The wedding smashers: love and marriage 2017 style
GETTING HITCHED THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY IS ON THE WANE. AS THE TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH WEDDING SHOW ROLLS INTO TOWN, OUR REPORTER SARAH MCMULLAN INVESTIGATES CHANGING TASTES
I’M just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him … to swipe right.” Had Notting Hill been written during the Tinder-era, the dialogue would most likely leave us all feeling bitterly disappointed. If travel bookshop owner Hugh Grant had refused the advances of famous actress Julia Roberts, she may well have secured another match before she had time to buy a commiserative bottle of wine at the end of the street. Tinder would create all kinds of plot-holes in the otherwise sacred 1990s rom-com movie genre.
But for millennials, dating apps and online dating have become so commonplace in finding love that the very idea of a face-to-face conversation could be considered romantic in itself. Nevertheless, love persists and even flourishes, in spite of the digital age. The number of weddings in Scotland last year was just shy of 30,000 and an increasing number of young couples are turning to wedding blogs for inspiration. Braw Brides, for example is a website that acts as a wedding index for all things indie when it comes to marriage.
Couples can browse through a range of real-life weddings that eschew tired tradition and pinpoint venues, décor, cakes and photographers that appeal to them. It also features blog posts from brides and grooms offering insight in to wedding planning and how to go about things your own way. Paired with the appeal of Pinterest, a website that aims to inspire through online images and has a vast wedding following, it seems that the presence of alternative weddings online greatly influences the modern ceremony and inspires the digital generation to do things differently. The way many of us are falling in love and marrying in 2017 is fast becoming radically different from the traditional dress, cake, reception, limo routine on show yesterday at the Scottish Wedding Show.
In Scotland, the millennial couple can be married in a brewery, or the famous Barrowland Ballroom, a quaint croft in Inverness or one of Glasgow’s many former churches-turned-bars. Jayne McGarrigle-Kelly was married to Stephen Kelly three months ago. Having both attended Glasgow University, the two 30-somethings had a non-religious ceremony in the university chapel before a pitstop at the Grosvenor Cinema just off Byres Road for drinks with guests. She wore a traditional white dress paired with a leather jacket with “Just Married” emblazoned on the back, a pair of Dita cats-eye sunglasses shielding her gaze from the Glasgow sun. All 152 wedding guests were piped along Byres Road before entering the reception venue at Oran Mor – a former church – but this wedding was far from conventional.
“We wanted our wedding to be unique,” said McGarrigle-Kelly, “but felt it was important not to go overboard as there’s so much out there now on Pinterest. It all seems ‘different’ but you see it at every wedding. “We love Glasgow and knew we just wanted a big party and didn’t want too much travel involved for our guests. When we viewed Oran Mor and found out it had a 2am licence we were sold. We knew our friends and family wouldn’t want to call it a night at midnight!
“I like to think we had a nice mix of a tradition with a contemporary touch. As for my name, I kept it because I’ve had it my whole life – but what’s an extra five letters on the end?”
McGarrigle-Kelly also sourced a collection of gramophones filled with flowers which acted as table centrepieces, and the couple brewed their own beer at the Drygate Brewery in Dennistoun as wedding favours – complete with a custom illustration of them on the label. Not even weddings are exempt from the craft-beer revolution.
Research from June this year shows that 74 per cent of 18 to34-year-olds in Scotland have no religion. This means that for many, saying your nuptials doesn’t have to happen under the roof of a traditional church.
Humanist wedding ceremonies now outnumber church weddings in Scotland which has spurred on a change in wedding vows, with many couples opting to write their own. Natasha Radmehr, editor of the Scottish Wedding Directory, has observed the change in wedding trends during her time in charge of the magazine.
“I think the beauty of getting married here lies in the fact that we celebrate and encourage diversity,” she said. “We’re one of a small clutch of countries in which humanist wedding ceremonies are legally binding, and the Scottish Episcopal Church recently voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage within its church. You can get married anywhere here, whether that’s up a mountain or on a boat. I think that’s really special.”
Speaking of a shift in attitudes to wedding ceremonies, she added: “Hardly any brides walk down the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, preferring instead to choose a song that’s meaningful to them. The wedding meal is also much more informal now – it’s been a while since I encountered a receiving line, and lots of couples opt for family-style dining, food trucks or buffets to create a more relaxed atmosphere. We had a bride in the magazine recently who wore a stunning red Vera Wang dress, a couple who had a ‘first look’ shoot [where the photographer takes photos of the to-be-weds before they actually get married], and a bride who was walked down the aisle by her mum. Nobody feels that they must follow a blueprint any more.”
Traditional wedding trends are giving way to leather jackets, Star Wars cakes and finding more unusual venues for vows, such as Glasgow’s famous Barrowland Ballroom. Right: feeding guests from food trucks is also on the rise