Scottish Wedding Theme
Newsroom : Wedding Theme Newsroom Home : April 2009

April 1, 2009 07:39 - April Highland Games & Events

If you are planning a Scottish Wedding Theme ~ or would just plain like a good dose of Scottishness, get to one of these Highland Games. At most of the events, you can find local bagpipers to hire or browse tartan sample books. There's always lots of kilts and outfits, everywhere from formal to very casual, to look at. Clan tents have information on your clan's history. The music runs from traditional to rock. And there's lots of Scottish traditions and food to sample.

  • April 3 to 5, St. Louis, Missouri ~ Mississippi River Celtic Music Festival
  • April 4, Albany, Oregon ~ Oregon Scottish Heritage Festival
  • April 4, Bakersfield, California ~ Bakersfield Gathering & Games
  • April 4, Bundanoon, NSW, Australia ~ Bunadoon Highland Gathering

    Since 2000, Bundanoon has had their own tartan. The description is "green - from the meaning of 'Bundanoon', which is deep green gullies; yellow - for the wattle which grows in the gullies; white - for the mists of the Southern Highlands; red - for the waratah, emblem of the Wingecarribee Shire; and blue - for the Australian sky"

    Bundanoon District Tartan WR2641

    One of their events also caught my eye, "The Bundanoon Stones of Manhood". This is billed as a contest between David Huxley, Australia's world heavy events champion and his Tartan Warriors. The competition is lifting 5 stones weighing between 100, 120, 130, 140, and 165 kgs., to test their speed, agility, and strength.

  • April 4, Columbia, South Carolina ~ Columbia Tartan Fest
  • April 4, Concord, New Hampshire ~ New Hampshire Indoor Highland Games
  • April 4, Dunedin, Florida ~ Dunedin Highland Games & Festival
  • April 4, Fremont, California ~ Tartan Day Scottish Faire
  • April 4, Helotis, Texas ~ San Antonio Highland Games
  • April 4 to 5, Honolulu, Hawaii ~ Hawaiian Scottish Festival
  • April 4 to 5, Minden, Louisiana ~ Scottish Tartan Festival
  • April 4 to 5, Troupe, Texas ~ Four Winds Faire - Highland Fling
  • April 4 to 11, New York City, New York ~ Tartan Week
  • April 5, Ringwood, near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia ~ Ringwood Highland Games
  • April 6, Minneapolis, Minnesota ~ Minnesota Tartan Day
  • April 6, Washington, D.C. ~ National Tartan Day Celebration
  • April 10 to 11, Maclean, NSW, Australia ~ Maclean Highland Gathering. Their website tells of the electricity poles being decorated with tartan designs. If anyone has a photo of this, I'd love to publish it.
  • April 10 to 12, Odessa, Texas ~ CeltFest Texas
  • April 11, Virginia Beach, Virginia ~ Scottish Society of Tidewater Tartan Day Ceilidh
  • April 14 to 19, Donegal, Ireland ~ Pan Celtic Festival
  • April 17 to 19, Batesville, Arkansas ~ Arkansas Scottish Festival
  • April 17 t 19, Huntersville, North Carolina ~ Loch Norman Highland Games
  • April 17 to 19, Hoffman Estates (Chicago), Illinois ~ Clan Homecoming USA
  • April 18, Hoffman Estates (Chicago), Illinois ~ Heartland International Tattoo
  • April 18, Fremont, California ~ Fremont Tartan Day Scottish Faire
  • April 18 to 19, Amarillo, Texas ~ League of Celtic Nations Celtic Festival and Craft Faire
  • April 18 to 19, Las Vegas, Nevada ~ Las Vegas Highland Games & Celtic Gathering
  • April 23 to 25, Anthisnes, Belgium ~ Festival Les Anthinoises
  • April 24 to 26, Carbondale, Illinois ~ Southern Illinois Irish Festival
  • April 24 to 26, Eugene, Oregon ~ Historic Celtic Bhealltain Festival
  • April 24 to 26, Sumter, South Carolina ~ Scottish Country Fair & Celtic Festival
  • April 25, Big Island, Virginia ~ Celtic Festival
  • April 25, Culloden, Georgia ~ Culloden Highland Games and Scottish Festival
  • April 25, St. Leonard, Maryland ~ Celtic Society of Festival of Southern Maryland Spring Festival
  • April 25 to 26, Woodland, California ~ Sacramento Valley Scottish Games & Festival
    April 30 to May 3, Glen Innes, NSW, Australia ~ The Australian Celtic Festival

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Coming tomorrow, more about Ivy and her Daffodil Tartans & Gowns…

April 2, 2009 08:00 - Ivy's Daffodil Tartans and Gowns ~ Part XVII

As a pixie princess, Ivy has numerous gowns for daily wear and special occasions. As I told earlier, Ivy is particularly fond of any yellow tartan that will go with her daffodils. Here's a few more of her favorite tartan, gowns, and flowers.

When Ivy is feeling bold and adventurous, she dons one of her bolder tartans, like the Thain Dress Tartan or the Raeburn Tartan. The main difference between these two tartans is that Thain also has a narrow white stripe, while Raeburn is just yellow and black.

Raeburn Tartan WR1275

Thain Dress Tartan WR1256

With these bolder tartans, her favorite flowers are the English Daisy and Gardenia.

In case you've forgotten from the list of flowers and their symbolic meanings, the daisy means bliss, lasting pleasures, delicacy, departure, curiosity, tenacity, and playfulness. The gardenia symbolizes joy, you're lovely, secret love, and purity.

English Daisy image courtesy Wikipedia

Gardenia image courtesy Wikipedia

Often the flowers are woven in a headpiece similar to this one from Godey's, but with the gardenias or English daisys and, of course, ivy. A favorite is this buttercup ivy. All the ivys symbolize wedded love, fidelity, friendship and affection.

Buttercup Ivy courtesy Wikipedia

Rose Wedding Headpiece from Godey's 1869, plate 41b

Ivy has two similar gowns that look a lot like the McCalls Wedding Gown Pattern #5897. One is big and bold in the Raeburn Tartan WR1275.

Ladies Wedding Gown McCalls 5897 Pattern

The other is more demure, which will make a good topic for tomorrow…

April 3, 2009 06:35 - Ivy & Her Tartan Gowns Part XVIII

As mentioned earlier, Ivy has two dresses from one pattern, similar to McCall's pattern #5897.

Ladies Wedding Gown McCalls 5897 Pattern

Yesterday's showed Ivy bolder mood, while today's is more demure, in a lovely yellow silk, with a cummerbund in the Barclay Clan Dress Tartan.

Barclay Clan Dress WR1879

When Ivy wears the demure Barclay gown, she likes to wear white heather, white lilacs, or lily of the valley.

Lily of the Valley image courtesy Morgue Files

White Lilac image courtesy Wikipedia

White Heather image courtesy Clip Art

She weaves a headpiece similar to the Isabella featured at Tall Toad.

Isabella Floral Headdress courtesy Tall Toad

If you're going to a Tartan Day celebration this weekend, even if you don't have a tartan to wear, wear a daffodil boutonnière on your lapel or in your hair. That will indicate you're a participant with some Scottishness!

Next week, we'll wrap up Ivy's tartans and gowns…

April 6, 2009 09:29 - A Few More of Ivy's Daffodil Gowns and Tartans ~ Part XIX

Here's a few more historical gowns that Ivy designed and still enjoys wearing ~

Stuart Plaid Artifact Tartan WR1706

This Italian Medieval gown from 1350, as worn by Ivy, has tartan trim at the neckline and cuffs. The gown is of daffodil yellow silk while the bodice and hemline are embroidered with daffodils and thistles. Tying in with the thistles, Ivy uses a Stuart Plaid Artifact tartan. She also has a pair of silk Medieval slippers in the same tartan.

Stuart Plaid Artifact Tartan WR1706

Another Medieval favorite is recognized as a 16th century Portuguese gown. Ivy wears this one when she is feeling youthful and lighthearted.

Stuart Plaid Artifact Tartan WR1706

In Ivy's design, the gown combines daffodil yellow silk in the bodice, with a silk Dunbartonshire Trade Tartan WR1886. The tabard is of a rich deep brown, with metallic gold trim, while small golden thistles are embroidered down the sleeves of the gown.

Dunbartonshire Trade Tartan WR1886

Tomorrow, a last few of Ivy's gowns, then on to other topics…

April 7, 2009 09:43 - The Last of Ivy's Daffodil Gowns & Tartans ~ Part XX

These are the last of the gowns and tartans Ivy has shared with us. All three mark important times in history ~ the gloriously famous Flora MacDonald who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie after the Jacobites were defeated at Culloden, the success and fame of the Scottish regiments at Waterloo, and Alexandra of Denmark, queen consort of Edward VII.

1746 Flora MacDonald portrait

This gown, worn by Flora MacDonald, was another of Ivy's favorites. She gave the design to Flora in the 1700's before she immigrated to the Americas. The body of the dress is a tartan, while the bows and sleeve inserts are co-coordinating colors. Ivy's original design is, of course, in a yellow tartan, with black and yellow bows.

In 1814, when Scottish soldiers helped the French defeat Napoleon at Waterloo, Scottish tartan designs became popular in France and elsewhere. The ladies just grabbed onto the design which Ivy had worn and made it up in every tartan they could find. Even their slippers, stockings, hat trimmings, and parasols were of tartan.

1814 French Fichu

1810 Waterloo Ladies and the Highlander Regiments

Upon her marriage to Edward VII, Alexandra became the Princess of Wales, a title she bore from 1863 until 1901. She was extremely popular with the people and has held the title longer than any other woman. Her dress and bearing, which included a limp, were copied by fashionable ladies.

In 1863, the Princess of Wales wore this tartan gown. Ivy's handmaiden gave her the pattern in a dream. The Princess wore a Stuart tartan, Ivy wore a yellow one, like this Jacobite Modern tartan.

Jacobite Modern Tartan

1863 Princess of Wales

Coming tomorrow, the Scottish actor, James McAvoy…

April 8, 2009 08:05 - Mr. Tumnus Resides in Scotland

James McAvoy, who portrayed Mr. Tumnus, the faun, in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, is a Scottish actor. Born in 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, James McAvoy trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

James McAvoy image courtesy Wikipedia

To me, he will always be Mr. Tumnus and for a while I had a hard time accepting him in other roles.

The Last Battle image courtesy Wikipedia

But, as I watch James McAvoy in more movies, my appreciation of his acting ability grows. Though he will always hold a fascination for me as Mr. Tumnus, the faun, charming Lucy with his pan-pipes.

After being Mr. Tumnus, I felt any other role he played was a slur on Mr. Tumnus. I just wanted him to remain a loveable faun forever. Then I realized he had already been Prince Leto II from the Frank Herbert mini-series. So I had to let him go on and be other movie characters.

His roles have included ~

  • 2001 TV mini-series, Band of Brothers, Pvt. James W. Miller

  • 2003 Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, a science-fiction miniseries. McAvoy starred in his first international role as Prince Leto Atreides II.

    Children of Dune poster courtesy Wikipedia

  • 2004, starred in an Irish movie about a young man with muscular dystrophy

    Rory OShea Was Here poster courtesy Wikipedia

  • In 2005, he was a hit as Mr. Tumnus, the faun, a close frined of little Lucy Pevensie, in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. He reappered in The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle.

    Incidentally, C. S. Lewis said the first story, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, came from a single picutre in his head of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood. So, it appears, Mr. Tumnus was the first inspiration for the whole series of stories.

  • In 2005 his role as Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, personal physician to Idi Amin of Uganda, earned him a nomination for the BAFTA Award Best Supporting Actor.

  • 2006 found James starring in Penelope, a tale of a family curse, a girl with the face of a pig, and her falling in love with an unrepentant gambler.

    Penelope poster courtesy Wikipedia

  • In 2007, James portrayed Tom Lefroy, the male lead in Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen.

    Becoming Jane poster courtesy Wikipedia

  • He also portrayed Robbie Turner, son of the family housekeeper, in Atonement, a sad tale of how an one incident and one lie can change your whole life. The role was only offered to James. The director stated he needed an actor who could "take the audience with him on his personal and physical journey."

    Atonement poster courtesy Wikipedia

  • In 2008, McAvoy starred with Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman in Wanted, an action film loosely based on a comic book series. Quoting his own words, "I got to satisfy the 16 year-old boy's yearning to break things up and jump up and down and beat people up."

    Wanted poster courtesy Wikipedia

    A younger sister, Joy McAvoy sings with the Scottish girl group, Streetside.

    Tomorrow, can even Mr. Tumnus have a family tartan?

April 9, 2009 09:06 - Can Even Mr. Tumnus Have a Family Tartan?

The answer is a resounding yes. That is, when he's portrayed by actor James McAvoy.

The McAvoy family does not have their own tartan, but they are a sept of MacLean of Duart, a family with a long history.

Seated at Duart Castle, or Caisteal Dhubhairt in Gaelic, the castle sits on the Isle of Mull. Dating back to the 13th century, for many generations the castle was deserted. In 1912, the chieftain of MacLean of Duart purchased and restored the castle.

Duart Castle image courtesy Wikipedia

The clan has many lovely tartans with a lighter blue that adds a lighter interest to the darker red and green combinations. Six of these could be combined together for an extensive wedding, while three dress tartans round out the selection.

Any of the clan tartans, alone or in combination, would be a good choice if you're wanting to use Forget-Me-Nots and white heather, or any of the other blue flowers available. Remember, Forget-Me-Nots symbolize true love, faithful love, and memories while the white heather has many symbolic meanings and is the traditional Highland wedding flower of choice. In March, 2009, flower meanings were published.

MacLean of Duart Clan Tartan WR377

MacLean of Duart Clan Tartan WR58

MacLean of Duart Clan Tartan WR2125

MacLean of Duart Clan Tartan WR378

MacLean of Duart Clan Tartan WR376

MacLean of Duart Clan Tartan WR379

The clan dress tartans would also be highlighted with Forget-Me-Nots to accent the blue in each of the tartans.

MacLean of Duart Clan Dress Tartan WR1210

MacLean of Duart Clan Dress Tartan WR573

MacLean of Duart Clan Dress Tartan WR1282

Tomorrow, a Scottish caricature artist and ideas for your wedding…

April 10, 2009 07:28 - Scottish Caricature Artist

Pedro Art Caricatures is located in Crieff, Scotland. The artist is Peter (Pedro) McBrock, known for his caricatures at ceilidhs, Burns suppers, dinner dances, weddings, corporate events, and on cruise liners.

Caricature image courtesy Pedro Art Caricatures

More important to our Yankee brides is the cartoons and illustrations he can draw. My mind starts whirling as I think of how he could add humor, fun, and artistry to your wedding plans.

Are you sending out Save-the-Date cards? Why not have Pedro create a truly personalized post card. Thank you notes sent after the wedding are so mundane and boringly traditional. How about a caricature of the bride and groom for the cover, instead of wedding bells printed in silver on ivory stock?

When your photos come back from the photographer, why not pick out a family grouping and have Pedro do a caricature for the parents?

He also does favorite views. Perhaps you know of a particular spot in Scotland that you'd like to include in your wedding plans. Commission him to draw it for you, and then use it on your ceremony program, invitations, napkins, or other paper goods.

View a selection of Pedro's work, including prints, Christmas cards, and calendars.

I particularly like his painting entitled 'Night Scene'. If you've been around many pipers, this seems the typical ending to a celebratory evening after a day of piping competition!

Night Scene print image courtesy Pedro Art Caricatures

Other calendars of his design can be viewed and ordered at The Christmas Post. These are for the cities of

  • Crieff
  • Comrie
  • Abefeldy
  • Perth

A calendar from Scotland would be a good way to keep track of your bridal dates and needs…or as a thank you gift with a Scottish flair.

Coming Monday, a few ideas for Scottish themed wedding favors…

[Editor's Note: Pedro is also available t otravel to the U.S. and Canada for memoriailizing your wedding with humorous caricatures.]

April 13, 2009 08:27 - Scottish Themed Wedding Favors

Wouldn't a white sugar Celtic cross be a nice memory gift for your guests? Bakers Nook offers a ready-made 2" sugar cross that would emphasize your Scottish wedding theme.

Another alternative is to mold your own candies, lollipops, stick pretzel decorations, mocha spoons, and centerpieces in Scottish related themes. Cake Art has a variety of molds, from small individual chocolate candies to 3" candy baskets and 12" centerpiece molds. The molds vary from small individual chocolate candies to 3" candy baskets and 12" centerpiece molds.

Among their candy and chocolate molds, here's some with a Celtic or Scottish theme ~

For some more generic wedding ideas, that you can add Scottish-ness to, look at their 3-D Baskets, Nut Cups, doves, love birds, wrapped gift boxes, shower umbrellas, and gingerbread church accessories for a gingerbread church centerpiece.

Among the Scottish clan plants, they offer molds for candies, lollipops, and mocha spoons. Scottish Wedding Dreams lists clan plants by clan and by plant.

  • acorn
  • holly
  • pine (evergreens)
  • Sunflower
  • Wallflower

Many heraldic symbols are also available as candy molds. If you need more information about selecting heraldic symbols, see the blogs beginning August 18, 2008 or the website pages at Heraldry and Heraldic Symbols.

Some heraldic symbols also found as candy molds ~

  • acorn
  • anchor
  • apple
  • bear
  • bee
  • beehive
  • bell
  • birds
  • blackberry
  • cherry
  • clam shell
  • cornucopia
  • deer
  • dove
  • eagle
  • fish
  • grape
  • holly
  • lion
  • maple leaf
  • pear
  • pineapple
  • pine tree
  • rabbit
  • rose
  • seahorse
  • snowflake
  • squirrel
  • star
  • strawberry
  • sunflower
  • swan
  • tulip
  • wheat shock

There are also floral molds offered, including a flower plaque mold.

  • apple blossom
  • calla lily
  • carnation
  • dogwood
  • daffodil
  • daisy
  • iris
  • orchid
  • pansy
  • primrose
  • rose
  • rosebud
  • sunflower
  • tulip
  • an assorted floral mold with dogwood, daisy, daffodil, lily-of-the-valley, rose, poinsettia, Easter lily, and cinquefoil.

The symbolism or meaning of flowers for your wedding can be found at Scottish Wedding Dreams

With a little thought you can add some fun with candy molds for wedding favors and decorations.

Tomorrow, read about building a cardboard Medieval Castle for your wedding reception…

April 14, 2009 11:13 - Build a Medieval Castle for your Ceilidh

Wedding receptions are supposed to be Fun, with a capital "F". Families have gathered, which revives many childhood memories of playing together. Why not play off those wonderful old memories and build new ones for your younger guests?

One of the neatest parties I've ever attended was on an incomplete floor of a high-rise building. There were varied entertainments scattered around the room - jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, acrobats, and story tellers, with food and drink booths scattered between. We had a glorious time.

In the movie, Under The Lighthouse Dancing, available from Netflix, there's a similar wedding reception that just looks like so much fun.

Children of ALL ages are fascinated by castles. Why not add one to your wedding celebration, either indoors if there's room, or outside on a lawn?

Castle image courtesy Mr. McGroovy

And would it keep the children at your reception entertained.

If you're considering a story teller or Schenachy to read Scottish based stories to the children, they could be in the courtyard of the castle, or spilled over in a side yard of the castle area.

If you're feeling really adventurous, you could replicate one of the Scottish castles. This would be very fitting if you know your clan and they have a castle. A list with photos is available on Wikipedia at Scottish Castles. Next week, a study of Scottish castles will begin.

There are even kits available, with plastic rivets, to assemble a 10' x 10' castle. You need 8 refrigerator boxes…and they even tell you where to find them for free and how to break them down to haul them home. One can be built in a weekend.

The castle can be white-washed, as many castles were so they'd appear more impressive. A simple faux stonework is also at Mr. McGroovy's site.

Castle image courtesy Mr. McGroovy

In real castles, when they were built, small holes were left in the wall where timbers were inserted to hold the scaffolding. Which is why you sometimes see ivy, mosses, and small flowering plants seemingly growing out of nowhere. Consider placing some small plants on your walls.

The kit from Mr. McGroovy has complete plans, plastic rivets, a rivet remover, and a utility knife.

Need more space in your castle? Try adding more towers and walls to make your castle larger, or a different shape.

Banners and pennants, displaying heraldic symbols or a bridal concomitant, could be displayed from the battlements and windows.

Bridal concomitant wedding tradition explained.

Bridal concomitant information and ideas can be found on the June 19 to 23, 2007 blogs.

View Scottish Wedding Dreams Heraldic Symbols.

Outside the castle, if it were real, you would expect to see beehives, herb gardens, knot gardens, fruit trees, and a fish pond. Keep these in mind as you locate your castle.

Some castles might even have a labyrinth, but that's for tomorrow…

April 15, 2009 10:22 - Medieval Labyrinths for a Celtic Wedding

If you've space, indoors or out-of-doors, for a labyrinth, it could add a Medieval Celtic touch to your wedding reception, known in Gaelic as a ceilidh.

Both children and adults would have fun traveling through your labyrinth.

First let's distinguish between a labyrinth and a maze.

A labyrinth has one single path to the center. The route is easily followed and is not difficult to navigate. A maze is a puzzle with complex branching passages. You have to choose paths and directions.

There are Celtic labyrinth carvings found among the earliest Celtic occupation of the British Isles. They even go back to the Camonica Valley in the Lombardy Alps, predating the Knossos Palace diggings on Crete. Knossos is the oldest and largest Bronze Age archaeological site and is thought to have been the center of Minoan civilization.

The ancient Greeks left labyrinths over 3000 years old. Theirs are called the Classical 7 circuit design.

Classical Labyrinth courtesy Wikipedia

There are also 3, 11, and 15 circuit designs. The Classical circuit designs center on a cross. The Archimediean Circle displays a 3 circuit design.

Archimedian Spiral image courtesy Wikipedia

Labyrinths are also found in the Book of Kells. The January 28, 2009 blog tells a little about the Book of Kells.

Tomorrow, more about labyrinths and creating them…

April 16, 2009 09:53 - Labyrinth Styles

Continuing from yesterday, Celtic labyrinths aren't a new idea at all. In the Medieval age, pilgrimages became 'all the rage'. The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compestela in Galicia, Spain, the third most important holy town in Christendom. The August 27, 2008 blog gives a brief description of a pilgrimage.

But not every one could afford the time or money for a pilgrimage. For these people, labyrinths became a symbolic pilgrimage, where one could, prayerfully, follow the path, circling in toward salvation.

As the religious aspects of the labyrinth faded, they became an entertainment.

Labyrinth Shapes

  • Alsace 11 Circuit

    Alsace 11 Circuit Labyrinth image
    courtesy Labyrinth Company

  • Avalon 3 Circuit

    Avalon 3 circuit labyrinth image
    courtesy Labyrinth Company

  • Fermat Spiral Double Path

    Fermat spiral double path image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Medieval 11 Circuit

    Medieval 11 circuit labyrinth
    image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Paisley
    Paisley shawls were all the rage in the 18th and 19th century. These were woven in Paisley, in the Scottish lowlands. So a paisley shaped labyrinth would be appropriate for a Scottish themes wedding. The design below is the inside of a Haeckel Prosobranchia shell, which could easily form a paisley labyrinth.

    Paisley Spiral image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Rheims 11 Circuit

    Rheims 11 circuit labyrinth image
    courtesy Labyrinth Company

  • Shamrock
    Elle Fagan has even designed a shamrock labyrinth. She suggests making the design in the snow. Remember the shamrock is a wedding tradition in all Celtic cultures.

    Shamrock labyrinth image courtesy Elle Fagan

    View Elle's other artwork.

Coming tomorrow, more information about labyrinths for your Scottish theme wedding…

April 17, 2009 07:20 - Labyrinth Examples

Though there are labyrinths around the world, some are more memorable. The floor of the Chartres Cathedral is probably the best known and most often replicated labyrinth.

The cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture and is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Started in 1134, fire destroyed most of the building in 1194. By 1220 the cathedral was complete.

Interestingly, the local vendors used to sell their wares withing the cathedral. By selling inside, they avoided local taxes. There were separate areas for different items, including an area for carpenters and masons seeking employment. The wine merchants were forbidden to sell in the crypt area.

The crypt area has also served as a hospital. In World War II, during German occupation and bombings, the stained glass windows were removed and dispersed among local country homes.

Chartres Cathedral floor labyrinth
image courtesy Wikipedia

The Boston College 911 Memorial Labyrinth strikes much closer to home for most of us.

911 Memorial Boston College

911 Memorial Labyrinth, Boston
College image courtesy Wikipedia

One example of a stone labyrinth can be found at The Fold in County Antrim, Ireland.

Rock labyrinth at The Fold image courtesy Knowth

Snow covering a labyrinth seems to draw forth a completely different emotion.

Snow covered labyrinth image courtesy Knowth

Coming Monday, how to create a labyrinth…

April 20, 2009 09:21 - How To Create Labyrinths

There are two basic choices ~ classical round labyrinths or Cretan square labyrinths. The number of circuits is your choice.

All the labyrinths begin with a cross ~

  • Classical Labyrinth

    How To Create Classical Labyrinth
    image source unknown

  • Classical 3 Circuit Labyrinth

    How To Create Classical 3 Circuit Labyrinth
    image courtesy Peaceful Endeavors

  • Cretan Square Labyrinth

    How To Create Cretan Labyrinth
    image courtesy Math Department NUS

There's even a Labyrinth Society and an International Labyrinth Locator

Would you like to rent a canvas labyrinth for your wedding? The Labyrinth Company can fulfill your wedding dream.

You can also create your own. Here's a few ideas ~

  • If you're having a beach wedding, draw a labyrinth in the sand…above high tide level
  • use cobble stones to line a grassy pathway
  • chalk a labyrinth on a paved parking lot or interior hard-surface floor

    Chalk Labyrinth image courtesy Instructables

    Rainbow Colors in this Cretan Square would be great fun for all ages ~

    Cretan Square Labyrinth image courtesy Duromecho

    Coming tomorrow, games, stories, and puzzles for children to play at your Ceilidh reception…

April 21, 2009 08:34 - Scottish Entertainments for the Younger Guests

If children are invited to your wedding, why not make it memorable for them as well as others?

I'm certain they would find a labyrinth fascinating, but you can only walk a labyrinth so many times. And there are many other entertainments they can enjoy. A modified Highland Games would be to rough and tumble unless your guests are wearing blue jeans and sneakers.

At many a carnival, and even birthday parties, you see face painters. They're also popular at Highland Games.

I wouldn't recommend letting them paint their faces and hands half blue like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. But there are Celtic knots and other designs which are less obtrusive and could be lots of fun for the little ones.

Face Painting image courtesy Wikipedia

If you decide to offer a variety of clan plants and heraldic symbols, do make sure your face painter is prepared for these selections.

For another quiet activity, there's always coloring. You can have single pages and lots of crayons ready. Again clan plants and heraldic symbols are good choices.

These two images combine shields and heraldic symbols for face painting or coloring ~

Ermine spots, like this shield are found painted gold, red, or silver with the black spots.

Heraldry Ermine Spots shield
image courtesy Giffard

Plumetty, or plumes of feathers, can be colored however the child desires.

Heraldry Plumetty
image courtesy FCIT

Heraldic weaponry, Scottish costumes, and Scottish breeds of cats and dogs all offer possibilities. Some of the Scottish wedding traditions offer further choices, plus they're an opportunity to explain more about Scottish weddings.

Sources for Scottish related topics to use for face painting or coloring ~

  • Beginning on November 21, 2008, a series ran about Beatrix Potter and her Scottish influence. Any of her storybook characters could be used for face painting or coloring.

  • A Scottish Dogs series began on October 17, 2008.

  • Heraldic Symbols can give you plenty of samples.

  • Clan Plants can also be fun, both as the children search for their own clan plant and then having it face painted.

  • Browsing through the Scottish Wedding Traditions can also point you toward some good choices for coloring pages and face painting symbols ~
    • Spinning Wheel from the Wooing
    • Lukenbooth Brooch
    • Claddagh Ring
    • Makeup Bell
    • The Saltire
    • Thistle
    • Paisley
    • Bridal concomitant [if you have designed one]
    • Good omens which include a chimney sweep, lambs, toads, spiders, black cats, sunshine, rainbows, and horses [particularly grey ones]
    • Horseshoes
    • Pledging to Provide and Protect [sheaf of wheat, a piece of woven cloth, a dagger or dirk, and a Bible]
    • The Sword
    • The Quaich
    • Shamrocks

  • Heraldic Clip Art has black and white heraldic symbols that can be printed out for coloring.

For some individual pages ready to print and color ~

Just a few pages, with some text explaining what the design is and what it might mean to the Scots, would be less confusing for children new to Scottish heritage.

You might select a clan plant, heraldic shield, and heraldic symbols for the bride and groom's clans, plus a few breeds of Scottish dogs. Or just the traditional Scottish wedding traditions.

Coming tomorrow, games and stories for the children at your Ceilidh…

April 22, 2009 08:16 - Children's Games & Stories for a Scottish Wedding Ceilidh

Referring back to yesterday and coloring suggestions, Dover Publications has several coloring books, both simple and complicated designs, including ~
  • Celtic Knotwork Stained Glass Colouring Book, by A.G. Smith
  • Celtic Animals Coloring Book, by Mallory Pearce
  • Celtic Design Coloring Book, by Ed Sibbett Jr.

There are also games that can entertain the children. A few suggestions ~

For storytelling ~

  • Electric Scotland has Scottish Storybooks the Schenachy, or storyteller, could read.

    Schenachy image courtesy Clip Art

    If your Schenachy could dress in Highland traditional garb, it would be more realistic and more fun.

  • the Beatrix Potter stories for younger children

    Benjamin Bunny image courtesy Project Gutenberg

  • George MacDonald stories

  • other stories based in, or about, Scotland

Tomorrow, Finger Labyrinths for fun…

April 23, 2009 06:32 - Finger Labyrinths and the Labyrinth Game

Many companies now manufacture finger labyrinths. These are used by individuals, hospitals, wellness centers and schools. Usually they are made of wood or plastic. Blue Moon Labyrinths even has a line of beautiful soapstone labyrinths.

Using Finger Labyrinths as Wedding Favors
The shamrock or paisley labyrinths would be very appropriate.

Shamrock labyrinth image courtesy Elle Fagan

They could be printed on good quality paper in a colored ink to match your wedding colors. Even the Cretan Rainbow labyrinth would be a fun favor.

Or you could make a stencil to print the labyrinth on paper or fabric. If you made a stencil, you could also use it on decorations. Another idea, if you're using paper table runners, stencil a labyrinth at each place setting.

Just for fun, how about the Labyrinth Game?

Labyrinth game image courtesy Games Surplus

Tomorrow, labyrinths located in Scotland and the U.S.

April 24, 2009 06:52 - Scottish & US Labyrinth Locations

Scotland has several labyrinths. They're located at cathedrals, universities, a hospital, and on private properties. The materials are beach stone, cobble stone, canvas, grass, seashells, gravel, painted concrete, brick and pavers, granite, and even frost…

Frost Labyrinth Aberdeenshire
image courtesy Geomancy

  • The Burn at Glenesk, Angus, constructed of river rock, 40 feet diameter

  • Dornoch Cathedral, Dornach, re-created for each occasion using local beach stone. There's always one buiilt for Hogmanay [New Year's Eve]

  • Altered Images Travelling Labyrinth, Edinburgh and Glasgow, 32 foot canvas replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth

  • Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, 32 foot canvas replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth

  • Port na Curaich, Isle of Iona, 8 meter [about 26 feet] labyrinth of beach rock

  • Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull, 39 feet of scallop shells set on edge with a wooden sheep in the center

    Scallop shells as an heraldic symbol hold a great deal of significance. Read about them at Scottish Wedding Dreams Heraldic Symbols.

  • Private residence, Law, 14 foot cobblestone labyrinth

  • Broomhill, Lyne of Skene, Aberdeenshire, 86 foot grass labyrinth

  • Stronachie Lodge, Nr. Forgandenny, Perthshire, 20 foot brick and paver labyrinth

  • Blackmuir Wood, Strathpeffer, 25 meter [82 feet], gravel pathway winding between 81 large monoliths arranged in 5 concentric circles

  • Uyesound Primary School, Uyeasound, Unst, Shetland, 15 meter [49 feet], painted concrete labyrinth

  • Maggie's Center, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, revised Chartres design, 32 meter [104 feet], setts and Scottish cobbles. A sett is a rectangular paving stone with a curved top, once used to make roads.

  • University of Dundee, The Chaplaincy Centre, Dundee, Tayside, canvas Chartres Cathedral replica

  • Edinburgh University, Chaplaincy Centre , Edinburgh , 42 feet granite and stone pavement replica of Chartres Cathedral labyrinth surrounded by yew

    Edinburgh Labyrinth image courtesy Wikipedia

In the United States the Labyrinth Locator lists 2392 labyrinths. The materials are varied ~ from computerized light boxes, stepping stones in grass, rock, monkey grass, crushed rock, daffodils and grape hyacinths with rock, wood chip and rock, lavender plants with mulched path, sand and rock, dirt and rock, and probably many other combinations. The locator can break these down by state and city.

So find one near you and go for a visit, even if you don't want one at your ceilidh.

Monday, a list of U.S. mazes you could visit for ideas and for fun…

April 27, 2009 07:36 - Mazes in North America

When the discussion on labyrinths began last week, the difference between labyrinths and mazes was explained. A labyrinth has only one path, based on the cross, leading to a center, often used for meditation and entertainment.

Avalon 3 Circuit Labyrinth image courtesy Labyrinth Company

A maze has multiple paths, with choices and junctions, and is usually far more complicated. They are only for entertainment.

St. Louis Botanical Gardens image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Wild Adventures theme park, Valdosta, Georgia
  • St. Louis Botanical Gardens Maze
  • Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze, Navy Pier, Chicago, Illlinois
  • Sever’s Corn Maze, Shakopee, Minnesota, America’s Largest Corn Maze,
  • Ashland Berry Farm, Ashland, Virginia, constructed of hay
  • Davis’ Mega Maze, Sterling, Massachusetts, corn maze
  • Dole Plantation, Wahiawa, Hawaii, World’s Largest Maze
  • Labyrinthe du Hangar 16, Montreal, Canada
  • Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Maize Quest Fun Park, New Park, Pennsylvania, mazes of fence, rope, stone, turf, corn, invisible dog fencing, straw bales, tiles, living bamboo, and earthern mounds
  • Mall of Georgia Paving Mazes, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Maze Mania, Garden City, South Carolina, interchangeable fence maze
  • Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York, hedge maze
  • Noah’s Ark Water Park Mirror Maze, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  • Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, pavement maze, serpent mound, turf labyrinth
  • Ridgewood Halloween Maze, Ridgewood, New Jersey, October only
  • Saunders Farm, Ottowa, Ontario, largest collection of full-sized hedge mazes and labyrinths in North America
  • Skyline Caverns Mirror Maze, Front Royal, Virginia
  • The Maze at the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
  • The Maze on Centre Island, Toronto, Ontario, topiary maze, a Centennial gift from their Dutch-Canadian community
  • Trail of Terror, Minneapolis, Minnesota, indoor Halloween maze

Coming tomorrow, Scottish castles…

April 28, 2009 06:31 - Castles of Scotland ~ Introduction

Going back to the April 14, 2009, blog about building a cardboard castle for your wedding reception, I’ve located a listing of Scottish castles. If you’re considering building a castle for the children to play in, one of these Scottish castles might be just what you’re looking for.

Possibly, you can locate your clan castle, which would have even more significance for your wedding.

Due to Norman influence, the Scots began building castles in the 11th and 12th centuries. The architectural style used is called motte and bailey. These were an inexpensive, yet effective, fortification where most small attacks could be repelled. On a raised mound, or artificial hill, with a flattened top, a wooden or stone structure called a keep was built on top. The wooden structures could be built without skilled labor with materials readily at hand. The dirt for the mound was taken from a ditch dug around the motte.

The bailey is an enclosed courtyard with a wooden palisade fence. Inside you would typically find a hall, stables, a chapel, a forge, huts, a water well, and, often, local merchants’ shops.

Lewes Castle and Lincoln Castle are two examples of mottes, as is the Chateau de Gisors.

Chateau de Gisors Motte Castle courtesy Wikipedia

Around 1200, stone castles replaced the motte and bailey. These eventually had curtained walls.

Curtained walls are also called enceinte, which means all the castle precincts are within a fortified enclosure. In some this was a simple defensive wall or barrier. Usually the wall had a walkway along the top with projecting flanking towers for better defense. Later castles were built on a concentric plan and the enceinte walls came to be called curtain walls. With the towers these formed two rings around the keep. This created an inner and an outer court.

Modest tower houses were the next architectural style, popular from the late 15th century through the 17th century.

Hallbar Tower image courtesy Wikipedia

Tower houses were popular in the Scottish Borders. In smaller settlements with no castle, peel towers were fortified keeps for the Laird and his family. Their followers lived in huts outside the fortified walls. The tower was a refuge in time of attacks.
The fortification included a peel tower and bastle house. Round Scottish Iron Age towers were called brochs. Broch is an Old Norse word for fort.

Dun Carloway Lewis broch image courtesy Wikipedia

This ruin on Lewis is a good example. Most are located in the northern Highlands and the Islands. The larger, Renaissance-era tower houses are found in the north-east.

The Peel Tower was a watch tower where a signal fire could warn the garrison of danger. The Bastle House was a farmhouse with elaborate security to thwart raids. The stone walls were extremely thick. The ground floor was a stable for the most valuable animals. Living quarters were one floor up, reachable by a ladder that was pulled up at night. Windows were narrow slits. Roofs were slate for fire-resistance. Military blockhouses come closest to the peel tower and bastle house.

In the late 18th century, medieval castle-style houses became popular. They had no defenses, with the tower house defenses being merely decorative detail. In the 19th century, the Scottish Baronial style began, as part of the Gothic revival. World War I ended this architectural style.

Gothic towers display small turrets and crenellated battlements broken by stepped gables. The original small lancet windows were replaced with large bay windows in towers and gables. The bay windows often has pinnacles and crenellation.

Through historical records, over two thousand Scottish castles have become known.

Beginning tomorrow, a listing of these Scottish castles, beginning with those found in Aberdeenshire.

April 29, 2009 10:10 - Castles of Scotland ~ Aberdeenshire

[Editor’s Note: the following photos of castles have been located and added to the blog] ~ Birse Castle, Cairnburg Castle, Forbes Castle, Inverguie Castle, Pitsligo Castle, and Slains Castle

This B. Beacham website cross references Scottish family names and castles.]

While browsing through the castles, if you find one that’s located in an area where you have traced a clan in your family, you could use the design for a children’s castle at your ceilidh reception. If there’s only a ruin left, you could faux paint the ruin as a backdrop for the bridal table. To faux paint, the instructions for a children’s castle can be found at Mr. McGroovy’s.


  • Aberdeenshire Castle, Aberdeen, 13th c., type unknown, destroyed 1308

  • Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, 1856, baronial house, built on site of a 15th c. castle, private residence of The Queen.

    Balmoral Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes. Photo

  • Birse Castle, Forest of Birse, baronial house, rebuilt 1911, private residence

  • Bognie Castle, Huntly, tower house, 1660’s, in ruins, also known as Conzie Castle

  • Braemar Castle, Braemar, tower house, 17th c., owned by the Farquharsons of Invercauld

    Braemar Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Cairnbulg Castle, Cairnbulg, Z-plan tower house, 14th c., owned by Lady Saltoun, private residence, also know as Philorth Castle,one of the Nine Castles of Knuckle (an area in Buchan area of Aberdeenshire)

  • Corgarff Castle, Strathdon, tower house, c. 1550

    Corgarff Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Craigievar Castle, Alford, tower hosue, 1626

    Craigievar Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Craigston Castle, Turriff, tower house, 1607, private residence

    Craigston Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Crathes Castle, Bonchory, tower house, 1596

    Crathes Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Delgatie Castle, Turriff, tower house, 1579

    Delgatie Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Drum Castle, Drumoak, tower house with additons, 13th and 16th centuries

    Drum Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Drumtochty, Auchenblae, castellated house, 1812, private residence

  • Dundarg Castle, New Aberdour, 14th and 16th centuries, ruins, private, one of Nine Castles of Knuckle

    Dundarg Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Dunnideer Castle, Insch, tower house, c. 1260, ruins, private

    Dunnideer Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, courtyard castle, 16th century, ruins, private

    Dunnottar Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Eden Castle, Banff, Z-plan tower house, 1577, ruins, private

  • Esselmont Castle, Ellon, tower house, ruins, private

  • Fasque Castle, Fettercairn, baronial house, 1809, private residence

  • Fetteresso Castle, Stonehaven, castellated house, 1761, with 14th century tower, private flats

    Fetteresso Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Findlater Castle, Sandend, courtyard castle, 14th century, ruins, private

    Findlater Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Castle Forbes, Alford, castellated house, 1815, private residence. Castle Forbes is associated with the Clan Forbes.

  • Castle Fraser, Inverurie, Z-plan tower house, 1636. Castle Fraser is associated with the Clan Fraser.

    Castle Fraser image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Fyvie Castle, Fyvie, tower house, 13th century with additions

    Fyvie Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Glenbuchat Castle, Kildrummy, Z-plan tower house, 1590, ruins

    Glenbuchat Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Huntly Castle, Huntly, L-plan tower house, 15th to 17th centuries, ruins. Huntly Castle is associated with the Marquis of Huntly and Clan Gordon.

    Huntly Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Inverallocy, Inverallochy, ruins, one of Nine Castles of Knuckle

  • Invercauld Castle, Royal Deeside, baronial house, 18th century, private accommodation

  • Inverugie Castle, Inverugie, ruins

  • Kildrummy Castle, Kildrummy, castle of en ceinte, 12th century, ruins. Kildrummy Castle is associated with the Clan Erskine.

    Kildrummy Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Kincardine Castle, Royal Deeside, baronial house, 19th century with 14th century ruins, private residence

  • Kindrochit Castle, Braemar, keep, 14th century, ruins, founded by Malcolm Canmore in 1059

    Kindrochit Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Kinnaird Castle, Fraserburgh, tower house, 1570, in use as lighthouse

    Kinnaird Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Knock Castle, Ballater, tower house, ruins

    Knock Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Knockhall Castle, near Newburgh, tower house, 16th century, ruins

    Knockhall Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Leslie Castle, Leslie, tower house, 14th century, private residence

    Leslie Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Lonmay Castle,Crimond, no remains, one of Nine Castles of Knuckle

  • Muchalls Castle, Muchalls, L-plaln tower house, 13th and 17th centuries

    Muchalls Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Castle Newe, Strathdon, Z-plan tower house, 1604, no remains

  • Castle of Park, Cornhill, private residence

    Castle of Park image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Pitsligo, Rosehearty, 1424, ruins, one of the Nine Castles of Knuckle

  • Pitullie, Rosehearty, 16th century, ruins, one of the Nine Castles of Knuckle

  • Castle of Rattray, Rattray, motte, 12th century, ruins, one of Nine Castles of Knuckle

  • Ravenscraig, Inverugie

  • Slains Castle, Cruden Bay, tower house, 1597, rebuilt as castellated house, 1837, ruins, private

    Slains Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Slains Castle, Collieston, tower house, 13th century, ruins, destroyed 1594

  • Terpersie Castle, Alford, Z-plan tower house, 1561, private

  • Tolquhon Castle, Pitmedden, courtyard castle, 1589, ruins

    Tolquhon Castle image
    courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, the castles of Angus…

April 30, 2009 10:21 - Castles of Scotland ~ Angus

Perhaps you'll find your castle in Angus ~

  • Affleck Castle, Monikie, private residence

  • Airlie Castle, Alvth, country house, 1793, private residence, seat of Clan Ogilvie

  • Brechin Castle, Brechin, country house, 1709, Earl of Dalhousie private residence

    Brechin Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Careston Castle, Careston, country house 17th-19th century

  • Colliston Castle, Arbroath, 1545

  • Cortachy Castle, Z-plan courtyard castle, 16th-19th century, Earl of Airlie, seat of Clan Ogilvie

  • Edzell Castle, Edzell, courtyard castle, 16th century, in ruins

    Edzell Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Ethie Castle, Inverkeilor, 14th century and later, now a hotel

    Ethis Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Farnell Castle, Farnell, 16th century

  • Finavon Castle, Finavon, baronial house, 1856, private residence

    Finavon Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Forfar Bastle, Forfar, no remains, also known as Castle Street

  • Glamis Castle, Glamis, baronial house, Earl of Strathmore and Kinghome, private residence

    Glamis Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

    A computer theme and possibly a screensaver for this castle is available from Tartan Themes.

  • Guthrie Castle, Guthrie, baronial house, 1848, private residence

    Guthrie Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Hatton Castle, Newtyle, Z-plan tower house, 1575, private residence

    Hatton Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Invermark Castle, Glen Mark, tower house, 1526, ruins

    Invermark Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Inverquharity Castle, Kirriemuir, L-plan tower house, 1444 and 16th century, private residence

  • Kinnaird Castle, Brechin, castellated mansion, 1855, Earl of Southesk, private residence

  • Melgund Castle, Aberlemno, tower house, 16th century, private residence

    Melgund Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

  • Red Castle, Inverkeilor, tower house, 15th century, ruins

    Red Castle Angus
    courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, the May Highland Games & Festivals...

March 2009 «  » May 2009


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