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Getting Married In Scotland

by Sara Jane

Scotland is a country synonymous with ancient castles, rugged landscapes and quaint traditions.  The history, scenery and heritage combine to give it a strong sense of romance, that offers perhaps the closest thing to a fairy-tale that the modern-day bride and groom can hope to find.

Scotland is the most popular marriage destination in the UK, with more than a quarter of all weddings involving couples from outside the country, including Madonna and Stella McCartney, who really helped put Scotland on the map and launch it’s international reputation as a top wedding destination.

The Practicalities

In the mid 1800s, couples from England began crossing the border into Scotland to take advantage of the more “relaxed” legal requirements for marriage, and even now Scotland still offers much more flexibility for couples in choosing where and when and how to be married. 

In fact, provided that the person you intend to conduct the ceremony is approved to conduct marriages, you are able to get married anywhere you like, at any time of day.  Therefore, whether you want to be married on a romantic clifftop on a sunny afternoon, on the banks of a majestic loch at midnight,  Scotland makes it all possible.

Another advantage Scotland offers, is the option for Humanist Wedding ceremonies.  Scotland is one of only 7 countries in the world that accepts humanist ceremonies as legal, which offers couples the chance to choose a non-secular and yet deeply personal celebration for their marriage.  This is particularly good news for same-sex couples, who would often only have the option of a more simple legal style ceremony.

The Locations

Aside from the practical advantages, Scotland also offers the most dazzling array of options for wedding locations.  Weddings are performed anywhere and everywhere; from stately homes to ancient barns to castle estates and more.  Most venues also offer a wide variety of country pursuits and outdoor activities to immerse your guests in the full experience of Scotland; from whisky trails to clay Pidgeon shooting.

For destination weddings, there is an obvious advantage to selecting a venue that comes equipped with bedrooms for your guests, and Scottish venues are adept at welcoming wedding groups for extended celebrations.  With this sort of exclusive use arrangement, you and your guests can enjoy a 2–3 day wedding experience with complete flexibility on how you want to run your day.

The Dress

Whether you have Scottish heritage or not, embracing the kilt is a popular choice for couples.  My experience is that the men relish the opportunity to dress up in something a little bit different for the day and immerse themselves fully in the experience.  It’s also not unusual for guests to join in and don a kilt for the day!  Hiring Scottish dress is easy and straight forward, with a wealth of fantastic kilt hire companies all over Scotland. 

The Entertainment

It goes without saying that it’s traditional in Scotland to include a bagpiper as part of your wedding ceremony.  A piper can dress in a simple kilt outfit, or in the more majestic military dress, and he / she will be more than happy to pose for photos with guests.  As well as piping before and during the ceremony, many pipers offer traditional ceremonies for key moments, such as cutting the cake with their sword, sharing a ”wee dram” (drink of whisky!) with the Bride or leading guests to their next port of call in a parade.

During your evening reception, you might like to include a little bit of “ceilidh” (traditional Scottish dances) which all bands or DJs in Scotland will be happy to incorporate.  All Scottish weddings would usually feature at least a small bit of a “highland fling” in the proceedings, and after many years of experience I can safely say that guests from outside Scotland absolutely love giving this a try.  The band or DJ makes it incredibly easy for guests to join in, even if they have absolutely no idea what to do.

About Sara Jane

sara janeAt Weddings by Sara Jane, Susan and I specialise in assisting couples from all over the world with planning their dream wedding in Scotland.  From finding you the perfect venue, to paring you with your own personal dream-team of suppliers.  We specialise in distance-planning, so everything about the way we work is geared around bridging the distance and enabling our couples to feel really part of things.  We don’t just help with the wedding day itself, but we help you to organise travel, accommodation, visas and pulling together a full program of events for your destination wedding – whether it be for hundreds of friends and family or just the two of you.

To find out more, please visit us at or drop me an email to [email protected] and I would be happy to help you to begin your journey!

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