Penny Wedding Meaning
(Scotland, obsolete, idiomatic) A wedding at which the guests contribute payments to help cover the cost of the event and to benefit the newly-married couple.
Example: 1822, Sir Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel, ch. 37:
"Vera true, vera trueâ€”we'll have a' to pay, I doubt, less or mairâ€”a sort of penny-wedding it will prove, where all men contribute to the young folk's maintenance, that they may not have just four bare legs in a bed together."
1870 Sept., "Adam and Mally: A story of Scottish farm-lfe," in Eclectic Magazine, p. 345 (Google preview):
Penny weddings, or weddings where volunteer guests brought each his or her contribution to the entertainment, instead of its expense being defrayed jointly by the bridegroom and the bride, were still in vogue and still reckoned respectable.
1875, George MacDonald, Malcolm, ch. 5:
"And what's a penny wedding?"
"It's a' kin' o' a custom amo' the fishers. There's some gey puir fowk amon' 's, ye see, an' when a twa o' them merries, the lave o' 's wants to gie them a bit o' a start like. Sae we a' gang to the weddin' an' eats an' drinks plenty, an' pays for a' 'at we hae; and they mak' a guid profit out o' 't, for the things doesna cost them nearhan' sae muckle as we pay."