Weddings - FAQs and costs
Where can we have our marriage ceremony?
Anywhere you like, as long as you're in Scotland. Any marriage which I conduct outside of Scotland would have to be legalised by a registrar but since you're here on this page, I'm assuming you're thinking of a Scottish marriage. You can be married anywhere you like, whether that is in a hotel, in your own garden, or underneath a waterfall. The only restriction is that you must be standing still (so if you're on a boat, it has to be moored).
As long as you have two witnesses for legal reasons, there are no other restrictions, although you might just want to consider the Scottish weather. Even 55mph gusts in the Cairngorms couldn't put Leanne and Lewis off and you can definitely tell which way those gusts were blowing as the guests struggled to maintain their balance at times!
Is the ceremony you conduct for us legal?
Yes, it is.
In Scotland, there are three groups of people who can conduct weddings: those are registrars, ministers of religion affiliated with a particular church or faith, and celebrants or ministers who belong to a larger group, such as Interfaith or Humanists. There is no such thing as an independent celebrant because everyone who is authorised to conduct weddings has to belong to an organisation.
Which organisation do you belong to?
I'm a member of the Onespirit Interfaith Foundation. Strictly speaking, I'm a minister, although in this case the word refers to 'ministering' to people's needs, rather than the conventional sense of a minister associated with a particular church. The Interfaith group spans all beliefs and none.
Do we have to have the same beliefs as you?
Not at all. I can conduct a ceremony for you according to the beliefs you have (or don't have), whether or not they're the same as my own. It's all about you as a couple and what you want, so you don't have to worry about adhering to the beliefs of the person conducting your ceremony.
Can you conduct a ceremony if we're from different faith backgrounds?
Absolutely. This is your day, and your marriage. Whatever is important to you both can be included - whether it is a hymn, a reading from a sacred text, a prayer, or a blessing.
Can we write our own vows for our wedding?
Of course you can. Writing your own vows is one of the most emotional and special things you will ever do and they will be the highlight of your wedding. I am here to help if you're stuck with ideas and will guide you through the process.
What's the process for having you marry us?
We'll have an initial meeting during which I'll talk to you as a couple. This will give me an opportunity to really get to know you both - how you met, who you are, and what you want in life together. You never know, you may find out more about each other in this meeting, too. We'll also discuss in depth the style of ceremony you would like. Following that meeting, I'll work on creating your bespoke ceremony. Nearer your big day, you may want to have a wedding rehearsal (not all couples do!) on a mutually agreed date and time. On the big day itself, I'll perform your wedding ceremony and you'll be given a presentation folder with a copy of your ceremony to keep.
Can you conduct our ceremony in a church?
Yes, I can; as long, of course, as you have the permission of the resident minister or padre for me to do so. Because I'm a member of the OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation, and so technically a minister myself, I can conduct weddings in places of worship or in private chapels on estates; with the National Trust such as those at Haddo House; or at millitary garrisons like Fort George. Tanya and Calum were married at the privately owned Bona Church overlooking Loch Ness.
What does a typical ceremony include?
There is no typical ceremony because every one is bespoke, but as a guide, might include:
readings and poems
a song or two (with or without your guests singing)
your love story so that people really understand what you mean to each other
your vows, of course
the exchange of rings
an additional symbolic ceremony such as handfasting or a quaich ceremony
How much will it all cost us for your services?
Costs for 2023 start from £550 for both wedding ceremonies and renewals of vows. Additional costs are incurred if you choose to add in handfasting, unity sand ceremonies, or other symbolic ceremonies. If you do wish to include these, I'll give you a clear cost in advance depending on your requirements, so that there are no surprises and you know exactly what you're having to budget for in advance. You will also have to pay the Registrar directly when you apply for your marriage licence - this currently stands at £100.
Are there any extra costs at all?
If I have to travel considerable distances from home to get to you then there may well be a cost, but I would discuss that with you in advance. I'm based in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. Additionally, dependent on the distance, accommodation costs may be incurred.
If you decide to opt for a wedding where I have to hire a professional costume (eg Medieval) then there may be an additional cost, but, again, I would discuss that with you beforehand.
How far in advance do we need to book?
I already have bookings in place as far as August 2024, and some days of the week, such as Saturdays, are particularly popular. As soon as you know your dates and book your venue, it's best to make your booking so that you won't be left disappointed.