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

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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

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