Heather & James' kilted Medieval fantasy "secret wedding"

Updated Mar 15 2021
 
Photos by: Glimpses Captured Photography
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Photos by Glimpses Captured Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Heather, Senior Certified Pharmacy Technician

Her offbeat partner: James, Deskside Server Technician

Date and location of wedding: Texas Renaissance Festival, Plantersville, Texas — November 11, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: The inspiration for our theme was the Secret Wedding from the film, Braveheart. In the story of William Wallace, a famous Scottish hero from the 13th Century, he and his lady love, Murron, are forced to marry in secret. Similarly, we planned to be married in a late-night "secret ceremony" in the medieval Scottish tradition. Then, on Saturday, November 12, we invited all our friends and family to join us at the Texas Renaissance Festival to celebrate together during the Highland Fling!

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I ordered silk flowers from Scotland, including a floral head wreath of thistles and white heather. I wore a Luckenbooth brooch, traditionally handed down from mother to daughter, which was indeed a gift from my mother. Jim wore a great kilt made of "the whole nine yards" of U.S. Army tartan wool and carried a William Wallace replica sword.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was created for us and performed by our dear friend Darren McDonald on Friday November 11, 2011, Veteran's Day at 11:11pm. This was especially significant because we are both U.S. Army Veterans of Operation Desert Storm.

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We incorporated several Scottish traditions into our ceremony. Our officiant used a strip of tartan plaid to bind our hands together for the ceremony. We had custom rings made with celtic knots and my engagement ring has an emerald (my birthstone) instead of a diamond.

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Our officiant performed part of the Ceremony in Latin, which is the way it would have been done in Medieval Scotland. We also used words from the secret wedding in the movie Braveheart:

Groom: I will love you my whole life — you and no other.
Bride: And I, you. You and no other, forever.

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Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was the logistics of a semi-destination wedding and getting all of our family and friends out to the Renaisance Festival and dressed in Medieval garb. My mom Ann flew in from Washington, my grandmother Dorothy from Idaho, and my aunt Carolyn and Uncle Greg from Oregon. They stayed in a hotel, while the rest of us camped at the Faire. However, some of the challenge also turned out to be the greatest gift received: to have our family and friends together at a non-traditional venue that we just love. I first attended the Texas Renaissance Festival in 1996 and we never miss a season.

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One big surprise that meant a lot to me was that both of my brothers grew beards in secret for nearly a month before the ceremony. Ellery lives in California but Aaron lives only 10 minutes from me, and I had no idea! They grew them partially for Movember, and partially so that they would look more era-appropriate for the wedding. This was much to the chagrin of their wives, who encouraged them to shave as soon as the wedding was over!

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My funniest moment:
After the ceremony and cake cutting, we shared a traditional Scottish hospitality cup called a Quaich filled with Glenlivet Scotch whiskey. As my youngest brother filmed the drinking of the Quaich, he narrated the scene with, "Awww! With this booze, I thee wed!"

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Ye olde mobile contraption

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently?
This time around, it was important to me that our wedding be small, intimate, and locally-crafted. I tried to do as many things myself as I was able, and then hired small, local artisans for others. I made my dress from linen, based on a historical pattern. I also baked a traditional Scottish fruitcake from the recipe used in Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding earlier that year.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
The most important lesson I learned from my wedding is that it can be freeing and fascinating to let others give love to you with their hands, hearts, and creativity. If you can, let them help plan, organize, and participate in your big event.

Also, if I had to do it over again, I would totally order the pre-made, self-adhesive wax seals from Nostalgic Impressions to seal invitations, instead of stamping them all out of wax ourselves.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I love this! My family has been going to the Texas Renaissance Festival since I was 9, and it never gets old! Congrats on such a beautiful and fun wedding! If my husband and I ever renew our vows, this is where I want to do it, complete with a big turkey leg to gnaw on afterwards.

  2. This looks gorgeous. Visually I especially love the brooch details, and the green of your dress! You guys look so happy.

  3. My fiance proposed to me on a balcony during the Kansas Cty Ren Fest- however, while we originally had our wedding booked with them we ended up having to cancel. They lost our contract, double booked the venue and I had to change my time (even though I was the first person to book over a year in advance), changed the wedding coordinator (who sent me an email asking if I was still interested in a Rennfest wedding…which threw me in a tizzy as they had already been paid. I think the email telling me I was to pay $13 a person on top of the $650 I was paying for a 45 minute wedding 3 hours before the closure of the faire…sad we won't get to marry where he proposed, but this is better. HOWEVER…I will look into those adhesive wax seals… we were planning on doing them all by hand lol

  4. Beautiful! This is soooo romantic <3 Also I'm crazy jealous of your incredible hair. Gorgeous times one million!

    Btw – my future hubs and I are Army vets too (OIF) – we like to say that we were issued to each other, lol.

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