Weddings and Weaponry in Queensland

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (03/11/2021)
Categories: | Scottish Weddings  | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Legals |
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A Scottish sgian dubh, sheathed, lying on
                          a tartan kiltCarrying a knife is part of the traditional male Scottish Highland Dress. And I'm sure you've seen photos of grooms and groomsmen with the handle of a traditional sgian dubh sticking out above their socks.

Heads Up. Carrying a knife in a public place in Queensland can land you in prison. It all depends on the characteristics of the knife and on the situation.

Sgian Dhuh

The knife you'll see tucked into the sock on the side of the wearer's dominant hand as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress, is the  Sgian Dubh,  a small, sharp, single-edged dagger.

It is one of a trilogy of weapons, carried by clansmen in earlier times:
  • The Claymore - a very heavy doubled edge sword that was wielded with two hands
  • The Dirk, a large dagger carried in the belt
  • The Sgian Dubh, a sheathed weapon that was frequently worn under the shirt close to the armpit, but is now usually tucked into the top of the hose (sock)

The sgian dubh the only one worn at social occasions.


While a sgian dubh is part of formal dress, you would only include a sword in a Scottish wedding for a specific reason
  • The ritual of presenting the family sword to the groom
  • If a Highland Sword Dance was going to be performed as entertainment, either during the signing or at the reception
  • To cut the cake.
All of the above are relatively rare in Australia.

If men in the bridal party are wearing military uniform or you are planning on having an arch of swords guard of honour, sheathed swords are worn, and only unsheathed for the actual moment.

What does the law say?

Section 51(1) of the Weapons Act, 1990 states "A person must not physically possess a knife in a public place ... unless the person has a reasonable excuse."

It goes on to clarify that it is a reasonable excuse to participate in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport; or for use for a lawful purpose, giving, as one example:
"A person may carry a knife as an accessory while playing in a pipe band."

It is also a reasonable excuse to carry a knife for genuine religious purposes (for example, the Sikh kirpan).

What's the solution?

Better safe than sorry is my motto. And thankfully, suppliers of Highland Dress have been all over the restrictions for many years. The answer is simple. From the visual point of view, only the handle is important. Groomsmen
                            displaying the sgian dubh in their hose.
                            Photo by Figtree Pictures

You can choose a replica, imitation, or dummy sgian dubh (the terms are used interchangeably), which doesn't have a
blade. This makes it a safety Sgian Dubh to wear in public without any concerns, either legal or about safety.

You can go really cheeky (and very Aussie) and choose one that has a bottle opener rather than a blade (neatly hidden in the hose, of course).

Either way, it will be made from moulded plastic, sheath included, with metal accents or decorations, but no blade.

And just as if you were choosing a "real" sgian dubh, you will have a choice of a wide variety of accesnts, including clan crests, other symbols, and coloured stones.

These replicas will pass scrutiny at an airport. You can't get better than that!

Thanks for reading!
Jenny xxx Let's
                          talk soon about how you can have the best
                          ceremony ever
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