Coleen and Roger first connected on the basis of their mutual Scottish Heritage. The couple had their first meeting in Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, at a national gathering for the Clan Kincaid Association International — an American clan society for those of Kincaid Scottish descent.
When they met at the conference, Coleen was living in Salt Lake City, while Roger’s home was in Vancouver, Washington.
“I felt there was a mutual attraction, but living in two different states, we weren’t sure about long distance,” Roger says. “After the conference, it took me about a year to get ahold of her again.”
Upon reconnecting, Coleen and Roger quickly struck up a mutual friendship over email, text, and FaceTime. As the relationship developed, several trips were made between the two locations, and ultimately Coleen’s active life in Utah led Roger to a permanent move to be closer to her.
Because this romance blossomed during the early pandemic, the proposal style followed suit. Coleen was bedridden with a case of COVID-19 when she received a call from Roger.
“He called and asked me, ‘How’s my darling, today?,” Coleen says. “Of course, I told him all about how awful I was feeling. There was a big pause on the phone, and when I asked if he was still there, he tole me: ‘Normally I would do this with respect and with your family, but I lost my wife and I don’t want to lost you. Will you marry me?’”
Roger had been widowed for a decade prior to meeting Coleen.
After a full COVID Recovery and a few more phone proposals, Coleen said yes and the pair began preparing their dream wedding together.
Coleen and Roger brought their closest family members together in October 2021, for a nuptial celebration incorporating all of the traditions of their heritage. As the family was setting up, Roger surprised everyone with a romantic video set to Celtic Thunder’s “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles.)”
“We had a Scottish wedding, a COVID wedding, and an older couples’ wedding,” says Coleen. “And we made it through! We’re here to tell everyone that our love went right through COVID – true love exists!”
Roger arrived dressed to the nines in his full Scottish regalia, kilt, hose, sporran and all. Played in by a bagpipe rendition of “You Are My Sunshine,” Coleen wore a flowing beaded gown with fluttering cap sleeves from The Perfect Dress Bridal, and accessorized with a dainty flower crown.
In true pandemic form, the events began with a traditional ring and vows ceremony over zoom with a minister who came down with coronavirus two days before the wedding.
“I wear the Claddagh ring as a wedding ring,” Coleen says, introducing the first of many ancient traditions incorporated in their ceremony.
The Scottish Claddagh ring is comprised of three symbolic elements, a heart, a crown and two hands, each representing love, loyalty and friendship, respectively.
According to Irish author Colin Murphy, a Claddagh ring is warn with the intention of conveying the wearer’s relationship status. In Coleen’s case, the ceremony saw her ring change from a position on her right hand with the heart pointed toward her wrist (indicating that someone has ‘captured her heart’), to a more permanent location on her left ring finger, showing her status as a “Mrs.”
Following the exchange of rings, the Kincaids also performed a hand fasting, the Celtic tradition symbolizing the joining of two souls, binding them together. The beads on each cord were green, red and black, the primary colors of the Kincaid tartan, which Roger later presented to Coleen in a practice known as the draping of the tartan.
Following their vows, Roger also celebrated his new wife with a royal quaish toast and a vow of loyalty.
“The quaish is a traditional drinking vessel. In the oral history of Scotland, a quaish is something the king would use to toast his queen,” Roger says. “We had one engraved with our names and wedding date, and toasted each other as part of the ceremony.”
To finalize the union, Roger knelt with his blade and recited a modified clan motto for Coleen, promising: “Who thou art, I will defend, my wife, my honor, to the end.”
The couple was vigilant about including all of their loved ones in the ceremony, and had a different family member carry each ring and each cord.
For their wedding dinner, Coleen and Roger enjoyed a menu of Polish dishes from Rise Catering, another nod to Coleen’s ancestral heritage. The venue was clad in greens and yellows to match the new family’s clan tartan.
“I recently retired as the flower manager at Harmons, so naturally I did all of my flowers there,” says Coleen. “They were so easy to work with! I knew exactly which flowers I wanted, and they put it all together perfectly.”
The décor also included posters of Kincaid Castle and other ancestral landscapes, which Coleen captured on a trip to Scotland.
“We brought in the posters to include even more family ambiance in our big day,” says Coleen.
After dinner and a first dance to Foreigner, Coleen and Roger spent the day celebrating with their families.
“When we married, we each had three children: two girls and a boy,” says Coleen. “I have ten grandchildren and Roger has three. He had more names to learn!”
Photography: Pepper Nix Photographers, peppernix.com
Venue: Cottonwood Heights City Hall, cottonwoodheights.utah.gov
Gown: The Perfect Dress Bridal, theperfectdress.com
Catering: RISE by Good Day, risebygoodday.com
Cake: RISE by Good Day, risebygoodday.com
Floral: Harmons Grocery, harmonsgrocery.com