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Scottish Tartan Wedding

Never have we seen family roots so beautifully displayed than at Kate and George’s Virginia wedding shot by Jillian Wishart of Jillian Lee Photography. Kate used her groom’s family tartan throughout the wedding decor and attire with a spin on the traditional kilt. Groomsmen and both fathers wore the tartan as bowties and cummerbunds, while the bridesmaids and Kate herself wore a ribbon brooch ‘medal’. So cute! This preppy chic fête didn’t stop there. It also included fun activities for their guests – even bringing in a silhouette artist to draw the party-goers!

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From the bride, Kate: My husband, George, and his family are very close to their Scottish roots, so it was obvious to us that we would celebrate his heritage on our wedding day. To us, it was a meaningful way of joining our two families. We used his family’s beautiful tartan everywhere we could, and his relatives helped by donning it in various ways — cummerbunds, neck ties, pocket squares. The brooch I wore has been worn by brides in his family’s weddings for several generations. We also had a Scottish handfasting in the ceremony, during which the minister wrapped our clasped hands in the tartan as we exchanged vows. It’s where the expression “tying the knot” comes from! The handfasting was so intimate and so special for us to share with our guests — definitely my favorite part of the day. But I think George’s favorite part was cutting the cake with the hundreds-of-years-old family dirk!

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My mom was a DIY queen way before DIY was cool. During the wedding planning, every time I would bring up an idea, her response would be “We can make that.” And we did. We made the tartan bow ties, all the tartan ribbons, the tartan napkin rings, the reception table numbers, my veil, and all the boutonnieres, bouquets, and centerpieces. We also collected all the reception centerpiece compotes and bridesmaid brooches from antique shops and thrift stores over the course of a year. Seeing all that hard work come together made our wedding day even more personal. I’ve never been so in love with a non-human object as I am with my dress. When I decided I wanted to try a tea length gown, it was the first one I saw as I started researching. The day we headed to New York to try it on, I made sure to make an appointment at another dress shop first and try on a few other dresses I liked as to not get my hopes up about “the one.” But the moment Gregory at Fancy Bridal zipped me up, it was game over. I loved how light and moveable it was, and the tea length air flow was essential to the late night dancing. If I had to pick a favorite part, it would be the true retro darts in the bodice. I love how they capped off the vintage look of the dress.

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Any advice for other couples planning their weddings now? It’s all the little details–napkin folds, table garlands, escort card boards–that really pull the wedding together. In the end, when you’re just trying to make sure the caterer is paid, remember to pick up your dress, and rearrange the seating chart because of last-minute RSVPs, it’s easy to gloss over these tiny aspects and go with the plain votive holders instead of the dotted swiss ones because they would be easier to find and buy. But it’s the little details that make the day special (and pretty to look at later in pictures!) and what your guests will remember.

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View all images from this wedding in the gallery

Wedding Music:
Processional Hymn: “All Things Bright and Beautiful”
Bridal Processional: Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus”
Congregational Hymn: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
Recessional: “Scotland, the Brave” (bagpipes)
First Dance: “Long as You Love Me,” Shirley Brown
Father/Daughter Dance: “I Hope You Dance,” Lee Ann Womack

Wedding Location: Arlington, VA / Photographer: Jillian Lee Photography / Flowers: DIY / Ceremony Venue: Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ / Reception Venue: Washington Golf and Country Club / Wedding Dress: Fancy Bridal / Wedding Shoes: Nina from Nordstrom / Wedding Veil: Handmade my bride’s mother / Bride’s Brooch: Family heirloom / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung for Dessy D490 / Bridesmaids’ Brooches: Antique shop finds / Hair: Creative Images Hair and Makeup Artistry / Groom’s Tuxedo: After Hours Formal Wear / Tartan Bow Ties: DIY / Wedding Cake: Pastries by Randolph / Band: DC Fusion / Bagpiper: Norm Weaver / Silhouette Artist: Marie Cheek with Caricature Artist Groups / Wedding Invitations: Designed by bride; Printed by Mama’s Sauce

5 Comments on Scottish Tartan Wedding

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  • 1

    We love the skirt on the brides dress. So fun and lively!

    Reply
  • 2
    tosin oluwatoye on January 21, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    awesome awesome awesome.!. Love the subtle scottish undertone .
    Hey George, wheres your kilt?? You both look smashing and I wish you bliss in your marriage!

    Reply
  • 3
    Mandy Tillotson on January 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I was so happy to be there on this wonderful occasion after all the years of watching you grow up into the lovely woman you have become, Kate. Your dress is absolutely gorgeous, and you picked a rather handsome husband! You’re right about the details making it memorable for the guests. My silhouette ( where is spell check when I need it?) stands proudly in my home. Having a ‘wee dram’ of Scottish blood myself, I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect, especially the bagpipes.( Did you know that my mom played drums in a bagpipe band decades ago? ) May the Lord continue to bless and keep you both. Mandy T

    Reply
  • 4

    I just love Kate’s dress, it looks so beautiful. Great idea with the silhouettes on top of the cake too – make me smile!

    “Long as You Love Me,” is a lovely choice for a first dance.

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing wedding. xx

    Congrats to Kate & George

    Reply
  • 5

    I just LOVE this site! beautiful pictures and awesome ideas!! -Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply

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