No place like home
COUPLES looking for a unique and out-of-the-ordinary venue don’t have to fly thousands of miles around the world to find it. Why trek half-way up the Himalayas or brave the European airport melee to glide along the canals of Venice, when the romantic hills, islands and waterways of Scotland hold their own magic.
In any case, with fuel emissions playing an increasing role in the pollution of the environment, the lustre of long-haul travel is beginning to tarnish for many eco-conscious couples.
However, although you might easily find a dreamy location on home turf, many require a licence for a civil or religious ceremony to be celebrated, so it is important to check out the legalities well in advance.
But it is not uncommon for a couple to privately exchange vows at a registry office or church before joining family and friends at their chosen venue for the reception.
And it need not cost the earth – or break the bank.
Couples can take themselves off to the Holy Island, off the coast near Arran, and in Eskdalemuir, in the south west near the Borders, now home to the Tibetan retreat Samye Ling Buddhist sanctuary, to have their union blessed by monks. Special permission must be sought beforehand.
Others might choose to invite a few friends to join them among the heather of their favourite Scottish hillside, with panoramic views and the sounds of the countryside as a backdrop.
One couple recently sealed their union by the canal where they met walking their dogs, before taking a short stroll to the local public park with friends for a picnic.
In fact, the opening up of Scotland riverways has given rise to an increase in the hiring of narrowboats for a small, but more formal, dinner party while cruising leisurely along the canal.
And for a right old knees-up, others choose to don the garb of medieval lords and ladies at a Scottish castle banquet.
Check out the internet for more inexpensive wedding venues and locations, with local celebrants, including native American shamen, Tibetan monks and Scottish chieftains willing to add their blessing to your union, so that couples can have the best of both traditional and spiritual worlds.
Whatever your budget or beliefs, with a little imagination it is possible to create a truly special and memorable event, without the expense of putting on a lavish show.