Monday, October 20, 2008


A Scottish Wedding or Men in Kilts

After driving from Dundee to Aberdeenshire, we settled in for a night of catch up. Here I am, probably around midnight, red in the face from whatever was thrust into my hand (beer? wine?) and laughing over something that a new friend has told me. I stumbled off to bed around 2 AM.

Friday morning I woke up to find myself at Thainstone House, which is in Aberdeenshire. To call this place a "house" though is an understatement, because it was once a grand manor, owned by a landlord. To a romantic American, of course, a visit to this kind of place is absolute magic and something close to wish-fulfillment; it's impossible for me to look at any part of Europe and not think about its glorious past and to want to experience it just a little bit.

The night we arrived, we managed to stay up until 2 AM, and the night porter managed to stay up with us and make sure we had enough to drink (scotch, of course, which I did not drink) and that there was enough coal on the fire. Somehow, the following morning, we all managed to rise for breakfast.

And what breakfast would be complete in Scotland without a little patty of haggis?

Now, let me just say something here about the Scottish diet mystery. To be specific, I always manage to lose weight in the UK. I don't know why this is. Well, sometimes it is obvious, as when I ate an entire round of Mull Cheddar cheese and my lactose intolerance protested and I spent the night over a toilet. But in general, I eat far more cheese and cream in the UK than I would at home, with the end result that I weigh less. This is not true of my trips to France, by the way.

I'm thinking that the miracle weight loss has something to do with the cold. If you are busy shivering, then any and all calories simply evaporate.

Ah, men in kilts. They were everywhere.

Generations of kilts all the way to the horizon.

And bagpipes!

I liked these corsages, which incorporated the thistle, the flower of Scotland.

The kilt doesn't have to limit your look. I liked the way this couple reinterpreted the kilt so it had a tough black-and-metal kind of vibe. Very creative.

And here was the littlest kilt. He was extremely cute but also, says his mother, a complete terror. Once they walk, you can't stop them.

While waiting for the wedding to get started, the little girls sat in the window and looked at the guests, sharing secrets and observations, the way little girls do all over the world (until they blog).

And the boys, well, they were boys. (Their mother tried to put the chess set back together again).

After gathering around, waiting for the day to start, guests assembled in a large drawing room which was converted to accommodate the wedding ceremony. I liked the sight of so many kilts in chairs.

Not the best photo, but you can see the bride and groom exchanging vows.

Just before the couple exchanged rings, their 18 month old daughter had had enough of feeling excluded. "Daddy Daddy!" she cried, and ran up to her father. So it was that the rings were exchanged while the little girl watched.

After the wedding, we all waited for dinner. Like kids everywhere, these children played games. The girls used pink handhelds.

And the boys played their games.

Eventually, the bagpiper came indoors and played on the staircase, waiting for the bride and groom to reappear.

I was happy to see the Cassidys again, one of my all time favorite families. I really like the children--here you see me with Joanne (sp?) and her mother, Mary, both bright and colorful and smart.

Nine hours after the wedding began (no joke), we went to the ballroom which, of course, had a lovely bar all kitted out with scotch.

Not the best photo of the first dance, but it's all I have.

I don't have many photos of the dancing, mostly because I was actually dancing. I am a convert, now, to Scottish country dancing. In general, I think I like it when there are steps to a dance, rather than the loose gyrating that is so popular--in this, I am an old-fashioned girl. I now think that I am going to have to have a party in Scotland sometime with Scottish dancing--it is so much fun!

Twelve hours later, there we were on the dancefloor, dancing around in a circle. Gordon is very good at the polka, which means that we invariably passed anyone who was slow. The men in kilts were twirling--a dangerous but entertaining thing to do for men in kilts. The children somehow managed to stay up and dance and play. And in the morning, we all got up and ate haggis again.

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