may include a speech from the mother of the bride/groom, as well as other members of the wedding party, such as the maid of honour.
A typical traditional wedding blessing will feature words of praise, compliments on the couple and their big day, marital advice, and amusing anecdotes. In more traditional wedding blessings, the groom would then say a few words of thanks to the blessers on behalf of himself and his new bride.
Read More: 11 Non-Religious Wedding Blessings
15 Scottish Wedding Blessing Examples
So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the traditional Scottish wedding blessings you can task one or more of your bridal party members with. Whether you wish to go for one in English or traditional Gaelic – the choice is yours.
“Móran làithean dhuit is sìth, Le d’mhaitheas is le d’nì bhi fàs”
Translation: “A thousand welcomes to you with your marriage. May you be healthy all your days.”
(Wedding blessing from the Clan Buchanan).
“A thousand welcomes to you with your marriage kerchief. May you be healthy all your days. May you be blessed with long life and peace, and May you grow old with goodness and riches.” (by Rev. Donald Macleod, minister of Duirinish, Skye, Scotland, circa 1760).
“May the hills lie low,
May the hills lie low,
May the sloughs fill up
In thy way.
May all evil sleep,
May all good awake
In thy way.”
(from “Mystery on the Isle of Skye”).
“A toast to the bride and the groom! Firstly, may you two have a happy and fruitful honeymoon. May your life be happy and full of good fortune, and may you remain lovers for life.
May the bride and groom always have good health, as well as all of the guests here with us today. May you be surrounded by peace, joy, and patience. May you find contentment individually and as a couple, and may you be blessed by the Lord forevermore.”
“With a tie not easy to break
Take the time of bindin’
Before the final vows are made
To learn what you need to know,
To grow in wisdom and love.
That your marriage will be strong,
That your love will last
In this life and beyond.”
(Origin unknown, but this blessing is often spoken when couples include a traditional handfasting ceremony into their wedding).
“May the blessing of light be on you, light outside and light within. May the blessed sunlight shine down on you like a great fire, so that strangers and friends alike may come and warm themselves with it.
And may you two be a beacon of light for everyone around you, like a candle set by the window of a house, bidding the wanderer take shelter from the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you; may it wash your Spirit fair and clean, leaving a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines.
May the blessing of the earth be on you, soft under your feet as you walk along the roads, soft under you as you lie on it when you are tired at the end of the day.
May the Lord bless you and bless you kindly.”
“May you both be blessed with the fortitude of heaven, the brightness of the Sun, and the brilliance of the moon. May you have the magnificence of fire, speed of lightning, quickness of wind, depth of the sea, stability of Earth, and the sturdiness of rock. May your joys be as sweet as the flowers that blossom in spring and as radiant as the summer Sun. May the shower of autumn leaves bring to you faith and fortune, and may your love be resilient amidst the long winter nights.”
“Wherever you live in the world so wide,
We wish you a nook on the sunny side.
With much love and care,
A little purse with money to spare,
Your own cosy hearth where your day is spent,
In a little house where your hearts are content.”
“Wishing you always walls for the wind,
A roof over your head for the rain,
Tea to sip beside the fire,
And the love and laughter of those you hold dear.”
“May the best you have ever seen
Be the worst you will ever see.
May a mouse never leave your *girnal
With a teardrop in its eye.
May you always keep hale and hearty
Till you are old enough to die.
May you always be just as happy
As we wish you always to be. “
*Girnal means “storage chest for meal and oats”.
“May the best ye’ve ever seen Be the worst ye’ll ever see. May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal Wi ‘ a tear drap in his e’e. May ye aye keep hale an’ herty Till ye’re auld eneuch tae dee. May ye aye be jist as happy As we wish ye aye tae be.”
“If righteousness is in the heart, there will be beauty in character. There will be harmony in the home if there is beauty in character. If there is harmony in the home, the nation will have order. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. So let it be!”
“May you both be blessed with the strength of heaven, The light of the sun and the radiance of the moon, The splendour of fire, The speed of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of the sea, The stability of earth, And the firmness of rock.”
“Happy the bride and bridegroom, and thrice happy are they whose love grows stronger daily and whose union remains undissolved until the last day.”
“Ten thousand things bright, Ten thousand miles, no dust, Water and sky one colour, Houses shining along your road.”
As you see, many traditional Scottish wedding blessings are religious-themed, so many modern couples planning on a humanist ceremony opt to encourage their speakers to write their own blessings (which are effectively just wedding speeches!).
How to Write a Scottish Wedding Blessing For Your Big Day
If you want to add your own unique touch to a Scottish wedding blessing, as many do, you can ask the allocated speakers to write them. Here’s what the speaker should bear in mind when creating a wedding blessing:
- The foundation of any wedding blessing – traditional or otherwise – is a set of well-wishes for the happy couple.
- A lot of modern blessings can be comical, tongue-in-cheek, or sometimes even downright rude, but at the heart of them should always be genuine compliments to the bride and groom.
- It’s important to include heartfelt reasons why you (the speaker) love the happy couple. Blessings should be moving/from the heart.
- It’s good to include an anecdote (funny, thoughtful, inspirational, etc.).
- Congratulations to the newlyweds.
- Be audience-aware. The bride/groom may find certain banter/stories from your college years amusing, but the parents/grandparents may not!
- Be mindful of language if there are young children at the wedding.
Scottish Wedding Blessing: FAQs
Celtic weddings are often very traditional affairs and will incorporate a blessing such as “May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!”
One of the most popular and well-loved Scottish wedding blessings is “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always. at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. the rains fall soft upon your fields.”.
Many speakers opt for this as it’s in English (traditional Gaelic isn’t the easiest language to learn!), simple, thoughtful, and not religiously exclusive.