THE BRIDE GUIDE
PART 1 - INSIDE THIS WEEK
ON THE beautiful west coast of Scotland, couples are spoiled for choice when it comes to fabulous wedding venues. Each year, more than 1,000 lucky couples choose the West Coast for their special day, and since there are no residential qualifications for getting married in Scotland, it is a popular wedding destination for people from all over the world.
According to the Provost of Argyll and Bute, Councillor Len Scoullar, anyone choosing to have their wedding here is assured of the warmest of welcomes.
‘Whether you already stay in the area or are thinking about coming here for your big day, you can rest assured that you will find the ideal location for your ceremony,’ he said. ‘We have romantic old castles, breathtaking mountains, beautiful lochs, thousands of miles of stunning coastline, sunny sandy beaches, and much more.’
Couples can opt for a religious or civil ceremony that is conducted by an authorised or assistant registrar. Either way, you will need to contact the Argyll Bute registrar’s office to complete the necessary paperwork. Marriage notice forms can be downloaded from the registrar’s office, and should be submitted at least six to eight weeks before the proposed wedding date. The sooner you book, the more likely you will be able to get your preferred date, as there are a limited number of registrars available, especially on weekends.
‘The couples who entrust us with their special occasions always remark on how warm, friendly and helpful our registrars are’, Councillor Scoullar said. ‘Their dedication and commitment, combined with the plethora of perfect locations, makes for a truly memorable day. Argyll and Bute really can offer it all – come and visit us, and see for yourself.’
Many venues are licensed, meaning they are pre-approved by the council. Licensed venues, whether a hotel, castle or garden, usually offer total wedding packages, so can be an excellent choice for couples who prefer to have all the details taken care of by a knowledgeable and professional staff. In addition, there are many experienced florists, jewellers, outfitters and caterers in the area that can take care of everything you need.
DIY weddings at alternative locations, such as a beach, a loch side or a barn are also a popular option; however, the registrar will have to visit the venue beforehand and approve it.
Outdoor weddings are very popular, especially May through August when the weather is at its best, but Scotland’s variable climate necessitates a wet weather alternative- registrars are not authorised to conduct weddings during inclement conditions. This is where a licensed venue can come in handy, as they often have both an outdoor and indoor location, so there is no panic if the skies cloud up on the big day.
Engaged couples can find out more on Argyll Bute Council’s website at argyll-bute.gov.uk, or contact the register directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. uk. Check out their online Civil Ceremonies guide, which is packed with information, venues and ideas for the perfect wedding day.
The West Coast boasts dozens of castles, manor houses, chapels, abbeys and cathedrals that will transport the happy couple and their guests into a fable as king and queen of their own castle. Even picturesque ruins or hill forts can provide a storybook backdrop for that special day. For those with a sense of whimsy and drama, everyone can turn out in ancient Viking or Medieval dress- how fun!
Pastoral cottages offer an intimate wedding experience, complete with accommodations for all the guests and home cooked fare. For an epic affair with hundreds of guests, consider a barn dance wedding- add hay bale seating, fairy lights and a horse drawn carriage for a rustic atmosphere.
Whisk guests off to one of the islands for a destination wedding, where scenic hills provide a picture-perfect backdrop against the stunning coastlines. The guests will get to enjoy an exotic holiday before or after the big event.
Get married on the high seas in a chartered boat, or arrive at a loch side ceremony in a rowboat. Or choose one of the west coast’s many gorgeous gardens, and tie the knot amongst a fragrant profusion of rhododendron and rose blossoms. Barefoot seaside weddings are also very popular, given the plethora of sugary beaches here.
Highland-themed affairs are, of course, a popular choice, especially for brides or grooms with ancestral connections to the area. A ceilidh dance is a must for a traditional Highland fling, with the couple and guests twirling and leaping into the wee hours as the natives have done for generations. A whisky-themed wedding at a distillery is another very Scottish option for a memorable day. See The Bride Guide Part Two (next week) for church wedding inspiration!