There’s something special about a man in a kilt…

… so to celebrate the birthday of famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, we’ve gone all tartan for you.  West Wedding’s writer Sally Middlebrook explores this popular tradition.
The Classic Highland
Who’s wearing them? Ewan McGregor, Sean Connery, Kiefer Sutherland.
Think… Braveheart, The Way West.
Designer inspiration: House of Tartan, Kilts of Caledonia.
In recent times, Scottish highland wear has witnessed a growth in popularity at weddings across the country, and grooms and the other male members of the wedding party now have to field more “what’s under your kilt?” questions than ever before. Of course, no bride wants to be outshone by her groom, but she will be impressed when she sees a handsome brute in a kilt waiting for her at the altar. Believe me, there is nothing feminine about man in a skirt, you’ve just got to look at the most masculine men in Hollywood to see that. If Ewan McGregor, Kiefer Sutherland and Sir Sean Connery can do it, then you certainly can too. Available in a huge range of coloured tartans, wedding kilts are essential dress items for any groom planning to wear a Prince Charlie jacket, Argyll jacket or Ghillie shirt on the day of the wedding. Take a look at the classic patterns offered by House of Tartan and Kilts of Caledonia, but it’s worth having something specific in mind as there are estimated to be several thousand tartans in existence. Formal hire firms are likely to carry only a handful in stock, with bespoke highland wear outfitters sometimes able to offer you a choice of several hundred designs. It’s tradition, where possible, to choose the tartan for your wedding kilt that is associated with your ancestral clan, but again there are no strict rules about this.
The Contemporary Highland
Who’s wearing them? Samuel. L. Jackson, Daniel Craig, George Clooney.
Think…The 51st State, Intolerable Cruelty.
Designer inspiration: 21st Century Kilts, Marc Jacobs, Skilt.
For the contemporary groom there is now an alternative kilt style. If you’re not a clansman, a number of national tartans exist (Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have their own versions) and several outfitters have even designed their own, often in less traditional colours such as greys, creams and purples. There are now kilt makers such as Edinburgh based 21st Century Kilts, who have completely revamped the traditional kilt by using fabrics ranging from tweed, hemp and leather to silver snakeskin PVC and denim. So now you can wear one but have it in any material you like and in any colour, which is brilliant for those who want to stick to a colour scheme. American fashion designer Marc Jacobs has got in spot on with his range of versatile and flattering kilts, worn by Daniel Craig on the red carpet. For a little more inspiration (or convincing), take a look at the annual Dressed to Kilt fashion shows, hosted by none other than Sir Connery. Needless to say, kilts on the modern day man are on the up, constantly seen on the big screen on the likes of Samuel L in The 51st State, and George Clooney as he attends a wedding ceremony in Intolerable Cruelty. Go on, get those legs out, your bride will love it!
Don’t do it!
Highland Wear No NoS:
  • It’s not necessary for other male members of the wedding party to wear a kilt as well. Although if they do, make sure it’s in a different pattern to the groom’s so he still stands out.
  • The rumours you have heard are true, it is tradition to ‘go commando’ when wearing a kilt. That said, if you’re particularly shy or the forecast for the day predicts bitterly cold weather, then underwear is acceptable.
  • Even the shyest will venture forth to ask, “What do you have on under there?” so before your big day, think of several comebacks for this time-worn question. For example, “The future of Bonnie Scotland”, “A katana, didn’t you see Highlander?” or, “Give me your hand and I’ll show you”. I think you know where this is going.
  • Give yourself time to research and try on different styles, and don’t feel pressured to wear something you’re not comfortable in. Don’t forget to organise your groomsmen, it’s not a good idea to presume they will be responsible enough to remember all dates and details. Keep them updated with emails and calls to ensure that they meet all the necessary deadlines. Have fun treating yourself to a professional shave and haircut, this is not something your friends should have fun doing on your stag night. And speaking of stag nights, don’t down 104 pints like Oliver Reed did the night before his wedding, it’s not big and it’s not clever.