After the Scottish wedding ceremony, a page boy will present the bride with a silver coloured Wedding horseshoe as she leaves the church. They are traditionally given as a bridal gift or sometimes as wedding favours to commemorate the wedding day for the couple. Always a symbolic gift of Good Luck and fertility.
There are many explanations posed for the association of the horseshoe with the Wedding ceremony. There are ancient pre-Christian supernatural powers attributed to the horseshoe. For the Greeks, it symbolised the crescent moon which was regarded as a symbol of fertility. The Romans believed that the “U” shape afforded protection from evil.
The modern association is more likely to be linked to the legend associated with the 10th century St. Dunstan who trapped the Devil and as a result extracted a promise never to enter the house of a Christian, which he would recognise by a horseshoe hung above the door. The symbolism of the ‘Lucky Horseshoe’ given to the Bride today is still a potent reminder of our culture and historical roots.
Horseshoes have long been regarded as a symbol of good luck. Its silver colour was also once believed to keep away witches. To be most effective, it is said that the horseshoe should be hung by ribbons which are attached to the shoulders. A horseshoe should never be turned upside down or all the good luck of the Marriage is likely to fall out.
The luckiest horseshoe to give to a Bride comes from the near hind foot of a grey mare. A related tradition says that it is very good luck to see a Grey horse en route to the Church, even more, good luck if the Bride travelled in a carriage drawn by a grey horse.