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  1. #11
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    There’s a consistent message here. In a church, every service we perform is worship of God and thanks given to God. As such a sword would be rather out of place.

    In our service, I take a ten minute break while the organist plays or a soloist sings or something like that, and I act as an agent of the province to fill out the registration papers for the marriage as well as filling in the parish register. After that, we’re back to the service as written, no major variations. I have had “sand ceremomies” and candle ceremonies before the service begins, but those are pretty tame compared to a sword ceremony, and even those I discourage unless I can bring it back to worship.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

  2. #12
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    Definitely not an 'tradition' that I've heard of and dare I say (hard hat on), this sounds like Americanised romanticism of a history that many are far removed from in time and location.

    For me swords have two roles at a 'traditional' wedding here in Scotland/Uk: drawn by a Guard of Honour when it's a military wedding, some families also use one for cutting the cake.

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  4. #13
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'm glad I checked in before moving forward with this. As for the where I came across this, it was among a few lists of Scottish wedding traditions that I found online while browsing for ideas. That said, there was little noted in regards of how it was done or how it came to be. Since it doesn't seem to be a real tradition, I'll forego it and just use the sword to cut the cake during the reception.

    For those interested, these are some of the references I found to "Presentation of the Sword" in regards to Scottish weddings. They're all fairly vague and don't cite sources, but there were enough seperate references that I thought there might be something to it.
    - Dylan Lauber

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  6. #14
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    27th October 09
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    And congratulations to you and your future bride.
    If you are going to be kilted, be certain to post photos from the wedding.

    Where’er ye bide in the world sae wide,
    We wish ye a neuk on the sunny side,
    Wi’ muckle o’ love and little o’ care,
    A wee bit pursie wi’ siller to spare,
    Yer ain wee ingle when day is spent,
    In a wee bit housie wi’ hearts content.

    CTBuchanan
    President, Clan Buchanan Society International

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  8. #15
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    27th December 16
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    There are many wedding traditions, some involving swords. Many of these traditions started in a small are, sometimes one town or one family, and have hard to determine originations. From my understanding, most wedding traditions that involve swords come from eras when people were expected to defend family members at a moments notice and have mostly vanished over the past few hundred years. I could be wrong about that as it has been over 8 years since I have researched these traditions.

    As for presenting a sword is concerned it is my understanding that this was a tradition in some early military families so that the first son would have a sword that is not owed to a feudal lord. Angles, Saxons, Vikings, and some others were mentioned in old texts as owing their swords to, and expected to die for, the feudal lord who gave a sword to them and having a sword that was not owed to a feudal lord gave the oldest son a freedom that few people had in those days. With our current form of military the tradition is no longer traditional where it started. I don't know why it is listed on some websites as Scottish or Irish when in cast it comes from of military service in a feudal system.

    One exception to a sword based tradition vanishing is the best man, a role that is today vastly different then it was when it started. Oddly it is only after the sword was removed from the best man that the best man became a standard part of weddings in all social levels. Today this has nothing to do with swordsmanship, yet in the middle ages the best man was the best swordsman the groom knew and trusted who was tasked with defending the wedding party, or in the case that the father of the bride did not agree with the wedding, bringing the bride to the chapel by force. I think it's a good think the role of the best man has changed over the years.

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  10. #16
    Join Date
    25th September 11
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    Quote Originally Posted by laubermd View Post
    Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'm glad I checked in before moving forward with this. As for the where I came across this, it was among a few lists of Scottish wedding traditions that I found online while browsing for ideas. That said, there was little noted in regards of how it was done or how it came to be. Since it doesn't seem to be a real tradition, I'll forego it and just use the sword to cut the cake during the reception.

    For those interested, these are some of the references I found to "Presentation of the Sword" in regards to Scottish weddings. They're all fairly vague and don't cite sources, but there were enough seperate references that I thought there might be something to it.
    Those references, at least three of them, seem to have come from the same source, whatever it may be. Commercial sites on the Net are not really good places to get factual information, especially on historical topics. But, I see that you have decided to forgo the sword thing which is probably a good idea. My son, previously mentioned, used his dirk to cut the cake at their reception, which has a little bit of tradition about it, as does using a sword. Anyway, all the best to you and your bride and "lang may yer lum reek."

  11. #17
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    2nd April 10
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    A while back I did a fair amount of research into wedding ceremonies, although nothing specifically Scottish. I never came across this one. As I read the description I had one thought about something not quite being right with it. If I am pledging to use my sword to defend someone else, I would not give it up to anyone, even the one I was protecting. If anything I can see the groom being presented with a blade that he will use to protect his bride in the future.

    I like the idea of presenting a sash of the groom's tartan to the bride. I can even see it being done at some point in a similar manner to the wedding ring. Possibly a blessing of the new family unit similar to what is done at a kirking of the tartans. Although since the entire wedding is a blessing on the marriage, that might be a bit redundant.

  12. #18
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    24th January 17
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    Just curious but re the weapons in the church, but nobody seems to have mentioned the Covenantor angle. Anyone with specific expertise on the Covenantors in their outlawed years or the Cameronian regiment able to comment as to whether such a marital tradition could have any links to this angle?

  13. #19
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    24th January 17
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdinSteve View Post
    I am too recent to have seen this thread originally but can only say that swords are not part of any civilian ceremony that I am aware of. As regards the Covenanters, they were essentially people who rejected episcopacy, and, if present day presbyterianism is anything to go by then weapons would most certainly not have played any part in religious observance, marriage or otherwise in Scotland.
    Ah but Covenantors had to go into their sessions armed for self defence because they were under persecution.

    Even after the formation of the Cameronian Regiment and at their church services the disbandment ceremony the cameronians posted sentries as was their custom taken from the covenantors before them. So they acted in contradiction to the normal convention about not taking weapons into a place of worship (though their services were open air). So could it be a case of a marriage being formed & a promise made in a place where it can be witnessed by your peers catching on & becoming a 'tradition'?

  14. #20
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    23rd November 16
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    For my first wedding (not kilted, tartan waistcoat, in church) my basket-hilt was used to cut the cake at the reception held in the adjacent fellowship hall. There were no weapons in the church.
    For my second and LAST wedding (kilted, outdoor) I had my sgian dubh, but no dirk or sword present. Our ceremony included a Native American hand washing ritual, embracing my bride's Lumbee heritage.

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