Creating the perfect wedding day is something that takes a lot of time, effort and attention to detail. Everyone has their own vision for what makes the perfect day; for some, it’s all about the food and setting, for others it’s the music, while there are those who look forward to the ceremony itself. For those who want to take a leaf from times of old and use traditional Scottish wedding vows, we have compiled a list of examples and ideas to get you started.
Every religious denomination has different rules surrounding wedding vows, though many do offer the opportunity to decide on or write your own. Use these wedding vows of old to either inspire your own adaptations or adopt them completely for a truly traditional touch to your special day.
The History of Scottish Wedding Traditions
Before getting into the vows themselves, it’s worth covering exactly where these vows come from. Weddings, matrimony and partnerships have featured throughout human history, likely even before most of the religions that we associate weddings with today.
What makes up a traditional or old Scottish wedding vows, as well as other Scottish traditions, is a chequered past. Most traditions have been changed or adapted over time as culture evolves and changes, with Scottish weddings following the same example.
Despite this, the origins of the wedding vows coming up are mostly Celtic. The Celts date back to around 1000BC and were the name given to the people that inhabited the British Isles and much of Europe, including Scotland. With a distinct affinity for nature and their own mythology surrounding the forces and gods of the world, Celtic ceremonies were very different to those we have today, yet the translations and adaptations of their wedding vows can still work in the modern-day.
Modern and Contemporary Scottish Wedding Vow
Before exploring the traditional, older examples, we should look at current vows so that we can see the difference. Modern Scottish wedding vows tend to resemble those across the UK and Ireland, with slight variations occurring depending on church denomination and personal preference. They all tend to focus on a similar structure:
“I, [insert name] take thee to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for fairer or fouler, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us depart,” with some choosing to add, “according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.”
This will seem familiar to anyone who has watched a wedding in a film before as it’s these lines that we see most often. With this in mind, we can now move onto the slightly quirkier traditional Scottish wedding vow examples.
Traditional and Old Scottish Wedding Vows
Here are some wedding vow ideas you can use to make your day as special as possible.
1. A Warrior’s Vow
Following a trend of the Celts, who were known as fierce warriors, this set of vows uses combat as a metaphor for the partnership being undertaken.
I vow you the first cut of my meat, the first sip of my wine,
from this day it shall only be your name I cry out in the night
and into your eyes that I smile each morning;
I shall be a shield for your back as you are for mine,
nor shall a grievous word be spoken about us,
for our marriage is sacred between us and no stranger shall hear my grievance.
Above and beyond this, I will cherish and honour you through this life
and into the next.
2. A Christian Touch
This traditional Scottish wedding vow is less Celtic and from a slightly more recent era when Christianity featured more heavily in our society. If you would like an unconventional Christian set of vows, this should work.
By the power that Christ brought from heaven, mayst thou love me.
As the sun follows its course, mayst thou follow me.
As light to the eye, as bread to the hungry, as joy to the heart,
May thy presence be with me,
Oh one that I love, 'til death comes to part us asunder.
3. Short but Impactful
Using emotive and direct language, this Celtic option is clear and concise for those who want a meaningful but quick set of vows.
Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done.
4. Showing Intent
Many find an issue with certain older wedding traditions seeming quite male-dominant, for example, the giving away of the bride. This set of traditional Scottish wedding vows is an excellent way of adding power into the unification of a couple, showing how both parties – by choice – are giving themselves to one another.
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give
You cannot command me, for I am a free person
But I shall serve you in those ways you require
and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
5. A Twist on the Warrior’s Vow
This option takes the framework provided in the previous vow mentioned and takes out much of the more war-like language, replacing it with promises of dedication forevermore. A softer solution for those that enjoyed the first item in this list.
I pledge my love to you, and everything that I own.
I promise you the first bite of my meat and the first sip from my cup.
I pledge that your name will always be the name I cry aloud in the dead of night.
I promise to honour you above all others.
Our love is never-ending, and we will remain, forevermore, equals in our marriage.
This is my wedding vow to you.
6. A Promise of Protection
Breaking away from the traditional wedding vow format, this option is highly affectionate and concludes with promises of protection or safety. For additional intent, you may choose to add the word ‘I’ to certain sentences, solidifying the promises of protection.
You are the star of each night,
You are the brightness of every morning,
You are the story of each guest,
You are the report of every land.
No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank,
In a field, valley, on a mountain or in a glen.
7. Brief and Impactful
With further references to biblical figures, this old Scottish wedding vow is another great choice if you prefer to condense meaning into a few short phrases.
We swear by peace and love to stand,
Heart to heart and hand to hand.
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now,
Confirming this our Sacred Vow.
Complement Your Vows with a Beautiful Scottish Wedding Venue
A traditional Scottish wedding is a beautiful, friendly and special occasion. Making your day as amazing as possible can sometimes seem like a challenge, but the team at Gleddoch Hotel & Spa are here to make your life as easy as possible. Our experienced event management team have experience working with weddings of all shapes and sizes, from quaint and intimate affairs to sweeping family occasions.
In particular, wedding parties choose Gleddoch due to our stunning grounds and incredible setting. Nestled just outside of Glasgow, we are situated overlooking the Clyde Estuary which, alongside beautifully landscaped grounds, making for a picturesque Scottish wedding setting.
Learn more about our wedding services here or get in touch with our team for bespoke advice tailored to your needs.