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December 3, 2007 07:23 - Scots at The Alamo

Having lived in Texas for over 30 years, being married to a Texan, and birthing a Texan, Texas had played a big part in my life. It's so vast…the skies are big…and so are her heroes and their tales.

Of the original 300 white settlers, 120 were Scottish or Scottish-American.

The Alamo, of course, features prominently in that history. The record states 189 men died, including 46 men of Scottish descent and 4 from Scotland ~

John MacGregor, who stood on the walls of The Alamo piping the men to battle in true Scottish tradition. Stories tell of MacGregor on his pipes and Davy Crockett with his fiddle having music competitions in the days leading up to March 6th. The 2004 movie 'The Alamo' also features MacGregor and his role at The Alamo.

I have a CD by Carl Peterson, purchased at the Alamo gift shop. The title is 'Scotland Remembers'. Peterson sings about MacGregor, who stood on the walls of The Alamo and piped during the battle…in true Scottish piper tradition. Isla St. Clair also sings of 'MacGregor, the Piper at The Alamo'.

Richard Ballentine, among others, signed a statement declaring "we have left every endearment at our respective places of abode in the United States of America, to maintain and defend our brethren, at the peril of our lives, liberties and fortunes."

Isaac Robinson was a fourth sergeant in the artillery.

David Wilson lived in Nacogdoches, leaving a wife to fight for freedom.

They all died on March 6, 1836, fighting for the freedom of Texas at The Alamo. The oldest was 29 years old.

Rampant Scotland's page for TartanDay USA features the celebration held annually at The Alamo.

December 4, 2007 09:13 - Blue Tartans

Blue is one of the most favorite colors of all people. Red also ranks right up there in popularity. So, Bell of the Borders being one of my favorite tartans, I've looked up some lighter blue tartans and selected some flowers to go with them.

The tartans featured are Lady Diana Memorial, Bell of the Borders, Blue Toon, MacMillan Clan, USAF Pipe Band, and Musselburgh District Tartans. These range from baby blue to medium blues.

Flowers suggested with these are white lilacs, common lilacs, Sky Blue petunias, red roses, blue roses, cornflowers, bachelor buttons, blue iris, blue tulips, plumbago, forget-me-nots, Virginia bluebells, Queen Anne's lace, white roses, white heather, lily-of-the-valley, and a mixed bouquet.

There's a little red, yellow, white, and other colors in these tartans that can be introduced in the flowers, jewelry, and beads added to almost any hair adornment or headdress.

Click here to see the Blue Tartans page.

To review the various headdress and hair adornment ideas, go to Scottish Wedding Dreams Tiaras, Etc .

December 5, 2007 15:58 - Pledging To Provide and Protect

This Scottish wedding tradition goes wayyyyyy back and is one I'd like to see used more often.

There are four parts to the ceremony in which the bride and groom pledge to provide and protect one another and their future family.

1. The groom gives his bride a sheaf of wheat. This is symbolic of his pledge to provide for their home.

Small sheaves of wheat can be ordered from Dried Flowers Direct.

2. The Bride gives the groom a piece of woven cloth. With this she pledges to provide for their home.

If you've any tartan fabric or ribbon from other projects, they would do. If you use ribbon, you might want to make it into a rosette.

You can also order small tartan samples or a small scarf in most tartans from the tartan sources found on Scottish Wedding Dreams Tartan Sources page.

3. The Groom gives a dagger. With this he symbolically pledges to defend their home.

The Sgian Dubh, which is the small knife worn in the groom's stocking, would be appropriate for this part of the ceremony.

Two sources that have a wide selections of Sgian Dubhs are

Scotland Shop located in the UK.

Scotclans located in the UK.

To avoid import duties, and get one more quickly, there are several sources on Scottish Wedding Dreams Tartan Sources page.

4. The Bride gives a Bible, symbolizing her pledge to defend their home.

A personalized wedding Bible with a Claddagh design on the front cover is available from Covenant Arts .

These pledges of the wedding ceremony customs are some many of us should look at in a more serious light.

December 6, 2007 10:50 - Bridal Horseshoes

That's bridal, not bridle, meaning for a wedding.

When horses were first introduced into Scotland, they were a status symbol. So you can imagine how special a bride was, if she possessed a horseshoe.

Brides began to sew them into the hem of their dress, believing this would bring them good-luck in their marriage.

You can imagine how heavy these were. Gradually the custom evolved into the bride carrying a horseshoe in her bouquet. As time passed, these horseshoes became more elaborate and decorated.

Today, companies paint and decorate horseshoes for Scottish theme weddings.

Sources I've found are ~

Thistle Flower

[Editor's note, July 14, 2008: Thistle Flowers is currently being revamped and relocated with a U.S. shipping center. When there is a valid URL address, it will be posted here.]

Scottish Wedding Flowers

Bon Chance Horseshoes

Scottish White Heather which is also a source for white heather

Brides Village offers a decorated horseshoe to use as a ringbearer's pillow.

If you have the sources, time, and creative notion, you could also locate and decorate your own horseshoe.

Whichever way you choose, a horseshoe adds to the Scottish traditions of your wedding.

December 7, 2007 17:17 - Presentation of the Sword

Many of the old Scottish highland wedding traditions are dying out. This is another one that could stand to be revived.

During the wedding ceremony, the groom presents his bride with a new family sword. In time it will be passed on to their first born son. Sometimes the bride's family presents the groom with their family sword, as a sign of accepting him into the family.

Either way, the sword signified the groom accepting the obligation and responsibility to now protect his bride, as his wifie.

If you're romantically inclined, this could add a nice touch to your use of wedding ceremony customs. It could also be a nice custom to pass on to your children.

Graduates of West Point use their newly earned sword to cut their graduation cake. Why not use your new family sword to cut the first pieces of wedding cake that you will be feeding to one another?

December 10, 2007 07:26 - Five More Famous Scots

  • Billy Boyd ~
    Actor and musician, best known as Pippin Took in The Lord of the Rings, but hilarious in other movies as well.

    Not averse to donning his kilt, Billy appears annually in the New York City Tartan Day celebration 'Dressed to the Kilt' style show. In 2007 he appeared as Bonnie Prince Charlie, dressed in the Stewart tartan.

    Image courtesy Dressed To the Kilt

    The Boyd clan tartan ~

    The Boyd family tartan ~

  • Robert Fulton ~
    American inventor famous for perfecting the steamboat, launching the first practical American steamboat, the Clermont, on the Hudson River in 1807.

    Fulton also created the modern submarine, named the Nautilus, which was exhibited on the Seine River for Napoleon.

    Robert was the son of an Ayrshire farmer. The Fulton family tartan ~

  • Cy Young ~
    Major league pitcher at the turn of the last century, held many records. Some of his records still stand today. He threw the first pitch in the history of the World Series. Today he is ranked 14th in 'Baseball's 100 Greatest Players'.

    Baseball Card image courtesy Wikipedia

    The Young clan tartan ~

    The Young family tartan ~

  • Elvis Presley ~
    The most famous singer of all times, Elvis's family came from Lonmay in Aberdeen, where there are still Presleys in the local phone book.

    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    The King would have worn the Aberdeen District tartan

  • Mel Gibson ~
    Born in New York, raised in Australia. Mel won fame and an Academy Award as best director for Braveheart. Voted sexiest man alive in 1997.

    Image courtesy Wikipedia

    Gibson accepted the award at the 1996 ceremony wearing a Buchanan tartan vest.

December 11, 2007 13:52 - Scottish Wedding Words

Sometimes it's fun to play with words that you don't really know yet. As long as you don't use too many of them together, your guests might enjoy learning a few new Scottish words…

If you're thinking of having your mairiage ceremony thareoot, you'll be hoping for a braw waddin day. Otherwise the meenister might not like being ootby.

To put this in simpler terms that we can all understand ~

If you're thinking of having your marriage ceremony out-of-doors, you'll be hoping for a great weather day. Otherwise the minister might not like being outside.

If your ceilidh is ootby, and it turns into a houlie, they might not even notice.

Again, if your reception is out-of-doors, and it's a wild, drunken brawl, they might not even notice.

Houlies came into being with Penny Weddings, where anyone was welcome as long as they brought something to contribute to the celebration. A few too many folks brought usquebagh, that is to say the water of life, which we commonly call Scotch whiskey.

Scottish Wedding Dreams Penny Weddings and Wedding Traditions have more information about these and other traditions.

December 12, 2007 06:07 - Hugh Mercer

Mercer WR3019

Three Mercers fought at the Battle of Culloden. Robert and his son, Thomas, both of Aldie, who died on the battlefield. Hugh Mercer was assistant surgeon for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Originally of Aberdeenshire, he fled to America in 1747. He first settled in what is now Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.

During the French and Indian Wars he distinguished himself and rose to the rank of Colonel. After befriending Colonel Washington, Mercer moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1760. He bought Washington's childhood home, Ferry Farm.

Mercer was one of the major generals in the American Revolution and it's rumored he originated the plans for Washington to cross the Delaware and attack Trenton.

Legend also claims that during the Battle of Princeton Mercer was mortally wounded and placed under a white oak tree because he refused to leave his men. The tree has become known as "The Mercer Oak" and is featured in the seal of Mercer County, New Jersey.

Some of Mercer's descendents settled in Aldie, Virginia. [see Aldie, Scotland above] Distinctive progeny include the Pattons, as in General George S. Patton, Jr., the Confederate General Hugh Weedon Mercer, and lyricist Johnny Mercer.

Counties named after Hugh Mercer can be found in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and West Virginia.

Tomorrow, another famous Mercer...

December 13, 2007 18:21 - Johnny Mercer

A direct descendent of Hugh Mercer, Johnny Mercer is famed as one of American's best lyricists. Johnny won four Academy Awards ~
  • On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe from "The Harvey Girls"
  • In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening from "Here Comes the Groom". Fellow Scot, Hoagy Carmichael wrote the music.
  • Moon River from "Breakfast at Tiffany's", which starred another Scot descendant, Audrey Hepburn.
  • Days of Wine and Roses from "Days of Wine and Roses"

Johnny founded Capitol Records in 1942 along with Buddy DeSylva and Glen Wallichs.

He also wrote

  • Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
  • And the Angels Sing
  • Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Blues In The Night
  • Charade
  • Come Rain Or Come Shine
  • Day In, Day Out
  • Dearly Beloved
  • Dream
  • Drinking Again
  • Fools Rush In
  • Glow Worm
  • Goody Goody
  • Hit The Road To Dreamland
  • Hooray for Hollywood
  • I Remember You
  • I'm an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande
  • I'm Old Fashioned
  • Jeepers Creepers
  • Laura
  • Lazybones, music by Hoagy Carmichael
  • Loma
  • Midnight Sun
  • One For My Baby (and One More for the Road)
  • Out of This World
  • P.S., I Love You
  • Satin Doll
  • Skylark, music by Hoagy Carmichael
  • Something's Gotta Give
  • Summer Wind
  • Tangerine
  • That Old Black Magic
  • This Time the Dream's on Me
  • Too Marvelous for Words
  • Trav'lin Light
  • When October Goes (finished post-humously by Barry Manilow)
  • You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby<./UL>

    Could some of these be incorporated into your wedding reception music?

December 14, 2007 06:55 - Dance Songs

Today, a discussion on music for your Ceilidh (reception) is opening. It's not a one-day topic. Just the traditions around special dances are a topic for one day. Then there's the Scottish artists, Scottish descent artists and songwriters. Some of these songs evoke tartan choices and even some wedding gown suggestions.

Beyond the reception, there's also the ceremony music. For now, the traditional First Dance possibilities, beginning with Easy Listening, with music and lyrics that are sooooo romantic...

Bart Howard gave us

  • Fly Me To The Moon, which was sung by Peggy Lee, among others. It was the main theme from the 1991 film Once Around and was performed during a wedding scene.

Peter De Rose, pianist and songwriter

  • Deep Purple was his biggest hit. When guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was forming a British rock band, his grandmother kept asking if they would be playing her favorite song, Deep Purple. Thus the group's name evolved.

  • Somebody Loves You is a 1932 piano composition, recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1966

Hoagy Carmichael [blogged on August 23rd]

  • Stardust
  • The Nearness of You
  • Heart and Soul, though often considered banal, look at the lyrics "...heart and soul, I fell in love with you, heart and soul, the way a fool would do, madly…"

Johnny Mercer [blogged yesterday, December 13]

  • And the Angels Sing
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Come Rain Or Come Shine
  • Day In, Day Out
  • Dearly Beloved
  • Dream ~ Roy Orbison's rendition was in the soundtrack for the 1998 movie, You've Got Mail
  • Fools Rush In
  • I Remember You
  • I'm Old Fashioned
  • P.S., I Love You
  • Summer Wind
  • Too Marvelous for Words
  • When a Woman Loves a Man
  • You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

Paul Francis Webster

  • The Shadow of Your Smile, from The Sandpiper

This barely touches the surface of available songs. In future blogs and on the Scottish Wedding Dreams Music pages, more lyrics will be available. And other selections will be discussed…including bagpipes, the harp, fiddling, and other traditionally Scottish music.

December 17, 2007 08:10 - Traditional First Dances

In Scottish tradition, the bride was featured in the first dances, even as she is today. There were four important, or special, dances at any wedding. They were

  • The First Dance ~ The bridal couple would lead off the first dance with a traditional reel.

  • The bride's second dance was reserved for the person of the highest rank among the guests.

  • The Shaim Spring ~ the bride was given the privilege of choosing the music for the Shaim Spring, a country reel which she danced with the bridegroom, bridesmaid, and best man.

  • The Sword Dance was usually performed by a good dancer.

  • Auld Lang Syne, sung by the guests as they gathered in a circle. Written by Scotland's poet laureate, Robert Burns, it has spread around the world.

Last Friday a list of First Dance songs were presented. The second dance, with the bride and someone of honor would be a wonderful place to dance with a grandfather. It's highly likely he once danced to the tunes listed for the First Dance. To me, Stardust is about as good as it gets. Written by a Scottish-American, Hoagy Carmichael.

Coming next…lyrics, dress patterns, and tartans to go with some of the soft, easy dance tunes…

December 18, 2007 07:40 - Star Dust Tartans

Image and record property of the author

And now the purple dust of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart…

…Beside a garden wall
Where stars are bright
You are in my arms
That nightingale tells its fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew…
Lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael

The romance and the elegance of Hoagy Carmichael's words, plus the haunting melody have made this a favorite of all time. Perhaps while growing up he heard so much of Scotland…the moors, the purple hillsides abloom with heather…the roses…the family garden. We'll never know, but his words remain. I like to th ink of them as a tribute to Scotland.

When you look at the MacKay Blue tartan, you see the darkening sky moving to black. Though there's no white, the stars still seem to twinkle out from this tartan.

MacKay Blue tartan WR1052r

Looking at this Kwik Sew pattern, it has so many possibilities. Beading the bodice with pearls and crystals would evoke the stars across the twilight sky. The bodice fabric could be silk, lace, or felted tartan. With a solid color bodice, the skirt could be tartan. With a tartan bodice, the skirt could be silk, satin, fine linen, tulle netting in a deep rich blue or tartan without the added beading.

Kwik Sew 3448

For other tartans and patterns, plus fabric and accessory suggustions, go the Scottish Wedding Dreams Star Dust Tartan.

Tomorrow, Deep Purple tartans…

December 19, 2007 07:07 - Deep Purple Tartans

A song, a color, a theme…all in one. It began with a romantic song, written by Peter De Rose. I don't know his ancestry, but his words betray the heart of a Scotsman. Just thinking of the purple heather on the hills in the twilight evokes a beauty unknown to most of us. Somehow he has captured it all in the melody and words of Deep Purple, by Peter De Rose.

When the deep purple falls
Over sleepy garden walls
And the stars begin to twinkle in the sky
In the mist of a memory you wander back to me
Breathing my name with a sigh…

… And as long as my heart will beat
Sweet lovers we'll always meet
Here in my deep purple dreams

These tartans seem to echo back the words…

Scotland Forever tartan

Heather Isle tartan

Deep Purple gowns can be a royal purple trimmed or accented with one of the Deep Purple tartans. They can also be sewn entirely of a Deep Purple tartan.

Burda Pattern 8321

Suggestions for this gown and others for the bride, her attendants, and the mothers can be seen at Scottish Wedding Dreams Deep Purple Tartan page.

December 20, 2007 06:36 - Dream Tartans

…dream when the day is through
Dream, and they might come true
Things never are as bad as they seem
So dream, dream, dream…
Dream lyrics by Johnny Mercer

For me the word dream evokes twilight time with the changing colors, sometimes pastels, changing into more brilliant shades, then fading into bluish-purples. At the horizon everything becomes silhouettes as they turn black. Eventually the black envelops the sky as the stars begin to get brighter and brighter. Then it's time to dream...and this gown looks like a dream walking.

Simplicity Pattern 5843

This dress is so terribly feminine. The colors are so gentle and delicate.

Of course, the embroidery makes the dress. The motifs could be Celtic knots, thistles, or even rosebuds done in lavenders and purples.

The Lochcarron Heirloom Stewart Purple tartan seems made for this bridal gown.

Lochcarron Heirloom Collection Stewart Purple tartan

For more details, plus other gowns and tartans for a Scottish theme wedding, go to Scottish Wedding Dreams Dream Tartans

December 21, 2007 05:21 - Auld Lang Syne

The last of the special dances, blogged on December 17th, is Auld Lang Syne. It's so important a part of Scottish culture that it's even been given a tartan of it's own.

Auld Lang Syne 3071

What do these words mean? Long ago, days gone by, once upon a time…

A traditional circle dance, commonly joined in by all while singing Auld Lang Syne. As the song begins everyone forms a circle, holding hands, singing the first verse.

During verse 2, everyone crosses their arms across their chest, again linking hands with their neighbors.

For verse 3, everyone gently sways from right to left.

Verse 5 and the chorus get a little more complicated. Everyone walks into the center of the circle, then backs out again. Sometimes they jump up and down while singing the last chorus. As the song ends, everyone turns under their arms, with hands still joined, to end up facing outwards with the hands still joined.

Sung internationally for New Year's Eve, graduations, funerals, plus the closing of sporting events and restaurants, in real life and in the movies.

Scottish Wedding Dreams Auld Lang Syne Tartan has more complete information.

Coming Monday, Christmas tartans…

December 24, 2007 06:14 - Christmas Tartans

Just for the fun of it…just in case you're planning a Christmas season wedding…just to see what tartan colors are Christmas.colors.

Enjoy, then have a colorful Christmas and let your heart be decorated with the precious joys of Christmas.

This will be our last blog until January 2, 2009, for I too plan to enjoy my Christmas and my family for the season.

Crieff District tartan 1636

King George IV tartan 936

MacPherson the Crubin Artifact tartan

MacRae of Ardentoul Artifact tartan

Middleton tartan 903

Munro Clan tartan 1516

Ross tartan 90

Scott tartan 4

Stewart of Appin Clan tartan 1532

Unidentifed tartan 463

For a more complete showing of Christmas tartans, go to Scottish Wedding Dreams Christmas Tartans. There's more than 60 tartans for Christmas eye candy…

November 2007 «  » January 2008


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