Loch Lomond is a must see for anyone visiting Scotland and for the many who plan a Scottish elopement or just a dream Scottish ceremony, it’s certainly a top wedding destination. We’re lucky enough to have this spot just half an hour from home in Glasgow and so when we finally got around to planning our own wedding it was the perfect choice.
We warn you now this article is a little less travel info and a lot more wedding nonsense but if you’d like to read about our Scottish wedding traditions and see some pretty views of Loch Lomond do read on.
Organising a Scottish wedding
After 8 years together, and a Christmas engagement we finally got round to a wedding!
Like most places in the world, organising a wedding can be stressful but we actually didn’t do too badly. We weren’t planning some massive elaborate affair, we weren’t too bothered about colour schemes or flower arrangements and actually I wasn’t very bothered about a “perfect” dress. In the end we managed to organise our wedding within 6 months (after sort of ignoring planning for 6 months previous) and ended up with a pretty much perfect wedding day and for a nice budget price!
Our wedding was always going to be traditionally Scottish but we had no plans for a church wedding. Here in Scotland, you can legally get married anywhere. Either a venue or an officiant holds a license so that means you can marry anywhere from a pub to a castle to a beach. We considered lots of places in our home city of Glasgow and if you’re a local planning a wedding or looking for an elopement there are lots of amazing places to choose from. We considered city centre hotels, country houses and yes a (classy) pub or two in the West End but they just couldn’t beat the views over the Loch Lomond. So a waters-edge wedding it was.
Celebrating our Scottish-ness
Our wedding plan was going to include a lot of Scottish elements and with a winter wedding at the side of a loch we don’t just mean the weather – though that was certainly true as well! While we kept things modern and actually had a movie themed reception, our proud Scottish heritage was always going to play a large part in our day.
Of course, getting married on the banks of Loch Lomond in Argyll and Bute is a fantastic basis for our Scottish wedding but there was plenty more to add to our day. Above all else, Andrew had to be in his kilt, that one was not optional! Plenty of our guests were traditionally dressed as well and this made me very happy!
Bagpipes are synonymous with Scotland and I couldn’t have my wedding without a piper. While, I chose not to walk down the aisle to a piper, which is often a tradition in Scotland, I knew I wanted him there. I felt no matter what a piper is always a nice touch (and I would happily have one or maybe a whole band at any occasion) and greatly appreciated his contribution, especially standing out in the rain and snow playing as guest arrived.
Hand-fasting is a Scottish tradition, which dates back to medieval times and basically involves getting tied together. Don’t worry it’s only our hands but still for those who have never seen this before it may seem a little odd. Overall, it’s a symbolic binding together. You can choose anything you like as the material but often, as we did, a length of family tartan is used. Our knot still sits on a shelf in our living room as a lovely memento.
We did however mix some modern readings into the hand fasting ceremony. So, while we performed an ancient Celtic ritual, friends and family read out passages – one from a book and one which Andrew wrote for me which was fantastic and better than anything we would every have found. It was silly and geeky and utter nonsense but it made everyone laugh so it was perfect.
As we got onto the paper work section of the wedding ceremony and signed the register we perhaps edged onto cliché a little with a family member singing an acoustic version of Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia for us but this will always be such a powerful song and one which means the world to me.
Of course, it’s not a wedding without a million photos and in February in Scotland it wasn’t half chilly. We tried to keep them to a minimum but we still managed to freeze a little. Luckily, I had my shawl, matching Andrew’s family tartan to keep me warm. I think I liked this more than my dress just as it was something a little different and connected us together.
Our evening celebrations continued on with the usual speeches and then a Scottish meal with a soup, beef and ending in a cranachan – a traditional dessert containing a plethora of Scottish ingredients including cream, whisky, oats, honey and fresh raspberries. There was no other way to end the night than to dance it a way. In Scotland, that means a ceilidh! For those that have never attended a ceilidh I’d highly recommend one. You’ll find plenty on the go around St Andrew’s Day or Burns Night both here in Scotland or anywhere you can find a Scottish society but ceilidhs are the activity of choice instead of a disco or a band for lots of celebrations and parties across Scotland. A night of energetic Scottish country dancing will always be the best way to end a Scottish wedding!
Our honeymoon adventures
We sort of classed this as our “mini-moon” at the time and decided we’d head out on another big adventure at a later date. Not long later after, my brother announced his own wedding plans and it turned out our next “big trip” was going to be a trip to England with my parents so the joke became that we were taking our honeymoon with my parents. In the year following our wedding we also took trips to Montenegro and Denmark so perhaps we’ll lump them all together as our year of “mini-moons” ….though I’m still secretly holding out for a round-the-word trip…shhhh.
All wedding images are used with permission and courtesy of our wedding photographer Kirsty Winfield
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