The Quaich is a traditional Scottish/Celtic two-handled cup, known as both the "Loving Cup" and the "Cup of Friendship". Often used simply to welcome or farewell friends, it may also be used to celebrate a bond between two clans or families, or a gift for many other occasions.
Traditional Quaichs were very simple; carved from a single block of wood, they were used across the Scottish Highlands, Islands and Lowlands to offer a welcoming drink to visitors. Whether presented by a clan chief or a crofter, the quaich was a humble creation that represented friendship and welcome as it does today. Its symbolism extended to weddings as a sign of the groom welcoming the bride and new family members - "the Loving Cup". Later in the seventeenth century goldsmiths began to craft the Quaich from precious metals (gold or silver) or the more affordable pewter. The shape become more dainty and elegant to suit the taste of the upper classes.
Then - The Ceremony
After filling the Quaich with the liquid of your choice, you each hold a handle and help the other take a sip - showing you trust one another to share the cup. While Scotch whisky was the traditional drink, these days you can choose what you like – you can even combine two drinks, symbolising two becoming one.
The Master of Ceremonies or Toastmaster can then say a few words – you could write your own, incorporating your own special thoughts and hopes. A simple example would be:
"To celebrate the marriage of [Name] and [Name], they will now share in drinking from the Quaich. Drinking from the Quaich, a two-handled loving cup, is an ancient Scottish tradition that seals the bond between two people and marks the blending of two families. It symbolizes the love and trust implied by the bond as the new couple shares the first drink of their marriage together.”
Another example is shown in the video below - this is a real Quaich Ceremony during a wedding.
The Quaich can also be passed amongst the Wedding Party (and even the rest of the guests), with a family member ensuring it is kept refilled - as is the Scottish way.
A Quaich makes an excellent wedding or anniversary gift and can be engraved with clan crests, messages of goodwill, names & dates, quotes from poems etc.
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VIDEO of Quaich Ceremony: Check out this a lovely example of a Quaich ceremony. (Note that the ceremony is not limited just to Weddings, it can be adapted for many other celebrations such as wedding anniversaries, christenings and birthdays.)