The History of Leith

April 2, 2011

The Penny Wedding

6 Febr. 1645.—Ordains in all tymes coming that who soever shall be contractit and who are to make penny brydells sail consigne ather Ten pound or ells ane pand (i.e. pledge) worth ten pound that yr mariag dinner sail not exceed ye pryce of 12s. uyr wayes the 10 lib sail fall and sail come to ye use of the poor.
(Note. —It has been usual in all times to make merry at weddings, so that the contract might at any rate begin happily. But the Scottish clergy frowned on such festivities and an Elder was often present to stop any excess of gaiety. At the end of the marriage
ceremony the bride walked round saluting all the guests, and she carried a dish into which each dropped a coin. Hence the phrase “penny weddings.” If the prospects were good for dancing and drinking, a large number of uninvited guests would come and the
collection be all the better. The money went to assist the bride in furnishing. Here the Session are seen restricting the price of the dinner so that the company should not eat or drink intemperate!}’. It was also usual to have acts of session restricting thenumber of guests.)

source-South Leith Records

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