Scottish Wedding Theme
Newsroom : Wedding Theme Newsroom Home : December 2009

December 1, 2009 09:20 - December Highland Games & Festivals

If you are planning a Scottish Wedding Theme ~ or would just plain like a good dose of Scottishness before Christmas, get to one of these 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.

Gentlemen of all ages don their tartans, proudly declaring their clan heritage.

Wee Laddie courtesy
Scottish Wedding Dreams

Gentleman on Parade
courtesy Scottish Wedding Dreams

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.

There's events for the kids as well, some they'll remember for a life time.

Riding the Highland Cow courtesy Scottish Wedding Dreams

And the Scots do love their doggies

Tartaned Westie courtesy
Edmonton Scottish Society

At the Alma Highland Games, rescued Greyhounds march in the parade and have their own "clan" tent.

The Scots originated many breeds of dogs. Between,
October 17, 2008 and November 18, 2008 the many breeds of Scottish dogs were highlighted.

You'll notice Irish Festivals and Parades listed. They're Celtic also. Don't forget the Highland Celts came from Ireland and the Scots fled to Ireland's Plantations, then moved on the Americas and Australia. So go find an event and join in the fun!

  • December 4 to 5, Alexandria, Virginia ~ The 39th Scottish Christmas Walk
    This event includes a parade with over 100 clans marching, a children's tea party, Scottish merchandise for Christmas and even Christmas heather for sale!

  • December 5 to 6, Port Adelaide, South Australia, Australia ~ Celtica Festival 5th &

  • December 6, Daylesford, Victoria, Australia ~ Daylesford Highland Gathering

  • December 12 to 13, Ingleside, Texas ~ Ingleside Renaissance Faire

  • December 16 to 22, 10th Annual Christmas With The Celts Concert Series ~
    performances will be held in Winter Park, Orlando, Tampa Bay Area, Sun City Center, The Villages, Arcadia, and Punta Gorda, Florida

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Tomorrow, the story of Andrew continues with the town and the flag…

December 2, 2009 09:58 - St. Andrews, the Flag and the Town

In the late eighth century, prior to a battle with the English, King Ungus, being either Óengus mac Fergusa or Óengus II of the Picts, saw a cloud shaped like a saltire. He declared Andrew was watching over them, and if they won by his grace, then he would be their patron saint. Evidence exists proving Scottish veneration of Andrew before this date.

The national flag of Scotland, called both The Saltire and St. Andrew's Cross, is the oldest national flag still in use.

Saltire courtesy Wikipedia

The town of St. Andrews grew around St. Andrew's cathedral. Because of the cathedral, the town became the religious center of Scotland until The Reformation in 1560. The largest cathedral in Scotland, it now lies in ruins, rising majestically to meet the sky.

St. Andrews Cathedral courtesy Wikipedia

St. Andrew's Castle has been the home of kings and prisoners.

St. Andrews Castle courtesy Wikipedia

The University of St. Andrews is the oldest in Scotland, dating back to 1410. Of high repute and prestege, it's also the third oldest in the English-speaking world.

Better known to people outside of Scotland, is the golf course which is part of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754. This organization exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide, excluding the U.S. and Mexico.

St Andrews 18th Hole and Clubhouse courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, St. Andrew's Day ~ for fishermen and maidens…

December 3, 2009 08:38 - St. Andrews ~ Fishermen's Prayers and Young Women's Superstitions

From ancient days, fishermen have claimed St. Andrew as the patron saint of fishermen. Possibly due his manliness, "man-catching" superstitions for unmarried women have arisen, relating to his feast day.

  • Beginning round midnight on November 29, young women would pray to St Andrew for a husband. Then a wish would be made and the women would look for a sign that they had been heard.

  • Or she could throw a shoe at the door. If the toe pointed toward the exit, she would marry and leave her parents' home within the year.

    See the Scottish Wedding Dreams Bridal Wear Tradition about Bridal Shoes and the Send Off Tradition about The Shoon.

    At one time, shoes must have been a luxury, thus valuable. Scottish Wedding Dreams also has an information page on Bridal Shoes wedding shoes.

  • If a young woman could peel a whole apple, without breaking the peel, she would throw the peel over her shoulder. If the peel formed a letter of the alphabet, this suggested the name of her future groom.

  • German folklore goes even further, advising single women to pray to St. Andrew, then sleep naked. They will then see their future husband in their dreams.

  • On this most auspicious eve, they should note the direction of barking dogs, as their future husband will come from the direction of the barking.

Coming tomorrow, the Isle of Arran…

December 4, 2009 07:48 - The Isle of Arran

First, is the Isle of Arran, which sits in the Firth of Clyde and is the largest island within the firth. The Scots Gaelic name is EIlean Arainn and is thought to mean "high place". During their occupation, the Norse Vikings called the island Herrey or Hersey. Many place names on the island are of Norse origin. All I've found on the name Hersey is that it is of Germanic origin, meaning deer. Tomorrow's blog includes an ancient Irish poem and it tells of the stags on the island.

Some refer to the island as "Scotland in Miniature", as there are Highlands and Lowlands, divided by the same Highland Boundary Fault that runs from the northeast to the southwest across all Scotland.

Arran is a mountainous area, with the highest peak being Goat Fell, at 2, 866 feet. The profile of the north Arran hills as seen from the Ayrshire coast is a well-known sight. Called the"Sleeping Warrior, it resembles a resting human figure. The human contour is better seen in a photo on Flickr in jackatlarg's photostream.

Coming Monday, an ancient Irish poem and ancient landmarks on Arran…

December 7, 2009 08:54 - Arran in Poetry, Norse Invasions, & Her Castles

Continuing with the Isle of Arran, an ancient Irish poem, first recorded in the 13th century, lauds the attractions of the island.

Agalllamh na Senorach

Arran of the many stags
The sea strikes against her shoulders,
Companies of men can feed there,
Blue spears are reddended among her boulders.
Merry hinds are on her hills,
Juicy berries are there for food,
Refreshing water in her streams,
Nuts in plenty in the wood.

On the island there are early cairns and standing stones from prehistoric times. The monastery of Aileach, may have been founded on Arran in the 6th century.

The Norsemen overran Arran in the 11th century. One of these rulers was named Angus, a name which also has meaning for the twins. The Scots broke away from the Norse in 1237, becoming an independent kingdom, then ceding to the Scottish crown in 1266.

On one end of the island sits King's Cave, where Robert the Bruce is said to have taken shelter during the 14th century. Lands were granted to Fergus MacLouis, and Brodrick Castle was built.

In the 15th century, due to treason, the peerage and the castle passed from the Boyd family to the Hamiltons.

Tomorrow, the Duke of Hamilton and the Clearances…

December 8, 2009 08:59 - Arran, the Hamiltons & the Clearances

In 1503, James, Duke of Hamiltion, became the Earl of Arran. In the 19th century, Alexander, tenth Duke of Hamilton, began a series of "Clearances" that devastated the island population.

To some, the duke promised land in Canada. The Caledonia sailed for Canada in 1829, with 86 islanders aboard. Half their fare was paid by the Duke. Told of an abundance of land in Canada, when they arrived only the head of each extended family actually received about 100 acres.

The writer James Hogg wrote

Ah! Wae's me.
I hear the Duke of Hamilton's crofters
are a' gaun away,
man and mother's son,
frae the Isle o' Arran.
Pity on us!"

Arran Crofters Cottage ruins courtesy Waymarking

Today, a memorial, paid for by a Canadian descendant of the emigrants, sits on the shore at Lamlash, Arran. These two photos show the memorial in its entirety and the plaque.

Lamlash Canadian Diaspora Memorial courtesy Waymarking

Arran Canadian Diaspora Memorial courtesy Waymarking

Tomorrow businesses on the Isle of Arran…

December 9, 2009 04:55 - Arran Tourism & Industry

Affected by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, Arran has a milder climate than most of Scotland. This augments their main industry, which is tourism. Two ferries connect the island to the Scottish mainland, one running only in the summertime.

Here's the MacBrayne ferrie approaching Brodick, as seen from the Goat Fell Summit

MacBrayne ferry courtesy Wikipedia

After a glorious approach on the ferry, with the mountains and greenery, a main attraction is Brodick Castle. The castle is featured on the Royal Bank of Scotland 20£ note. Beyond it's historical significance, the film The Governness, starring Minnie Driver, was filmed at the castle.

Brodrick Castle courtesy

Lochranza Castle sits on the north end of the island. At one time the property of Robert II, it has been used by James IV, James VI, and Cromwell. It was purchased by the Duchess of Hamilton in 1705.

Lochranza Castle courtesy Wikipedia

Other attractions are the Arran Distilliery and Arran Aromatics.

The brewery produces three regular cask and bottled beers ~ Arran Ale, Arran Dark, and Arran Blonde. Two seasonal brews, one each for summer and winter, are called Arran Fireside. Arran Red Squirrel is a new release.

Arran Brewery logo courtesy Wikipedia

Learn more at Arran Brewery.

Arran Aromatics offers both traditional and contemporary fragrances in a range of products. The one that caught my eye was "Fresh Fig", described as capturing the luscious honeyed scent of ripe figs, floating on the sea breezes, while shafts of sunlight sparkle on the distant water.

Fresh Fig Eau de Toilette courtesy Arran Aromatics

I don't know if figs grow on the island, but with the Gulf Stream and Atlantic current tempering the climate, it's quite possible.

Coming tomorrow, a very famous Adair…

December 10, 2009 19:41 - Adair ~ A Name & A Legend

Another name impacting the new twins names is Adair. Adair is a surname derived from the Old English name Eadgar, which evolved into Edgar, then Adair. The meaning is happy spear or noble spear.

As well as Scotland, the name is found in the areas of Ireland influenced by the Irish Plantation settlements from Scotland.

Not only a family name, Adair has become a given name as well. Here's a breakdown of famous people named Adair and their professions.

Being myself a Texan and having worked in the Texas oilfields, one man with the name of Adair looms larger than life.

Red Adair, who battled over 2,000 oil-related fires, had many firefighting firsts over the course of his career.

  • an underwater wild well
  • a floating vessel
  • The Devil's Cigarette Lighter which was a 450 foot pillar of flame in a Saharan gas field
  • mending the biggest oil well blowout in the North Sea
  • the IXTOC blowout in the Gulf of Mexico

Red Adair at Elk Hill
in 1977 courtesy Wikipedia

After a long career, Red considered his greatest feat, at age 75, when he extinguished 117 of the 542 oil well fires in Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War. Working under primitive conditions, with a lack of water and equipment, and landmines scattered about the countryside,

Red gained the support of the US Congress, reversing the oil pipelines to the Persian Gulf, to carry 1.5 billion gallons of water back to fight the fires.

Kuwait Oil Field Fires courtesy Adair Enterprises

In 1968 the movie Hellfighers was based on fighting the Devil's Cigarette Lighter. Who but another larger than life man with Scottish heritage could have played the role of Red Adair ~ John Wayne.

Hellfighters courtesy All Movie

Quotes by Red ~

When the phone rings
I never know where I'm heading to next
- and I'm never bothered by life-insurance salesmen!

See, people call me a daredevil,
but they don't understand.
A daredevil's reckless, and that ain't me.
The devil's down in that hole
and I've seen what he can do,
and I'm not darin' him at all.
I'm a beware devil, that's what I am

Coming tomorrow, famous people named Adair, from actors and athletes to politicians and scientists…

December 11, 2009 07:16 - Other Famous Adairs

Continuing the saga of the Adairs, there have many famous peoples bearing the name Adair, both as a given name and a surname, some born to the name, others who have received it by marriage ~


  • Adair Tishler ~ American child actress

    Adair Tishler courtesy Wikipedia

  • Deborah Adair ~ American actress
  • Janet Adair ~ American actress
  • Jean Adair ~ vaudevillian and stage actress
  • Tatum Adair ~ American actress


  • Al "Boomer" Adair ~ Canadian baseball player, radio broadcaster, author, politician
  • Bill Adair ~ American baseball player/manager
  • Bonnie Adair ~ American swimmer and coach
  • Charles "Chugger" Adair ~ American soccer player and coach
  • Donald Adair ~ American champion figure skater
  • Jerry Adair ~ American baseball player
  • Jimmy Adair ~ American baseball player, manager and coach
  • Rhona Adair ~ Irish golf champion
  • Rick Adair ~ American baseball player, coach

    Rick Adair of the Seattle Mariners courtesy Wikipedia

  • Robert Adair ~ Irish cricketer
  • Trevor Adair ~ Irish-born American Soccer player and coach

Authors and Journalists ~
  • Cherry Adair ~ American romance fiction author
  • Doug Adair ~ American news anchor and journalist
  • Gilbert Adair ~ Scottish author, film critic and journalist
  • John Adair ~ British professor and author
  • Virginia Hamilton Adair ~ American poet, wife of Douglas Adair, historian

  • Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell, banker, and political appointee

    Adair Turner courtesy Wikipedia

  • Forrest Adair ~ real estate developer in Atlanta, Georgia
  • George Adair ~ real estate developer in Atlanta, Georgia
  • John George Adair ~ 19th century owner of Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal, Ireland, of Scots-Irish heritage.

    Glenveagh Castle courtesy Wikipedia

    Infamous for his land clearances; held brokerage firms in Ireland, New York City, and Denver. Joint founder of JA Ranch, along with Charles Goodnight, in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas. Still run by descendants of the Adair family, at its peak the ranch encompassed 1,335,000 acres over six counties, with a herd of 100,000 cattle. Exceeded in size only by the XIT Rance ~ ten counties, 3,000,000 acres.

  • Douglas Adair ~ American historian and professor. Husband of poet Virginia Hamilton Adair.
  • James Adair ~ 18th century Irish immigrant, Indian trader, explorer, historian, author

    James Adair courtesy Wikipedia


  • John Adair ~ 17th century surveyor and mapmaker, surveyed the shires of Scotland and the coastlines


  • Allan Henry Shafto Adair ~ British army general, 6th Baronet of Flixton Hall, Suffolk
  • James Makittrick Adair ~ 18th century Scottish army officer, doctor in Antigua
  • Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair ~ exiled Irish Loyalist Paramilitary

Movie Industry
  • Nancy Adair ~ American documentary producer
  • Peter Adair ~ American film-maker and artist, brother of Nancy Adair

  • Beegie Adair ~ American jazz pianist
  • Daniel Adair ~ Canadian drummer
  • Tom Adair ~ American songwriter, composer, and screenwriter

  • Cornelia Adair ~ American born matriarch of Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal, Ireland and JR Ranch in Palo Duro Canyon, wife of John George Adair

  • Adair Blain ~ Australian surveyor and politician
  • Charles Wallace Adair ~ American ambassador to France, India, and Panama
  • E. Ross Adair ~ U.S. Representative from Indiana, ambassador to Ethiopia
  • J. Leroy Adair ~ U.S. Representative from Illinois, U.S. district judge
  • James Adair ~ 18th century sergeant-at-law barrister and politician
  • John Adair ~ 18th century American pioneer, soldier and statesman, including seventh governor of Kentucky
  • John A. M. Adair ~ U.S. Representative from Indiana
  • Joseph Adair ~ Canadian politician who emigrated from Scotland
  • Neil Adair ~ Canadian businessman, chemist, web designer. Lived in the Dominican Republic for ten years, starting three businesses and one charity. His windsurfing business was operated by solar panels and a wind generator. Upon returning to Ottawa, he has done extensive web design work for the Green Party and has been one of the political candidates.
  • Sir Robert Adair ~ 19th century English diplomat

Religious Leaders
  • Patrick Adair ~ 17th century Irish minister

  • Adair Crawford ~ 18th century chemist, born in Ireland, studied in Scotland, professor of chemistry and physician in England. Studied specific heat capacities and helped discover strontium, named after a village in Scotland near which it was first discovered. Strontium crimson color is used in
    fireworks and flares. Its primary use is in compounds in the glass for color television sets to prevent X-ray emissions.
  • Gilbert Smithson Adair, 20th century British biochemist
  • John Adair ~ American Professor of Anthropology who specialized in Indian health issues
  • Robert Adair ~ American WWII hero and physicist known for his studies of baseball which may have stemmed from a request of Yale President A. Bartless Giamatti to know the scientific significance of corking a bat, wetting a ball and other similar baseball issues.
  • Catherine Steiner-Adair ~ American psychologist and author best known for her studies in eating disorders.

Monday, geographical, maritime, and geological Adairs…

December 14, 2009 05:50 - Other Adairs

As well as all the famous people covered Friday, there are also other applications of the name Adair.

Looking at the geographical locations which include Adair Counties in Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma; Adairville Kentucky; Camp Adair, Oregon; Fort Adair, Tennessee; and Adair Vineyards in Platekill, New York, the popularity of the name Adair was carried to the Americas with Scottish immigrants.

Adair Vineyards are part of the Historical Thaddeus Hair Farm.

Thaddeus Hair Farm
courtesy Wikipedia

Other famous Adair applications include the USS Adair, a World War II Windsor class attack transport. Named after the counties in four states, she transported troops and cargo between Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Saipan, Tinian, Ulithi, Hollandia, Manus, and Guam in 1944 and 1945. The Adair also participated in the invasions of Luzon and Okinawa. At the war's end, she helped transport American servicemen home.

USS Adair courtesy Wikipedia

Another is Adair Sepia which is a type of limestone found in Ontario, Canada.

Tomorrow, the name Angus makes for good Scottish reading…

December 15, 2009 09:20 - Angus ~ Geographically, Farm Animals, Historically

Continuing with the newborn twins and the meanings behind their names, Angus, in Latin, means lamb, in Scottish it means the only one, possibly referring to the 9th century Angus, King of Dalriada in western Scotland .

The name Angus has come down through history, carrying a lot of weight ~

  • Saint Óengus of Tallaght, also known as Oengus Céile Dé or Oengus the Culdee, who died in 824

  • Angus, son of Fergus

  • Two Pictish kings
    Óengus I who died in 761
    Óengus II who died in 834

  • Aonghas Óg, Lord of the Isles, who died in 1490

  • Óengus mac Nad Froich, King of Munster, 5th century

In mythology, three kings bore the name ~

  • Óengus Olmucaid, High King of Ireland
  • Óengus Ollom, High King of Ireland
  • Óengus Tuirmech Temrach, High King of Ireland

Not only is Angus a council area in Scotland, there is an Angus, Ontario and East Angus, Quebec, both in Canada.

Aberdeen Angus is the original name of a cattle breed, developed from native cattle in Aberdeenshire and Angus. They're still called by the original name in the U.K., Europe, and South America. Elsewhere the cattle are designated either Black Angus or Red Angus.

Red Angus heifer courtesy Wikipedia

Black Angus Cattle courtesy Wikipedia

Mixed Herd Angus cattle courtesy Wikipedia

Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society Tartan

Tomorrow, the Angus tartan and Angus Og…

December 16, 2009 06:02 - Angus Tartan and Angus Og

The Angus District tartans

Angus District Tartan 1179

Angus District Tartan WR1199

Angus District Dance Tartan

Angus District Dance Tartan WR2473

Angus Og is a cartoon from the Daily Record newspaper. Set on the fictional island of Drambeg, the "fairest island in the Utter Hebrides, Angus is, of course, a bull.
Other characters in include his mother, Rosie the Highland cow, Lachie More, and Granny McBrochan.

Angus Og postcard courtesy An Lanntair

Angus is described as the typical cartoon teuchter. Teuchter is a Lowland Scots word applied to Highland Scots. It's used by the urbane as a slur toward rural Scots. Or to be derogatory toward anyone with a distinctive burr, or accent. Another application is 'ignorant northerner'.

Some of the strips can be viewed at An Lanntair, a multi-media arts center in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Coming tomorrow, other Angus and a birth announcement…

December 17, 2009 07:34 - Angus the Other and the Long Awaited Twins

In Angus, Nebraska, from 1907 to 1910, the Angus Automobile Company, produced over 600 Fuller cars. Only one car is known to have survived the scrap metal drives of World War II. Charles M. Fuller originally owned the company, designed the cars, and was the driving force of the company.

A deep towed still camera sled also bears the name ANGUS, for Acoustically Navigated Geological Underwater Survey.

At this point, I'll bet you've begun to wonder if I'll ever get to the twins. I have arrived.

Applying the contemporary meanings ~

  • Arran is from the Welsh Arwyn, meaning fine or fair

  • Adaire is Scottish for the oak tree ford

  • Andrew is Latin and Greek for manly valor

  • Angus means exceptional, one choice; big, beefy, and brash

So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Arran Adaire and Andrew Angus, cousins to Ailsa Aileen and Alex Iona.

Coming tomorrow Renaissance Magazine's Wedding Contest …

December 18, 2009 11:52 - Renaissance Magazine ~ Wedding Issue & Contest

Annually, Renaissance magazine does a wedding issue. The 2010 issue is in the works for release in early 2010.

Information about the wedding issue and how to order past wedding issues are available on their website Renaissance Magazine.

If you’re considering a Renaissance, or Scottish Renaissance wedding theme, the upcoming issue or the past issues that are available might be a valuable source of information about gowns, men’s wear, jewelry, hair styles, hair adornment, and the like.

There’s not a lot to be read on the wedding issue page, but the back issue covers are displayed and there’s link information about the contest. Who knows, you could be the winner and receive those extra perks for your wedding!

Coming Monday, The Origins of the Wedding Costume, an article from Pendragon Costumes, written by Juneau, the Duchess of Netherwaullop, and Duke Shadow…

December 21, 2009 07:05 - Origins of the Wedding Costume

This is a reprint from the Pendragon Costume web site, written by Juneaux, the Duchess of Netherwaullop and Duke Shadow.

The Origins of the Wedding Costume

During the Medieval and Renaissance periods, wedding dresses were basically just more elaborate versions of contemporary styles, displaying a wealth of intricate embroidery, beading, expensive fabrics, and dyes. The white wedding dress as we recognize it today is actually a tradition started by Queen Victoria who wore white to her own wedding.

In fact, up until the late 19th century, brides wore just about any color for their wedding gown, including black if the intended bridegroom was a widower. For example, in early Celtic cultures, red was the bridal color of choice, worn to invoke fertility, as evident in Elizabethan silk weaver turned balladeer Thomas Deloney's description of a German bride's attire as a "gowne of sheepes russet, and a kirtle of fine worsted."

Although many peasant brides of the 13th and 14th centuries wore gowns dyed with woad (a herb of the mustard family which produced a vibrant but easily-faded blue dye), green was also a popular wedding gown color, as shown by Madame Arnolfi in Jan Van Eyck's Wedding Portrait, painted in 1434.

Although bridal white, as a token of the bride's purity and innocence, is a relatively new concept, there is historical precedent for it. Henry IV of England's daughter, Princess Phillipa, is reported to have worn a tunic and mantle of white satin, edged with velvet and ermine, at her marriage to Eric of Pomerania (Denmark), in 1406. Anne of Brittany, daughter of Francis II, wore white at her third marriage in 1499 to Louis XII of France, while in 1527, Marguerite of Valois is said to have married Henri of Navarre robed in white ermine and covered by a blue coat with a five-foot train.

© 2001 Renaissance Magazine
338 Commerce Drive Fairfield, CT 06432 USA (800) 232-2224 voice (800) 775-2729 fax

Article reprinted from Pendragon Costumes

Coming tomorrow, more about colors and the funding wedding costumes…

December 22, 2009 18:46 - More On Medieval & Renaissance Wedding Gown Colors and Funding

Yesterday, Madame Arnolfi’s wedding portrait, painted by Jan Van Eyck in 1434, was discussed. Here’s a portrait of her green wedding gown.

Madame Arfolni‘s Wedding Portrait
by Jan Van Eyck 1434
courtesy Fashions in Time

Continuing the information on Medieval and Renaissance wedding dresses, particularly white costumes…additionally, Mary, Queen of Scots, wore white to her wedding with the Dauphin of France in 1558, deliberately flouting the French custom that white was only to be worn in mourning for French royalty. (Ironically, her husband died two years later.)

Similarly, Queen Elizabeth I is painted in her later portraits wearing white, many believe in "mourning" over the death of the Duke of Alençon, one of her proposed husbands-to-be, in order to prevent the presentation of additional suitors.

When England's 16-year-old princess Elizabeth married Frederick of Bohemia in 1613, all the maids and the princess were robed in ephemeral white and silver tissue trimmed with silver lace. Princess Elizabeth's train of silver and sleeves, solidly encrusted with diamonds, were worth a princess' ransom. She wore her hair loose, hanging to her waist, with a crown of gold. The wedding, with gowns and dowry, cost her father £95,000, or over $5 million in today's currency!

Lavish royal weddings were paid for (until the 1550s), by marriage taxes levied on landowners. Homelier weddings resorted to less elaborate dress and accoutrements. A witness in 1597 recounted the wedding of a middle-class bride:

The bride...was led to church between two sweet boys with bride laces and rosemary tied about their silken sleeves. There was a fair bride cup of silver gilt carried before her, wherin was a goodly branch of rosemary, gilded very fair, hung about with silken ribands of all colours. Musicians came next, then a groupe of maidens, some bearing great bride-cakes, others garlands of wheat finely gilded, and thus they passed into the church; and the bridegroom finely apparelled, with the young men followed close behind. The ceremony ended in a riotous manner: the young men tore ribbons, garters, and bridal laces from the bride as souvenirs, later the crowd raucously escorted the bridal couple to their bedchambers.

© 2001 Renaissance Magazine
338 Commerce Drive Fairfield, CT 06432 USA (800) 232-2224 voice (800) 775-2729 fax

Article reprinted from ustom.html" class="entrylink" TARGET="_blank">Pendragon Costumes

December 23, 2009 06:57 - Bold Coats Come Into Vogue

Bold Coats Come Into Vogue
By the 14th century, the , or "bold coat" -- a close-fitting dress-like garment with a train -- had become the traditional wedding gown. Laced up the back or front, the cotehardie had long, tight sleeves, and a full slit up the front to show the underdress, which also carried a train. Cotehardies were made from precious fabrics such as silk brocades and for the wedding, a cotehardie was worn with a belt of gold, encrusted with jewels

1300 Ladies Cotehardie courtesy Revival Clothing

[A men’s cotehardie from 14th century Italy]

1350 Italian men‘s wedding cotehardie
courtesy Wikipedia

The bride's trousseau included three dresses: her cotehardie, which could be worn again for special occasions, a good dress for Sundays, and an everyday dress. Regardless of fortune, she traditionally wore only three ornaments: a ring representing eternal vows and true love; a brooch as a token of chastity and a pure heart; and a crowning garland, worn over loose, flowing hair, symbolizing virtue.   This period also saw the popularity of the jeweled cap and the linen coif, a short, opaque headdress worn over conical spirals of hair. But by the next century, a long, conical headdress known as the henin was in vogue.

1500 hennin headress from Hans Holbein portrait courtesy Wikipedia

Worn tilted back on the head, the henin featured a long, sheer veil which cascaded from the point to the ground. But during the 16th century, veils had gone out of fashion, and women began sporting small, brimmed hats.

For the bride planning a period wedding, authentic fashion choices are many and varied. Bridal garb has taken so many forms over the centuries that there is a precedent for almost any color or style one chooses.

© 2001 Renaissance Magazine
338 Commerce Drive Fairfield, CT 06432 USA (800) 232-2224 voice (800) 775-2729 fax

Article reprinted from Pendragon Costumes.

Coming tomorrow, previous Christmas articles for Christmas reading…

December 24, 2009 08:16 - A Merry Christmas

As the sun rises on Christmas Eve, to me this is a good time to sit with a cup of coffee and reminisce about other Christmas memories, family and friends that I’ll no longer see, memorable winter events…and hopes for the future.

One memory is of tobogganing down a gentle, normally grassy slope covered with a foot of snow. A full moon added sparkle and a bluish cast to everything. This was over 50 years ago, still vivid in my mind, and nice to remember this morning.

Another once-in-a-life-time event was when a severe cold snap froze the lakes quickly. The ice was several inches thick, but clear. I skated the better part of the day on clear ice, watching the fish swim below my skates. Again, from a lifetime ago, but very vivid in my memories.

Each Christmas has been different and memorable for those differences. And this year is no exception. We are in a small apartment in a somewhat tropical setting ~ palm trees, off-shore breezes, breakers lulling us to sleep at night. But our Christmas decorations are sitting in their usual storage at home, unopened and unadmired, but not forgotten. Most have been lovingly handmade and each carries it’s own memory.

When I realized this would be a whole new Christmas scenario, I decided to find a picturesque piece of driftwood and clean it up for a tree. But this wasn’t necessary, for I found a small Norfolk Island pine at a local store. I’ve collected shells and coral, polished smooth by the sea, and wrapped them like pieces of jewelry with copper wire. Later today we’ll go out and gather some flowering vines to hang as garland from our little tree. And voilà, a Christmas tree.

As a part of these memories, I’m posting the links to past Christmas blogs. In 2008, the December 17th through the 25th the articles include Scottish themed ornaments, heraldic symbol ornaments, Scottish Christmas traditions, and Scottish Christmas words and greetings.

The 2007 articles from December 21st and the 24th are about

  • Auld Lang Syne the tartan and the poem, with more complete information on the Auld Lang Syne tartan webpage.

    The 2007 article for the 24th is pure eye candy displaying 10 lovely tartans in Christmas colors. IF you need a stronger fix, the article links to a webpage displaying more than 60 Christmas colored tartans.

So enjoy, have a blessed, merry Christmas, and I’ll be back next Monday with a short series about Billy Fiske, American Olympiad and World War II fighter pilot.

December 28, 2009 05:32 - Billy Fiske

Another great American with possible Scottish roots has come to light. If he didn’t have Scottish ancestry, his tale is still worth the telling.

Though his family traces their roots back to Suffolk, England, their name is found in the Strathearn District of Scotland.

Strathearn District Tartan WR1890

I learned of him while watching Bonham’s 2009 Auto Auction in Paris, France. After I’ve told Billy’s story, I’ll tell you more about his car.

Born in New York in 1911, Billy Fiske was a young man who enjoyed life to the fullest. His father was a New England banking magnate. Billy went to France for schooling in 1924. Three years later he discovered the sport of bobsledding. In 1928 he began studying at Cambridge. He competed and became a champion in the 1928 and 1932 Olympic Games.

Billy was the driver of the first five-man U.S. Bobsled team to win an Olympics. He was also the youngest gold medalist in the sport, being only 16 years old.

The 1932 games were held at Lake Placid, New York, and Billy received the honor of carrying the American flag in the opening ceremonies.

This British cigarette card of the 1930’s commemorates Billy's successes in bobsledding.

Churchman Tobacco Card courtesy Billy Fiske website

Coming tomorrow, Billy’s story continues…

December 29, 2009 06:37 - Billy Fiske ~ Part II

Billy declined an invitation to lead the bobsled team in the 1936 Winter Olympics which were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.

As stated on the tobacco card, Billy was also renowned on the Cresta, a single man sledding event at St. Moritz, Switzerland, where he was the champion for many years. Thirdly, St. Moritz knew him for his jumps from the bar chandelier in the Badrutt Palace Hotel.

After graduation he worked for a New York banking firm in London. In 1938, he married Rose, Countess of Warwick, in Maidenhead. Though his firm called him home to New York at the outbreak of World War II, in 1939 Billy returned to England with a banking colleague, who was a member of a British air force squadron.

Pretending to be a Canadian, as the U.S. was still neutral, Billy joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, becoming a Pilot Office in 1940.

Billy Fiske Military Photo
courtesy Wikipedia

Flying with the Millionaires’ Squadron, Billy was one of 10 American pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. A leaflet available at the Boxgrove Priory gives an apt description of Billy and his deeds. He’s honored as a sportsman, golden boy, and fighter pilot. Billy was the first American airman in British service to die.

During the Battle of Britain, a German bullet penetrated the airplane’s fuel tank. With burnt hands and ankles, Billy nursed his Hurricane fighter home, trying to saved the plane. He was extracted and the fuel tank exploded. On August 17, 1940, Billy died a few days later, at 29 years of age, from surgical shock.

Billy was buried in St. Mary and St. Blaise churchyard in Boxgrove, Sussex. His gravestone reads, "He died for England".

Tomorrow, Billy’s story completes with Part III…

December 30, 2009 06:10 - Billy Fiske, World War II Fighter Pilot ~ Part III

The next year, on the 4th of July, 1941, a plaque was unveiled within the crypt at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Though the date of the unveiling was thought to be a political ploy to help draw the US into the war, the sentiment and respect of the British for Billy was real. Prime Minister Churchill worked to popularize Billy’s story.

At the unveiling the Secretary of State for Air said, "Here was a young man for whom life held much. Under no kind of compulsion he came to fight for Britain. He came and he fought and he died."

St Paul‘s plaque courtesy Wikipedia

A memorial plaque is also on display in the crypt at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

In 2002 Bud Greenspan’s Favorite Stories of Winter Olympic Glory included footage of Billy Fiske, as did a 2005 documentary, American Warrior: Billy Fiske.

Based on a novel by Alex Kershaw, Hollywood produced a movie, The Few. It was scheduled for release in 2008, little information is available and some claim the movie production is erroneous.

In 2008, a memorial stained glass window was dedicated to Billy at the Boxgrove Priory, commemorating his role in the Battle of Britain.

Memorial Window courtesy Boxgrove Priory

A number of Billy’s former colleagues attended and his green Bentley was on display.

1928 Bentley courtesy Billy Fiske website

Billy began driving the car while a student at Cambridge. It’s a 1928 Bentley 4 ½ litre Super Charged Blower and one of 50 built. It’s similar to those raced at the Leman 24 hour race.

Fiskan’s of London displayed the Bentley for auction at the Bonham’s Paris Show. Due to Billy’s fame, the car was featured in the TV coverage of the Paris Show, which is how I first learned of the car and Billy. At the display, movie shots of Billy’s funeral were displayed, again reiterating the great respect and warmth of the British people toward a daring young man who was full of life and duty. For as his gravestone states, "He died for England".

Tomorrow a wedding ensemble for a mature woman, with a surprise petticoat...

December 31, 2009 07:48 - A Wedding Ensemble for the Mature Bride

Recently I watched the movie Because I Said So. Diane Keaton played a hovering mother.

Many aspects of her wardrobe echoed designs from the mid-1950’s. She was also a huge fan of polka dots. Red polka dots in particular.

Toward the end of the movie Diane remarried and her bridal gown is well worth mentioning.

The jacket and skirt were of the same fabric, possibly a heavy silk or a satin, in bridal white. Though the jacket might have been a heavier fabric, with the skirt in something lighter, with the colors matching.

The general theme of the jacket was like a formal suit, with feminine touches. The cuffs had small ruffles on both edges, as did the stand-up collar. It buttoned down the front, probably with self-fabric, bridal gown size buttons. It may have been double-breasted, but that can be a matter of choice.

The skirt was very, very, very full, but not frumpy around the waist. The shots of the gown were so quick, it was hard to see it all, but I’d guess the skirt was pleated and/or gored, with the gored seams hidden within the pleats.

But the really big surprise, was the over-petticoat. Similar in style to this Butterick petticoat, there were layers upon layers of white tulle netting.

Butterick pattern B3737

The outer-most layer was a white silk with bright red ½ to 1 inch polka dots!

Unless the audience had seen her with the polka dot petticoat in an earlier scene, no one would have known, but the bride. She smugly knew she’d still worn her favorite red polka dots.

The same idea could be achieved with a silk tartan petticoat. If you feel shy about displaying a boldly beautiful tartan, this is one way you could still wear your tartan for your wedding day.

Depending on the fullness of your skirt, the tartan might peek out while you were kneeling for communion, or it might be revealed as you dance.

Going back to the Butterick pattern, if your skirt isn’t going to be "that" full, a pair of the pantaloons in silk tartan could add such fun to your bridal ensemble.

Well, that closes 2009. May your New Year be all that you anticipate and more.

Monday the January Highland Games will be posted. Tuesday will find some suggestion for today’s bridal ensemble…

November 2009 « 


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