The Scottish Highland Dress for Your Scottish Wedding

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Posted on March 19th, 2008 by

scottish wedding
A scottish wedding with the traditional highland attire
Scottish weddings strike the perfect balance between modern wedding rites and the beauty of ancient Highland tradition. Highland traditions have been practiced through generations and generations, and most couples who are of Scottish descent choose to incorporate these ancient customs into their contemporary nuptials.

If you’re planning on having a traditional Scottish wedding, then one of the most important details you’ll have to take care of is your wedding attire. For the Scottish groom, the formal and highly romantic Scottish Highland Dress is a nice choice.

The Scottish Highland Dress

traditional scottish wedding attire
Traditional scottish wedding attires for men and women

The tartan, the kilt and the Scottish Highland Dress are no doubt some of the most dramatic and powerful symbols of Scotland. Although the kilt may appear basic, wrapped around the waist and fastened shut with buckles and straps, this simple garment carries centuries of rich history.

Just like other kinds of formal wear, the Scottish Highland Dress is composed of several different pieces. It includes the kilt, traditionally the saffron shirt, the jacket, vest, sporran, kilt hose, garters, the lace jabot, ghillies and the Skhean Dhu or the Gaelic “black dagger.”

The vest and the jacket worn with the kilt are usually made of home-spun wool or tweed. The sporran, which is a small leather bag worn over the crotch area, usually light-colored for the day and dark-colored for night.

scottish groomsmen
The groom and groomsmen wearing their scottish suits

The kilt hose, worn in the morning or during the day, should be oatmeal or whitish in color, while hose worn at night should be tartan, to match the kilt. Garters worn are usually either worsted or wool, and are knotted with a garter knot. Today’s garters can also be elastic with flashes that are navy blue, green or red in color.

While some may prefer to wear the tie with their shirt, a lace jabot is recommended. To match the lace jabot, there are usually lace cuffs that are snapped or sewn on the jacket.

Lastly, when it comes to shoes, ghillies remain the footwear of choice. If you’re wearing ghillies, just make sure the color of your footwear matches your kilt; if you want a more formal appearance, you can find formal black shoes that are lightweight with silver buckles. Black shoes are recommended for evening gatherings.

Wearing the Scottish Highland Dress

scottish highland dress
A couple wearing traditional scottish highland outfits

Although we’ve listed a number of different Scottish Highland Dress pieces in the previous section, there are few occasions when you can wear virtually all the accessories you possess. Extremely formal or gala evening events require you to dress your best. So if you’re planning on having an ultra-formal Scottish wedding, then you come wearing your clan’s tartan, your brooch, powderhorn and dirk.

For semi-formal and formal events, your kilt worn with a tweed jacket and matching tie ought to be perfect for your day wedding. If you’re planning on wearing a sporran, find one with a reserved pattern. Refrain from wearing fly plaid and brooch during morning affairs, since these accessories are mostly worn at night.

For your informal wedding, discard your jacket but retain your tie, and keep your sleeves rolled up for a slight air of formality. If, however, you’re going for a completely informal look, then we suggest going for a simple sleeved white shirt over a dressier top.

Keep in mind that regardless of time of day or your wedding’s level of formality, the kilt length should remain the same. It should be cut at the kneecap and not below it.

Historical and Cultural Significance of the Scottish Highland Dress

colorful scottish dress
Traditional scottish dress in colorful designs

There is something absolutely masculine and powerful about a man who can wear a kilt and carry his overall look with an air of dignity. These days, the kilt is perceived as Scotland’s national dress.

At the time of the Scottish Highland Dress inception, the Lowlanders perceived the kilt as somewhat barbaric and not the least bit admirable. Today, Lowlanders and Highlanders alike don the kilt as a sign of clan pride.

Even Scottish families living abroad and young teenagers of Scottish descent are challenging the norms of other countries to be able to wear this traditional Scottish attire. Truly, there is something magical about the Scottish Highland Dress and the sense of familial and nationalistic pride you can feel by simply wearing this garb.

Here’s a video of a traditional Scottish wedding outfit.

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