Quaich or loving cup ceremony

If you have Scottish roots, there’s a good chance that you may well have a quaich in the family somewhere.

It sounds a bit like an underwater baddy to be defeated in a superhero movie but actually, a quaich (pronounced ‘quake’ but with a sort of soft k sound at the end) is a traditional Scottish drinking vessel. They have been used for hundreds of years, most typically to offer welcome, where they would be filled with whiskey and passed around between guests and hosts. Some say that this was also to show that the drink was not poisoned, so it therefore shows reassurance and trust. Many quaiches were intricately carved or created out of expensive metals, and so they often became heirlooms.

The quaich’s use in weddings came about when King James VI of Scotland gave a quaich to his bride, Anne of Norway, as a loving cup.

If you would like to use a quaich or alternative loving cup vessel in your ceremony, the traditional way to do it would be to fill it with whiskey, then both of you drink from it. You can then pass the quaich or cup to share with your parents perhaps, or other key family members or friends, to show the shared love and trust between you. If you only have a few guests, you can include everyone there of course.

A quaich would be the ideal choice if either or both of you are Scottish or have Scottish roots. If you can use a family quaich, so much the better. I once conducted a wedding for an Italian/Scottish couple. She brought the family quaich as a nod to her roots and they filled it with Amarone, a wine produced in the region where he came from. It was a simple but meaningful way to combine the two nationalities in one symbolic ceremony.

Not got a quaich? Use something different!

If neither of you are Scottish, and you don’t want a quaich, you could use another sort of goblet, glass or vessel. Think outside the box! One couple I wed wanted to have the traditional mead at their pagan style handfasting, but they were quite rock and roll so they each took swigs out of the bottle and passed it around all their guests in the circle. That’s not going to be up everyone’s street of course, but it was perfect for them!

Want to include something a bit different in your wedding or vow renewal ceremony? Let’s chat!

Other ceremonies involving alcohol: