With a gorgeous natural backdrop and a plethora of fairytale venues, the West Highlands are a renowned wedding destination, for local couples and from those coming from the furthest corners of the world. A wedding may be the biggest party a couple will ever organise, so nothing should be left to chance. The
Oban Times summer wedding guide will help the bride and groom plan their perfect day. And a few tips will help make the process even smoother. Compromise is an essential part of the wedding planning. This may be the biggest day of a bride’s life, but the groom can be involved as well. He may not be interested in the colours, the cake or the bridesmaid’s dresses and, in fact, he may not even care about the details – all he is thinking about is how happy his blushing bride will make him. But by asking him to make some important decisions, such as setting a budget, choosing groomsmen outfits, sourcing rings and organising the honeymoon, the bride won’t feel like she is doing everything – and he gets to put in his tuppence worth. Our advertisers can help make decisions as well, taking some of the strain off the couple. With that in mind, here is The Oban Times’ five-point plan to help organise the big day with a minimum of stress.
1. SET A REALISTIC BUDGET.
Weddings can be expensive, so make a priority list and be ready to compromise. Our advertisers can help with this. And remember, years from now, everyone will remember the love and the fun, not whether they ate the most costly cake or drank the finest champagne.
2. DECIDE ON A DATE.
Speak to the celebrant first, whether it is a minister or a member of the council office, and get the date penned in before you make any plans. Then the venue can be booked and invitations printed.
3. MAKE A PLAN.
By keeping a to-do list and planning well ahead, the busy bride can stay organised and keep on top of tasks. Keep records of everything, from discussions with the venue manager and caterer to fabric swatches.
4. DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
Think about the skills of people in the wedding party and family and ask them to be involved. Does Aunt Mary have mad calligraphy skills? Have her address the invitations. Is the bridesmaid a keen baker? Ask if she can make the cake. And for everything else, the friendly and knowledgeable Oban
Times advertisers have all the bases covered – it’s what they do.
5. ENJOY THE DAY.
After months of stressful planning, by the time the wedding day arrives, the bride and groom can be at the end of their tethers. But if they let the professionals do their jobs and allow their family and friends to pamper and assist in the last details, the stressed out couple can transform into the happy couple – how it’s supposed to be. Just relax, smile and enjoy. As the first point of contact for couples wishing to tie the knot in a civil ceremony, the friendly and helpful staff at the Argyll and Bute Council registrar’s office will guide you through the entire process. And with new legislation allowing ceremonies to be held at almost any location, brides and grooms have more flexibility than ever to create their dream day.
‘With recent legislation, registrars are authorised to conduct ceremonies outwith their own offices at any venue without a specific licence,’ said Gemma Cummins, registrar for Oban. ‘We do perform a health and safety check prior, but we are free to marry wherever we feel is a suitable place, so it makes it so much easier for couples now.’
Ms Cummins challenges the traditional view that civil ceremonies have to be cut and dried. ‘Our motto is “It’s your day, so we do it your way”. We encourage the inclusion of music and poetry – which is not to say couples must have that – but we want to give them as much choice as they can possibly have so at the end of the day it’s perfect. We are now allowed religious content and alternative ceremonies such as handfasting and candle ceremonies are becoming really popular.’
Having the ceremony where the reception is held, such as at a hotel, castle or gathering hall, has become a popular trend, but there are several stunning council marriage rooms available throughout Argyll, including a new facility in Helensburgh, the castle house in Dunoon, a room over the Linda McCartney garden in Campbeltown and a room overlooking Tobermory Bay on Mull. Increasingly, couples are going to the registrar for ceremonies to renew their wedding vows, or hold a baby naming ceremony – these can even be combined for a special family day. Depending on the venue, they can seat two to 80 guests, but if the couple doesn’t have witnesses, the office can supply those as well.
Couples are encouraged to contact the registrar early in the process. ‘Decide where and when you would like to be married, then contact your local registrar as soon as possible to ensure their availability and check out the legal requirements for your marriage,’ Ms Cummins said. ‘You can book the wedding without lodging your forms.’
There is no residency requirement to get married in Scotland, but every couple is required to give the registrar in the district they wish to be married at least 28 days’ notice. ‘We encourage couples to make contact with the registrar early, as different couples will have different requirements. For example, if you are divorced or a surviving partner, you will need your documents and there are different rules that apply for couples who are coming from outwith the EU. We do like to stress to couples to make sure that everything is order – and we will guide them. Forms are valid for three months, but you can book a year or more in advance.’