Quaich – what is it?
If you’ve not heard of it before, a quaich is a Scottish two-handled cup, traditionally offered by hosts when guests came into their house. The two handles meant that the guest could not hold onto a weapon whilst drinking, and the host and the guest drinking from the same cup assured that it was not poisoned. Ah, the good old days when we had to worry about these things.
King James VI gifted a Quaich to his bride, Anne of Denmark in 1589 setting a new trend in weddings.
Now, trying to pronounce ‘Quaich’ can be a bit tricky to get your mouth around if it’s a word you’re unfamiliar with. I’ve had a bit of practice (maybe it’s my father’s Scottish blood coming through), but even writing it phonetically isn’t super straight-forward. Let’s give it a go… ‘K-w-a-i-Kkkkk’. Got it? Yeah, it took me a while too.
Quaich in Weddings
Couples use Quaiches in weddings for a number of reasons, predominately to symbolize them and their family becoming one, by drinking from the same cup.
Some couples use Scotch Whiskey, others pour two types of liquor into the one cup – again, symbolizing two becoming one. Note: at one wedding I did, the groom poured whiskey and the bride poured Bundaberg rum – the end result tasted like tequila (apparently!).
Common Quaich FAQs
There’s so much variety when it comes to the Quaich, so some things to think about are below.
Q: Who will pour the drink into the cup?
A: This can be the couple, a friend, a family member, or your Celebrant.
Q: Who can drink from the cup?
A: Whoever you like. In the majority of cases, couples drink from it themselves, then invite their parents to do so, symbolizing the coming together of the two families.
Q: Where can I get a Quaich?
A: Check online as there are a few places you can purchase one from, though many companies are based in Scotland, so allow time for postage.
If you’re in Queensland and are looking for somewhere local to purchase one, St Kilda have a Quaich, and are based in Booval.
If you have Scottish relatives, it is worth asking if there’s one already in the family.
Q: Does anyone say anything during this ritual?
Whenever I conduct a ceremony that has a Quaich, I usually explain the history behind the Quaich. A reading can take place whilst couples sip from the cup, and this can be done by a guest, or by myself. Below is a popular reading for the Quaich.
Strike hands with me, the glasses brim,
The dew is on the heather.
For love is good and life is long,
And two are best together.
Bless the union of these two,
Eager for marriage, eager for love.
May they begin life together,
Live that life together
And come to the end together.
I Want to Include One!
Go you! If I’m your celebrant, give me the nod, and we can talk through details.