Romantic Scotland

Tell The World
Edinburgh Castle Romantic Scotland. It's not exactly a new concept for the 21st century. Scots and many thousands of young lovers, writers, painters and travellers for centuries have recognised and relished the beauty, magic, mystery and altogether special tranquility of the Scottish landscape which can be summed up in the word "romantic". But now we want to tell the world about the unique and imaginative sense of place it conjures up for everyone of all ages. Especially couples in love who may wish to enjoy a quiet liaison on a Highland retreat, plan a wedding in Scotland - the smallest gathering of close family and friends or the full monty complete with bridesmaids, kilted pipers a carriage and a ceilidh - followed by a peaceful, relaxing honeymoon amidst breathtaking surroundings.

It`s not difficult to see why Scotland should be described as one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Look at its majestic scenery and natural beauty, read about the history, myths and legends, listen to our music and poetry, sample the best of fresh food and, of course, the national drink. In February 2002 Glasgow, highly regarded as a city of culture, fashion and great restaurants, became the city of love for a month, around the celebrations of Valentine's Day.

The Madonna Effect
Skibo Castle When Madonna chose Skibo Castle, Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands to be the setting for her marriage to Guy Ritchie in December 2000, the world's media sat up and took notice. Apart from the bride and groom, the glamour of the occasion was also due to the arrival of many celebrity guests flying in from Hollywood, including Sting, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rupert Everett. However it was the grandeur of the historic cathedral and castle, against a backdrop of forested mountains, rivers and lochs with perhaps the wintry frost in the air all adding to the magical and romantic atmosphere.

Skibo Castle was also the selected location for the betrothal between Hollywood actress Ashley Judd and the Scottish racing driver Dario Franchitti.

Since then many hundreds of young couples have decided to come to Scotland where there are other wonderful ancient Castles and churches, the choice of a lively city, the seaside or country village for the perfect wedding.

VisitScotland, the national tourist board, has devised an attractive and easy to use website to take you on a wonderful journey around every region of the country. With easy to click links - Romantic Breaks, Weddings, Honeymoons, Stag and Hen Parties - it offers every kind of information and advice for anyone wishing to come here and experience the Celtic charm and beauty of Scotland.

Fiona Jack, Project Manager comments - "We hope that the Romantic Scotland campaign will encourage more people to say "I do" to Scotland and to find out exactly what a big heart Scotland and the people have. The website will give people from across the world access to information on places to propose, to be married, or to have a romantic break".

It's all a matter of seduction - in the right place.

Romantic Castles
Edinburgh Castle has become a very popular location for a marriage proposal in recent years. While there are certain legal rules and regulations concerning where you may or may not be married, under Scots Law it is not the place of marriage which is of concern, but arranging for the minister, priest or registrar who is licenced to officiate anywhere you choose. Here you may marry outwith a church if a minister agrees to take part in the ceremony, perhaps in the ruins of a derelict castle, a lochside, a lighthouse, on board a boat or even high in the sky in a hot-air balloon.

Eilean Donan Castle A popular setting is the 13th century Eilean Donan castle, on a tiny island on Loch Duich. This is a popular Calendar photograph and a frequent setting for many movies, including Highlander, starring Sean Connery. Last year a bride came all the way from South Africa with her fiancee, parents and two friends to take her vows at this fabulous spot. They then travelled a few miles over the sea to the Isle of Skye for dinner at the Cuillin Hills Hotel. Small, select but very, very special.

Several luxury country house hotels arrange weddings in their Great Halls or private chapels which offer a truly historic and intimate space for a smaller gathering. With perhaps just a dozen or so bedrooms in such fabulous properties as Inverlochy Castle which was admired by Queen Victoria, Glenapp Castle, a fairytale castle near Ballantrae, Ayrshire, Glengorm Castle on the northern tip of Mull, looking out to the Hebridean islands, Dalhousie Castle, Shieldhill Castle, a grand Scottish baronial country mansion, Culzean Castle where you can live like a President in the Eisenhower Apartment, Borthwick Castle, where you can sleep in Mary Queen of Scots bedroom, or Dundas Castle where the entire hotel is taken over by the wedding guests on an exclusive basis to ensure that your wedding day will be a very special and private occasion.

All advice will be given with all planning and arrangements made to your requirements by the specialist hotel management wedding team from flowers and bagpipes, a local minister, photographer and of course the wedding breakfast and musical entertainment at the reception.

At Comlongon Castle, Dumfries, dating back to the 14th century (with its own resident ghost, Lady Marion Carruthers, who fell from the battlements), weddings are arranged with particular nostalgic style. The Bride descends the grand staircase from her suite to greet the bridal party and transported by horse and carriage to the castle entrance. Perfect for photographs. Arriving to a rousing accompaniment of the Bridal march, the ceremony takes place in the Great Hall. There is also the option of a Celtic Blessing, based on medieval Scots tracts, performed in historic costume by torchlight. This is not an official or legal ceremony but a fascinating ancient custom and a memorable experience to add to the experience of your Scottish wedding day.

Gretna Green
Bride Or why not following in the footsteps of thousands of runaway lovers and come to Gretna Green!

The legendary village of Gretna Green in the south west corner of Scotland is indelibly linked with marriages, historically for the eloping young bride and groom who were not allowed to marry south of the Border.

In 1754 England passed a law that prevented any bride or groom under the age of 21 from marrying without parental consent. In Scotland the age was 16 without consent and so the young lovers fled north to Scotland. Gretna Green is the first village over the border and conveniently situated at the first stage coach changing post on the main London to Edinburgh route. Blacksmiths were given the right to conduct these hasty marriages over the anvil.

Gretna Green has been a haven for romantic lovers for more than 250 years with couples having travelled for days by horse and coach, with proverbial stories of fathers in hot pursuit. The oldest marriage certificate on file dates from 1772 and today there are over 4,000 weddings at Greta Green each year, which is on average 17% of all marriages taking place across Scotland. Registration of a wedding must be arranged a few weeks in advance by post or e-mail, but no residency is required beforehand. Today the blacksmith is no longer authorised to conduct the service which must be by a church minister or registrar, yet the tradition and romance of being married at Gretna Green continues unabated. Eloping lovers still arrive here for a secret, private ceremony to avoid the huge family parties and all the paraphernalia often associated with the formal white dress, top hat and tails weddings of society today.

Hen and Stag Nights
Last Drop Bar The tradition of the bride and groom enjoying a final fling with their friends prior to the Big Day has become big business in Scotland. The Grassmarket in Edinburgh with its many traditional pubs offers a lively party atmosphere. The illustration is of the appropriately named "Last Drop Bar" in Grassmarket, near where the last hagning in Edinburgh took place! On many a weekend a white limousine full to the brim with young girls dressed in fancy dress veils and party frocks, is a common sight in many Scottish cities. In another bar the boys gather for their separate night out. Party planners will arrange the whole weekend for hen and stag celebrations from travel, accommodation, meals and drinks as well as a variety of fun things to do - beauty sessions, sporting events on mountain bikes and off -road driving.

The Honeymoon
Bedroom at Inverlochy Castle Scotland has every kind of quality accommodation to offer you, whatever your taste and budget whether a contemporary city hotel or a quiet rural retreat. Treat yourself and your partner to a luxury country house hotel for a few days following the wedding - many with honeymoon suites and four poster beds - for some well deserved peace and quiet, pampering and excellent food. Perhaps take a short journey around the Highlands of Scotland by the luxury Royal Scotsman train - a popular honeymoon celebration and re-live the elegant style of rail travel circa 1930.

Or take a self catering cottage for just the two of you, deep in the heart of the Highlands, or on one of the beautiful islands off the west coast, to enjoy walks in the fresh air, along an empty beach by the ocean or loch. Sit, relax and admire the sunset setting slowly over the distant heather-clad hills.

"Scotland, above all, is a land of romance and of poetry"
Sir David Wilkie, painter.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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