Wedding Traditions Explained: The Wedding Scramble

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Since publishing our ‘wedding traditions explained’ series last year, we’ve been asked about some of the less known traditions. One of the questions we were interested in was from a widow who was married for over 50 years. She wanted to know why her Father threw money onto the ground as they drove to the church on the morning of the wedding. So, we got investigating.

The act of throwing small change onto the ground on the way to the church is very much a Northern tradition. It has its roots in Scotland, but was also practiced in some parts of Northern England too. Children would gather around the wedding car as the bride left for the church, and her father would throw the money out as they drove off. The act of the children catching the coins and rummaging on the floor to gather the remaining money is where the term ‘wedding scramble’ originated.

It is a tradition that has become less and less popular over time, and there aren’t many weddings that still carry it on. However, there are a few variations. The groom has been known to throw the coins as he drives away from the church with his new bride, and the father of the bride can also be seen throwing the money after the new couple.

In any case, the children are present to collect the money and it is generally accepted that the tradition should bring strong financial stability to the newlyweds.

One of the only places we found written information regarding the Wedding Scramble came in the form of a poem, from a book by Davie Reilly called “Oot the Windae”.

“The kids in the street were going mad
for into his pocket reached her dad
he had a handful of money to chuck away
he’d been saving for months for this special day
through the open window his hand was raised
and all the kids got strategically placed
where you stood was always a gamble
out came the money that started the scramble

Ha’pennies an pennies an thrupenny bits
trying to catch some in your grubby mits
silver thrupennies disguised as tanners
and all the kids forgetting their manners
pushing and shoving on the ground
chasing the coins that were rolling around
down in the gutter for the last few pence
and at the time it seemed perfect sense

When the dust had settled after the stramash
we stopped and counted all of our cash
now tenpence ha’penny was a fair haul
four pennies a ha’penny and a tanner an all
my hands were cut and my knee was grazed
a small price to pay for the money raised
pulled up my socks in which I bled in
and went up the road to another wedding.”

Do you have any more information on the wedding scramble? We’d love to hear it in the comments!

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