Scottish Heritage Wedding Celebration

   Two Atlanta lawyers tied the knot in a Blue Ridge Mountains ceremony that was filled with the sounds, sights — and plaids — of the groom’s Scottish heritage.


Two Atlanta lawyers tied the knot in a Blue Ridge Mountains ceremony that was filled with the sounds, sights — and plaids — of the groom’s Scottish heritage.


As featured in Martha Stewart Real Weddings


When the bagpiper began filling theMSW_Cover_SIP1_2014
air with a song called “Highland Cathedral,” it was a
fitting soundtrack for bride Sarah Hess to make her
entrance for two reasons. First, she was crossing the
lawn of the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, which is located
in Highlands, North Carolina. Second, she was walking
toward David Mackenzie, whose ancestors, the
clan Mackenzie, have lived in the Scottish Highlands
since the Middle Ages. “A bagpiper is always an important
part of our family’s specMWDS110846_008857-R1-008 copyial events,” says the
groom, and what could be more special than marrying
Sarah in front of 184 guests? Although she’s not Scottish, Sarah was thrilled to have the bagpipes, describing the music as “hauntingly beautiful.”
David felt the same way about her when they met
as law students at Washington and Lee University
in Lexington, Virginia. “The MWDS110846_008880-R1-006 copyfirst time I saw Sarah, I
thought, ‘I want to learn more about her,’ ” he remembers.

Fate gave him a chance when he was assigned a study carrel back-to-back with hers. “We got to know
each other at those desks,” says David. “That established
a friendship before it became a romance.”
The relationship was long-distance for two years
while Sarah worked at a law firm in Atlanta and
David finished school in Virginia. It became an engagement
on a vacation in England during the 2012MWDS110846_008905-R1-007 copy_COMP
Summer Olympics. The pair were biking through the
countryside in Kent when, Sarah recalls, “at a little
stream overlooking a meadow, Dave got down on
one knee and proposed,” giving her a ring set with
his beloved late grandmother’s diamond.
Now both lawyers living in Atlanta, the couple
chose their wedding location because of what Sarah
describes as its “rustic lodge feeling” and majestic
scenery. On October 5, 2013, a Presbyterian ceremony
was held outside, in what the officiant, ReverendMWDS110846_008856-R1-005 copy
Hunter Coleman, called “God’s church.” After
the vows, everyone moved into a barn, where the
head table was decorated with ribbons inspired by
the family’s tartan, for a dinner of roast lamb crusted
with herbs grown on-site. Amid the dancing, the
newlyweds paused to take in the room. David then
shared with Sarah what he couldn’t bring himself
to say in front of everybody during his toast: “We’re
looking at our friends and family having the most
amazing time,” recalls Sarah, “and he’s telling me
all the things he loves about me.”


Location and catering Old Edwards Inn and Spa Event planning and design Calder Clark Flowers and fabric Blossoms Events Photography
Tec Petaja Stationery Cheree Berry Paper Music Dave Landis (bagpipes); Mary Daniels and Friends (ceremony); Infinity Show Band (reception)
Rentals DC Rental Bride’s gown and shoes Monique Lhuillier Bride’s veil Tia Mazza Hair Sevin Vee Makeup Kelly Martuscello Groom’s tux Filarte



  1. You can never have enough articles on a person’s story with culture because there are so many ways to view culture! I think it’s great that the bride chose to have her spouse’s heritage play a part in the wedding. If you’re going to be with someone it’s important to accept and acknowledge all aspects of that person, including their culture.

  2. This was absolutely beautiful! I loved getting to read about Sarah and David’s special day! My best friend is really connected to her Scottish roots and is planning on having a traditional Scottish wedding at her family’s crest castle in Scotland. I will be passing this article along so she can draw some inspiration from it for her special day. 

  3. Happy that this was featured on here! I was at a wedding once when I was really little, and they also had a bagpipe play, but I was TERRIFIED of it haha! My parent said that I threw a huge fit and they missed a lot of the ceremony because they were trying to calm me down. oops!

  4. This is so great, as Kendall said I do plan on honoring my Scottish roots at my wedding, I love Scotland and I love my heritage. This was really neat! 

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