Home Lifestyle Will I be committing kilt-ural appropriation at my friend’s wedding?

Will I be committing kilt-ural appropriation at my friend’s wedding?

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A bunch of English lads turning up in a kilt might be seen as something of a mickey-take (Picture: Getty)

Wedding venue owner Alison Rios McCrone helps solve your dilemmas, no matter how big or small, in a weekly agony aunt column.

Hi Alison, 

I’m a proud Englishman who has lived his whole life in Kent, but I’m thrilled to be going north this summer to attend the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Kieran, who is from Glasgow and is getting married near there. 

Kieran attended university in London and he formed a tight bond with myself and some other friends. We are all English and there was plenty of ‘Auld Enemy’ themed banter between all of us. And therein lies the problem with his big day. 

You see, my friends from England have decided that in honour to truly pay tribute to our friend, we should all wear a traditional kilt to the wedding. 

One of the group has even found out Kieran’s family tartan and is coordinating a group chat to ensure that we all turn up in the full highland dress – and what’s more, he wants it to be a surprise for the bride and groom. 

I’ve got an issue with that for two reasons – firstly, I’ve never worn a kilt, and I’m a bit nervous about how I’ll look and feel, not to mention the ‘true Scotsman’ dilemma. 

Secondly, I’ve spoken to some other friends north of the border and they intimated that a bunch of English lads turning up in a kilt might be seen as something of a mickey-take, and might lead to a bit of tension. 

I also know how hard Kieran has worked to coordinate with his dad, best men, and groomsmen, and I don’t want to risk us upstaging them or clashing in photos. 

So, how do I tackle this with my English friends? And am I guilty of cultural (or kilt-ural?) appropriation. 

Thanks!

Pete



Do you have a wedding problem you need some advice on?

Weddings are joyful occasions – but they’re also incredibly stressful. Whether you’re a bride or groom, best woman or man, family member or friend of the couple, the run up to the big day can be very tense.

If you need a bit of help with your quandary, Alison, who has run a venue for 10 years and helps couples plan weddings, is here to offer a helping hand.

Email [email protected] to share your issue anonymously with Alison and get it solved.

Dear Pete,

It sounds like your upcoming adventure in Glasgow for Kieran’s wedding will be a memorable one.

But I agree – it is crucial to observe the cultural customs of others with caution, especially on a momentous occasion like a wedding.

Cultural appropriation is a sensitive topic, particularly when it comes to sacred symbols, such as the kilt. 

While your friends’ intentions may be pure, they need to consider how others might perceive their actions, especially those from the culture in question.

Your concerns about potentially causing offence are valid, particularly given the historical tensions between England and Scotland.

Your friends from the North have already raised a valid point; a group of Englishmen gallivanting in kilts might be interpreted as more of a jest than a tribute. And you absolutely do not want to upstage the groom and his party.

Firstly, you could have a quiet conversation with either the groom’s father or the best man and let them know what your English friends would like to do to honour Kieran on his special day.

Let them know your intentions are well-meaning and not to cause offence, and ask for their opinion.

You could also have a candid conversation with your English friends. 

You are not alone in having concerns with the ‘true Scotsman’ dilemma (Picture: AKP Branding Stories)

Express your reservations honestly and suggest alternative ways to celebrate Kieran’s heritage without overshadowing the main event. Maybe a brainstorming session could bring different ideas to the forefront.

For many years we have hosted weddings at our venue, where non-Scottish guests have attended wearing a kilt as a tribute to the bride or groom’s Scottish heritage. 

This has always been done in good faith, with the novelty of wearing a kilt as a talking point at the drinks reception. It has been done for the right reasons, without stealing the limelight from the groom and his groomsmen.

But, it is perfectly natural to feel apprehensive about wearing a garment you are not accustomed to, especially one as culturally significant as the kilt – it is a symbol of heritage, pride, and tradition. 

If you embrace it in the spirit with which you wear it, and approach it with respect and humility, you will be fine.

Rest assured, you are not alone in having concerns with the ‘true Scotsman’ dilemma. 

If you are worried about what to wear underneath the kilt, you can play it safe and wear some type of undergarment. 

It is also important to consider the significance of the family tartan. 

Since the groom and his groomsmen are likely to wear the same family tartan, you may want to consider an alternative tartan, so as not to upstage them.

May your Scottish adventure be filled with laughter, camaraderie, and a newfound appreciation for the rich tapestry of traditions that make our world wonderfully diverse.

Wishing you a wedding filled with joy and merriment!

Best wishes,

Alison

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