and First Steps
The typical Orcadian wedding was, and to
a certain extent still is, much more than a simple family affair.
A wedding was a time to celebrate - a time to break free from the
rigours of daily life and participate in an event that could last for days, and involved
the entire community.
The first stage of the old Orcadian wedding traditions took place on the night on which the prospective groom formally asked his sweetheart's
father for her hand in marriage.
This night was referred to as "speirin
night", from the dialect word speir meaning to ask.
On this quest it was common for the hopeful lad
to carry a bottle of whisky, which was known as the speirin
bottle. With this liquor he would hope to sway the father's decision
in his favour. Then, if permission was granted, tentative arrangements were
discussed over a few glasses from the speiring bottle.