Scottish Wedding Theme
Newsroom : Wedding Theme Newsroom Home : August 2007

August 1, 2007 06:30 - August Highland Games in the U.S.

Any one working on Scottish Wedding Theme planning can use a good dose of Highland Games. If you want to hire a local bagpiper, see some samples of different tartans up close, view different interpretations of the various styles of kilts, learn more about your clan's history, hear some different ideas for music, eat a day-full of Scottish food, and see lots of Scottish traditions first hand ~ then a nice Highland Game is the way to go.

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

  • August 4, Livonia, MI ~ St Andrew's Society of Detroit Games
    Even though it's hot in August, there's lots of shade trees. The games are held on an historical farm. There's good attendance, lot's of vendors and clan tents, plenty of pipers and food to spare.
  • August 4, Spokane, WA ~ Spokane Highland Games
  • August 4, Weymouth, MA ~ St Jude Highland Games
  • August 6, Houston, TX ~ Celtic Harvest Festival - Lughnassadh
    If you're not into paganism, you might want to skip this one
  • August 11 to 13, Pittsburgh, CA ~ Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival
  • August 11 to 13, South Charleston, WV ~ West Virginia Highland Games & Festival
  • August 11, Greenbank, WA ~ Whidbey Island Highland Games
  • August 11, Syracuse, NY ~ Central New York Scottish Games
  • August 11, Prinville, OR ~ High Desert Celtic Festival
  • August 11 to 12, Denver, CO ~ Colorado Scottish Festival & Rocky Mountain Highland Games
  • August 11 to October 28 (weekends), Manheim, PA ~ The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
  • August 11 to Oct.28, Mt Hope, PA ~ Mt Hope Renaissance Faire
  • August 17 to 18, Beckley, WV ~ West Virginia Celtic Festival & Games
  • August 17 to 18, Jackson Hole, WY ~ Jackson Hole Scottish Festival
  • August 18, Olympia, WA ~ Olympia Scottish Games Festival
  • August 18, Portland, ME ~ Maine Highland Games
  • August 18 to 19, Myrtle Creek, OR ~ Douglas County Celtic Games and Gathering
  • August 18 to 20, Lewisburg, PA ~ Lewisburg Celtic Legends
  • August 18, Ridgefield, WA ~ Fort Vancouver Caledonian Gathering
  • August 18, Amherst, NY ~ Amherst Museum Scottish Festival & Games
  • August 18 to 19, Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH ~ Celtic Feis
  • August 18 to 19, Hunter, NY ~ Hunter Mountain International Celtic Festival
  • August 18 to 19, Orchards, WA ~ Ft Vancouver Gathering
  • August 19 to 20, Albany, OR ~ Sweet Home Celtic Festival & Games
  • August 25, Quechee, VT ~ Quechee Scottish Festival
  • August 25, Old Westbury, NY ~ Long Island Scottish Games
    These games got rained out last year. It didn't just rain, there was a torrential downpour. I assume there was a considerable loss to the association and the local community. If you can support them this year, it will be a boon.
  • August 25, Galesburg, MI ~ Kalamazoo Scottish Festival
  • August 25, Cortland, NY ~ Cortland Celtic Festival
  • August 25, Davenport, IA ~ Celtic Highland Games of the Quad Cities
  • August 25, Olympia, WA ~ Peninsula Pipes & Drums
  • August 25 to 26, Bethel, MO ~ Scottish Clans Heritage Festival
  • August 27, Prague, Czech Republic ~ Sychrov Highland Games
    Not exactly in the U.S., but unusual enough to warrant a notation!
  • Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, Waukesa, WI ~ Wisconsin Highland Games

Coming tomorrow, a book that personalizes and embellishes shoes ~ for the sophisticated, the casual and points in between…

August 2, 2007 09:52 - More Wedding Shoe Embellishments

I've found a really great book that's all about personalizing and embellishing shoes ~ dress shoes and flip-flops, stiletto heels and ballet slippers, rain boots and house slippers.

Not only are the ideas good, but they're do-able by even the people who aren't craftsy. Within the pages, I saw so many suggestions that could be converted into Scottish bridal shoes.

You'll see embellishments using stencils, transfers and paints ~ jewelry, ribbons and lace ~ beads and buttons, even fabric (which for us means tartan), all tastefully done with easy-to-follow directions.

On the Scottish Embellishments page you'll find 5 unique suggestions, with references to specific styles and page numbers from A Closet Full of Shoes.

To learn more about the book, read my review, or order the book; plus study some suggestions for adding Scottish embellishments, go to Scottish wedding shoes to read more…

Tomorrow, read 11 essential wedding shoe tips…

August 3, 2007 12:03 - 11 Tips For Wedding Shoes

1. White wedding gowns aren't really white, it's called diamond white, and they clash with pure white wedding shoes. A bridal wash, from your local shoe repair shop, will tone down your shoes.

2. Pick your wedding dress first, then buy your shoes. Wear your shoes for fittings, so the hem is exactly the length you want.

3. Try on shoes in the style you'll be wearing to verify size, width, and heel height. If you fall between two sizes, go for the larger size.

4. For comfort, heel height is important. Go with what you usually wear. If you don't usually wear a stiletto heel, put some on and walk around in the store. Do you trip or stumble? You'll have more important things on your mind on your wedding day than concentrating on walking in stiletto heels.

But if you're used to wearing them, including hurrying and dancing, go ahead, unless your wedding venue doesn't make it feasible. Consider Tip #11 for the reception.

On grassy lawns and beaches, forget skinny heels.

5. Match the texture of your shoe fabric to your dress fabric.

  • Match your shoes with the hem of your gown, not the bodice, to create a seamless flow from your gown and feet. Otherwise, the difference will be amplified in your wedding pictures.
  • Satin gown ~ satin shoes
  • Organza, chiffon, silk, tulle, or lace gowns ~ boca shoe fabric. Boca is shimmery, but doesn't shine like satin, nor is it flat like crepe. It has replaced peau de soie as the mid-range choice.
  • With tartan shoes, wool tartans is what's offered.
  • With a tartan dress, suede or kid leather would probably look best.
  • For custom shoes, silk tartans can also be used. Just remember the tartan choices are limited.
  • If you're personalizing your wedding shoes, it will depend on how much of the original shoe is going to show and what you're adding as embellishments.

6. For your bridesmaids decide on a shoe fabric to match their dresses. Decide if the toes will be open or closed, as they will show in the photos. Then let your bridesmaids select what style and height they're comfortable in. For a consistent color, include all of in one dye bath.

7. If the shoes are going to be dyed, start with a white shoe, so they can be re-dyed black after the wedding. Everyone is more likely to wear the shoes again if they end up black. If you start with anything but white, the final black shoes probably won't please you.

8. Custom dyed shoes will run, if they get wet. You can have the color sealed after dyeing, but you can't re-dye the shoes black. If it's raining, only wear the shoes indoors. Switch to another shoe to travel from the ceremony to the reception.

9. To get used to the heel height and break in the shoes, wear them around indoors.

10. A few words of caution when choosing your wedding shoes

  • Skinny straps tend to start digging into your feet after a couple of hours. If you simply must have them, make sure you wear them at home and break them in, especially the straps.
  • Even though we've discussed embellishing your shoe, use some caution and preventative measures. Jeweled ornaments have a tendency to catch on long trains and lacy hems. To wear jeweled shoes, brushing clear nail polish onto the jewels give them a smoother surface.

11. Consider wearing different shoes for the ceremony and the reception, especially if you wear a stiletto heel, something with skinny straps, or a skimpy sandal for the ceremony. At the reception you'll be on your feet a lot, mingling and dancing. Ideas for comfy reception shoes will be discussed in our next blog…

August 6, 2007 19:28 - Tartan & Specialty Wedding Shoe Sources

Sources for tartan shoes are limited ~
The Scotland Shop has tartan shoes and boots for children and adults in over 500 wool tartans.

This open toe sandal is one of their selections.

Along with other tartan shoes, including mules, pumps, flats and boots, they have children's Saltire Slipper. A young ringbearer would find these comfortable, while developing your Scottish theme wedding one more step toward completion.

The Scottish Store, also listed as Colin of Edinburgh, has 3 styles of tartan shoes and boots in any available wool tartan.

This is their Tie Tartan Shoe

Other sources offer a limited choice of tartan shoes. You can review all the sources available at tartan shoes and boots.

If your wedding plans require a more conservative wedding shoe than tartan, there are other sources available for

  • Dance Ghillies
  • Renaissance and Medieval shoes, sandals, and boots
  • Cinderella Slippers
  • Plain Fabric Boots

View samples and sources of these Specialty Shoes.

Tomorrow, finding some comfy wedding reception shoes…

August 7, 2007 10:54 - Comfy Reception Feet

A wedding I recently attended was beautiful in every respect, down to the shoes. But as the evening wore on and everyone began to dance at the reception, shoes started coming off. Ladies were holding their beautiful shoes, while they danced in their stocking feet. Between dances the shoes were tucked under their arms.

If you feel you have to have high heels for the wedding ceremony, why not have some dancing shoes to change into for the reception? Even with the heel height difference, it would beat walking around with shoes under your arm. And you'd be holding your dress hem up anyhow, so that's not an argument.

They could be a lower heel or a more casual shoe that's decorated and embellished to become a fashionable, dress shoe.

You can buy lower heel wedding shoes from any number of sources. A few I've found are Monica ~

Makenna that would make a nice low heel wedding shoe, or one to change into for the reception. It is dyeable to the color of your choice. For anyone in the wedding party who desires a low-heel, good looking shoe, this just might fill the bill.

After removing the flower, or working around it, Flora could be embellished to your taste.

Another idea is to customize some sneakers ~ lace-up, slip-on, or mule. The book, A Closet Full of Shoes, gives details on covering the sides of soles.

Any comfortable shoe can be used, you just have to look for creative ways to conceal the basic shoe. If anyone were to notice, they'd probably be jealous they didn't think of it first.

Crafty Jan has shared a pair of sneakers she decorated for a daughter's wedding reception.

Have you been seeing any decorated Crocs? Before you say a flat "NO!"...

  • Take a look at Croc's Prima, it's a little daintier than the traditional Crocs, yet maintains the comfort level.

  • Consider this idea. Oriental Trading Company sells Doodads, which are like little half-spools. You simply decorate them with the ribbons, beads, charms, laces, or flowers of your choice and slip them in the holes in the Crocs. They even have instructions about how to decorate their doodads.

    Here's one with ribbons and hydrangeas ~

    Orange shoes for a wedding???!!

    Coming tomorrow, some orange tartans and theme ideas, including carrots…

    For more details and the websites for today's ideas, go to
    Embellished Shoe Sources.

August 8, 2007 16:40 - Orange Tartans and Carrots

Yesterdays orange crocs stimulated the question, orange for a wedding? It's not even in the rhyme about the color of your wedding gown!

Do you find orange tasteless and tacky or trendy and creative? Everyone will at least agree that the color orange evokes memories of sunshine and joy ~ two things everyone wants at their wedding.

In Medieval heraldry, orange symbolized strength, endurance, and a worthwhile ambition, perhaps harkening back to the successful harvest.

With Scottish Wedding Traditions, carrots have taken on a special significance. Read more about Carrot Sunday ~ you just might add some to your Scottish wedding theme.

Orange is seen as a sociable color, useful for stimulating thinking and talking. For sure, if you use an orange color theme for your wedding, it will provoke the conversations of people who find it inappropriate.

Other colors you can combine with orange for a striking effect

  • With a medium blue, orange really pops out

  • Red, yellow, and orange kindle a hot, fiery combination

  • Tame those three colors down and the combination becomes fresh and fruity as seen in Drumlanrig from the Lochcarron Heirloom Collection, which combines bright orange, palest of yellows, and a hint of pastel pistachio yellow-green

  • A dash of orange with purple, or a dash of purple with orange plus a mellowed yellow or white can be eye-catching without being overpowering.

    Holyrood, from the Lochcarron Heirloom Collection, exemplifies this combining of gold, red, yellow, orange, and a purple-blue, with narrow stripes of white and black.

    Add some of Lochcarron's emblem tartans to heighten the drama.

    Any of these colors could be picked up for the rest of the bridal wear. Flowers could include from lilies, iris, roses, hydrangeas,

  • Orange with pink will vibrate like a 60's psychedelic scene, unless they're in tartans. Here's three that can work together ~

One last example to consider for a predominantly black wedding. It's one you'd never expect to convey sophistication, subtlety and formality, with just a touch of color. Care to guess? Harley Davidson! When you stop and think, though, Harley is an Anglo-Saxon name, popular with the Scottish and Davidson is a Scottish clan.

For more details on using orange into your Scottish theme wedding, go to Orange Wedding Themes.

Tomorrow, the Wedding Dress Color Rhyme from Scottish Wedding Traditons...

Footnote: Due to reader feedback, the size of some images have been reduced, edited August 16, 2007

August 9, 2007 09:56 - Wedding Dress Rhyme

Taken from our Scottish Wedding Dreams Wedding Tradition Page Bridal Wear Traditions in Scotland, the selection of wedding dress colors indicates your future.

White as a sign of virginity is a modern concept. Instead, white was always associated with joy.

In 1499, Anne of Brittany married Louis XII of France. Her wedding dress was the first known white wedding dress. Before Anne's marriage, silver had been the traditional color of Royal brides.

Around 1750, Paisley dresses or shawls came into vogue and remained a fashion of bridal wear for seventy years.

photo taken in the Sag Harbor New York Whaling Museum

White was Queen Victoria's favorite color and she chose a white wedding gown for her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840.

This traditional rhyme, probably from Victorian days, offered advice on wedding dress colors ~

Married in White, you have chosen right,

Married in Blue, your love will always be true,

Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,

Married in Brown, you will live in town,

Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,

Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,

Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,

Married in Pink, your spirit will sink,

Married in Grey, you will go far away,

Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.

An older wedding maxim said a woman married in a 'green gown' was promiscuous, as her dress was stained green, due to rolling in grassy fields…try telling that to anyone with Celtic heritage who wants shamrocks on her wedding gown, tiara, bouquet, or decorations!

Tomorrow, the Popular Peacock and It's Colors…

August 10, 2007 10:27 - The Popular Peacock and It's Colors

From yesterday's rhyme, if blue is true, green and yellow are shame, where does that put the beautifully gorgeous peacock feather?

Image courtesy of Morgue Files

The peacock and it's myriad of colors has been a favored motif since the days of King Solomon. Peacocks are often found in Celtic knots, including the Book of Kells, from which sprang the belief that the peacock relates the incorruptibility of Jesus Christ.

While the colorful spread of the tail symbolized the rays of the sun, the peacock is also thought to be a symbol of immortality.

This creation from Rossetti, a design house of "Period & Fantasy Influenced Couture Wedding Gowns", is called Butterfly Princess. On it's sales page, the colors aren't like the peacock, but in different lighting, as in this image from the Tapestry page, the lighting has changed the colors to exemplify the peacock.

photo and design property
of Theresa Blake of Rossetti

The Scottish Odyssey tartan shows with varying levels of brightness from different sources. In it's dullest form it would work with this skirt and other peacock elements.

Scottish Odyssey
a Lochcarron of Scotland tartan

Another idea ~ look at this peacock photo and visualize the train you might create, along the lines of the Butterfly Princess, with layers of shimmering, transparent, vibrant fabrics. Notice how much gold is present in the tail when seen as a whole…

Image courtesy Morgue Files

And now…peacock shoes. I'm really not 'beating a dead horse' by repeating the advice to purchase the book A Closet Full of Shoes, but if you're interested in peacock and instructions can be found on page 34.

To learn more about the book, read my review, or order the book; plus find some suggestions for adding Scottish embellishments, go to Scottish wedding shoes.

See and read more about peacocks and peacock tartan wedding ideas.

Coming Monday, more scrumptious wedding gown designs and information from Rosetti!

August 13, 2007 09:36 - The House of Rossetti Wedding Gowns

Image Theresa Blake,

This creation from Rossetti, a design house of "Period & Fantasy Influenced Couture Wedding Gowns", is called Butterfly Princess. On it's sales page, the colors aren't like the peacock, but in different lighting, as in this image from the Tapestry page seen in last Friday's blog [August 10, 2007], the lighting has changed the colors to exemplify the peacock.

Theresa Blake of Rossetti creates wedding gowns influenced by Historical Eras and Fantasy. To view the whole gown, it's background, and other creations, begin with Butterfly Princess.

"Originally a commissioned costume (a "fairy princess" for a children's entertainment company), this design would actually work well as a uniquely styled wedding gown - particularly (dare I suggest it!) in classic shades of white, perhaps highlighted in pink and silver."
Quoted from Rossetti's Theresa Blake

Primarily, each gown is designed and customized for the individual. To maintain their high standard, two fittings in England, two weeks apart are required. Some ready-made gowns and samples are offered.

The 18th century gown, Madeleine, is a personal favorite of mine. Could it be the pale yellow and lavender combination? See several views of Madeleine, including closeup details and embroidery. Don't overlook the hemline details in the full-length view.

Imagine this as a Scottish wedding gown, with paisley, thistle or Celtic knot embroidery on the bodice, with a silk tartan in the inset, or stomacher. Then the tartan repeated with a traditional tartan sash in silk.

Venetia is one of their ready-made gowns with a hooded cloak. Wouldn't it be a sumptuous wedding gown?

Rossetti also offers Medieval gowns, 16th through 19th century gowns, contemporary gowns, corsets from various eras, and a collection of William Morris fabric designs.

If you're not familiar with William Morris, he was an English artist. Some of his more famous works are
  • a stained glass window in Trinity Church, Boston
  • revival of the tapestry industry in England, including designs still in use over a hundred years later.
  • His fantasy book, The Wood Beyond the World, is claimed to have inspired the C.S. Lewis Narnia series and J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowhip of the Ring".

One last view, is a tartan tutu.

Image Theresa Blake,

It's highly reminiscent of this old lithograph print

Image from Clipart

I could go on and on, instead go to their website and see if they can help fulfill your Scottish wedding dreams.

Tomorrow, more information about graphic artist, Cari Busiak, whose specialty is Celtic knots. Among her offerings are rubber stamps, clipart, posters and wall hangings you might consider for your wedding.

August 14, 2007 12:06 - Aon Celtic Art

Hiring a graphic artist to personalized your Scottish wedding theme was discussed in the Graphics & Motifs For You Scottish Theme Wedding, June 23, 2007 blog. Here's another Celtic graphic artist I've located ~ Cari Busiak, from Alberta, Canada.

As well as gaining a reputation as a Celtic graphic artist, her website, Aon Celtic Designs, has been around since 1995, offering both merchandise and free software.

One of her designs is a Peacock Celtic knot, offered as a greeting card.

Image and design from Aon Graphic Designs

If you've picked up on the peacock tartan wedding theme , it's a good traditional Celtic knot design you could use.

In my first blog entry Ceud Mile Failte [June 15, 2007], a work of stone art was the featured photograph. Several pieces of stone art are available from Aon. In light of my recent interest in the peacock tartan theme, this Celtic Peacock on Jasper is just one more example.

Image and design from Aon Graphic Designs

Just for fun, in their gift shop collection, look at the unusual Celtic Pangur cat-bed. You gotta see 'em, as a cat-lover, or as a bride looking for unique Scottish design ideas. Even the gold Celtic knot tassels can suggest lots of uses for decorations for your wedding…maybe they'd sell just the tassels.

Take a good look at the catnip toy idea ~ possibly in a fancier fabric, or tulle netting, fill it lavender, tie a Celtic knot…and voilà, just like that, you have a memorable, inexpensive, easy Scottish wedding favor.

A rubber stamp collection available from Amazon features her designs.

More of Cari's Celtic knot rubber stamps are available from other companies. You'll find more information on the Aon Graphics Design page [link below].

Click here for more information about Aon Graphic Designs.

Tomorrow, it's time to look at another historic wedding dress idea…

August 15, 2007 08:02 - A Romantic Wedding Gown

Moving away from the bright colors of the peacock, it's time for a more subdued Scottish wedding gown idea.

Romanticism was on the rise as this gown from 1835 shows. The main details are the sloped shoulders and the Beret sleeve, cut from a circle and gathered top and bottom. I'm guessing this gown's sleeves were gathered just below the armseye and allowed to flow and billow down the arms, almost to the wrist.

Image from The Book of Costume

The sheared gathering on the bodice is repeated in the waist sash. Also note how the right side sheering on the bodice appears to continue below the sash onto the left side of the skirt. This is probably achieved with a few pleats in the skirt waistline.

The jewelry at the bodice could be your Luckenbooth brooch, a family piece, or an old brooch you buy.

By 1830 pale yellows and cream had gained in popularity and by 1835 hemlines were moving back to the floor, rather than above the ankle.

While the ankles were revealed, shoes had flat heels and wide square toes as shown in this photograph. For special occasions cotton stockings were hand painted.

Three ladies below are wearing the sloped shoulder with a dropped armseye. Two popular hairstyles are displayed.

The Madonna, which has a simple central part and hair raised into a chignon or curls. A raised tirara with a Celtic design would break the severity of this hairstyle. The second style, an Apollo Knot, is more feminine, with the hair pulled into a ponytail, then loosely knotted, with the side forming separate curled masses.

Mathilde Gräfin Lynar
by Eduard Magnus c. 1837

Sophie, Archduchess of Austria
by Joseph Karl Stieler c. 1832

Amalie von Krüdener
by Joseph Stieler 1828

Marie J. Lafont-Porcher
by Francois-Joseph Kinsoen c. 1835

Portraits courtesy Wikipedia

Don't all four of these ladies just exude Romanticism? They look so lovely and feminine. Think of the rich brown velvet Mathilde is wearing with the Alba Dark Heirloom Tartan [August 8, 2007 Orange Tartans]. The red of Sophie's gown would be nicely complimented with a tartan cape lined with the white or white cape lined with tartan.

Amalie's white satin gown would also be enriched by a tartan stole, while Marie's hair is a fine example of offsetting the bun in an Apollo Knot.

For a Scottish Theme Wedding, the overskirt, in a sheer, billowy fabric, could have an overall design with stenciling or embroidery in lavender or a matching color. The motif could be a thistle or a Celtic knot.

A silk lavender or tartan ribbon to tie the sleeves where they gather on the upper arm would also be a nice touch, as seen on Marie's sleeve.

Another idea would be to have a very sheer overskirt, with a tartan underskirt. The sheer overskirt in a different color was also popularized in the 1950's with brown over a pastel pink, yellow, blue, or green being favorites. Not the style, but this illustration from 1823, shows the effect of a diaphranous overlay in the skirt.

Illustration courtesy Wikipedia

To see more historical period dresses and ideas for wedding gowns, Scottish Wedding Dreams has an extensive collection of gowns from 10th century through the early 1900's.

August 16, 2007 09:52 - Top Ten Favorite Movies With Historical Costumes

Movies can show good examples of period dress…they can also show terrible period costuming.

Here's the Top Ten we've selected for their costumes, plus two for their innovative wedding venues.

Braveheart ~
Nominated for Best Costume Academy Award 1996. Murron's Medieval Scottish wedding dress is lovely in it's simplicity, while Princess Isabelle's costumes are rich and sophisticated.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

First Knight ~
Guinivere's Early Medieval dresses are becoming, with beautiful fabrics and detailing.

Princess Bride ~
A replica of her Medieval bridal dress is available from Very Merry Seamstress

Anne of the Thousand Days ~
Set in 1536, this Renaissance movie received the Best Costume Academy Award for 1970.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

Ever After ~

Image courtesy Wikipedia

A replica of Danielle De Barbarac's Italian Renaissance ballgown is available from Very Merry Seamstress .

Very Merry Seamstress also offers Fairy Wings.

Much Ado About Nothing ~
With 1600's Italian Renaissance costumes, plus the humor, it's well worth the watch.

Orlando ~
1600 Renaissance thru today with breathtaking costumes.

Shakespeare in Love ~
Placed in 1693 London, the Renaissance costuming
won the Academy Award for Costume Design 1999.

Emma ~
Victorian England costumes nominated for Academy Award for Best Costume Design 1997.

Four Weddings and a Funeral
Set in modern time, wedding number three is in a Scottish castle, the bride's gown in lovely, and pay attention to the guests choices of clothing.

Innovative Wedding Venues

Under The Lighthouse Dancing, 1997 ~ an Australian movie starring Jack Thompson and Jacqueline McKenzie. Features a small wedding, followed by a very unique beach wedding reception.

I Do, But I Don't (Lifetime TV), 2004 ~ starring Denise Richards and Dean Cain. A couple marry at a small amusement park, next to the carousel.

Coming tomorrow, the royal wedding gown paid for with ration coupons…

August 17, 2007 08:56 - A Royal Wedding Gown Bought With Ration Cards

During the last year of World War II, Princess Elizabeth enlisted as No. 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor. She drove a military truck.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

She is the only female member of the British royal family to have actually seen duty in the armed forces. During the Victory in Europe celebrations, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret donned ordinary clothes and joined the crowds on the streets to celebrate.

World War II was barely over, when the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark was announced.

Much respected for her war service, many people praised her for her hard work. Rationing was still in effect. Money was scarce. And the practical princess planned to have a simple wedding gown.

But her future subjects felt otherwise. They began mailing in their ration coupons, stipulating they were to go toward a "royal" wedding gown for their princess.

Norman Hartnell, a British fashion designer, was commissioned and created a gown that can only be described as sumptuous.

Image courtesy Clipart

With 10,000 seed beads and thousands of white crystal beads, the dress shimmered with her every movement. The bead designs were pearl garlands of orange blossoms, syringa, jasmine and the White Rose of York. Flowing lines of wheat, the symbol of fertility, were beaded in pearl and diamante. Diamante is small pieces of shiny material used to decorate clothing.

You can see the wheat sheaves, orange blossoms, and White Rose of York across the train. Orange blossoms had been the wedding flower of choice from the Victorian Era. Syringa is commonly called lilacs.

Asked by the Queen Mother to use a rich, lustrous stiff satin made at Lullington Castle, Hartnell created a train for this fabric. But for the dress design he needed a more supple silk found in Scotland.

Rumors spread that the princess was using silk manufactured by enemy silk worms from Italy or Japan. They were actually from Nationalist China, thus acceptable, and the plans went on.

Here's a color photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh on their wedding day.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

A quote of Norman Hartnell says, "To me, simplicity is the death of the soul." Apparently the common people of England agreed. Their love of Princess Elizabeth and their desire to nourish the soul of their future queen wins the prize for royal wedding gowns.

For more information about royalty and their gowns, go to Scottish Wedding Dreams.

August 20, 2007 09:01 - 13th Century Medieval Slippers

Image courtesy Book of Costume

Oo-la-la…couldn't these be gorgeous for a Scottish wedding shoe. They appear to be covered with small and a few larger gems, or is it embroidery? Maybe both. There's a strap over the instep to add security.

Though made without a sole, a modern slipper could be adorned to match almost any wedding gown.

With Swarovski crystal beads, the color choices are almost endless. The first that come to mind are Silk and Hot Chili Pepper.

Image courtesy Fire Mountain Gems

Image courtesy Fire Mountain Gems

Image courtesy Fire Mountain Gems

These would look very sophisticated on the wine suede from Very Merry Seamstress.

Image courtesy Very Merry Seamstress

Their Ladies Slipper is close in design to the 13th century slipper shown above.

Image courtesy Very Merry Seamstress

Read more about Medieval Slippers, where to order them, and colors to match the Peacock, Psychedelic, Orange Sherbet, Holyrood, and Drumlanrig Tartans.

August 21, 2007 07:23 - A Typical American Wedding Day ~ Thanks to the Scots

Without knowing what the Scots had contributed to their day of days ~ Mary and Jamie thought they were just having a regular wedding. Neither thought of themselves as Scottish, just Americans...

On the morning of her wedding, Mary used Crest toothpaste and Sure deodorant, both products of Proctor & Gamble. James Gamble was of Scottish parentage.

Knowing a long day lay ahead, Mary fixed herself a nice hot cup of Lipton tea, whose founder Sir Thomas Lipton was born in Glasgow.

The hem in a bridesmaid's dress came loose and was repaired with Scotch tape, a product developed by James McKnight, who started as a bookkeeper with 3M.

When the wedding ceremony began, the bride carried a Bible, where the first man mentioned is a Scot, King James VI, who authorized its translation.

The soloist sang Amazing Grace, written by John Newton, a Scot.

Many of the flowers came from the Lompoc Valley in California, where an American Scots, John Rennie, founded the American flower seed industry.

The reception menu included Black Angus steaks. Ranchers had imported Aberdeen Angus bulls from Scotland to strengthen American beef cattle.

As a special tribute, Mary asked her grandparents to open the first dance. The band played Stardust, their favorite song in 1929 when they married. Hoagie Carmichael, a Scots-American, wrote the music.

For their honeymoon, they flew to Scotland. In Edinburgh, Jamie insisted on visiting The Elephant House, the café where J.K. Rawlings wrote Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone.

Next, they visited Gretna Green and went into the Blacksmith's Shop to see where Jamie's great-grandparents had wed. Here's some of their photos...

The Elephant House, Edinburgh by Flickr, absolutwade
photo courtesy, absolutwade photographer

Gretna Green blacksmith shop, Freefoto, Ian Britton
photo courtesy, Ian Britton photographer

...during their stay, Jamie and Mary found Scotland pulling on their heart strings, drawing them back...back to where their family story first began...

To read the complete tale, go to A Typical American Wedding Day.

August 22, 2007 11:31 - Makeup Bells

No, no, no, not for the bride while she does her makeup on her wedding day.

If either you or your groom have a good, hot Celtic temper, you're gonna need one. Given as a traditional Celtic wedding gift, they're used to settle argie-bargies.

Did I say argie-bargies? That's Scots for an argument. And they will occur over the course of your marriage, if they haven't already started about the wedding plans.

They were made of crystal, iron, brass, bronze, silver, or wood. In every marriage, the couple were given one on their wedding day. From then on, the makeup bell held a place of honor on the mantel, in plain sight, readily reached.

Both the husband and the wife were supposed to remember their wedding vows when they glanced at the makeup bell. During an argument, either one could pick up and ring the makeup bell.

In a boxing match, what happens when the bell rings? The round is over and the opponents return to their corners.

During any marital disagreement, if either party rings the make-up bell, it signifies the argument is over, done, forgotten, with no blame placed on either side.

Good idea, huh? Especially when you consider that making up is half the fun of arguing. I could've used one over the years…maybe for an anniversary present?

To read more about Makeup Bells, here's a list of sources, and other wedding gift ideas from Scottish Wedding Dreams.

August 23, 2007 12:22 - Ten Scottish-Americans Who've Shaped Our Lives

As you plan your Scottish theme wedding, learning about some other Scottish-Americans will help you better understand and appreciate your own heritage.

Historians tell us we can't know where we're going unless we know where we've been. Sooooo, let's take a look at ten famous Scottish-Americans. Every one of them has shaped our lives in some way, large or small, personally or from their affect on the lives of others, who carried it forward into our lives.

  1. Hoagland Howard Carmichael, the lawyer, is better known as Hoagy the bandleader, composer, and pianist. Songs he's famous for are
    • Stardust
    • Heart and Soul
    • Georgia On My Mind
    • Up a Lazy River
    • Lazybones
    • In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening
    • The Nearness of You

    In the August 21, 2007 blog Stardust is the First Dance song played at the wedding reception.

    See the Carmichael family tartan at Famous Family Tartan.

  2. Going from one end of the spectrum to the other, in age, beauty, and historical significance…

    John Witherspoon [1723-1794]. President of Princeton, signer of our Declaration of Independence as a representative from New Jersey, he was the only college president and clergyman.

  3. Reese Witherspoon, "Legally Blonde" but not dumb, a descendant of John Witherspoon.

  4. More than a few of us got a glif in Jurassic Park, by author Michael Crichton.

  5. Andrew Carnegie ~
    Ever been to a public library and borrowed a book? Thank a very rich, very famous Scotsman who treasured learning and gave away his wealth to give us schools, universities, and free libraries. An immigrant to America in 1848, he never forgot his past and his people…

    See the Carnegie clan and family tartans at Famous Family Tartan.

  6. Breakfast at Tiffany's, starring Audrey Hepburn, set the fashion standards of the early 1960's. A lady of great class. Her great-grandmother was Kathleen Hepburn, descendant of the Scottish consort James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, best known for his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, as her third husband.

    See the Hepburn tartan at Famous Family Tartan.

  7. Anna Mary Robertson Moses, Grandma Moses ~
    It's hard to believe one of our most famous painters began painting in her seventies, when she could no longer embroider. Her genre was American folk art, very popular beginning after World War II.

    Thunderstorm is owned by the Grandma Moses family

    See the Robertson clan and family tartans at Famous Family Tartan.

  8. Donald Trump is nobody's favorite. Yet you have to admire his "in your face" attitude and his accomplishments. He attributes his principles and values to his Scottish mother, Mary.

  9. Flowers, flowers everywhere…on the altar, in your hands, on his lapel, on the pew ends. Some are fragrant, some are colorful, some are dainty, some look like velvet. Some were raised from seeds from the Burpee Seed Company, founded by W. Atlee Burpee, of Scottish ancestry.

  10. Neil Armstrong, test pilot and astronaut, was the first person to set foot on the moon, giving new meaning to the song "Fly Me To the Moon"

    See the Armstrong family tartan at Famous Family Tartan.

Note: all images courtesty of Wikipedia

August 24, 2007 12:33 - Queen Victoria's 1845 Scottish Gown

This satin gown, worn by Queen Victoria in 1845, would make a really stylish Victorian Era wedding dress. The lace could be of Scottish or Irish origin. Notice the matching lace stole. Lace could also be used for a train.

Remember, Victoria was fascinated with things Scottish ~ she loved to stay at her castle in Balmoral, the castle interior was hung with tartan wall coverings, and she overly-dressed in tartan whenever visiting Balmoral. (Possibly later in life.)

Here, as a young woman of 26 and prior to her marriage, her taste is impeccable.

On the beret sleeves, popular since 1835, the lace doesn't just go all the way around. It is brought up in front to expose more of her arms.

A 'garter' or 'buckle and strap' is displayed on the left sleeve, where the lace is joined to the satin. The garter is of dark blue velvet, to match the sash, with gold edgings. It is an emblem of the Order of the Garter, to which kings, queens, and dignitaries have been initiated since 1338. The Monday, August 27, 2007 blog will cover the garter in more detail.

Her jewelry includes a ruby and diamond brooch on the bodice, pearl bracelets, and possibly a strap of diamonds on left shoulder to hold her sash in place.

In a second portrait there are two straps to secure the sash. The garter is also present and she has pinned the Order of the Garter below her left breast.

Returning to our featured gown, the sash is dark blue velvet, and at her waist, on the right side, where the two ends of the sash meet, she has pinned an insignia, where you could pin a clan badge.

The only tartan touches I would add ~ a very narrow cording of tartan at the waist to accentuate the "V" line and narrow tartan silk ribbon interwoven among the roses on her circlet. The roses are big and of satin to match the gown.

Though the shoes aren't shown, and probably matching the gown, tartan shoes are a possibility.

August 27, 2007 10:42 - Wearing a Buckle and Strap Garter

During the reign of Edward III, in 1348, a new order or brotherhood, called the Knights of the Blue Garter, was formed. St George, the dragon-slayer, was named the patron saint, and an annual celebration was kept on April 23rd, which is St. George's Day."

The garter strap was azure, or blue, with a gold buckle and edgings ~ which if worn today would be in bad taste, not to mention illegal in Britain.

The order's motto is Shame be to him who thinks ill of it.

The origins of the Order are lost in history. One legend claims the order to be a revival of the Order of the Round Table.

Another legend claims a lady of the court lost her garter on the dance floor. Amid snickers, King Edward picked the garter up and placed it on his own leg, saying, "Shame be to him who thinks ill of it."

A third legend was the order being a move by Edward to gain support in his claim to the French throne. If this is true, the motto, Shame be to him who thinks ill of it, was directed at any who opposed King Edward's designs on the French crown. The colors of the garter, blue and gold, repeat those of the French Royal Arms. And French knights were excluded from the inaugural feast.

The Order of the Garter continues today, with members of the British royal family, others of nobility, and famous personages being invited to join. In reference to the portraits of Queen Victoria [in the August 24, 2007 blog], she was a member of Order of the Garter, thus entitled to wear the garter.

As early as 1856, people were copying the garter insignia, or belt with its buckle and edging. On a clan badge, the garter was used to signify a clansman's membership in his Chief's clan, using the chief's crest within the buckle and strap.

Also called a buckled belt, by 1900 authorities began to question the legal use of the garter on clan badges. So people began tying the strap end over the knot, rather than under the knot to make it appear less like the Order of the Garter. Tying over and under the knot can be seen in these two clan badges from the Russell of Killough and Armstrong clans.

From Friday's blog, Queen Victoria's 1845 Scottish Gown [August 24, 2007], Queen Victoria is displaying her Order of the Garter on her left arm where the Beret sleeve joins the armseye.

Below her left breast is the badge of the Order of the Garter.

August 28, 2007 07:17 - Wearing a Clan Crest or Badge

Even though I'm partial to fancier brooches with stones and jewels in them, a clan crest or badge is appropriate for a bride's sash. If she is wearing her husband's clan tartan or her own, the badge for the same clan is a nice touch.

A bonnet clan crest or badge is lighter in weight and would be a better choice than a man's plaid brooch, which can be quite cumbersome.

There is some established etiquette to follow about badges. Membership in a clan goes with the surname. It doesn't pass through married women. Children are members of their fathers' clans. If there is no paternal clan, and the children wish to demonstrate their relationship with their mother's clan, they may wear her clan Crest Badge.

Crest Badges are for clansmen to wear, in silver or white metal. Ladies may wear the Crest Badge of their Chief as a brooch, and it may be made of gold. In yesterday's blog, a gold Russell of Killough badge was used in demonstration.

If you're considering using a Clan Crest Badge on invitations, a bridal concomitant, or other decorations, the badge should never be illustrated on paper or other material in color. Line drawings should be in monochrome.

The use of a clan crest should follow the established guidelines. If printed on paper or fabric, the words "Crest Badge of a member of the Clan XXX", must be included under the badge. This can also be printed in Gaelic, An Cirean eann Cinnedh, which means The Crest of the Clan Chief. Adding the disclaimer clarifies that the Crest Badge isn't being misappropriated.

The Crest Badge belongs to all clansmen, whether they belong to a clan society or not, and may be worn or used by them.

Next, how to form a sash rosette…

August 29, 2007 09:12 - How To Form a Sash Rosette

Though it looks complicated, forming a nice looking rosette is really quite simple.

If you've ever made a bow for a gift package, you're half way there. The first time, it may take a few tries, but once you have the hang of it (no pun intended), it's easy.

MacCallum Ancient Tartan

Determine where on the sash you want the rosette, with the center about a hand's length from the end (not including the fringe). At this center point, double the sash back on itself, with the longer end in the back. The length of the turn-back will be the size of your rosette. For the finished rosette to sit and look nice, keep the turn-back shorter than two-thirds the width of your sash.

You want the middle of the turn-back to be placed so that both side radiating from the center repeat the tartan sett in the same place. In other words, if you set a mirror at the halfway mark, you'd see the same thing both ways. My rosette isn't formed that way, but would look nicer if it were.

If you have a non-reversing tartan, make the midpoint between two of the lightest color stripes. In the Houston tartan, that would be between the two narrow dark green stripes or midway between two of the brown stripes. You'll need to experiment and see what looks better in a finished rosette.

Gather the turned back portion into pleats and secure it with a rubber band or clear rubber ponytail holder. Make sure the band is exactly midway between the two ends of the turn-back.

Bring the ends of the pleated tartan around, joining them together to complete the rosette. Fluff the fabric out, so you don't have a flat rosette, then tack the two sides together so your rosette stays in a circle.

A decorative brooch, or clan badge, is pinned on over the rubber band. A safety pin or tacking should fasten the sash to the dress from the inside.

Tomorrow, Ladies Sash Placement…

August 30, 2007 06:38 - Ladies Tartan Sash Placement

Ladies also have some options in placing the tartan sash on their torso.

The Royal Scottish Country Dancer Society says pin at left shoulder, though the only photo I have of a dance society group, the ladies all have their sashes pinned on the right shoulder.

Images found at Electric Scotland Sash Placement

1. The most common method is to lay the sash over your right shoulder, with more in back than in front. The back piece is draped across the torso, under the left arm, around the back, up over the right shoulder, then pinned at the shoulder.

2. The Lord Lyon code is to pin at right shoulder, with 3 exceptions. You may pin at the left shoulder if:

  • Ladies who are chiefs and chieftains
  • Wives of chiefs and chieftains
  • Wives of colonels of Highland regiments

The Court of the Lord Lyon, also known as the Lyon Court, is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland.

3. A lady who has married out of her clan pins the center of the sash at the appropriate shoulder with a bow tied at the opposite hip, unless she has adopted her husband's clan and tartan.

4. Almost a mini-arasaid, the sash is passed under a belt (or secured with buttons), draped down on the hips, drawn up to the shoulder, secured with a pin, then draped forward or to the back. In back, the sash end should hang lower than the part draped down on the hips. At the right shoulder, a rosette could be formed on the front before returning the sash to the back.

If you're considering the tradition of the Pining of the Tartan, the tartan sash is a good way to adopt and use this Scottish wedding tradition. Just make a ceremony of it wherever you want it to occur during the wedding ceremony. Adding some words of explanation or exchanging a vow that explains the significance of the pining would be edifying for your guests and give the pining more meaning.

Have the best man hand the sash to the groom, who in turn would slip the pre-formed sash over the bride's head, with the maid of honor helping position the sash. After the ceremony, the sash should be under-pinned in place with large safety pins. Or a few quick basting stitches also works.

August 30, 2007 07:02 - Irish Cottage Wedding Venue

I'm leaving for a Turner clan reunion over the holiday, so here's Friday's blog:

I've just visited an historical Irish cottage, near Castilian Springs, Tennessee.

Having read about the cottage in an Avery Trace booklet, I made a small side-trip to see it. The Avery Trace was the old trail/road between Knoxville and Nashville.

The cottage now sits in a park, along with some other historical buildings. It's 37 miles northeast of Nashville and still sits along the Avery Trace.

For a small wedding in the spring or early summer, the site could be quaint and charming. On into the summer, everything is dried up and potentially dusty. A ceremony could also be held by the garden, or in front of the cottage where old-fashioned flowers bloom, including French Hollyhocks.

The cottage was built in the 1790's by Hugh Rogan in the tradition of cottages from his home in Glentourn, County Donegal, Ireland, where he was born in 1747.

Originally the cottage was sited on a hill, near a spring, overlooking Bledsoe's Creek, a few miles from its present location. With two rooms on the main floor and upstairs sleeping quarters, the home is quite small.

A covered pavilion sits across the road from the cottage, with picnic tables to seat 70 people.

Nearby is Wynewood Stagecoach Inn, c. 1828, that also sat alongside the Avery Trace. The main house is 142 feet long with an open hallway or dogtrot through the center. A much larger facility, it's another wedding venue possiblity.

More information can be found online at Bledsoe's Lick Historical Association, Inc., or at 615-452-5463.

Due to the Labor Day holiday, Scottish Wedding Theme Newsroom will return on Tuesday, September 4th.

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