Not a member?
Register and login now.

Issue 39 - The big day

Scotland Magazine Issue 39
June 2008

 

This article is 9 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

Copyright Scotland Magazine © 1999-2017. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.

The big day

Do as the rich and famous do and enjoy your big day in stunning surroundings in Scotland. Natasha Reed provides a guide to the perfect Scottish wedding.

What do Madonna, Catherine Zeta Jones, Stella McCartney, JK Rowling and Ashley Judd all have in common? They all chose the beautiful wilds of Scotland to say ‘I do’.

Scotland has attracted lovers since the 18th century, when eloping couples from England crossed the border to Gretna Green to wed under the more liberal Scottish marriage laws.

Now the country is a leading contender in marriage destinations, thanks to its amazing scenery, rich history and the fact that, in Scotland, is that you can exchange your vows practically anywhere you want.

Marry in a romantic castle, on a cruiser on a loch or even at the top of Arthur’s Seat!

Before you start sending out the invites however, make sure you have considered all the options. Here are the answers to all the important questions to enable you to have the wedding of your dreams.

What should I do first?

Assuming you have found someone you wish to marry, firstly you will need to decide on a venue and book a place, date and time.

Where can I marry?

Scottish Law allows a minister, priest, celebrant or clergyman to marry a couple anywhere, although civil ceremonies must take place in a register office during working hours under current law. In Scotland, unlike the rest of the UK, it is the person who conducts the service and not the building that is licensed to hold weddings. As long as the minister agrees that a venue is suitable and is willing to conduct the service, all possibilities are available. From historic Scottish castles to cruises down Loch Lomond, the only limitations are that a hot air balloon must be tethered and a ship at anchor.

What legal bits do I need to do?

Once you have a place and date, there is some paperwork to be completed at the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), which is responsible for the registration of marriage and civil partnership. Contact the GROS on +44 (0)131 334 0380 or www.groscotland.

gov.uk What happens if I don’t live in Scotland?

There are no prior residency requirements for marriage in Scotland. It is, however, necessary to observe the minimum 15 days’ notice and the Marriage Schedule has to be collected in person before a religious ceremony What are some Scottish wedding traditions?

There are many Scottish wedding traditions which take place throughout Scotland, as well as those that are local to a specific area. Some of the older customs involved practices such as creeling, where the bridegroom had to carry a large basket filled with stones on his back around the entire town unless his bride agreed to kiss him, or ‘blackening,’ where the unlucky groom-to-be is captured by his friends, stripped to the waist, bound and ‘blackened’ by using substances such as feathers, treacle, soot and flour! He is then paraded through the village whilst his friends make as much noise as possible. This tradition still continues and, in some parts of Scotland, can happen to the bride too! Here are a few simpler traditions, which you may like to incorporate into your big day: • The wedding scramble – as the bride steps into the car it is a tradition for the father to throw a handful of coins for the children to collect, in order to bring financial luck. This practice is called a scramble or a warsel • Asixpence in the bride’s shoe – this was intended to bring her good luck. This is replaced, in some regions, by a sprig of heather hidden within the bride’s bouquet • A‘second night’ – this is normally held the night following a wedding, where people can enjoy another night of drinking and dancing!

• Feet washing – generally an older, married woman and/or the bride’s female friends washes and dries the bride’s feet. This custom still happens throughout Scotland and it is hoped that it will guarantee good fortune for the marriage. Sometimes a wedding ring from a happily married woman is placed in the tub and it is believed that whoever finds the ring will be the next to get married • Traditional grand march – this spectacular procedure is often the first dance to take place at a wedding. It begins with the bride and groom marching to the sound of bagpipes or a live band. As they march, the maid of honour (or chief bridesmaid) and best man join in, followed by both sets of parents and finally by all willing guests!

• Bagpipes add atmosphere and grandeur to an already brilliant occasion. The piper, in full Highland dress, stands at the church door and plays as the guests arrive, later he leads the couple from the church to the car What is traditional Scottish dress?

You can choose to be as traditional or as unique as you wish with wedding attire but normally a Scottish bride would wear a white or cream wedding gown, whilst the groom’s party and her father may come to the wedding resplendent in full Highland dress.

Bridesmaids may wear soft, woollen, tartan skirts with velvet bodices in cold weather or trim lighter dresses with tartan for the summer.

Bouquets and corsages may include tartan ribbons or bows.

Kilts are still one of the most popular options for men at weddings in Scotland. Scottish tradition has it that you should choose your bride’s family tartan for your kilt on your wedding day. It is more usual to hire, rather than buy, kilts, and many kilt hire shops will hire kilts for the entire wedding party.

As well as the option of the traditional Scottish kilt, there is also football tartan, silver and even crocodile skin kilts now available.

Romantic Venues For a truly magical day check out these venues for a day to remember.

On Top of the World Your special day could be even more memorable if you hold it at The Falkirk Wheel – a venue like no other in the world. The world’s first and only rotating boat lift, you can have anything from music and fireworks to a Champagne reception on the Wheel with the help of a dedicated events manager.

For that extra special touch, you can even arrange to have the colour scheme of your wedding projected up onto the Wheel itself. With room to entertain several hundred people – or even more if you choose a marquee – the Wheel is a dramatic and romantic venue for your reception. And of course it’s hard to imagine a more spectacular backdrop for the wedding photographs. For more information call the events manager on +44 (0)1324 676 905 or visit www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk A Royal Wedding The breathtaking and fascinating Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute, is a spectacular private venue for luxury weddings.

Home to the Stuarts of Bute, descendants of the Royal House of Stuart, Britain’s finest Gothic revival mansion sits proudly on the stunning Isle of Bute, ancient stronghold of Scottish kings. The key attraction is the Marble Chapel, which glows red in the sunlight. Alternatively, there are many beautiful areas of the flamboyant house and its 300 acres of gardens, which are fully licensed for civil ceremonies and partnerships.

Tel: +44 (0)1700 503 877 or visit www.mountstuart.com for more details Fairy Tale Steeped in turbulent history, the romance of Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh, is all about the memories of the day and the splendour of Scotland.

Special touches include wedding ring deliveries by personal Dalhousie Castle falconry owls, photographers, Scottish ceilidhs, a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Phantom available for hire and spa treatments to help relax. It is hard to imagine a more evocative setting than the Dungeon Restaurant in which to enjoy excellent traditional Scottish Castle cuisine, and the atmosphere is heightened by the weapons and armour that adorn the walls. The Ramsey Room is also perfect for wedding receptions and can accommodate up to 100 guests and the Sir Alexander Room can accommodate 110 guests. The castle can be hired for exclusive use. For more information tel: +44 (0)1875 822 666 or visit www.dalhousiecastle.co.uk What legal bits do I need to do?

Once you have a place and date, there is some paperwork to be completed at the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), which is responsible for the registration of marriage and civil partnership. Contact the GROS on +44 (0)131 334 0380 or www.groscotland.

gov.uk What happens if I don’t live in Scotland?

There are no prior residency requirements for marriage in Scotland. It is, however, necessary to observe the minimum 15 days’ notice and the Marriage Schedule has to be collected in person before a religious ceremony What are some Scottish wedding traditions?

There are many Scottish wedding traditions which take place throughout Scotland, as well as those that are local to a specific area. Some of the older customs involved practices such as creeling, where the bridegroom had to carry a large basket filled with stones on his back around the entire town unless his bride agreed to kiss him, or ‘blackening,’ where the unlucky groom-to-be is captured by his friends, stripped to the waist, bound and ‘blackened’ by using substances such as feathers, treacle, soot and flour! He is then paraded through the village whilst his friends make as much noise as possible. This tradition still continues and, in some parts of Scotland, can happen to the bride too! Here are a few simpler traditions, which you may like to incorporate into your big day: • The wedding scramble – as the bride steps into the car it is a tradition for the father to throw a handful of coins for the children to collect, in order to bring financial luck. This practice is called a scramble or a warsel • Asixpence in the bride’s shoe – this was intended to bring her good luck. This is replaced, in some regions, by a sprig of heather hidden within the bride’s bouquet • A‘second night’ – this is normally held the night following a wedding, where people can enjoy another night of drinking and dancing!

• Feet washing – generally an older, married woman and/or the bride’s female friends washes and dries the bride’s feet. This custom still happens throughout Scotland and it is hoped that it will guarantee good fortune for the marriage. Sometimes a wedding ring from a happily married woman is placed in the tub and it is believed that whoever finds the ring will be the next to get married • Traditional grand march – this spectacular procedure is often the first dance to take place at a wedding. It begins with the bride and groom marching to the sound of bagpipes or a live band. As they march, the maid of honour (or chief bridesmaid) and best man join in, followed by both sets of parents and finally by all willing guests!

• Bagpipes add atmosphere and grandeur to an already brilliant occasion. The piper, in full Highland dress, stands at the church door and plays as the guests arrive, later he leads the couple from the church to the car What is traditional Scottish dress?

You can choose to be as traditional or as unique as you wish with wedding attire but normally a Scottish bride would wear a white or cream wedding gown, whilst the groom’s party and her father may come to the wedding resplendent in full Highland dress.

Bridesmaids may wear soft, woollen, tartan skirts with velvet bodices in cold weather or trim lighter dresses with tartan for the summer.

Bouquets and corsages may include tartan ribbons or bows.

Kilts are still one of the most popular options for men at weddings in Scotland. Scottish tradition has it that you should choose your bride’s family tartan for your kilt on your wedding day. It is more usual to hire, rather than buy, kilts, and many kilt hire shops will hire kilts for the entire wedding party.

As well as the option of the traditional Scottish kilt, there is also football tartan, silver and even crocodile skin kilts now available.