Scottish Wedding Theme
Newsroom : Wedding Theme Newsroom Home : July 2007

July 1, 2007 05:40 - July Highland Games in the U.S.

Highland Games are a good source of information for the bride and groom. You can often find local pipers, see various tartans and kilt styles, visit clan tents and maybe find out more about your own history, listen to music and various artists, eat Scottish food, and see some Scottish traditions as they are interpreted today.

For more information about the events listed, go to U.S. Scots and the Scottish Heritage Society.

  • July 6-7, Payson, UT ~ Payson Scottish Festival

  • July 7-8, Monterey, CA ~ Monterey Scottish Games

  • July 7-8, Athena, OR ~ Athena Caledonian Games

  • July 7-9 ~ Mount Vernon, WA ~ Skagit Valley Highland Games & Faire

  • July 8 ~ Mt Morris, NY ~ High Banks Celtic Gathering

  • July 12-15 ~ Linville, NC ~ Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

  • July 14 ~ Prospect, ME ~ Maine Scottish Military Tattoo

  • July 14 ~ Burton, OH ~ Brigadoon Celtic Festival

  • July 14-15 ~ Oakland, CA ~ Oakland Dunsmuir Highland Games

  • July 19-22 ~ Belfast, ME ~ Maine Celtic Celebration

  • July 21 ~ Westfield, MA ~ Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival

  • July 21 ~ Gresham, OR ~ Portland Scottish Highland Games

  • July 21 ~ Gettysburg, PA ~ Adams County Irish Festival

  • July 21-22 ~ Flagstaff, AZ ~ Arizona Highlands Celtic Festival

  • July 21-22 ~ Kiowa, CO ~ Kiowa Celtic Festival

  • July 21 ~ Horsham, PA ~ Graeme Park Scottish Heritage Festival

  • July 21-22 ~ Reno, NV ~ Reno Celtic New Year Celebration

  • July 22 ~ Leetonia, OH ~ Leetonia Celtic Festival

  • July 30 thru August 4 ~ Monterey, CA ~ Monterey Bay School of Piping

  • July 31 ~ Venetta, OR ~ Celtic History Lughnassadh

I'm planning to attend the Grandfather Mountain Games, stopping off at the The Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, N.C. on the way.

Tomorrow view a simple Medieval dress available online…

July 2, 2007 14:26 - A Simple Medieval Wedding Gown

If you're thinking Medieval for your Scottish wedding theme, this historic Medieval gown could be an answer. It's inexpensive and is a fairly good reproduction. It could be worn by the bride, any of the bridal party, or even a guest.

This Medieval dress from Faire Isles Trading Company is available in white and colors, sizes extra small to plus, and is only $54.95.

I've seen it at the Glasgow Games. It's well made, hangs nicely, and looks much better than the company photo.

For examples of other wedding dress styles that could be worn as a Scottish theme wedding gown, visit Scottish Wedding Dreams. As well as Medieval gowns, you'll also find historic Renaissance gowns, Victorian wedding gown ideas, and even Edwardian styles that can be used as bridal gowns.

Tomorrow, a reader asks for help in locating a wedding tradition...

July 3, 2007 06:23 - Rolling Pin Wedding Gift???

I've had an inquiry from Australia regarding Scottish wedding traditions. If anyone has an answer, I'd appreciate a reply in the comments.

Is there a traditional reason for giving a bride a rolling pin?

Now don't go telling me it's to beat the groom about the head and shoulders when you're unhappy with him. We're looking for a real, nice reason, or at least funny.

Personally, all I know is in the 40's and 50's, even the 60's, you gave the bride a rolling pin. We baked everything from scratch and a good, heavy rolling pin was necessary to produce quality baked goods.

Any ideas? Send 'em in and we'll see what results we get. Applicable and humorous are appreciated. Anything too coarse or vulgar will have to be removed from the blog.

That's the rules, let's hear what you have to say about why Scottish brides got a rolling pin as a wedding gift!

Coming tomorrow, a tribute to red, white, and blue tartan…

July 4, 2007 06:27 - A Red, White, and Blue Tartan Day…

For those of you living elsewhere, an apology. For those of us who are Yanks, Happy July 4th!

Tartans celebrating America, or those with a red, white, and blue theme seem a good topic for today's blog.

Lochcarron of Scotland has created a line of special emblem tartans, including the Great Seal of America.

There are 6 others which are very patriotic in color and name. Over the years they have been designed for and by Americans ~ American, American with Eagle, American Bicentennial Commemorative, American National, Scottish American, and United States.

These can all be viewed at Scottish Wedding Dreams, on the American Tartans page.

One other universal tartan with red, white, and blue is Diaspora #2690. House of Edgar designed Diaspora tartan for a clothing manufacturer.

Have a good holiday and see you tomorrow, hopefully with some comments from yesterday's blog about the rolling pin as a traditional wedding gift…

July 4, 2007 21:57 - An Independence Day History Lesson

The reading and study of history gives me a great deal of pleasure and mental stimulation. Currently I'm reading "Albion's Seed, Four British Folkways in America" by David Hackett Fischer. I've progressed to the fourth wave immigration into America in the 1700's.

This section tells of the people from the Borders of England and Scotland and the Scots-Irish, why they came to America, and where they settled. I've been reading about their dispersal from Philadelphia following the Appalachia Mountains into West Virginia, western Virginia and Kentucky; on into Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia; then westward into Alabama, Mississippi; and on into Texas.

Because of the Battle of Culloden and it's aftermath, to me the Duke of Cumberland is the "Butcher". I hadn't gotten the correlation of him to the Cumberland Gap and the Cumberland Plateau on which I live, next to the Cumberland River.

It's difficult to remember the Lowlanders of Scotland joined with the British to rid Scotland of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart family, and those barbarous Highlanders.

Today I've learned more about the families of Patrick Henry, Andrew Jackson, and James Polk, our 11th President, all descended from Border immigrants, and how their ancestry shaped their thought patterns, thus their influence on American history.

If you'd like to read more, this and many other historical books by the author are available at our History Bookstore. As the book is 946 pages, I recommend buying a hard-cover edition so the binding will hold the weight of the book.

One last thought, the Overmountain tartan, WR2448

honors the Scots who traveled the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road to settle in the South Appalachian Mountains. In the War of Independence guerillas from this area called 'Over Mountain' men defeated a sizable British force in 1780. This tartan commemorates the backwoodsmen of America and their contribution to the War of Independence. Read more about many Scotsmen who helped develop the United States.

Again, Happy 4th, and see you tomorrow.

July 5, 2007 16:09 - Are Scotch Eggs Really Laid By Wild Haggis?

This popular myth arises from the humor that surrounds Haggis. When I wrote about Haggis and the Haggis Hunt pages, I ignored the humble Scotch egg.

So today it's their turn and you're probably asking, "Just what in the world is a Scotch egg?"

Ask 'em in London, for that's where they originated. That's right! At Fortnum & Mason, a London food shop, way back in 1738. They're now so popular that convenience stores and gas stations sell them like hot dogs are here.

A Scotch egg is a peeled, cold, hard-boiled egg, which is wrapped in ground sausage. Next it's dipped in a beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. [Lot's of Yanks dip them in crushed corn flakes instead.] Next they're deep-fried, then served hot, sometimes with ranch dressing or hot mustard sauce.

Unfortunately, when bought from a convenience store or gas station, the meat is usually a very low grade and the taste is the usual fast-food fare. The British supermarkets also sell mini-Scotch eggs. They egg is chopped and a smaller portion is wrapped, dipped, and fried.

At picnics, Scotch Eggs are chilled, then served with a salad and pickles. They're even sold in West Africa and Nigeria. And no respectable Highland Games would be complete without at least one vendor selling Scotch Eggs.

Though not a Scottish dish, the Scots have been quick to claim them. The next Highland Games you attend, be sure to try one.

For any dinner connected with your wedding - rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, stag party, or even the wedding reception, Scotch eggs are a good choice for your Scottish Theme Wedding.

July 6, 2007 11:30 - A Very Merry Seamstress ~ Part I

This site for ladies, mens, and childrens wear is so extensive, it's hard to cover all they create for re-enactors, Renaissance Faire participants, theme weddings, and costume parties.

There are separate sections for Scottish and Irish gowns, any of which could be worn by the bride, bridesmaids, mothers, flower girl, or guests. The gowns start at $115 and go up to $5,000+. If your wedding dress budget is really limited, the less expensive cotton selections would allow for a lot more Celtic embroidery on the bodice, neckline, or hemline. To embellish your Scottish wedding gown, they offer stock Celtic knot embroidery designs. Reproduction Renaissance jewelry is another of their specialties.

They create maternity bodices, linen or wool stockings, and Ghillie sandals.

I have a pair of the Ghillies in Hunter Green. My costume is in Hunter green and aqua, so I also ordered a pair of aqua linen stockings.

You can find undergarments, headwear, fairie wings, and cloaks. Their bridal cloak, which is of chiffon, could be trimmed with a narrow tartan ribbon, ~ another embellishment that would proclaim your Scottish heritage.

An example of such a decorative trim is in this 1452 portrait of the Queen of Sheba, where the inside edge of the train is trimmed with a different fabric.

Movie gowns are a specialty at Very Merry Seamstress ~ The Lord of the Rings, Ever After, Princess Bride, Moulin Rouge, Titanic, and Hermione's Yule ballgown from Harry Potter.

Eras they design for include Medieval, Renaissance, Rococco, Regency, Victorian, and Civil War.

Confused by the different eras and what years they represent? The Ten Historical Eras of Fashion and the years they encompass will help. You'll find hundreds of design ideas in the various eras. Just scroll down to select the different historical eras on the Scottish Wedding Dreams Wedding Dress pages.

Very Merry Seamstress can also adapt many of these gowns for your Scottish wedding dress.

A lot of their designs can be easily accessed from their What's New page.

For lots of wedding gown samples be sure to also visit

Tomorrow, a sampling from Very Merry Seamstress continues with a men's wear, as well as bodices, skirts, and gowns that would be very appropriate for a Scottish theme wedding ~ and a kilt lifting kit!

July 7, 2007 08:03 - A Very Merry Seamstress ~ Part II

Yesterday we introduced a Very Merry Seamstress and the variety of goods they create. Today you'll find examples of men's wedding vests and shirts, gowns with embellishment suggestions, and a Kilt Lifting Kit.

Men's wedding vests and an embroidered Elizabethan shirt can also be found. For an additional fee, the Elizabethan Shirt could be embroidered in a Celtic design.

And now to some gown samples…

These gowns are mostly of cotton, but they also offer finer fabrics in brocades, damasks, jacquards and silks in varying price lines. The fabrics available are on two different pages ~

Here's some examples from the dress pages that could be worn as Scottish wedding dresses. My only suggestion is to use authentic tartan fabrics in either Reiver weight wool or silk and ribbons in wool or polyester, which can be found at Scottish Wedding Dreams Tartan Sources .

Very Merry Seamstress samples ~

  • This skirt and bodice could be in any color combination. The Celtic knot and tartan sash would be the Scottish embellishments.

  • A bolder statement in red and black. Again a Celtic knot design on the bodice would be a nice touch, as would a tartan plaid underskirt to match the sash. Or a tartan overskirt, with a plain colored underskirt.

  • The brocade bodice could work nicely with a tartan overskirt or underskirt. Or the bodice could be of tartan.

  • No longer shown on the website, this gown in golds, with a co-ordinated tartan sash would be striking. The gold chemise offers a choice beyond the typical white cotton or linen.

  • Again, no longer shown in the catalog, but a wonderful Scottish wedding gown. Using a velvet bodice with Celtic knot embroidery, a tartan silk or wool underskirt, and a solid color overskirt, this design sets aside the chemise for a different look.

  • Imagine this dress, also no longer posted on Very Merry Seamstress website, with your tartan substituted for the red pleated stomacher and sleeve lining.

Lastly, don't miss the Kilt Lifting Kit, designed so the ladies can indeed see what's on underneath!

July 8, 2007 15:53 - Some Fine Renaissance Reproduction Jewelry ~ Part I

This week I've stumbled across a company that reproduces Renaissance costume jewelry. As some of our Scottish brides will be choosing the Renaissance to enhance their Scottish Theme Wedding, I'm including the website in my post.

This Renaissance circlet would enhance any Scottish them wedding gown

Here's a peek at a portrait of Queen Jane Seymour, c. 1536, by Hans Holbeinm which hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Look at the detail in the dress sleeve and the girdle that's been reproduced.

This site is almost overwhelming in scope and elegance. I'm going to ask that you visit the Client Testimonials and Photos page first.

Some of the historical Renaissance gowns are excellent.

There's too many to mention them all by name, but I found these most exciting, in terms of Scottish theme wedding gowns. From top to bottom ~

  • Lisa P, Ohio Renaissance Festival
    Look at the dress with tartan trim where the brocade trims are, with a different tartan for the underskirt
  • Mary, Claremore, OK
    Subtle and elegant ~ again with some tartan trims, oh wow!
  • Dana B., Carrollton, TX
    Again think of tartan touches and look at that headpiece. I have sources somewhere and will be searching for them.
  • April 11, 2006, Shawna B., Kansas City, MO
    Isn't her dress lovely? Think of that red bodice with a tartan and jeweled skirt
  • April 5, 2006, Jessica G., Lake Charles, LA
    For a winter wedding, I can just see tartan in this costume
  • February 22, 2006, Erika P., Sparks, NV
    Erika's outfit is so beautifully understated and reserved

Tomorrow, more gowns, then on to their jewelry selections…

July 9, 2007 18:38 - More Renaissance Reproduction Jewelry ~ Part II

Yesterday I began a discussion on the Sapphire Sage Renaissance Reproduction Jewelry with references to customer testimonials and photos. Today, I'll continue with more, as they are just too good to miss and were too many for one blog.

The URL to get back there again is Client Testimonials and Photos.

  • November 26, 2005, Angela P., St. Paul, MN
    Angela's outfit looks like it was designed to be palette for her jewels. Again I can imagine the skirt and the shoulder bows, possibly a neckline trim in a coordinating tartan
  • September 5, 2005, Melissa M., Australia
    Take a look at that groom's tartan. Who says you have to wear a Scottish bonnet?
  • June 30, 2005, Katie H., Wichita, KS
    Katie proved you can take an historical era, take some ideas from the era, then modernize for the contemporary bride. Think of the bridesmaids in tartan!
  • October 31, 2004, Andrea S., Hickory, NC
    Andrea looks so innocently bridal. Even with touches of tartan, the theme of innocence would still hold true.

    Keep going…

  • October 26, 2004, Sonja E., Oslo, Norway
    The beaded cap, done in a Celtic knot design would be exciting for long or short hair, with the veil extending below the knot
  • October 22, 2004, Stephanie C., Dayton, OH
    Just look at that dress and the subtle color combinations, with just the hairpiece in tartan, wouldn't a red-headed bride be scrumptious!
  • Mindy D., Anchorage, AK
    Mindy's beaded hair cap is called "Jane". Read how it's described on the website, "Blissfully simple and simply blissful! Made with 8mm imported Czech glass pearls, this beaded cap is the perfect solution to any head-covering needs you could ever have! It attaches easily with hair (bobby) pins, and is sure to match any gown you have in your wardrobe. It is my most-requested item for Renaissance-themed weddings."

    The cap sells for $45 to $60 dollars in white, ivory, or special order colored pearls.

    Again imagine a full length veil, beginning below the cap, with a similar necklace, and even just any old dress!

  • Lastly, the third photo from the end is a red rose beauty. But just picture it with a Celtic knot on the bodice with a narrow tartan trim, or binding, on the neckline and sleeves

Just wander the pages, drooling over the dresses and reproduction jewelry until you're thoroughly saturated. Mark the ones that really grab you. Then as you develop your Scottish Theme Wedding, select the wedding gowns, and plan your wedding color theme, you can solidify your choices for your own individual wedding.

Tomorrow, we'll look at some more of the individual pieces.

July 10, 2007 18:23 - Sapphire Sage Renaissance Jewelry - Part III

Going back to the Sapphire and Sage Home Page, there's lots of pages to visit.

On the Film Reproduction page, they have created the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent necklace from the movie, Ever After.

Looking through the matched sets, in the Queen Elizabeth Collection, the girdle and necklace selection would really set off any number of tartans.

The colored stone is an acrylic cabochon, for lightness, available in 15 stone colors. These really look like pieces of bridal jewelry.

Do look at the Feather Hat Pins, which could be a unique, yet historical, hair embellishment for your Scottish theme wedding. Even into the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the ladies still loved feathers in their hair and on their hats.

Queen Elizabeth's crown has been nicely reproduced and could be a great tiara for many tartan wedding gowns.

Of course I had to take a look at the Flea Furs, as I had no idea what they were. My imagination ran wild for a few seconds. Then, there they were. The 'zibellini', or flea fur. I now know what to do with my mother's old mink stole! And wouldn't one be a wild embellishment for a Renaissance wedding gown?

Elizabeth's is in her right hand, decked out with gold filigree.

The women of Scotland were often ahead of the English in their fashions. In one account I've read, the English women felt outclassed by the dresses and jewels of the Scots. A bejeweled flea fur, draped across the stomach with a golden chain, like a man's watch fob, would add a final pizzazz to a tartan wedding dress.

I have a bad, or good, habit of following links to other sites that catch my eye.
I've found two that were worth the visit. Tomorrow I'll take a look at a beautiful gown and a decorating idea for your Scottish theme wedding.

July 11, 2007 14:51 - A Faire Attire Pouches and Fan Flags

Two items that could be used a part of a Scottish Theme Wedding, in any era, can be found at A Faire Attire.

First is the Velvet Pouch with a Celtic knot peacock. The bride and maid of honor should have a small emergency pouch with a minimum of needle and thread, scissors, scotch tape, lipstick, and eye products if contacts are worn. Recently at my niece's wedding, the train wasn't staying attached during the reception. The florist had a small sewing kit and quickly fixed the troublesome train.

This little pouch could hold such necessities and add a decorative touch.

The other item on the same page is the flag fans. You could use your own custom design, as discussed on June 23 to June 27. These fans could be carried by the bridesmaids, used as table decorations, attached to the bows on the pew ends, inserted in floral bouquets, or attached to the send-off vehicle.

Read more about both items at A Faire Attire Accessories.

Editor's Note, January 2010: Unfortunately, this website is no longer viable. Still, enjoy the photos and the ideas. An antique pouch might be found at a shop dealing in vintage clothing. One could easily be sewn, then embellished with whatever motifs you fancied. Also the flags could be design and constructed by you and your family or friends.

Tomorrow an historic Renaissance gown based on a series of paintings by John W. Waterhouse, an English painter at the turn of the century.

July 12, 2007 11:39 - Waterhouse Inspired Blue Wool Gown

A proto-type gown that's a work of art in itself. It's elegance personified. Fashioned in blue wool flannel with silk sleeve linings, an extended train, and a red linen chemise. As a Scottish theme wedding gown, with a red and blue tartan sash, and gold embroidery Celtic knots around the neckline, it would be stunning.

Take a look, this Twin Roses Waterhouse gown is the fourth gown from the bottom.

[Editor's Note ~ the URL for this dress has been changed to Fantasy Gowns and Clothing, third gown down]

Even the bouquet, based on red roses and daisies, seems perfect. Adding a circlet, tiara, or the Queen Elizabeth necklace as seen yesterday from Sapphire Sage, would be the finishing touch!

For an elegant hairstyle, hair taping with this Waterhouse reproduction gown would look really elegant. Especially if a few crystal, glass, semi-precious beads, or pearls were added on the taping ribbon.

Italian Renaissance Hair Taping was popular from the 1300's through the 1600's.

These are two examples of Renaissance Hair Taping.

The first example can also be seen in more detail on the hair taping webpage Italian Renaissance Hair Taping.

Don't just look at the introduction, be sure to go on to the instructions for two styles and then the examples. And be sure to save this page in your Scottish theme wedding plans file.

The second image can be seen in context of the gown at Scottish Wedding Dreams XVI Century Historic Renaissance Gowns Hair as a Mark of Distinction.

Tomorrow, another look at a Very Merry Seamstress, her reproduction jewelry, and special envelope folds you could use with your invitations and other paper goods.

July 13, 2007 06:47 - A Very Merry Seamstress ~ Reproduction Jewelry and Custom Envelopes

Along with all her other offerings (see July 6thy and 7th postings), the Very Merry Seamstress
also reproduces historical jewelry based on historic portraits. She will reproduce any piece from a submitted portrait. Here's two examples ~

A close up of the Princess Elizabeth necklace

The portrait the necklace was reproduced from

And the Eleanor of Austria Girdle

Here's other reproduction pieces she has created.

The Very Merry Seamstress is also a collector of old letters and links to a Gerard Hughes site about Envelope and Letter Folding .

His site includes

  • Why Fold an Envelope
  • History
  • An Explanation of Origami Symbols
  • A Fold Index
  • Origami Links

If you've thought about folding your custom made invitations, this would be a good place to learn how-to.

Today I'm off to the Scottish Tartans Museum, then on to Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. I won't be back until Monday…so no postings until then. But next week I'll have lots of news from the Games.

July 16, 2007 15:15 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part I

Every time I come home from a Highland game, as I lay falling asleep, bagpipe tunes replay in my mind. The drums continue to beat their rhythms, the bagpipes skirl, and snatches of lyrics sing through my brain.

Image from Wikipedia

Coming home from the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games was no different. My mind whirls with visions of modern ladies in skirts and arasaids, Medieval country maidens, Renaissance court attendees, kilts, Prince Charlie jackets, Jacobite shirts, and Glengarry bonnets in all those lovely, bright tartans.

Montgomery tartan in foreground

The only difference this time is the land I drove through and the mind pictures of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains that also fought for their places within my head.

Sitting down to write about the weekend, I've had to sort all these competing memories, and begin somewhere. So I'll begin with my drive to the games. I wanted to make a stop at the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin, North Carolina, which I approached from Chattanooga on US Highway 64, which follows the Ocoee River.

Rafting on the Ocoee River
courtesy Ocoee Adventure Center

As we drove along, there were kayaks, canoes, and rafts shooting fantastic class 3 and 4 rapids.

As you near Franklin, the mountain vistas come into view. With each curve in the road, a new view appears, each as spectacular as the last. By late afternoon we reached Franklin, and slipped into the museum shortly before closing.

Tomorrow, some photos and information from the Scottish Tartans Museum and our trip on to Grandfather Mountain...

July 17, 2007 14:35 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part II

This was my second trip to the Scottish Tartans Museum, which I find an informative and fun place to visit. By the way, it is actually an extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Scotland.

Situated in the basement, with bricked walls, you feel like you're in a different world as you climb down the steps and enter the museum. On display are historical clothing, a loom that's weaving a tartan, and historic writings.

Last year we saw and photographed an unusual kilt and jacket, but didn't pursue it's history. Well, last week I stumbled across an article in, written by the museum curator, Matthew Newsome. I don't even remember how I got there, but the article was about The William Muirhead Kilt. There it was ~ the kilt we saw last year, with photographs and an article about the kilt.

William Muirhead and his kilt migrated with parents in 1854, and is the only known example of a kilt brought by it's owner to America. The pleating pattern and hemmed edge make it distinctive.

There is also a reproduction historic Renaissance gown on display. It was worn by Mary, Queen of Scots, c. 1542-1587.

I don't know much about the gown's history, but the reproduction appears to be of black cotton pique with 4 mm. pearls sewn in a regular pattern. I suspect the original was of diapered silk. Diapering is a regular diamond shape that's woven into the fabric. Pearls, jewels, or embroidery were sewn into the center of each diamond pattern. The underskirt and sleeves are a burnished copper color, originally of silk.

A close up of the bodice reveals more details. Take note of the embroidered trim and lace at the wrists. The rolls at the shoulders and waist add a nice accent. The ruff originally was starched linen and stood up around the neck.

If you're considering a black historic wedding dress, this would really be a piece of history.

The goods for sale on the main floor can also be seen at the Gift Shop.

Here's a picture of the front window display.

The thistles aren't for sale, they were donated. I saw more of them at Grandfather Mountain. The flower part is dyed fleece roving, the calyx is crocheted.

Tomorrow, on to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games…we'll get there. It really was a longgggg way.

July 18, 2007 18:14 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part III

We arrived! Anyhow, we drove by the grounds. When you're sitting on a mountainside, parking is limited. So you have to go into one of three towns and catch a shuttle bus back up to the games. We wound round and round on a dirt road and four miles later came out at the Pedestrian Entrance.

To reach MacRae Meadow, where the events are held, we walked through hundreds of tents, trailers, and RV's in the campground. (All basically climbing uphill, of course.) We finally arrived (pant, pant) at the main entrance.

First, we walked around and looked at the vendor tents, and, oh the things we found! Look at the hand carved canes and walking sticks!

Have you ever heard a Celtic harp? Near the entrance, Lisa Lynne and George Tortorelli, were performing on a 16th century replica Celtic harp and bamboo flutes. At their recommendation I bought their CD, Fairie Tales. I'm hoping to find some nice wedding prelude music, but that'll be another day.

The Tartan Touch has no website, but goods that would enhance any Scottish theme wedding. She designs sets to include a garter,

horseshoe, hanky, and lucky six pence. Do you remember the rhyme,

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue,
and a lucky six epnce in her shoe

She has them for brides, plus custom unity candles, and wedding crackers (borrowed from the English).

These "Scottish" ladies have just left TheTartan Touch display, which included a wide selection of nice brooches, especially the Luckenbooth brooches, a Scottish Wedding Tradition found under The Tryste. She can create Luckenbooth brooches in your wedding colors.

The E-mail address is, the phone number is 800-474-4449.

Tomorrow, more vendors, clan tents, photos and fun...

July 19, 2007 13:40 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part IV

Next, I wandered into the Scottish Heritage USA tent. They had some really nice thistle products for sale ~ including tablecloths, hot pad mittens ~ handmade soaps, Scottish recipe books, and one of the neatest finds of the day!

Have you seen the teasel mice that are Christmas ornaments?

That's a ripe teasel head and Scottish Heritage USA has crafted them into Scottish Christmas ornaments ~ pipers, dancers, caber tossers, and others for only $10 each and they're well worth it.

Scottish Heritage USA helps finance projects in the U.S. and Scotland. They've helped restore General Eisenhower's apartment in Culzean Castle, which was given to Ike for his lifetime use. It's now available for summer rentals. Robert Burns properties and Culloden Battlefield are two more of their projects.

They also sponsor a horticulturist exchange program between Longwood Gardens [the premier U.S. horticultural garden in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania] and the Threave School of Horticulture at Castle Douglas, Scotland.

More information is available at Scottish Heritage USA. Or contact them at P.O. Box 457, Pinehurst, North Carolina 28370. Membership and support are encouraged.

Around a corner, I found Hyde and Heddle , from Rock Hill, South Carolina. They have Celtic barrettes in German silver and brass, Celtic chessmen, soaps with Celtic motifs, and leather sporran wallets that securely slip inside a sporran. For a Scottish theme wedding I found chalices, as this "Great Triquetta" style shows.

One of these could be used for the wedding communion if you don't want to use a quaich. What's a quaich? You can read more about quaich at Scottish Wedding Dreams glossary.

I've been asked why I'm reporting on the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in such detail. My reasons are many. Some of you have never been to a Highland Games. Some have never been to such a large games. Some have never traveled through the mountains of North Carolina. If you're wanting to have a Scottish theme wedding, steeping yourself in a Highland Games can surely get you started. For those who can't go to a Highland event, this is a reasonable substitute. So, until tomorrow with more vendors and clans, plus the events and musicians…

July 20, 2007 14:28 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part V

Have you noticed when you travel, lunch time always comes early? Usually I hit the Scotch Eggs (July 5th), so this time I opted for a pasty.

Photo of Cornish Pasty courtesy Wikipedia

I grew up in Michigan eating Cornish pasties and it's still a favorite dish in our home. Though it is nice to have someone else make the pasties. They're simply a crust filled with meat, potatoes, and vegetables. It was scrumptious!

The Clan Tents were arranged around the competition field, and I began wandering through them.

This photo shows Heavy Athletics Competition on the field, the clan tents in the background, and notice that Saltire umbrella in the foreground. If you live in a rainy area, you might want to consider ordering several for the wedding party. It would be a proud way to display your Scottish heritage and honor the Saltire. What's the Saltire, you ask? It's been around since 832 A.D. Read about the Saltire, it's conception and history. Skip down to "Symbols Seen in Scottish Weddings".

As I worked my way around the meadow, viewing the different clan tents, noting the ladies garments and decorations, the Border Collie Demonstration began. In case you didn't know, the breed was developed along The Borders…definitely used by the drovers, I wonder if the reivers used them?

Speaking of reivers, my husband being originally from Cameron, Texas, wandered into the Clan Cameron tent and made himself at home. They even gave him a clan label for his shirt.

Didn't someone have a clever sense of humor? Thanks, Clan Cameron.

Toward the end of the day, the sun came out brilliantly, and things began to warm up. This lady is slipping out of the clan tents, perhaps seeking shade.

We found a Scotsman lounging in the shade, enjoying a late lunch at the Memorial Cairn, see his photo and others in tomorrow's post…

July 21, 2007 18:19 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part VI

Ah, yes, the Scotsman lounging at the Memorial Cairn…

The Memorial Cairn is nestled under a small grove of trees that make for nice afternoon shade, atop a rock outcropping. It looks out toward the peak of Grandfather Mountain.

Each major clan donated a stone from their area in Scotland. Douglas James Ferguson of Pigeon Forge Pottery designed the memorial.

A cairn is a pile of stones raised as a grave, landmark, or marker. As you can see, it also makes a nice spot for a break and a bit of lunch.

For it's dedication in 1980, the Reverend James A. M. Hanna wrote, "May our Cairn on MacRae Meadows, on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain, near Linville, North Carolina, always stand as a pledge, a promise, a convenant that we shall be as faithful as they in passing our Christian heritage on to the generations yet to come."

Just down the hillside from the cairn, I found Jamie MacDonald teaching Gaelic and Gaelic songs.

Jamie MacDonald, who teaches Gaelic in Nova Scotia, has won the Royal Nation Mod for Gaelic Singing in Scotland, the only North American to hold this honor. What's a Mod, you ask? I found out about 30 minutes later, in Celtic Grove #3.

Meanwhile, I stumbled over some Gaelic phrases that just wouldn't roll smoothly off my tongue, found Jamie very entertaining, and had fun. Until recently a bachelor, his Gaelic lesson was geared to finding out if the pretty, young ladies were available and interested. Sly devil, huh?

The Celtic Groves are small stages built where the trees shaded the area, for the games are usually quite hot. Grove #2 highlights Celtic rock bands, like Barleyjuice.

Grove #1 features more traditional Celtic music, my favorite being Albannach. I'll write more about them another day.

Grove #3 spotlights regional talent, plus David Ross and the Gaelic Mod.

First David Ross, a lecturer and author from East Kilbride, Scotland. I wandered in the last 10 minutes of his presentation. He was explaining Scottish weaponry, and how the Claymore sword, the dirk, and the targe were used as offensive weapons.

Read more about the dirk and targe Scottish Wedding Dreams Glossary.

Learn more about David in my next post…

July 23, 2007 21:37 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ Part VII

Two things are really memorable from this, and other, Highland Games. Wherever you look there's tartan and kilts everywhere. Not everyone wears them, but enough people do that they dot the landscape with color and vibrancy.

There's always a few older gentlemen dressed to the nines, looking so spiffy in their tartans.

Occasionally, you'll see a man in trews. Isn't he neat looking? And so regimental?

And all day long, in the background you hear pipers, drummers, and pipebands tuning, warming up, and competing.

There's always music and there's always color.

Then there's the young girls who compete in Highland dancing have special tartans they wear…

This isn't Grandfather Mountain, is it? Who is that in the Ross Hunting tartan? Could it be…I did promise more about Davie Ross, didn't I?

Here he is again, in the Braveheart tartan he marched and publicized the 700th anniversary of William Wallace's betrayal and death.

Read what Davie has to say, as an historian and Scotsman.

What could possibly follow after all those great photos of men in their kilts, and the link to Davie Ross and William Wallace. Check back tomorrow and see…

[Edit July 3, 2008 ~ I 've found another website which features William Wallace and David Ross. It's at the MacBraveheart website.]

July 24, 2007 13:34 - Grandfather Mountain Highland Games ~ The Final Post

Some of you probably think I'm going to go on forever about Grandfather Mountain. Today is it. There was just so much to tell about such a big event.

What's left, you ask?

The track and field events need to be lauded, as do …

The Grandfather Mountain Marathon is run from Boone to the games, over 26 miles, with a climb of 1000 feet. But with the ups and downs, it's over a 3000 foot climb, one of the toughest in the U.S. The last 13 miles are all uphill and the runners say that for the last two miles they can hear the pipes playing.

The Bear, a 5-mile course from the base of the mountain in Linville through MacRae Meadows and up to the Swinging Bridge, with a climb over 1500 feet.

The Grizzly, a 65 mile bicycle race that begins and ends at MacRae Meadow, winding through the mountainous terrain, climbing over 7000 feet.

All three of these events support charitable causes.

There's an emphasis on children's activities, including Heavy Athletics, wrestling, the Children's Tent, the Highland dance competitions, a climbing rock, and Scottish weaving taught by Marjorie Warren.

Marjorie, of the Scottish Spinning and Weaving Society, is a tartan designer and weaver. Tartans she has designed at Grandfather Mountain Highland Games,

the Charleston Police Department Pipe Band, and Celtic Women International.

Marjorie helped establish the weaving exhibition at the Scottish Tartans Museum. Included at the exhibition is her reproduction of the Christiana Young arasaid, one of the oldest known, complete historic arasaids.

A native of Scotland, her brogue still shines through. One of Marjorie's favorite quotes is from 1863. Mortons of Brandon wrote, "Stay a moment little girl…let me wrap my pladdie 'round you; it is cold." Marjorie says, "That's how I see my work. I want literally and figuratively to wrap those of us who are of Scottish descent in the warmth and beauty of our traditions and culture. I want to help us claim and express our delight and pride in our roots and encourage us to build a valuable present and promising future based upon them."

Two ladies attire need mentioning. One lady at a clan tent was wearing an elaborate Renaissance costume, in a rich royal purple, including her slippers. It would have made a dramatic wedding gown. The other was a plain Medieval dress in black, with a tartan tabard. I've often though such an outfit would be most becoming and elegant for a mother of the bride, or a grandmother. For similar ideas, look at some early Medieval gowns.

The day closed with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with it's vistas, rhododendron, and Grandfather Mountain looking to tall and majestic.

Til tomorrowand a new topic…

July 25, 2007 09:14 - Dame Fitzalan in a Striking Tartan Wedding Dress

This portrait of Mary Fitzalan, wife of the 4th Duke of Norfolk, was painted in 1555 or 1556. With some adaptations using tartan, this could become a spectacular wedding gown.

Though padding and corsetry made her appear flat-breasted, it's a good style for a small-breasted woman.

By replacing the underskirt or petticoat with a silk or lightweight wool tartan, you've made your Scottish statement. Then it's just a matter of selecting the outer garment color and trims. Silk would be a first choice, picking up a color from your tartan.

The trim is a more predominant color from the petticoat, with either embroidery or beading motifs, which could be Celtic knots.

If the whole dress is too historical for you, the bodice could end where the gown turns from light to dark blue, with the arched line making a strapless, sleeveless bodice, eliminating the sleeves, collar, and ruff. To help carry the dramatic colors of the dress, consider a velvet stole [red or the primary color of your tartan] imitating the false red sleeves, lined with contrasting tartan that has a lot of white in it. Or embroider a lining to imitate the ermine. Again a small, black Celtic knot design of white would work.

There could be a braid trim following the pointed waistline, of tartan or a solid color. Or a girdle belt from Very Merry Seamstress, Sapphire and Sage, or your own creation would add authenticity.

A French hood, similar to the one in this portrait, can also be reconstructed for your bridal headpiece.
Ninya Mikhaila an historical costumer, has instructions.

[editor's note,
July 14, 2008 - the Ninya Mikhaila website is under reconstruction and is temporarily unavilable.
October 3, 2008 - the site is still non-functioning, try the next site listed below.]

Or Cynthia du Pré Argent has instructions to make a Reticulated headdress. Though of an earlier period, one would still look well with this dress. And remember, in some ways the Scottish ladies were ahead of the English in following Continental fashion. Yet in other ways, they lagged behind, especially in the hinterlands, away from the cities.

For a selection of patterns for various period headpieces, Lynn MacMasters Period Hats Patterns is a good resource.

Another hair idea, would be the Hair Taping, as seen July 12, 2007. In this photo, the taping has been done with strung beads, rather than tape.

The French hood, reticulated headdress, a snood, tiara, or hair-taping can all sustain a bridal veil being attached behind, in whatever length appeals to you. The veil could have a delicate beaded trim sewn on. Or an embroidered trim of Celtic knots would also add to the Scottish flavor of your wedding theme.

Both veil bead examples are from Lynda Frellinatior.

July 26, 2007 08:34 - Buy Your Wedding Venue?

The Lee Castle, in Lanark, Scotland, was reported to have sold on Ebay for 15 million pounds. Another report says the Ebay bidding didn't meet the reserve and that the castle was sold through a local realty company.

A very unusual wedding venue for a Scottish theme wedding, Lee Castle was built in 1272 and expanded in 1817. The castle sits on 261 acres near Lanark, which is southwest of Edinburgh.

photo property of Clan Lockhart

At over 30,000 square feet, the 36 rooms include 14 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, grand ballroom, banquet hall, family chapel, gym, and indoor swimming pool. There are also 2 lodges on the property.

The new owners will also received the right to the titles of 35th Baron and Baroness of Lee. The Pipes and Drums of The Barony of Lee, a 25 member band, is included.

Two historic trees stand on the grounds. A larch, brought from Venice in the 1600's, is supposedly the first larch tree in Scotland. The second is an oak, named the Pease Tree, whose name has two legends. One is that the pea crop was hung to dry in the tree. The other refers to the small stream running by the tree. In Saxon a spout of water was a paes. History records that The Bruce granted the lands to Locards, who became the Lockharts, under the Pease Tree at Ley.

What a wedding venue you could have had, if you'd won the bid on Ebay. Chapel, ballroom, and banquet hall all rolled into one. Plus ample parking for all your guests.

Scottish Wedding Dreams offers wedding venues this side of the Atlantic, more likely to be within your wedding budget for your Scottish theme wedding…

July 27, 2007 06:49 - Seven Popular Scottish Wedding Traditions

Many wedding traditions abound in Scotland, some to do with luck, some to do with fairies, some just for fun and celebration. A few you'll recognize, for they were brought to America.

All are interesting and you can always find a few you can use in your wedding plans, while celebrating your Scottish roots. You can read more about these Scottish Wedding Traditions at Scottish Wedding Dreams.

#1 The Luckenbooth Brooch ~
A Tryste is the betrothal or engagement. A Luckenbooth was a 18th century vendor's booth which could be locked at night ~ thus luckenbooth.

House of Scotland has a nice selection of Luckenbooth brooches.

Everything about the Luckenbooth brooch and its history is intriguing.

The groom purchased one for his bride, as an engagement gift. The Luckenbooth brooch became a treasured family heirloom and many traveled across the sea to America. The design was compelling enough that the Indians liked it too, began trading for them, and copied the Luckenbooth.

#2 A Lucky Sixpence ~
Something old, something new
something borrowed, something blue,
and a lucky sixpence in her shoe.

Learn the significance of the silver sixpence and why brides still slip one in their shoe even today…

#3 Hen Party ~
Friends and neighbors used to contribute hens for the wedding dinner. There would be a ladies' get together to pluck and dress the hens. Oh, but where it's gone from there…

#4 Lucky Horseshoe ~
Carried for luck, is it upside down, or downside up? Can you can use just any old horseshoe, or must it be a special one? Isn't this one from Thistle flower pretty?

#5 Unity Candle ~
A candle lit to symbolize the joining of two clans. Today the bridal couple leave the clan candles burning after lighting the unity candle. Read more about the older tradition and it's significance within the family and the clans….

#6 Pinning of the Tartan ~
Whether it's just a small square, a rosette, or a sash…is it the bride's or the groom's tartan? Who pins it on? Who do they pin it on and why?

#7 Special Dances ~
After the first dance of the bride and groom, traditionally a reel, the second dance goes to an honored guest. Read about who dances the Spring Shaim and when the Sword Dance is performed.

Image from Clipart

Tomorrow see the sea, the sky, the coral reefs and the cedar trees all in one special tartan…

July 28, 2007 11:19 - Bermuda Tartan Ideas

The island of Bermuda has it's own tartan, and with good reason.

Bermuda Plaid District Tartan WR696

In the 18th and 19th centuries, an Irish unit of the British Army was stationed here. Scottish regiments were garrisoned here several times until 1953. A Canadian Scottish regiment was based in Bermuda during World War II.

In 1847, the 42nd Regiment Royal Highlanders, or Black Watch, lost many Scotsmen to yellow fever. In 1849, during an extended drought, Black Watch soldiers volunteered to dig a fresh water supply for Pembroke Parish. The well is still in use and is called Black Watch Well.

In 1854 to 1859, the 26th Foot Regiment Camerons, or Scottish Rifles, stationed here were again devastated by yellow fever.

There are many Scots and Irish residents, plus those with Scots and Irish forebears. The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, with 17 members, performs regularly on the island.

The Bermuda District Plaid Tartan was designed by Peter MacArthur Limited of Hamilton, Scotland in 1962. The colors are for the sky, the sea, the coral reefs and the cedar trees of the island.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia, James G Howes photographer

As an example of how much online colors can vary, here's the same tartan as advertised by Tartan Store.

Either way, this is a beautiful tartan, which would work well in a wedding color theme, picking up the aquamarine, red, green, and blue. There are so many shades of teal available today in fabrics, ribbons, and jewelry.

The bridesmaid dresses and the flower girl dress offer opportunities to mix or match the hues of teal, red, green, and blue. They could all be the same, all different, or the bridesmaid dresses all one color, the maid of honor dress a second color, and the flower girl dress a third color.

The Bermuda tartan could be added as accents, or trim on their gowns. Or dress your attendants in tartan and yourself in a solid color or white with Bermuda tartan accents. The Dame Fitzalan dress, from July 25th, is a good example for using this tartan.

To use the Dame Fitzalan suggestions, this could be converted into a strapless wedding gown, with the underskirt of Bermuda tartan. The overskirt and bodice could be a light teal, or aquamarine, silk.

The skirt trim in the darker blue might make a subtle contrast. Celtic knots could then be embroidered in the teal color of the overskirt.

A stole lying over the arms, replacing the heavy sleeves, could bring out the red. Its lining and trim need to be a white background, to avoid the whole costume becoming too dark. See Wednesday's suggestions for replacing the ermine.

Wedding gown designs similar to this are available from Scotland Shop Direct and other sources.

Monday see some suggestions for teal colored shoes and other wedding shoes ideas...

July 30, 2007 08:23 - Teal Shoes for the Bermuda Tartan Theme

After Saturday's blog on the Bermuda tartan, I wanted to show you this teal shoe.

The shoe is part of a summer weight outfit I've worn to Highland games. The same idea would work with the Bermuda tartan, especially the teal shoes and bows.

Here's the whole enchilada.

By themselves, these colors and textures would not seem to coordinate. As you can see though, when viewed all together, they do, quite successfully.

The skirt is a forest green cotton broadcloth, heavy enough to drape nicely, light enough so I can breathe in the heat.

The blouse is a sheer windowpane check, with silver metallic thread edging each check. There is a double ruffle along the hemline to add a feminine touch. By itself, the blouse doesn't go with the green skirt. So I dyed a cotton slip dark green, which I wear underneath, and it changes the color of the blouse.

The tartan sash is MacCallum Ancient. Whenever you can, get a 108-inch sash rather than a 90-inch sash. The cost is higher, but it gives you more fabric to form a rosette, with plenty to drape across your body. The 90-inch can feel a bit tight, unless you are small and petite.

The pin is one my grandmother wore until her death in 1946. I don't know where it came from. It's not anything special, except to me. But the stone and marcasite do look good on her family tartan. I think she'd be pleased.

Lastly, the shoes. I have a pair of dark green ghillies and turquoise linen stockings from The Very Merry Seamstress. These were featured in my July 6, 2007 blog entry.

I actually got the teal shoes to go with another dress and necklace. Then I saw them with this outfit. They change the whole theme from casual to 'a little bit dressy'.

The little bows above the peep-toes are Flower of Scotland ribbon, available from several sources. All the sources are listed at Tartan Ribbon for a Scottish Theme Wedding.

Tomorrow learn about little bows and other embellishments for your shoes…

July 31, 2007 10:27 - Bows and Other Embellishments

The bows seen on the teal shoes in yesterday's blog are quite easy to make.

Any ribbon will do. But a grosgrain ribbon or a wired sheer ribbon will give two different effects. As will a ½-inch ribbon vs. a 1-inch ribbon. The smaller and finer the ribbon the daintier the look. A bigger ribbon becomes more dramatic and adds pizzazz.

My bow has loops 3-1/2 inches long, looped 4 times. So that's 14 inches of ribbon. I trimmed the ends into a "V" by folding the ribbon in half length-wise and cutting upward from the edge to the center. It will be less likely to fray this way. You can also "pink" the edges, or use a decorative scissors you might have for scrapbooking.

After forming the loops, I secured the ribbon with a small, clear ponytail holder, wrapping it three or four times. Fluff and position each of the loops, holding the opposite end so the ponytail holder doesn't slide off-center.

At this point, you can add a button, beads, or a brooch over the ponytail holder to dress-up the bow.

Using 3-M Picture Putty, stick the bow on temporarily to see how it looks on the shoe. Once you have the effect you want, remove the putty. Glue the bow in place with an industrial strength adhesive, like E6000, from Eclectic Products. You should find it at Michael's, Hobby Lobby, or Wal-Mart, in the crafts section. Another alternative is to attach the bow to a clip-on earring, which can be added and removed from the shoe.

If you want something different, whether it's more subtle or showier, Thursday's blog will feature a book that has scads of ideas for embellishing your shoes, all the way from tacky to chic.

Tomorrow's blog will feature the August Highland Games schedule.

June 2007 «  » August 2007


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