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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History traditions Wedding Kilts

Scottish Pride

It’s a great time to be Scottish folks! Well its always great being a Scot but there are just so many exciting things happening right now!  There has been a big yellow ball up in the sky for sometime now and its turning all us pasty Scots a bit pink and freckly! We are of course referring to THE SUN! Anyone who has visited Scotland will know that sun is a rare phenomenon in our country but it has made wedding season all the better in Scotland! There is nothing better than the sun shining on your special day! As a kilt maker and highland outfitter it’s a very busy spell for us! With wedding season in full swing love is in the air and kilts are being worn all over the world! It’s been a busy few weeks at Houstons! We’ve had orders placed from USA, Australia, Belgium, London, Zimbabwe, Dubai, Wales and we have had visitors in store from the Channel Islands, Cyprus and Norway! With so much badness happening in the world it’s nice to hear of so many couples getting married and of course we are delighted that kilts are part of the occasion!

Customer wedding in sunny Mexico

It fills us with pride to know that kilts are so popular around the globe and so many of you want to honour your Scottish heritage. Kilts are not just for weddings, they can be wore to any occasion… even marathons! We were recently contacted by Jamie who was part of a team organizing America’s first ever nonstop running relay from Los Angeles to Boston. The event was created to raise funds and awareness for The One Fund Boston which supports victims of the tragic events of this year’s Boston and their families. Jamie wanted to have a kilt sent to his accommodation in New York so he could wear it during media interviews and for the marathon, and we were only too happy to oblige! We delighted that Jamie wanted to honour his Scottish roots and that a Houstons kilt could play a part in such a fantastic event!

Jamie running for the One Fund Boston charity in his Houstons kilt

Jamie recently got in touch to thank us for our support and provided pictures of the event. Everyone wanted a photo with the man in the kilt! Houston’s would like to congratulate all who took part, participants collectively raised $91,000 an incredible amount of money!

There is a lot going on in Scotland as we prepare to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It will be great for the country and a great opportunity for many Scottish sportsmen and women training to compete for the games! Above all it will enhance Scottish patriotism as we cheer together at the games!

Yes folks it truly is a great time to be Scottish so wear your kilts (and trews) with pride! One customer summed it up perfectly for us when he said,

‘Kilts are a great conversation starter wherever in the world you are. Ladies love them.. And my Houston tartan trousers in my picture!’ Customer Scott Carmichael.

Scott Carmichael in his tartan trews
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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts for Sale Scotland tartan traditions traditions Wedding Kilts Wedding Proposal

Wedding Checklist!

Modern Bute heather tartan

Your wedding day is thought to be the biggest day of your life and we understand that can be a very daunting process! With weddings now costing an average of £20,000 in the UK there is a lot to think about when planning the big day! GASP! Not to fear Houston’s are here and we have comprised a wedding checklist with useful hints and tips to keep on top of your plans and stress free!

An easy way to incorporate all plans for a wedding is think of the 5 F’s! Family, Friends, Food, Fashion and most importantly FUNDING!

Family and Friends

 

Announcing to your family and friends that you are getting married is some of the most exciting news you can deliver so lap it up and enjoy every second of it! Family and friends are also guaranteed to be the most honest so they are often a good lot to take along when it comes to picking the brides dress, colour schemes, tartan if the groom is wearing a kilt on top of many other considerations. Siblings, parents and pals are bound to be the most reliable candidates in an event this big so don’t be afraid to ask for help leading up to and on the big day. We’re sure they would be delighted to play a part in the wedding!

One of the biggest responsibilities you can bestow upon friends is family is picking the best man maid of honour and bridesmaids!

The role of best man is a great honour, and you will forever be remembered as a part of the biggest day in the grooms life; no pressure there then! Many men playing the role of best man don’t know exactly what the job entails. That’s where we come in! Of course every wedding is different and the role of best man may be more prominent in some weddings than others but you want to pick someone who is reliable, who is guaranteed to keep the groom calm on the big day and of course he has to produce a killer best man speech! Oh and not forgetting his involvement with the stag do but we’ll get back to that… lets not stress the bride out too much just yet!

The Maid of Hounour and bridesmaids will accompany the bride down the aisle. The normal selection would be siblings, family or best friends. These are the ideal candidates to bring wedding dress shopping they guaranteed to be the most honest and helpful ladies for the job! Naturally they will all be involved in the brides hen party too so have them thinking up ideas for that whilst you plan the big day!

Food

 

Image available at: http://fourdishcatering.com/special_events

Food is a memorable part of the day so you want to make sure you get something that will appeal to the masses! Scottish wedding have been known to serve some of the fanciest entrees whilst some people serve good old fish and chips from the chip shop and others have a buffet! So you will always have a variety of options to choose from. Often your venue will also cater for you so before you select your venue ask if you can see a sample of their menu, many venues will accommodate a taste session for you,  a try before you buy if you will! Another big aspect of the food is your wedding cake. Cakes are getting increasingly expensive so its always best to shop around. Is there a friend or family member on yours or the grooms side that bakes for a hobby? Its often a good idea to find someone who doesn’t bake professionally as you could potentially get a cake for a lot cheaper: now that’s food for thought!

Fashion

 

Modern Bute Tartan Wedding Dress

The bride wants the perfect dress so its advised to start looking right away give yourself an idea of different styles and of course the cost! If a lot of your dream dresses are looking too pricey you can now hire dresses from a lot of bridal boutiques for a fraction of the cost! Take friends and family with you when trying dresses to get an honest opinion it will help choosing that little bit easier when your mum insists you have to rule a few options out!

Make sure your best man is the man for the job!

As soon as the groom has bestowed the honoured title of best man upon you, you need to start thinking about a kilt to hire or buy as soon as possible. This is one of the most important best man duties! When the groom has chosen his tartan it is important that the best man organizes the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc. Traditionally, the groomsmen will wear the same tartan as the groom.

Here at Houston’s we know that women normally take charge when it comes to wedding planning and the groom may not even have a say in the cake, flowers, table plans or the venue. In fact; one of the grooms’ only tasks may be to find his chosen tartan and arrange his kilt; if this is one of the grooms few wedding tasks he simply has to get it right! The bride will often stress so here is a top tip for scoring some best man points; ask the brides opinion on tartan! The groom may have chosen a family or clan tartan for his wedding however many grooms nowadays will pick a tartan to coordinate with wedding colours. The best man should ask the bride for a sample of fabric from the bridesmaids’ dresses so that the groom can consider every option when choosing his tartan. This is a sure fire way to keep every best man in the brides good books!

Now unlike the beautiful bride who wears her dress once then either sells it on ebay or stores it in the attic, as a Groom if you choose to buy your kilt instead of hiring you are making a lifetime purchase. Start by using the Houston Kiltmakers Tartan Finder to ensure you are wearing the right Scottish tartan kilt, we have EVERY tartan in the world on display in our showroom so are spoiled for choice! In the interest of sticking to a budget Houstons give grooms a hire and buy option that allows you to buy your kilt and receive a free hire of the rest of your kilt pack which lets you build it up over time! Alternatively, if you wish to hire we offer a hire 5 and the 6th for the groom (the most expensive outfit) goes free!

Funding

 

The best thing to do before you start making your wedding plans is figure your budget so that you don’t over spend! Make a checklist of everything you need so you can prioritize your spending.

Venue, food, cake, brides outfit (dress, shoes, veil, jewellery), rings for the bride and groom, grooms outfit (highland wear/suit), bridesmaids dresses, grooms mens outfits, flowers, cars, band/DJ, invitations and wedding favors.

Subscribe to wedding blogs to keep up to date with ideas! Do your research  and shop around for prices. Ask friends for advice and who they used for their wedding. Sign up to mailing lists to make sure you are in the loop for offers. Do this for hairdressers, florists, venues, etc. Some hotels can offer wedding packages for great prices but as an alternative option in Scotland you can get married almost anywhere such as a church, a beach or a mountain! So consider all your options!

Probably the most famous best man duty is the stag do!  This is likely to be the highlight of the groom’s entire wedding experience (apart from the actual wedding day of course!). Top Tip: If there is one thing the Hangover movies taught us it is NEVER have the stag do the night before the wedding! The last thing the bride wants is a hung over hubby! Plan ahead and give you and your friends a few weeks to recover. It is popular to go abroad but don’t forget that Scotland is full of great outdoor spots and city nightlife! Don’t forget, kilts aren’t just for weddings! Why not organize a group hire for you and your friends for the stag do?Kilts make you stand out from the crowd and are a great conversation starter, especially if you are going abroad! Us Scots manage to make friends anywhere we go!!

Ladies can also wear tartan mini kilts so keep that in mind for the hen do! Again top tips would include doing this a few weeks before the big event! Get your bridesmaids and maid of honour involved to help plan a night you will never forget!

One of the days big finales is the speeches! This is the part when the men are under the spotlight. Best man: If you are nervous keep it short and sweet but remember to say how gorgeous the bride and her bridesmaids are and try not to embarrass the groom too much!

We always love to hear how you got on with the stag, the wedding…the whole wedding experience! So be sure to post any wedding pics on our Facebook page or tweet us and if you need help on how to wear your kilt then check out our video clips

To view our full range of products see www.kiltmakers.com and for hire wear go to www.kiltsforhire.com. For helpful guides on how to wear, transporting your kilt and kilt maintenance email us at shop@kiltmakers.com

The most important thing to remember is to try and not get too stressed. Truly enjoy the happiest day of your life and all the planning that goes with it!

We hope this has been helpful! Feel free to comment with any questions!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland tartan traditions traditions Wedding Kilts Wedding Proposal

Houston’s Guide to Being ‘the best’ Best Man!

Wedding season is in full swing in Scotland! Having sorted out men across the world with their wedding kilts for the last 100 years we like to think we are the experts on both highland wear and wedding etiquette. What kind of Kiltmakers would we be if we did not pass on our words of wisdom? The groom is the man of the hour, but just like every superhero needs their sidekick, every groom needs their best man!

The role of best man is a great honour, and you will forever be remembered as a part of the biggest day in the grooms life; no pressure there then! Many men playing the role of best man don’t know exactly what the job entails. That’s where we come in! Of course every wedding is different and some best men will play a bigger part in some weddings than in others. Therefore, we are here to provide the traditional best man duties to help guide you through the wedding process!

As soon as the groom has bestowed the honoured title of best man upon you, you need to start thinking about a kilt to hire or buy as soon as possible. This is one of the most important best man duties! When the groom has chosen his tartan it is important that the best man organises the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc. Traditionally, the groomsmen will wear the same tartan as the groom.

Top tip for the best man and the groom: stay in the brides good books!

Here at Houston’s we know that women normally take charge when it comes to wedding planning and the groom may not even have a say in the cake, flowers, table plans or the venue. In fact; one of the grooms’ only tasks may be to find his chosen tartan and arrange his kilt; if this is one of the grooms few wedding tasks he simply has to get it right! The bride will often stress so here is a top tip for scoring some best man points; ask the brides opinion on tartan! The groom may have chosen a family or clan tartan for his wedding however many grooms nowadays will pick a tartan to coordinate with wedding colours. The best man should ask the bride for a sample of fabric from the bridesmaids’ dresses so that the groom can consider every option when choosing his tartan. This is a sure fire way to keep every best man in the brides good books!

Now unlike the beautiful bride who wears her dress once then either sells it on ebay or stores it in the attic, as a Groom if you choose to buy your kilt instead of hiring you are making a lifetime purchase. Start by using the Houston Kiltmakers Tartan Finder to ensure you are wearing the right Scottish tartan kilt, we have EVERY tartan in the world on display in our showroom so are spoiled for choice!

Traditional Best man duties include looking after the groom before, during and after the wedding. Keeping the man of the hour calm is important after all, it’s the biggest day of his life! Make sure you are on time and keeping the groom on schedule!

One of the most important best man duties for the wedding day is looking after the rings. BEST MEN EVERYWHERE! WHATEVER YOU DO… DO NOT FORGET THE RINGS!

Have a ring cushion made in your wedding tartan! a beautiful keepsake of the big day!

The Best Man should prove himself reliable on the day so the groom is assured he made the best choice when picking you!

Probably the most famous best man duty is the stag do!  This is likely to be the highlight of the groom’s entire wedding experience (apart from the actual wedding day of course!). Top Tip: If there is one thing the Hangover movies taught us it is NEVER have the stag do the night before the wedding! The last thing the bride wants is a hung over hubby! Plan ahead and give you and your friends a few weeks to recover. It is popular to go abroad but don’t forget that Scotland is full of great outdoor spots and city nightlife! Don’t forget, kilts aren’t just for weddings! Why not organize a group hire for you and your friends for the stag do?Kilts make you stand out from the crowd and are a great conversation starter, especially if you are going abroad! Us Scots manage to make friends anywhere we go!!

The big finale to the best mans role is of course, the Speech! This is the part when you are under the spotlight. If nervous keep it short and sweet but remember to say how gorgeous the bride and her bridesmaids are and try not to embarrass the groom too much!

We always love to hear how you got on with the stag, the wedding…the whole wedding experience! So be sure to post any wedding pics on our Facebook page or tweet us and if you need help on how to wear your kilt then check out our video clips

To view our full range of products see www.kiltmakers.com and for hire wear go to www.kiltsforhire.com. For helpful guides on how to wear, transporting your kilt and kilt maintenance email us at shop@kiltmakers.com

 

Good luck!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions traditions Wedding Kilts

Special Weave Tartans

Houstons can provide special weave tartans not readily available to the market. If you are having trouble finding your desired tartan we can assist and source it for you through the Scottish Tartans Authority. Further to this we can have a tartan designed specifically for you by owner of Houstons, Ken MacDonald to alternatively you can design a tartan yourself using our exclusive ‘My Tartan’ design app available to download for free from the Apple App store. They are woven in 16oz heavy weight, 13oz medium weight, 11oz light weight or even silk fabric. You will also be given the option have your tartan Teflon coated which makes it stain proof and even beer proof! If you wish to have a kilt made in one of these tartans you will need to contact us direct. Special Weave tartans will take considerably longer to make as firstly, the tartan must be sourced if it is a design that is not usually available. Alternatively, if you have chosen to design your own tartan to be made this will also be a lengthy experience as you will need to converse with the tartan design regarding your chosen design. Once you have finalised your unique tartan design there will be a number of stages to have the cloth woven, finished and made into your bespoke kilt!

The time scale for creating a special weave tartan and having it made into a bespoke kilt can be anything from 3 to 6 months. Therefore, if you are looking to have your tartan woven for a specific date we advise you get in touch as far in advance as possible! An express service will be made available to you for an additional cost. With this service your kilt will be delivered in 2 to 3 months.

The cost of a special weave tartan varies depending on the chosen design and the kilt finish. Prices range from £300 to £2000. For a quote please contact Houston Kiltmakers direct via email shop@kiltmakers.com or call us on +44 141 889 4879 outlining the specifics of the bespoke kilt you wish to have made

You have countless options when creating your own tartan. You can have a clan tartan made with your own specific choice of colours to coordinate with a wedding colour scheme. Or you can combine your own family tartan with your bride’s family tartan and create a brand new design to commemorate your special day using our My Tartan app! If you wish to have a design created by Ken MacDonald we can create an ECAD image which is a digital image of what your chosen tartan will look like. Therefore if you are unhappy with the design we can make any necessary changes to achieve your desired design. To find out more about tartans and special weaves read on!

THE “RIGHT” TO WEAR A TARTAN

 “Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right , in any legal sense , exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste”

Quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton

So the answer to the question “what tartan am I entitled to wear? Is: “any tartan you fancy”

To make life easy to pick a tartan at Houston’s we have over 100 tartan books , the only kilt shop in the world where you can see every commercial produced tartan, and have the facility to weave any tartan if a stitch count exists from our records… We have collated over 600 tartans any one can wear in 8 swatch books in colour bunch to make viewing tartans a lot easier for our customers. At Houston Traditional Kiltmakers we get customers visiting our shop from all parts of Scotland, the U.K., Europe and the rest of the world. Our professional staff will advise on tartans you can wear from a choice of around 14,000 different tartans.

Clans & Septs

MacDonald ancient

 Clans

Clan is the Gaelic word for family and originally clans only belonged to the Highlands.

The clan system is closely bound up with Scottish heraldry. The best definition of a clan provided by a heraldic authority is contained in Nisbet’s “System of Heraldry”, published in 1722: ‘A social group consisting of an aggregate of distinct erected families actually descended, or accepting themselves as descendants of a common ancestor, and which has been received by the Sovereign through its Supreme Officer of Honour, the Lord Lyon, as an honourable community whereof all of the members on establishing right to, or receiving fresh grants of, personal hereditary nobility will be awarded arms as determinate or indeterminate cadets both as may be of the chief family of the clan.’

A clan is therefore a community which is both distinguished by heraldry and recognised by the Sovereign. At the head of this honourable community is the chief. He is the only person entitled to display the undifferenced shield of Arms, i.e. without any marks of dependency upon any other noble house.

Chiefship is a title of honour and dignity within the nobility of Scotland. Any claimant to such a title must establish, to the satisfaction of the Lord Lyon representing the Sovereign, that he or she is entitled to the undifferenced arms of the community over which they seek to preside. It is the determining of chiefship which is among the Lyon Court’s central work.

Many of the cases which have come before the Lyon Court in the last 50 years have related to the chiefships of clans. There are now about 140 clans that have chiefs recognized by the Lord Lyon.

A clan or family that has a recognized chief or head confers noble status on the clan or family which gives it a legally recognized status and a corporate identity. A family or name group which has no recognized chief has no official position under the law of Scotland. If you have a name of one of the 140 Clans you can wear any of the tartans under that clan’s name. MacDonald for example has 23 different tartans under the one name.

Sept Tartans

The surname Vance has no clan tartan but is a sept of the Galloway District. (Galloway District Modern Red pictured above)

In Scotland, a sept is often a family that is absorbed into a larger Scottish clan for mutual benefit. For example, the Burns family sept was absorbed into the Clan Campbell. The Burns family being very small and of questionable heritage gained legitimacy and protection and the Campbell clan absorbed a potential rival for British affection in Scotland. Each Scottish clan typically has a number of septs, each with its own surname. Septs have rights to wear clan tartans although they often have tartans of their own. You can do a search on www.kiltmakers.com to find out if you family name is affiliated to any other clan.

Irish Septs

Irish National Tartan

In Ireland, the word sept is used to refer to a group of people with both a common surname and common origin. In recent times, Irish septs are sometimes called clans, although Ireland does not have a clan system similar to that of Scotland. Related Irish septs belong to larger groups, sometimes called tribes, such as the Dál gCais, Uí Néill, Uí Fiachrach, and Uí Maine.

Tartans Anyone Can Wear

Houston’s Own Bute Heather Collection

If you do not have a family or clan tartan to wear you can choose from a vast range of tartans that anyone can wear. You can choose from a range of national tartans such as Scottish National and American national. Nowadays people tend to choose a tartan to coordinate with wedding or colours or purely for its aesthetic value. Greys in particular are currently in vogue and very popular amongst kilt buyers. Pictured above is Houston’s own Bute Heather Tartan Designs which are predominantly woven in greys, purples and blues. As well as being in vogue, grey tartans are also very prestigious and have been worn by prominent figures in Scottish history. John Brown was the personal servant of Queen Victoria in Scotland during her reign. A very famous portrait painted of Brown was painted of him wearing a grey Balmoral kilt.  Further to this, the ‘Clan Originaux’ pattern book confirms the genealogy of a grey tartan known as Stewart Mourning. This particular tartan was created after the death of King Albert and worn by Queen Victoria. There are only a few hundred tartans that are privately owned and require permission to be worn.

Tartan

What tartan can I wear?

Most customers will choose a clan tartan based on a family name. This could be either a person’s own surname or that of a parent or grandparent. However; you can wear any tartan for any occasion.

Traditionally hunting, ancient and weathered tartans were worn with tweeds and day jackets for outdoor functions, hunting and highland games. Dress and modern tartans were worn with formal functions and black tie dinners.

Weaving Looms

A special weave tartan is very rare and at Houstons we make sure that we use only the finest craftsmen and equipment to create your one of a kind piece. We have a friend who has a single and double width loom reserved solely for the use of Houston Kiltmakers. It takes one full day to weave a special weave tartan. Using a traditional loom to produce Scottish tartans only adds to the authenticity of your bespoke piece. Choosing to have your kilt stain proofed will also help to preserve your kilt for many years so it may be passed on through the generations in your family as an heir loom is you so wish.

Preparing the Wool

When preparing the wool for your kilt we begin with your chosen colours. All wool used for making kilts comes from sheep in New Zealand and Australia. Once the sheep are sheered the wool clipped is washed clean and sent to the yarn dyers to be spun and dyed.

 

Warping, Weaving and Finishing

Once the yarn is dyed it is sent onto the weaver. The weaver then adds all colour wools to the drum for warping. Yarns are wound on by colour. The yarn is then fed through a weaving machine to be woven.

 

Once the tartan is woven it is cut off and sent to the finishers to be washed, checked and if requested Teflon coated, to be fully finished.

Houston’s own Straad Bute Tartan

 The tartan is then sent back to the mill for a final inspection and then sent on to one of our kilt makers.

Types of Tartan

 Modern

Modern tartans are woven in rich, dark colours. The colours are always stronger and can be worn with navy blue or black jackets.

  Ancient

Ancient tartans are woven in soft, lighter colours. Ancient tartans can be worn with black or a range of tweed jackets.

 Weathered or Muted

Weathered or muted tartans are woven in faded and muted colours. This gives the tartan an older appearance. In olden days, these tartans were coloured by natural pigment dyes.

 Hunting

Hunting tartan tends to be woven in darker colours, more commonly in green for a camouflage effect.

 Dress Tartan

Dress tartans are basically any of the above tartans woven with lots of white through the design. Dress tartans are generally worn by women.

 Kilt Weights

Kilts come in several weights of cloth. The 11oz cloth is very light weight and more suitable for ladies skirts, gents trousers, waistcoats, children’s kilts and some professional dancing kilts. For gent’s kilts, we recommend anything from 13oz medium weight to 16oz heavy weight cloth this being the real “Rolls Royce” of kilts. All of our kilts are 8 yards, traditionally handmade in pure wool. The heavy weight 16oz kilt cloth sits, swings and looks a million dollars, compared to a 13oz medium weight kilt, and it is NOT any warmer. It is the weight of the jacket which makes the heat difference. All of our Houston’s jackets are super light weight and stain-proofed.

19 oz kilts are generally for regimental wear but are available in around six tartans.

16 oz/17oz kilts are the largest range available with a choice of around 14,000 tartans. Heavy weight kilts are the best as the kilt sits and swings better. Heavy weight tartans can also be Teflon coated making them stain proof. Contrary to popular belief, heavy weight kilts are not any warmer than medium or lightweight kilts. It is in fact the top half of your outfit such as your jacket and waistcoat that generate heat. The majority of jackets are heavy weight however; Houston’s have perfected their own super light weight jacket which has a great cut and comfortable fit.

13oz Medium weight kilts are normally produced for Irish and Welsh national tartans. Medium weight kilts come in a choice of around 1000 tartans

11oz light weight cloth would normally be woven for ladies skirts, gents’ trousers and waistcoats, children’s kilts, children’s trousers and ties. Kilts do not have a hem around the bottom of the garment however; children’s kilts can be cut for growth. A hem of around 2 to 3 inches will be added, and can then be let down when the child grows a bit taller.

8 oz fabric is used to make coordinating ties or bow ties and also ladies dresses.

Wool, like the 11oz lightweight cloth can be used for ladies and gents’ trousers and waistcoats.

Silk is available in 80 tartans and can be used to make ties, bow ties, waistcoats and ladies dresses.

Cotton and Poly Cotton can used to make napkins and shirts. It is also used for school uniforms and corporate wear.

Poly Viscose is a washable and stained proof fabric generally used for school uniforms, children’s highland wear and corporate wear.

Teflon Coating

Houston’s also have an exclusive service of Teflon coating tartans/kilts to make them stain resistant, this service can only be done at time of ordering the kilt on all our own Cloths. All kilts are individually hand tailored to your own specification in a range of 6 different available kilt finishes from handmade kilts through to machine-finished kilts.

Teflon coating ensures your kilt is rain, stain and even beer proof! The fabric is even beer proof! The wool has the same handle and is fully breathable, making them safe to wear to rugby and football matches.

We calculate that over the life span of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260, not having to get your kilt dry cleaned as often. This also helps the environment. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleans.

FURTHER HELP AND INFO

Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and it is well maintained due proper care and storage.

For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Scottish History tartan traditions Wedding Kilts

Ladies Love a Man in a Kilt!

Houston Kiltmakers has been in business now for over 100 years. We have a wonderful collection of letters, thank you notes, and photographs sent to us by our customers telling us how happy they were with their highland wear and how wonderful it looked! Highland wear and in particular kilts can be recognized any where in the world. Kilts not only represent Scotland, but represent the kind of people we are strong, proud and dare we say it, HANDSOME!

Every single gentleman who has worn one of our kilts admitted they were complimented on how smart they looked and couldn’t deny receiving a few fond looks from the ladies! Lets face it, after all it’s no secret; ladies love a man in a kilt! Love them or hate them its a fact; kilts attract the ladies! We’ve heard all the jokes before about ‘men in skirts’ but it takes a confident man to pull of a kilt! It could well be that confidence that attracts the ladies.

One of the best things about a kilt is its a conversation starter. Whether its someone that compliments how smart you look, or the tartan you’re wearing people always seem to be drawn to a kilt! One of our customers recently wore a kilt when he attended an important business meeting overseas to secure a big contract. He told us the kilt was a real ice breaker and provoked a lengthy conversation! Oh, and in case your wondering? He nailed the business deal!

Another customer of ours, Steve recently wore his kilt to a cultural diversity day which took place in the school he works in. He admitted he was the only one wearing a kilt and it attracted a lot of great attention! Everyone wanted a picture with him, he was definitely the most popular guy in school that day!

People are too quick to make jokes about ‘men in skirts’ as if kilts are not masculine. We would like to remind those people that Sean Connery (one of the most famous James Bond actors) wears a kilt. Actor Gerrard Butler has ladies swooning over him on a daily basis; he also wears a kilt! Who else you ask? Lets take you back centuries to one the earliest wearers of the kilt, William Wallace! One of the bravest men in Scottish history who fought for Scottish independence. What did he wear on the battlefield you ask? That’s right, A KILT!

Kilts are symbolic of a very strong and proud Scottish history. It’s no wonder the majority of Scottish men wear a kilt at their wedding, and its no surprise that we have customers ordering kilts world wide and often flying in from countries such as USA, Canada and Australia to visit our shop!

The moral of our story is guys if you want to make a lady swoon, wear a kilt!

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How to dress like a true Scotsman!

Autumn Bute Tartan

 

Highland wear can be a tricky business, especially if you are wearing a kilt for the first time! It’s a whole new experience and we have comprised some top tips to make sure you get everything just right and are dressed to perfection! Houston Kiltmakers want to assist you any way we can, so have a look below at our quick fire guide to dressing like a true Scotsman!

1. Put your socks on first; make sure ribs on socks are running vertical and not twisted. Top of socks should be parallel and same length. Put the garter flashes on socks to the outside of your leg, making sure there is a three to four inch gap between the top of the socks and bottom of the kilt. About one inch below the knee is an ideal resting point for the top of your socks.

Kilt socks and sgian dubh

2. Put your sgian dubh down the right leg of your sock. If you are left handed it can be worn down your left leg.

3. Put your ghillie brogue shoes on, twist the laces three to four times and take round back of the calf. Return them to the front of your shin about 2/3 of the way up and tie in a normal bow quite firmly and show to the front or side as preferred. If you find the laces are constantly slipping down and becoming loose then wrap them lower down your leg or round your ankle a couple of times.

4. Put on your shirt making sure any creases are ironed out, and put your cufflinks on.

 5. Make sure the kilt pin is on the front apron only, on the fringed side of your kilt about two inches from the bottom and side of the fringe.

6. Put your kilt on making sure it is a good fit and it sits well up (about one and a half inches above the hip bone). Then look at the front apron and make sure the centre line is down the middle of the kilt so it is well balanced with pleats to the back. When looking in the mirror the kilt should be in an A shape with the sides well balanced.

7. Clip the chain strap onto the sporran, then put the chain strap through the kilt belt loops and fasten your sporran at the back of the kilt. Make sure the sporran is centred to front apron as shown by the arrow positioned in the image (below), positioned about four to five inches below the top of the kilt. You can rest the chain strap on top of the kilt buckles if you wish. This will secure the sporran a bit better.

Kilt centre

8. Then put the belt and buckle on covering the chain strap. We recommend jacket wearing a belt as if you remove your jacket and waistcoat during an event the outfit will look bare, so we include a belt with all our hires. Check that the belt buckle is about one to two inches above the sporran.

9. Put on your waistcoat, then jacket. Make sure the jacket is fitting square on, with the waistcoat buttons, tie, sporran, buckle and kilt centre line all straight up and down. If driving to a venue, we advise that you hang the jacket up in the back and put it on when you get out the car. Try not to drive with your jacket on as it may crease.

 

Prince Charlie Jacket

10. If you are wearing a shoulder plaid, fasten under your left hand jacket lapel and fasten with plaid brooch onto jacket only.
 

11. Finally put on your tie, bow, ruche or standard tie.

Wing collar shirt and bow tie 

12. For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

13. To download our brochures and view our buy range please visit www.kiltmakers.comto view our hire range go to www.kiltsforhire.com for any further information or help feel free to contact us by phone +44 141 889 4879

 

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Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Nowadays the internet allows us to buy almost anything from anywhere in the world. With that much choice it’s hard to know where to go or even, where to start! Many people now look to customer reviews to highlight which companies are the most reliable and sell the best quality products.

As a retailer customer satisfaction is paramount, nothing means more to us than seeing a happy customer! Sometimes words on a screen just aren’t enough to convince you of a company’s quality. At Houston’s we can assure you our products are authentic and made in Scotland. We use only the best quality and have the greatest wealth of knowledge to help guide you. We have helpful and friendly staff working in our family run business which has been flourishing now for over 100 years… but like I said, sometimes words on a screen aren’t enough. That is why we are including photos!

Our customers often send photos of themselves in their highland wear from Houston’s so we thought we would share these with you. If your considering buying or hiring highland wear from Houston’s we are certain you will have a positive experience with us! See the smile’s on our customers faces if you don’t believe us!

Houston's Modern Bute Heather Tartan

 

Above is Antonio Vezza in a Houston’s Own Modern Bute Heather Tartan. Antonio took part in the 2013 Hampden Kilt Walk! Hundreds of participants took part in the 26 mile trek from Hampden to Loch Lomond to raise money for a range of Scottish Children’s Charities! Antonio remembered only at the very last minute he had forgotten to hire a kilt for the event! Not to worry Houston’s were on hand to help with a last minute hire!

 

Isn’t this a great photo of our customer Steve Baird and his wife? They donned their highland wear for a cultural diversity day at the school they work at in Houston, Texas!

 

Our customer Albert Davy from Austria purchased kilt packs for himself and his sons from Houston’s and sent on photos taken on 25th December at a photographic studio in his village and on 31st December at the New Year’s Eve Ball in The Vienna Imperial Castle. Some guests there believed Albert to be the Scottish Ambassador as his outfit was worn to perfection! Albert said “We had so much fun an received a lot of honours when I said “I’m a semi-Scotsman” telling the story of my ancients in Dumbarton”.

So don’t take our word for it, take our customers, word for it! After ‘the customer is always right’, right?

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Houston Kiltmakers Official Kilt Ettiquette Guide 2013 ©

KILT ETIQUETTE GUIDE
Midnight Bute Tartan

Kilts can be a tricky business, especially if you have never worn Highland wear before! There are various styles of Highland wear which can be worn for dress, day or casual wear. To make sure you get everything just right read our kilt ettiquette guide for information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it.

Who is entitled to wear a kilt?

Ancient Bute Heather Tartan

 

One question we constantly get asked is: who is entitled to wear a kilt? Is it only for Scots or people with Scottish ancestors?

Answer: Anybody can wear a kilt!

Almost every country in the world has got some sort of tartan link. In England you have Cornish, Northumberland and Manx (Isle of Man) tartans. The Irish tartans consist of county tartans such as Ulster, Co. Mayo, Galway and Kildare and the Irish national tartan. We also have lots of Welsh tartans.

Over the past 400 years Scots have travelled the world reaching every corner of the globe. They have fulfilled a rich diversity of trades and professions including traders, missionaries, engineers, doctors, teachers, naturalists and inventors to name only a few. Within Europe many French, Spanish, Italian and German families have Celtic roots and are often of Scottish decent; whilst further afield there is a strong Scottish connection within America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Russia. We export to every country in the world from the United States to the Falkland Isles.

 

Tartan

What Tartan can I wear?

Most customers will choose a clan tartan based on a family name. This could be either a person’s own surname or that of a parent or grandparent. However; you can wear any tartan for any occasion. Traditionally hunting, ancient and weathered tartans were worn with tweeds and day jackets for outdoor functions, hunting and highland games. Dress and modern tartans were worn with formal functions and black tie dinners. Nowadays people tend to choose tartan for its aesthetic value, a family or clan connection; or to coordinate with wedding colours.

 

Modern Bute HeatherMidnight Bute Tartan

 

If you do not have family or clan tartan to choose from you can choose a tartan that anyone can wear. You can choose from a range of national tartan such as Scottish National or American National. Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right, in any legal sense, exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste (quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton). Nowadays people tend to choose a tartan to coordinate with wedding or colours or purely for its aesthetic value. Greys in particular are currently in vogue and very popular amongst kilt buyers. Pictured above are examples of Houston’s own Bute Heather Tartan Designs which are predominantly woven in greys, purples and blues. There are only a few hundred tartans that are privately owned and require permission to be worn.

 

Weight of Tartans

19 oz kilts are generally for regimental wear but are available in around six tartans.

16 oz/17oz kilts are the largest range available with a choice of around 14,000 tartans. Heavy weight kilts are the best as the kilt sits and swings better. Heavy weight tartans can also be Teflon coated making them stain proof. Contrary to popular belief, heavy weight kilts are not any warmer than medium or lightweight kilts. It is in fact the top half of your outfit such as your jacket and waistcoat that generate heat. The majority of jackets are heavy weight however; Houston’s have perfected their own super light weight jacket which has a great cut and comfortable fit.

13oz Medium weight kilts are normally produced for Irish and Welsh national tartans. Medium weight kilts come in a choice of around 1000 tartans.

11oz light weight cloth would normally be woven for ladies skirts, gents’ trousers and waistcoats, children’s kilts, children’s trousers and ties. Kilts do not have a hem around the bottom of the garment however; children’s kilts can be cut for growth. A hem of around 2 to 3 inches will be added, and can then be let down when the child grows a bit taller.

8 oz fabric is used to make coordinating ties or bow ties and also ladies dresses.

Wool, like the 11oz lightweight cloth can be used for ladies and gents’ trousers and waistcoats.

Silk is available in 80 tartans and can be used to make ties, bow ties, waistcoats and ladies dresses.

Cotton and Poly Cotton can used to make napkins and shirts.

 

Teflon Coating

Stain Proof

 

At Houston’s we were the first to Teflon coat/stain proof all our tartans, which makes our kilts and jackets fully protected from rain and stains. The fabric is even beer proof! The wool has the same handle and is fully breathable, making them safe to wear to rugby and football matches. We calculate that over the life span of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260, not having to get your kilt dry cleaned as often. This also helps the environment. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleans.

 

Samples and Swatches

If you would like a sample or swatch of tartan we offer these free of charge to customers. If you live locally there will be no charge for postage. If you live overseas there will be a charge of £5.00 GBP for postage as we ship thousands overseas. If you proceed to order from Houston’s this amount will be deducted from your final cost. We would also suggest that if a colour has already been chosen for the theme of a wedding e.g. if the colour pink has been chosen for the bridesmaids dresses it is helpful to bring a sample of the fabric into the store when inquiring about hiring or buying for the event. This allows Houston’s to show you the best coordinating tartans and furthermore, give you the option to have ties made to coordinate with your chosen colours.

 

The Reputable Mills

At Houston’s we tailor our kilts from pure wool tartans woven by Scotland’s top quality, reputable mills. We have all mass produced tartans by Lochcarron, House of Edgar, Strathmore, Bute Mill, Martin Mills, Batley & Dalgleish in 250 swatch book forms available to view in store.

 

Kilt Yardage

The traditional 8 yard kilt is the standard measure of gents’ kilts. The kilt sits high on the waist, a couple of inches above the hip bone. This would be worn for formal occasions, and it is recommended that the 8 yard kilt be woven in a 17oz heavy weight fabric as this sits and swings better when worn. Some men’s kilts are still woven in 6 yards of cloth however 8 yards is the standard measurement for gents. 6 yard kilts are now more commonly made for women’s kilts.

Jackets

Prince Charlie Jacket

 

Prince Charlie jackets are worn to dress occasion such as black tie dinners, balls, graduations and weddings. It is traditionally worn with a 3 button waistcoat with a black bow tie and a white standard or wing collar pleat front shirt. Alternatively it can be worn with a plain black or white front shirt, with double cuff and cufflinks.

The Prince Charlie jacket traditionally comes with shiny buttons and the silver wear to match however; antique buttons and silver wear have of late become more popular.

The jacket is more popularly worn with a spread bat wing shirt or a standard collar, plain front shirt in white or black with a plain or tartan ruche cravat. It can be worn with either a 3 or a 5 button waistcoat however; we recommend a 3 button waistcoat with tartan ruches. Prince Charlie jackets must be worn with dress sporrans and black or off white kilt hose or tartan hose. We strongly recommend you wear a belt and buckle as if you take your waist coast and jacket off for dancing you will not be properly dressed without a belt and buckle. Therefore we offer this as an option. A ruche tie should NOT be worn with a small wing collar shirt as the wings are too small. Please Note: We do have some dark navy jackets with shiny buttons that look best with modern, dark, navy tartans to be worn with navy or off white kilt hose.

ARGYLL OR BRAEMARS

Braemar Jacket

 

The Argyll or Braemar are general jackets for any occasion, with shiny, antique or black button options. They are suitable for weddings, dinners, balls, graduations, christenings, burns suppers, highland games, ceildhies, garden parties, funerals and general day wear. Both can be worn with a plain tie or tartan tie (with or without a waist coat) or for evening wear with a bow tie (with or without a waist coat). With a ruche cravat a five button waist coat must be worn.

Argyll or Braemar can be worn with a black or white plain front shirt with a double cuff and cufflinks, with ruches or long ties. Bow ties must be worn with a pleat, front wing or standard collar shirt depending on the occasion. Ruche cravats worn with plain, standard or spread wing shirts must be worn with a waistcoat. Dress or semi dress sporrans can be worn or alternatively for a day event a leather sporran can be worn. Either black, off white, tartan or coordinating colour hose should be worn with your outfit.

TWEED BRAEMAR

Tweed Braemar

 

 

These jackets are for day/casual events, weddings, highland games, funerals, etc. Jackets should be worn with plain, tweed or tartan ties or ruche cravats, with optional five button waistcoat. For some weddings spread bat wing shirts can be worn with a ruche cravat. We recommend you wear a semi dress, day or dress sporran depending on your shirt and tie option. When choosing your hose you must pick a colour similar to that of your jacket for example you may choose grey or black if your shirt and sporran are black. Off white hose must NEVER be worn with a tweed jacket.

SHERRIFMUIRS, REGULATION doublets, MONTROSE, KENMORE doublets

Sherriffmuir

 

These should be worn for the same occasions as Prince Charlie jackets and a jabot shirt and cuffs, or a tunic granddad collar shirt or alternatively a spread bat wing and ruche cravat.

JACOBITE

Jacobite

 

Jacobite jackets and waistcoats can only be worn with Jacobite shirts. These are considered to be casual outfits.

SPORRANS

Sporrans

For general dress occasions a semi dress or dress sporran should be worn for day wear either a day or semi dress sporran. Your sporran should always be centered on the front of the kilt. The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner. The sporran should then be worn to the side upon the hip so not to damage a ladies dress.

SGIAN DUBH

Sgian Dubh

 

 

Sgian dubhs are to be placed in outside of right sock, showing only one inch of the sgian dubh. When entering company, raise the sgian dubh to about two inches above the top of the sock. This is to show that you are still partly armed when everyone sees you. There after you should once again conceal your sgian dubh so only one inch is visible.

HOSE

Kilt Hose

 

When choosing hose you are best to select a colour that complements and coordinates with the tartan or jacket. Traditional colours are off white, black or navy. Grey should be worn with a grey tweed jacket.

GARTER FLASHES

Garter Flashes

Garter flashes are used to keep your socks up. However; in olden days showing your tie or flash symbolised a single status letting ladies know you were available. Flashes that were tucked away were symbolic of married men and men who were courting.

PLAIDS

Shoulder Plaids

 

Shoulder plaids can be worn with dress jackets for weddings. They can be worn for photos then removed and put on top of the top table or cake table for decoration. Piper plaids must only be worn with Montrose or piper doublets.

DRESS CODE

Midnight Bute Tartan

Suggested dress code by De Bretts should be included on the bottom of invitations, as both ladies and gentleman will want to dress in accordance with your suggested dress code. This will often be dependent on the wedding venue. It should be noted on the invitation if you wish ladies to wear a hat. Below is a description of men’s dress.

Highlandwear: either; day, day/tweed, dress, black tie/evening wear or white tie.

OR

Morning Wear: We suggest not mixing morning wear with highland wear. Therefore; if you wear morning wear you should incorporate a tartan tie, ruche or hanky to pull together your outfit and coordinate it with the other guests wearing highland wear.

OR

Lounge Suits

OR

Black Tie, is either Highland Wear or Black Evening Suits

OR

Smart Casual

BEST MAN DUTIES

Best man duties include looking after the groom before, during and after the wedding. Duties also include organizing the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc.

FURTHER HELP AND INFO

Ken and Ewan MacDonald

Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and it is well maintained due proper care and storage. For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

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Easy Kilt Alterations Guide

Houston Kiltmakers Easy Kilt Alterations Guide

Clothes are symbolic. There are symbolic of era, culture and individual character. Let’s face it we all do it. We look through old photos and shake our heads at the many years of fashion faux pas. We look at the garments that we once thought were fashionable and wonder how some fashions have resurfaced in later years. There is a well known saying in the fashion and retail industry that fashion always repeats itself. However there is one garment that never seems to go out of fashion; the kilt!

Tartan kilts have been worn for centuries and are one of the few traditional garments that are still making an appearance on catwalks today. A kilt is a garment that will last you a lifetime so it is very important that you buy a heavy weight cloth and have it made by a reputable kiltmaker. If you have your kilt cut for growth it can be easily taken in or let it over the years should you lose or gain weight. This will also allow the kilt to be passed down as a family heirloom and easily adjusted for other family members. Adjusting you kilt buckles will easily tighten or loosen you kilt to ensure a perfect fit. Read the instructions below for some very easy fine tuning advice.

TAKING IN YOU KILT

See photo A

Photo A shows the outside of the front apron of your kilt. This is the buckle that must be moved to make your adjustments. So un-pick the stitching around the buckle attached to kilt and move in towards the belt loop. You can resize to meet whatever needs however; we suggest you try 1 inch, to start with then pin on. Follow the same instructions on the bottom hip strap on the outside of your apron; this may need a bit less positioning.

Then see photo B

Find the strap inside or under the back apron of your kilt. Un-pick some stitching around the leather strap and move in towards the middle of your apron, this will tighten up. Adjust to whatever measurement you need. We suggest you try about 1 inch first and tack in place

After making these adjustments try on your kilt. Make sure you are happy with the size and fit. If you are happy with the size, re stitch the outside buckles, onto your kilt.
Then stitch the inside leather strap back onto your kilt.
There you have it, job done!
If you have any trouble with this a good seamstress should be able to carry out this process with minimal effort.

LETTING YOUR KILT OUT

See photo C

Photo C shows the inside of the front apron of your kilt. This is the buckle that must be moved to make your adjustments. So un-pick the stitching around the buckle attached to kilt and move out towards the belt loop. You can resize to meet whatever needs however; we suggest you try 1 inch, to start with then pin on. Follow the same instructions on the bottom hip strap on the inside of your apron; this may need a bit less positioning.

Then see Photo D

Find the strap on the inside apron of your kilt. Un-pick some stitching around the leather strap and move out towards the edge of your apron. Adjust to whatever measurement you need. We suggest you try about 1 inch first and tack in place

After making these adjustments try on your kilt. Make sure you are happy with the size and fit. If you are happy with the size, re stitch the outside buckles, onto your kilt.
Then stitch the inside leather strap back onto your kilt.
There you have it, job done!
If you have any trouble with this a good seamstress should be able to carry out this process with minimal effort.

FURTHER HELP AND INFO

Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and has his kilt adjusted regularly to ensure the perfect fit.
For further information on kilt adjustments and to see Ken and his 30 year old kilt please view our helpful video clips at www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

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Scottish Wedding Traditions

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! The shops are full of cards, hearts and chocolates and love is in the air! With many romantic Scots planning a Valentine’s Day Proposal or indeed a Valentine’s Day Wedding; here at Houston’s HQ we thought we’d fill you in on some age old traditions for your traditional Scottish wedding!

Firstly, it is customary for the gentleman to ask his girlfriends Father for her hand in marriage. Although this tradition has become less popular of late it is still practised. Many couples will have an engagement party to celebrate the union, you know us Scots; any excuse for a party! The party will of course be filled with family, friends, loved ones, dancing and of course celebratory drinks to toast the happy couple.

At the wedding ceremony there are many traditions which are carried out at almost every wedding. One of the most important is music . Bagpipes are of course symbolic of traditional Scottish music but there are often other instruments involved such as the harp. This may be involved in the wedding ceremony and then carry on afterwards at the reception.

Dress code is of course a very important factor in any wedding. However in Scotland it is suggested that the couple state the dress code on their wedding invitation. Dress code is often dependant on the venue and time of day. For ladies the dress code would imply whether or not they should wear a hat. However; more importantly for the men it would be outlined if they should wear Highlandwear, morning wear, lounge suits, black tie or smart casual.

If the groom wears a kilt it is suggested all his grooms men wear matching attire. Tartan for the kilt is a personal choice. Some men choose their family or clan tartan but others will choose a colour which coordinates with the bridesmaids dresses. Organising kilt hire is one of the Best Man’s duties. Best man duties include looking after the groom before, during and after the wedding. Duties also include organising the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc.

One of the most important (and for the men nerve racking) traditions is the toasts. Tradition dictates that the father of the bride prepares a speech and at the end offers the first toast to the bride and groom. This speech usually offers advice and well wishes for the future and is often filled with funny anecdotes from the brides childhood or personal stories about hid daughter and new son in law. The groom will then give his wedding toast, which generally includes special thanks his parents, the bridal party, and to all those involved in organising the big day. The best man is the last to toast. This toast is normally the most dreaded by the groom as tradition states that it be filled with funny or even embarrassing stories about the groom!

Thereafter tradition states that everyone attending must join the bride in groom in making their special day the best day of their lives!

On that note Houston’s would like to wish all those proposing ad getting married this year all the luck in the world! If you have any further questions regarding this blog please don’t hesitate to comment below. Or if you wish to hire or buy highland wear for a wedding visit our website www.kiltmakers.com