Scotland’s Highland wedding scene is becoming increasingly popular as more and more couples shake cast-iron traditions in favour of scenic ceremonies without restrictions. Did you know that Scotland’s open-minded approach to weddings was the reason why its border became such a popular destination to elope?
The unbiased Scottish marriage laws allow couples to marry anywhere they choose, whether it be indoors or outdoors. What’s more, (if the ceremony is conducted by a religious official/ registrar or non-religious Humanist Society Scotland celebrant) these ceremonies are legally binding. At present, English and Welsh laws carry a lot of limitations; partnership ceremonies must be supplemented by obtaining a civil marriage or partnership certificate through a Register Office and they must take place between 8am and 6pm.
However, not in Scotland! Love the idea of a romantic evening Highland wedding? No problem! Dream of saying your vows accompanied by views across the sea to the peaks of Shuna and Jura? Just say when!
Whether you were born and bred in Scotland, or just simply enchanted by its natural beauty, the West Scottish Highlands are a unique setting for a modern wedding. Our unique and luscious grounds offer a wealth of opportunities to host your special day. At Loch Melfort Country House Hotel you have the freedom to be as creative with your Highland wedding theme as you please. Go all out with thistles and tartan, or opt for a more subtle nod to Scotland’s natural beauty by playing with a palettes of traditional greens, soft, shifting purples, and intimate greys.
With that in mind, we thought we’d pull together some wonderful (and simple ways) that brides and grooms (and brides and brides/ grooms and grooms) can bring their Highland wedding theme to life in our venue:
Replace wedding confetti with dried heather
As nature loving couples sidestep plastic celebrations that can be harmful to wildlife, confetti alternatives have become all the rage. Sweet-smelling Scottish heather or lavender confetti is not only Eco-friendly, but nods towards Scotland’s traditional belief that hiding a sprig of white heather within the bride’s bouquet would bring good luck and happiness to the marriage.
An old (and somewhat unusual) wedding tradition in Scotland was for the bride to sit on a stool on the morning of her big day, while an older, happily married woman would wash and dry her feet. To add a little excitement to the custom, a ring would sometimes be dropped into the water. The first single lady at the wedding to find it would be married next. Now, we won’t be encouraging the ladies to wash each other’s feet, but a fresh morning toe dip on our little beach sounds like a wonderful Scottish wedding anecdote. Don’t you agree?
Exchange your vows on the shoreline
A Scottish beach wedding is truly unique; a great example of how not every coastal ceremony needs to include white linen shirts and starfish. 2020 is the “Year of Coast and Waters”, so what better time to completely immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural surroundings and say your vows on our secluded beach?
Entertain your wedding guests with post-ceremony Highland Games
Standing around with drinks between the ceremony and meal can begin to drag, so why not lift everyone’s spirits by hosting your own Highland wedding games? Set amongst 17 acres of gardens and beach, Loch Melfort’s grounds are a wonderful location to kick of those heels and partake in a friendly tug-of-war, welly throw or (for the more adventurous) mini caber toss.
Unity Candle table pieces
Unity candles hold great historic meaning in Scottish weddings. Three candles (1 large and 2 smaller candles) represented 2 clans coming together. The two smaller sticks embodied the 2 separate families, whilst the central candle was a symbol of a new family being formed by the marriage.
Scottish island and loch table settings
There are over 30,000 lochs (lakes to everyone else) across Scotland. These magnificent waterholes have long been linked to some of the country’s most popular legends. Argyll’s little corner is home to some of the most magnificent ones, with Loch Awe (at 41 km) being the longest freshwater loch in Scotland. An apt centrepiece theme.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s size has made it one of the most wonderful places to go island hoping in Europe! Packed with whiskies, wildlife and pristine white beaches, the Scottish isles offer adventure seekers a more ‘off-the-grid’ experience.
Final touches to your Highland wedding, such as table names, can often be the hardest to decide on. With enormous lochs and views across the Inner Hebrides right on our doorstep, we can’t think of any other themes more fitting (or inspiring).
Modern-day Scottish favours
Whilst we adore mini bars of Scottish tablet or locally made soaps using pretty Highland botanics, it’s always fun to pay homage to Scotland’s cheeky side. Almost as iconic as whisky, Scotland’s unofficial national drink, Irn Bru, is a particularly patriotic favour option. Their famous ‘Wee Bru’s’ (mini bottles) are a humorous and modern alternative to classic favours.
Thinking of having a Scottish Highland wedding?
We pride ourselves on our ability to offer couples a bespoke wedding, individually tailored to their personal requirements. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your special day goes perfectly to plan. From entertainment and food, to colour schemes and themes, we delight in offering couples our planning experience and attention to detail.
Our experienced chef will work with you to tailor menus and dishes, whether it be for buffets, formal or informal dining. These can be worked to meet your special wedding theme and accommodate guests.
Highland wedding accommodation
As well as our 30 bedrooms, the hotel offers a range of lounges and bars to gather in for drinks and cocktails. Using the sea and islands as an exclusive backdrop, a lot of our guests opt for a scenic outdoors wedding. What could be more magical than getting married right on the pebbled shoreline of the Scottish Highlands?
Should the weather dictate a move indoors, our lounge provides the same inspiring views, with doors open out across our terrace and beautiful grounds. As day turns to night, the space evolves into a romantic and more intimate setting – perfect for watching the sun go down over your magical Highland wedding day.