Below are some wedding specific terms and definitions to help you plan your wedding. With Dundas Castle being a traditional Scottish castle, we have also included some Scottish wedding related terms, with their definitions that you may not have heard before.
Address to the haggis – this is a form of traditional Scottish entertainment and involves a piper reciting a poem to the haggis (traditional Scottish dish). The piper will perform this address in a theatrical manner, usually before a haggis dish is served or even as some light entertainment between courses. The poem lasts about 4 minutes and requires a Chieftain Haggis (a large haggis).
Ceilidh – this is a Scottish/Irish dance which is usually performed in groups or pairs. Scottish and Irish music is played, typically by a live band, which may include fiddles, drums, an accordion, guitars or bagpipes. Ceilidhs comprise of set or couple dances and for weddings there is usually a ‘caller’ who will give participants instructions on how to dance each dance (meaning that it definitely doesn't matter if you have never ceilidh danced before!)
Favours – these are typically inexpensive gifts that are given to each guest and are usually left at each persons place at the wedding breakfast. They are a way of saying thank you to the guests for being part of the wedding day or can act as a souvenir in memory of your day. Sometimes the men will receive a different favour to the women or there could even be one favour per couple.
Marriage Schedule – this is the legal document that is required to make a marriage official. Without this form, there can be no legal wedding. For more information please click here.
Men’s kilt outfit – if there are any men in your party who have never worn a kilt but would like to, please click here to go to our grooms' page on how to wear a kilt where we have detailed each part of the kilt outfit. Our operations team are on hand during the preparations before the ceremony to help any groomsmen who are not familiar with how to wear a kilt.
Orders of service – this usually comes in the form of a card or mini booklet and is either given to each guest by the ushers before the ceremony or left on the guests’ seats before they arrive to the venue. Couples may wish to simply state the date, time and list any songs or readings that are to be performed, or they may wish to add more information. This could include who is in the wedding party, the minister/celebrant/registrars name, the words from any songs or readings, some history of the venue, a little bit about the couple or a running order of the wedding day.
Quaich/offering the piper a dram – a Quaich is a small silver dish with two handles that was traditionally used by the bride and groom in Scotland to share their first drink together as a married couple. It is now often used as a way to thank your piper (if you choose to have bagpipes played throughout your wedding day). Once the bride and groom have been piped to their places at the top table for dinner the bride can offer the piper a dram (small amount of whisky) to say thank you for his services. The piper will then offer a good luck toast to the bride and groom and exit.
Wedding breakfast – this is the dinner that is served in the evening after your ceremony. There are two main theories as to the reasons for the term ‘breakfast’. The first is that traditionally a wedding ceremony was a Mass where the participants would have been fasting since day break and this would be the first meal after the ceremony – therefore, breaking the fast. The second is that like a breakfast is the first meal of the day, the wedding breakfast is the first meal in a couple’s married life.
Witnesses – at least two witnesses are required to sign the marriage schedule at the same time as the minister/celebrant/registrar and the bride and groom. These witnesses must be 16 years old and over, credible and understand and speak English. When applying for your marriage schedule you must give the name and address of these witnesses.
Save the date card – this is becoming more popular and is usually given out about 6 months before the wedding date. It is a good way for guests to save the date in their diary and for friends and family travelling from overseas to book transport and accommodation.