I couldn’t resist this; found while I was perusing the The Montrose [Scotland] Year Book Directory for 1909 containing Local Almanac and Obituary Notices and just about everything else under the sun (downloaded from http://www.archive.org). Now, I wonder which ancestor had this type of wedding?
PENNY WEDDINGS – SIXTY years ago rural dwellers considered a well – attended penny wedding as the fundamental basis of a prosperous married career. At these gatherings all visitors were welcome, provided they paid their way. Usually the charge was one shilling for each person, and this money went into the pockets of the couple about to set up house. The ceremony was usually performed about the hour of 7 p.m. The payment of the entry fees entitled the guest to all the privileges of the meeting, even including the kissing of the bride after the minister had pronounced her the lawful wedded wife of the gentleman in funeral like coat and unkempt whiskers.
The baker who had an eye to future business would send in a liberal supply of plain and fancy bread, much more, of course, than he would otherwise have done, but his rival in the trade had already sent his boy with a shortie and a bun, and he could not afford to be outdone in the competition. The neighbouring meal miller bent under a half sack of oatmeal, and the doctor’s gig would halt, and his lady enter the bride’s door to leave a bedcover she had fashioned with her own hands.
Farmers who had potatoes to sell in the fall of the year ordered their carts to leave a bag of their’ ‘ sma’ Americans” with Janet, and the message that they hoped ‘ – Jeck Lindsay, when he got merried, wid stap the dreels afore the roup day.”
The village shoemaker sent a pair of slippers, with a pencil note inside giving his name, trade, and lowest prices both for men’s and women’s boots and shoes. Other tradesmen in the locality acted in a similar fashion.
The marriage feast generally cost nothing to the contracting parties, and all money drawn as entrance fees, &c, went directly into the coffers of the bride and bridegroom. Besides this shilling of entrance fee, it was customary to have liquor bar improvised in some convenient house or barn, where the national beverage and other drinks could be had. The liquor was sold, and the profit arising therefrom also went to the young couple. Perhaps at the nuptial banquet a round of whisky was served out gratis, but this was more the exception than the rule. The bridegroom himself often presided at the bar, and it was no uncommon sight to find the bride with tucked up sleeves washing the tumblers behind the temporary counter. The more noise and revelry the more liquor consumed, with greater financial benefit to bride and bridegroom. Song followed dance, and dance followed song. Feats of strength, tricks and card playing, speeches and fiddle and bagpipe music all ended in another glass of mountain dew.
When the grey morning crept in at the small windows of the biggin’ the wedded couple would have a ”pigfu’ o’ siller” to start them on that crooked lane that leads to old age and dotage.