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Wedding in Edinburgh in late October-HELP!

Wedding in Edinburgh in late October-HELP!

Jul 17th, 2010, 06:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4
Wedding in Edinburgh in late October-HELP!

We're invited to a wedding in Edinburgh on Saturday, October 23th, 2010. Can you help me with a few questions?
1. What does one wear to a wedding in Scotland? Like, is a suit in order for a female guest? A long-ish dress? Is anything not recommended? Is there anything we need to know or do or bring that's different from the US?
2. Where to stay in Edinburgh? We prefer B&Bs or something not-hotel-ish.
3. Would like to make a vacation of this excursion. Is it going to be too cold/wet to continue in Scotland, or do you advise we leave after the wedding for another place in Europe (Greece, France, Italy, Croatia?)? If we leave Edinburgh on October 24th, that gives us five or six days more to travel.
4. If you all think it would be fun to stay in Scotland, can you help me plan a five or six day itinerary for October 24th through 30th? What to see? Where to stay?
5. Is this week a school holiday in Scotland? If so, why and what does that mean for traveling?
6. Is Halloween a big deal in Scotland? Should we extend the trip to stay for it?
I thank you for any and all help you can give me; I so appreciate you all!
maresy is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Purely on the wedding aspect- we are fresh from my daughter's wedding last Saturday-albeit in Wales. Many female guests wore long summery dresses with a combination of hats, fascinators and bare headed. The one thing I did notice was the question of female guests wearing black. Brides differ hugely on this and I would suggest you ask the bride if you want to wear black.
What not to do-do not ask if you can bring with you someone who is not invited.There appear to wide variations as to whether this is acceptable.
Frances is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:47 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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1) women wear dresses - not "pants" suits
2) Tripadvisor has lots of suggestions, but it might be helpful to you to find something near the wedding or reception
3) This is the UK, no-one has a clue what the weather is going to be tomorrow let along 4 months time. It could be absolutely miserable or it could be totally glorious and everything inbetween - in fact you are likely to see the full range, sometimes in the same day
4) Give us some ideas of your likes and dislikes. If you hate golf and whisky it would be pointless suggesting tours containing them
5) Scotland tends to have early in October off for school holidays but a lot depends on the local authority - see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publicati.../termdates2010
6) It's nothing like the US.
alanRow is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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Thank you both for your help. I was in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival ten years ago: it was one of my favorite vacations. My partner has never been there. As far as likes and dislikes: whisky, history, scenery, and driving, yes. Golf, no. Super-touristy or spending many hours in the car? No, unless you experts tell us a site or event is a "can't miss." And: I'm delighted that it's nothing like the U.S.
maresy is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
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One difference I noticed between English and Scotish weddings - the scots tend to stay in their finery for the evening part, in ENgland we tend to change into casual for the evening.

Ask the couple about where to stay, if they are getting married or having a reception in a hotel there may be a guest rate that is lower than the standarrd and you don't have to pay for a taxi home.

I live in trousers but the one place I wouldn't wear them is a wedding, also don't wear black or white - unless the bride has said OK.

Never been to a US wedding so can't compare

Have fun
sashh is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 03:31 AM
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Have a look at my trip report for ideas on travelling around Scotland.

Lifeman is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 04:22 AM
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If it's a traditional Scottish family wedding, expect men in kilts, a reception that carries on 'till the small hours of the following morning and lots of energetic (and progressively more drunken) Scottish country dancing...! Younger women dress to impress in fashionable short skirts and heels, whereas older women may feel more comfortable in longer dresses. Trouser suits for women are more unusual but not considered inappropriate.

The men will be dressed in either suits and ties, or highland dress if they are Scots at a trad wedding (see above). If you're not Scots, then you won't be expected to get kitted out in a kilt in any case - a suit will be just fine. On no circumstances should men turn up in a "tuxedo" as appears to be the norm in a lot of US weddings (based on my limited knowledge from Hollywood movies).
Gordon_R is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 04:55 AM
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'Many female guests wore long summery dresses with a combination of hats, fascinators and bare headed. '

What is a fascinator? My French friends are often perplexed by the hats British women wear, but perhaps they are not hats, but fascinators???
Carlux is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 05:32 AM
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An arrangement often involving feathers attached to the side of the head, rather than a full hat. The word hasn't hit my French dictionary yet.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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One aspect of British weddings is identical to most US weddings: the only dress rules are that guests' clothing shouldn't upstage the wedding party's, and that guests should avoid being notably less smart than other guests. There's one special Scottish quirk: men shouldn't wear highland dress unless they've got significant Scottish links (being called McDonald counts: flipping burgers for McD doesn't), though overseas guests wearing a kilt properly would usually be seen to have made a charming gesture, even if their only connection with Scotland is the amount of Johnnie Walker they get through.

But one aspect differs from the US: there is no common standard of what constitutes "smart".

Usually, women wear hats and normal (ie never evening) dresses: men wear lounge suits. But there've been lots of weddings in the rougher ranks of the flannerclan where no women wore hats, and a few at the more refained end of the clan where most men wore morning suits. It really is best to ask whoever invited you what other guests will be wearing. And if they say "whatever you like" keep on pressing till you get a useful answer.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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This is how our daughter's Edinburgh wedding worked (we are Americans, he is Scots, we also invited many of our English friends):

1. All presents are sent in advance. It would have been impolite to bring presents to the wedding as some do in the US.

2. The wedding day itself had three parts:

a. the church ceremony (open to all, including people walking in off the street to see the action);

b. a long luncheon mostly for family and very close friends; we included our US and English guests since they had gone to a lot of trouble to get there. Toasts by best man, etc.

c. an evening ceilidh in a hotel to which all the guests were invited and also neighbors, parents' friends, work friends, friends from university, etc. I think we paid for a round of toasting champagne, then went on to a cash bar, partly for liability issues. From time to time, between rounds of Dashing White Sergeants and Strip the Willow, sandwiches appeared. As Gordon_R points out, this went on until at least 3 AM, when a coach took the guests around to their houses and hotels. The pubs in Rose Street don't close until 6 AM, and the coach made a stop there for some of the more hard-core guests. At some point during the ceilidh, I think I remember telling the hotel manager to ask a party of Japanese guests to join us, but like many things that evening, not all is clear.

d. Scots learn Scottish dancing in school, (my sister said, "These people have a culture"), and it was fun to watch small boys and grannies out dancing with the people from my daughter's chartered accountancy program and from the Uni.
They were all very patient of us Americans and of the English.

3. Men wore suits, Highland dress, or morning clothes to the church and the luncheon. They continued to wear suits and Highland dress to the ceilidh, but those in morning clothes changed to suits.

4. Women wore suits, church dresses, and amazing hats to the ceremony and luncheon. For the ceilidh, they changed into party dresses and shoes suitable for vigorous dancing. It would not have been a great place for strappy sandals or Jimmy Choo heels.

5. All the people involved were middle class -- teachers, doctors, solicitors, chartered accounts, etc -- and it was our sense that it was very important to do things right. It was our daughter's special day, but it was not "your special day" as in the US where the bride gets to be a queen and do whatever she wants. There is a way to do it, and doing it that way makes everybody happy.

6. Traveling after. Our wedding was the first week in October. We went to the Highlands near Braemar after to go deer stalking at a friend's place. It snowed. It was beautiful, but only our son went stalking with the host. My wife and I sat in front of the fire. The last week in October could be anything.

If you decide you don't want to go, can we have your invitation?
Ackislander is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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I agree with all the advice you've received so far, and would emphasise that, as the dancing (ceilidh) is usually a big part of any Scottish wedding, you should bring some comfy shoes (flats/low heels) to change into when the dancing starts.

Where is the reception being held? It would be best to find accommodation nearby - have the bride and groom made any suggestions? When I was married in Scotland we had a list of possible hotels for guests coming from abroad (and even negotiated a good price on a couple of them) so it would be worth asking.
If I were you I'd stay in Scotland for the five/six days and chance the weather. If you want a Halloween experience, perhaps you could find a nice spooky castle to stay in for a night!
hanl is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 05:24 AM
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Thank you all so much for all the great advice and information - just invaluable! I think the two most important things now are to decide where in Scotland to travel for the five or six days after the wedding AND where to stay. Do any of you have any experience with renting homes (called "vacation rentals" maybe)? Thank you all again, and I'll take any other information or links you might have!
maresy is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 05:52 AM
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See if you can find out where other guests are staying, and try to book there as well. You can then meet your new friends at breakfast the following morning. That will be part of the celebration, and it might be though a bit odd if you were to stay on your own at an ordinary B & B.
chartley is online now  
Jul 20th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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<<< You can then meet your new friends at breakfast the following morning. >>>

If you do it must have been a lousy wedding - or do you mean the morning after the day after the wedding?
alanRow is offline  
Jul 20th, 2010, 09:37 AM
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It's usual for guests to be sent a list of hotels and B and Bs together with a "we only desire the pleasure of your company, but if you want to give us a present...." message with the invitation.
If you have not had the list, it would do no harm to ask for suggestions.
I would agree with not wearing white. Only one woman will be wearing it and she is the bride.
Black is a bit funereal but would probably be fine if teamed with a really frivolous hat.
MissPrism is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2010, 04:40 AM
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wear dresses only
petersmith53 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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There is likely to be a dress code on the invitation, but for normal, if you had a smart trouser suit and wanted to wear it, that would be fine. But most women wear dresses or two piece suits. Don't wear long to the wedding itself. I never wear hats here. But you can if it's your thing.

Expect a lot of kilts.

There's also likely to be a gift list with a department shop. Feel free to follow it or ignore it.

It's possible the invitation will say "morning suit" , in which case the men wear grey tails. It is not likely; but it is possible. It is much more likely that the wedding party men will wear morning dress.

It will likely start just after lunch time. The service, if religious will last 20- 30 minutes (unless it's a nuptual mass- again not likely but possible). There will then be some organised milling whilst hours of photos are taken. Do you know where the wedding will be? Or the reception?

If guests are not expected to mill, then you should repair to the location of the reception. You will be greeted with a drink, possibly champagne but not necessarily. I think we are probably past the stage where it's sherry for the ladies, and whisky for the men.

The hotel/venue will then round you up into the room where the meal will be. You will be seated and the wedding party will come in- probably with a piper. You will be fed. You will listen to seemingly interminable speeches- probably one from the father of the bride; a reply from the best man, and a finish from the groom.

By this time it's between 7 and 8pm. There will be more organised milling whilst you wait for the dining room to be turned into a dance hall.

The dancing will start with the bride and groom waltzing; the parents and close family join in, then everyone else (unless they do a Grand March, but that's not common outside the North East). Please join in the dancing. No-one will care if you don't know the steps; they'll be keen to help you.

Other people will likely join the party for the evening. There will be a bite to eat later- maybe stovies or sandwiches. It will finish in the small hours.

Even if you're staying somewhere else, if the reception is in a hotel, try to get a room there for the night of the wedding. Otherwise stay close.

Scotland is well worth a sty in October. Even if it IS wet. Decide, then we can help you

School holidays do not follow a regular patter all over Scotland. The week before is the Edinburgh break, not the week after the wedding. Basically, it's mid term. In the rural parts of the country they may be referred to as the "tattie" holidays, because historically the kids got off school to help with the potato harvest.

Hallowe'en- maybe; but it's a family time, not a public thing. There will be organised not stuff, but mostly for the tourists.

Heaps of nice flats in Edinburgh; but see above. I might be tempted to suggest a holiday place outside the city plus an overnight at the wedding hotel
sheila is offline  
Jul 26th, 2010, 06:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Thank you, all! These suggestions are great, and I so appreciate the time each of you has taken to reply to my inquiries. We have not received the actual wedding invitation as yet, so as far as time. location, or how formal the dress - TBA! I will keep you posted and appreciate every bit of information you can give until then!
maresy is offline  

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