Scottish Wedding Traditions: Quaich
We are looking forward with some hope that Weddings will be able to resume soon! But here is a tradition you can use whether its just the two of you, or in front of a full congregation. As mentioned in our Scottish Wedding Traditions blog, quaichs have been used in Scottish wedding ceremonies for centuries. But where did this tradition come from? Our latest blog takes a look at the history of the quaich and features some suggestions for incorporating the tradition into your own wedding day…
What is a Quaich?
A quaich is a two handled cup, which was traditionally used to welcome guests. The cup would be shared by the host and their guest, indicating a level of trust between the two as it acted as a guarantee that the drink contained hadn’t been poisoned. As the quaich would be offered and taken with both hands, neither person would be able to hold a weapon at the same time either, further emphasising the element of trust between both parties.
How did it become a wedding tradition?
The quaich first became associated with weddings when King James VI of Scotland married Anne of Denmark in 1589, and presented her with a quaich to mark the occasion. Since then, the quaich has been included in Scottish wedding ceremonies in various ways, with the couple often taking a handle each and sharing a drink from the cup to symbolise the love and trust between them. As the cup is traditionally ‘the cup of welcome’, drinking from it can also be seen as a way for the bride and groom to welcome each other to their new family!
What can I do to include a Quaich in my wedding?
There are many ways to include a Quaich into your wedding, and a Quaich ceremony would typically be conducted following the signing of the schedule. You could each hold onto the cup for the other when you drink, symbolising your togetherness. You can find examples of the wording your celebrant can use here. The Quaich could also be handed to the bride by the groom’s parents and to the groom by the bride’s parents, as a way of welcoming each into the other’s family. If you are having a religious ceremony or would rather not include the Quaich during the ceremony itself, couples frequently use the Quaich at the reception for their first toast together.
What drink should I use?
This is entirely up to you! Historically, a quaich would be filled with whisky, but you can add your own twist to this tradition and fill the cup with a drink of your choice. You could also combine two drinks to symbolise your union as a married couple! If you choose to include a Quaich in your wedding, it’s a lovely touch to get the Quaich engraved with your names and the date of your wedding for a keepsake you’ll treasure forever.