I had known, from my last time in the UK, that it's traditional for women to wear hats to weddings. And not just any hat—ridiculous hats with feathers and flowers and all sorts. I was dying to get a hat for Elaine's wedding. But the hat selection in America wasn't what I would call "good." Plus, where could I pack a hat?!? So I went without.
Luckily, Elaine's Aunt Lorraine got me sorted. When she heard I wouldn't be wearing a hat and why, she said she had just the thing. So I got to wear the fabulous hat pictured above. And I didn't even have to fit it in my suitcase!
The wedding, other than the kilts and bagpiper, was pretty much a standard Catholic ceremony. For me, the biggest differences became apparent during the reception.
- They fed us a LOT of food. The ceremony attendees were fed at the church hall while the wedding party took pictures. Then we were bussed to the hotel reception and fed a sit-down dinner. Later, during the dancing, a separate buffet was put out.
- The traditional wedding cake is a fruit cake. Still the same fondant icing, but quite a surprise underneath! Rumor has it fruitcake keeps better, which should bode well if Elaine and David intend to follow the crazy tradition of saving some cake for their first anniversary.
- Plenty of Scottish dancing. This actually falls into two categories: the kind of dancing that requires memorized steps and an ability to follow a partners, and then the modern dancing. Everyone was up and dancing to The Proclaimers and Franz Ferdinand. "Do You Want To," off FF's second album, will now always remind me of the wedding reception. Hearing it makes me smile.
- I don't think I saw any presents at the reception. I think I heard that it was considered somewhat rude to bring a present to the reception because then you force the bride and groom or their families to find a way to take it home. Makes sense to me!