Peter carefully donned every element of his Scottish Highland dress from his McLachlan tartan kilt to his sgian-dubh, or dagger that he kept in his long knitted kilt hose. Some people, if they’re going to be in a Scottish Wedding, use decorative daggers that aren’t sharp or wont even come out of the sheath. His was real. I checked.

Highland Dress for a Scottish Wedding

Peter and Amy came to Boulder for their wedding even though they live in Los Alamos, New Mexico. They stayed at the Hotel Boulderado and that’s where Eric and I first met them – at least in person. We had Skyped before the wedding to get our ducks in a row, but now, on wedding day, we made our way from Longmont to Boulder to visit the historic hotel. It had been a while since I was inside the Boulderado. I forgot just how majestic that ceiling is in the lobby but we’ll leave that for another blog.

We exchanged pleasantries after meeting in the hotel room and immediately got to work. Eric photographed Amy and I spent time making photos with Peter as he meticulously donned his kilt and affixed his kilt pin. He searched through a box of jewelry and found a few sets of cuff links. He settled on a watchwork pair that belonged to his grandfather. Next came the tie, belt and the sporran, a traditional pouch. He even looked up on his phone the way to tie his shoelaces around his socks in a traditional style.

Peter’s father and his best man also wore kilts and highland dress. We met the two of them along with the rest of the bridal party at the Chautauqua trailhead for some portraits. Getting this portrait was important for the two: the next day, the two rock climbers would climb the third Flatiron to celebrate their wedding and time they spent in Boulder earlier in life.

Portraits, trumpets and a Handfasting ritual

Amy and Peter chose to have their wedding at the Sunrise Amphitheater high above Boulder on Flagstaff Mountain. Before the ceremony, though, we had one last location for portraits. Amy also had her heart set on photos at Lost Gulch, another popular spot on Flagstaff. Crowds were thick atop the beautiful spot that overlooked parts of Boulder and the Indian Peaks Wilderness but people dutifully gave space to honor the bride and groom on their day, even wishing them well at times. We started to make photos on the bouldered overlook as people kept a respectful distance.

A trio of long herald trumpets announced the wedding party as they processed down the aisle at the Sunrise Ampthitheater. Because Amy and Peter both play trumpet, this music had to figure into the ceremony.

During the ceremony, Amy and Peter’s officiant performed a handfasting ritual as a symbol of their union. Amy’s maid of honor carried the handfasting cords and provided them to the officiant for the ceremony. This traditional Celtic ritual birthed the term tying the knot that we use as a colloquialism to say that someone is getting married.

We were truly honored to be a part of Amy and Peter’s big day. It was made all the more interesting through the addition of Scottish Wedding flare and culture. As former photojournalists, Eric and I are always intrigued by the new and different. This curiosity feeds our anthropological interest and broadens our understanding of humanity. If you’re planning a culture-filled wedding we would love to know about it. We’ll bring our sense of curiosity and wonder to the wedding.

Flagstaff House Reception

What better final stop when you have your wedding atop Flagstaff Mountain. Flagstaff House is know for its French cuisine and amazing wine list. Today it played host to Amy and Peter’s party. The views from the deck were amazing and a great way to wrap up this Scottish Wedding.

Chris Stark
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Chris Stark is an award-winning photojournalist and former news photographer who honed his craft at several Colorado newspapers. Documentary wedding photography translates perfectly into Chris' fly-on-the-wall style. Chris lives in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and daughter and spends his free time on the bike or hiking with his family.