There’s nothing quite like a wedding to immerse you into a new country headfirst. Rich in traditions, societal norms and cultural pride, a marriage celebration gives you a taster of the best of what is to come. Three days after my departure from New York I attended my first Scottish wedding, and I jumped right in.
Mark and I have been talking of coming to Scotland for a long time. He had been away over two years and for some time we discussed coming for my winter break from school to spend Hogmany in Edinburgh, but in the end we moved back the date so we could be here for this wedding of two of Mark’s closest childhood friends. It was worth the wait!
Dressing The Part
I’ve attended, and stood up in, a few weddings and then went on to work in the wedding industry in various positions, so I consider myself pretty well versed in proper etiquette and acceptable behavior. But when it came to what to wear to this wedding I was flummoxed, and Mark was of little help, as apparently he hasn’t spent his youth watching the UK equivalent to “Say Yes To The Dress.” Those that know me in real life are rolling their eyes as they spent weeks listening to me proliferate on whether its appropriate to wear black, whether I should wear a fascinator, and what formality is appropriate for a wedding that starts at 1pm but stretches into the night. In the end I brought two completely separate outfits in my already overstuffed backpack in the hopes that the Scottish air would bring me clarity. The morning of I threw on my more casual but all black outfit, as I got shy about putting on a satin bedazzled dress at 11am. Mark went with a skirt.
Just kidding. It’s a kilt. And did those boys look sharp! I didn’t think anything could top a Mad Men style skinny suit and tie in my mind but I think I may be a convert now. The bridal party wore a modern grey ensemble while guests wore their family tartans. Mark had two to choose from, but landed on his grandmother’s Lindsay tartan.
And following my tradition of finding everything in Scotland to be “charming” I even had to get a picture of the kiltmakers where Mark rented the kilt. Quainter than a Tuxego, no?
Once I arrived at the wedding I realized I could have worn either dress as there was a range of formalities, and in fact I may have been better with the blue as everyone people went super bright and colorful for this summer wedding.
But I loved my pick, a Betsy Johnson ballerina dress with a full, lacy skirt, and also a gift from my Mom for Valentine’s Day.
My one regret? Not wearing something in my hair! I had known that it was tradition for older women to wear beautiful hats and younger women to wear little feathers or fascinators, but in the end I chickened out again. And what a shame! Lesson learned: take every opportunity to wear feathers in your hair. Lucky for me, one of Mark’s friends let me borrow her hat for a while when I was having head décor envy. I was too shy to ask strangers to take their photos (working on it!) but I did take a picture of one of the in-room wedding magazines with at least 20 pages of hat ads. I love this tradition!
Location, Location, Location
The wedding was held in the seaside resort town of Largs, just twenty minutes from our current homebase in Irvine. The town is located right along the water and oozes with charm. It’s also the location of the Brisbane House, a modern hotel and event space perfect for a young couple tying the knot.
As we approached the hotel we were met with another reminder that we weren’t in Kansas anymore: a bagpiper! I love the sound of bagpipes, so regal and elegant. They make you feel like something momentous is about to happen.
Walking into the hotel, you could tell right away it was going to be a beautiful event! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about the ceremony and reception…
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