Penny Weddings

Penny weddings were very common in years past, especially in times when money was tight or non-existent. A wedding was a community event where all would bring a bit of food or drink. Anyone with a special talent would perform ~ singing, telling stories, playing an instrument ~ to contribute to the festivities.

Dating back to 400 B.C., during the Roman Festival of Saturnalias, Mummers would often perform, while laborers marched in masks. It was a day of satire and gift exchange. The tradition carried forward to become the wedding reception.

These celebrations had an open house approach, where anyone was welcome, as long as they contributed to the festivities.

The contributions weren’t always cash. Though, often, the wedding couple got enough money to set up housekeeping.

A modern adaptation of this Scottish wedding tradition is the Bride’s Dance, where money is given to the bride in exchange for a dance.

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