It’s always a treat at a wedding or a Scottish event to see all the different tartans on display. Worn with pride and brightening up what is already such a happy occasion. We’ve all been to a kilt fitting and if you don’t already know your way around your tartans then you know it can be quite a daunting task. Looking through those chunky books of patterns and not having a clue. Fret not, we’re here to give you an insight and help you narrow down that perfect colour combo!
-Tartan variants at a wedding
You Do You
The first option is the easiest, wear whatever tartan you like! It’s primarily your own choice. With over 7000 registered tartans from every corner of the globe you’re bound to find something that jumps out at you. There’s no exclusivity in terms of the wearer, nobody is going to turn up at your wedding and shout at you for using their family’s tartan!
-4 big books full of different tartans in the shop-
All in The Family
Option 2 is to go with your family clan. Most Scottish families descend from clans all over the country from highland to lowland. The Macleod’s of the islands, Leslie of the northeast but you could be part of a clan and not know it. For example, there was no Moore clan but the surname can be traced to Clan Moir and likewise with the surname Chambers and Clan Cameron.
-Map of Scottish Clans
Linking family and clan is only half the battle. Many clan tartans have different variations. It’s likely you’ll have the choice between ancient, modern, hunting, weathered and dress. Clan MacDonald has 25 different variations so for them it might be a touch more difficult. Some of these variants can be quite similar but can also be wildly different. Take MacAuley for instance. MacAuley modern and ancient are both mainly red with green accents but with slight difference in saturation. While MacAuley hunting is mainly green with black accents and red and white trim. Once again, it comes down to a personal choice between variants; in this case do you prefer red or green? Or do you like bright or muted?
Irish tartans are similar but are made up of counties rather than clans so it's a case of where you're from such as Mayo or Donegal.
-Some of the many Macdonald Clan tartans
The last main option is to take a universal tartan. These were created to be worn by anyone for a multitude of reasons. One of the most popular in the shop at the moment is Spirit of Bannockburn. The design itself was created to commemorate the titular battle with each of its colours representing a part of it. Green for the highland hills, purple for the heather covering glens, blue for the June sky and the waters of the Bannock Burn itself and white for the Scottish Saltire. A tartan comprised of very cold colours, giving a muted subtle look.
-Spirit of Bannockburn Tartan
On the other end of the spectrum is Royal Stewart. The instantly recognisable red tartan featured everywhere from shortbread tins to F1 helmets! Its origins come from after the ban of tartans in the late 1700’s when Sir Walter Scott chose it for King George IV when he visited Edinburgh. The Royals soon shifted to Balmoral tartan after the common folk started using it in support of the monarchy. The royalist aspect of the tartan has been lost to time and it’s become one of the mot popular tartans in Scotland.
-Royal Stewart Tartan
For those who want a meaningful tartan but don’t really have much of a tie to Scottish or Irish culture there are many individual tartans for countries around the world. The American states have their own designs as well as regions of Canada and Africa. We’re a people of inclusion and you can even design and register your own tartan. A goal we would be more than happy to help you to accomplish!
-Colorado State tartan
We hope this wee guide has helped to narrow down what to wear for your next wedding or function. If you want to pop in and see us about getting yourself fitted for a forever kilt or just a hire, give us a call or shoot us an email and we’ll see you right!
Tel: 01651 869339
Visit Us: Scotstown Road
We also have a number of other blogs on kilt maintenance so feel free to check them out here.
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