If your wedding plans have been on hold then now is the time to dust down that ‘to do’ list – and that means everything from finding the perfect venue, choosing the perfect outfits and booking a photographer to finding a florist, jeweller, baker … there’s just so much to think about. Here’s some food for thought to help you on your way to the biggest day of your life ...

WEDDINGS are well and truly back. Well, they never really went away – they just became much smaller … although some people prefer them that way anyway and the pandemic has certainly made couples realise that big isn’t necessarily best.

There’s no doubt about it – Covid-19 saw the rule book thrown out of the window. For many couples who did go ahead with their big day, it did not have quite the same effect or event that they had planned, particularly if the wheels were already in motion pre-pandemic.

However, many used the unprecedented circumstances to their advantage and were happy to downsize, adopting a more inventive approach and embracing the opportunity to get married in an outdoors setting. Think gorgeous lighting, flowers and shrubs that change with the seasons and extra-special memories if it’s the garden of your childhood home, there are plenty of options.

We know of one couple who were determined to go ahead with an outdoor celebration come rain or shine. Brollies, cagoules, blankets and even wellies were sorted out in advance and waiting at the venue when guests arrived. As it happened the weather was kind and they weren’t required but it’s certainly something to consider in Scotland!

A smaller wedding, of course, will always be on the cards for those who prefer a more intimate affair with just a few close family friends sharing the special moment.

Small gatherings are also ideal for those on a budget and rest assured there’s absolutely nothing wrong with low-key nuptials followed by a meal in a favourite restaurant.

This approach also takes away much of the pressure traditionally associated with wedding planning. No need to book that dream venue potentially years in advance. No stressing over coming up with a 'theme'. No tears over wedding cake tiers. No sleepless nights trying to conjure up unusual/unique entertainment to surprise/shock your guests.

But if you want to go big, if you want a lavish affair and that dream venue, the fairy-tale castle, the showstopper bake, lots of guests with bad jokes and dad dancing … go for it.

Of course, the thing about weddings is that it’s your special day, arguably the most important day in the lives of you and your partner. So, it has to be about what you want. Convention is fine, tradition is fine, quirky is fine – even eloping on your own is fine if that’s what you want as a couple. It all comes down individual taste and choice.

But for those planning a wedding or civil partnership, there’s always a lot to do regardless of size and if you do want to secure that venue you’ve always dreamed at a particular time of year, then the reality is that you may well have to book it well in advance – 18 months to two years in advance is not unusual.

While a church or registry office are the traditional and first choice for many couples, others have become increasingly inventive, choosing unusual venues and even involving their pets. Scotland certainly has plenty of inspirational venues to offer couples wanting to do something a little different with barns and byres frequently near the top of the list.

But Scotland also provides the option of getting married anywhere you please, be that a mountaintop, beach, castle, zoo, hotel or football ground And, of course, there’s the world-famous Gretna Green. When it comes to romance, pretty much anything goes.

Bear in mind, though, that having your wedding at a more unconventional venue may throw up some unexpected challenges. So, preparation is key and the more organised you are, the more simple and stress-free things will be – although good venues will always work with you and do everything they can to make your big day unforgettable.

It might be worth securing the services of an independent wedding planner and remember that many hotel venues have dedicated wedding co-ordinators who will advise on everything from tailor-made ceremonies and wedding breakfasts to evening entertainment, activities and even bacon roll for peckish guests towards the end of the night.

So, whatever you decide – it’s time to get married and, for your guests, it’s time to splurge on new handbags and glad rags, dancing shoes for the ceilidh and all the trimmings that go hand in hand with a wedding, whatever the time of year.

Frox of Falkirk opts for the personal touch

WHEN it comes to the mother of the bride, mother of the groom and wedding guests to choose that perfect outfit, all roads lead to Falkirk where Fiona Wilson and her experienced team at Frox of Falkirk are the experts.

Fiona has been dressing fashion-conscious mothers of the bride and groom for many years and has a wealth of experience within the fashion and retail sectors.

“We’re here to advise you and when you come to the shop, we’ll make you feel at ease and help you develop your own individual style,” she said. “It’s personal and friendly, and we’ll never put you under pressure.

“We’ll be honest with you, too, because our goal is to make you happy with your outfit and feel comfortable in it. You might have an idea of what you want, or need advice on what would suit your body shape – our team is highly trained and will work with you to find the perfect outfit.

“We’re also unique in Scotland in that we’re the only shop that goes up to size 32, so our choice for ladies with a fuller figure is unrivalled. At Frox, we also offer a complete range of accessories to complete your outfit – hats, fascinators, shoes and bags.”

Fashions come and go and at Frox, with Fiona and her accommodating team able to help you choose your outfit based on the wedding venue. “It’s something we always ask because it helps us to guide you towards a particular style,” she added.

“Some guests will opt for a nice dress that they wear again while some people aren’t really used to getting dressed up very often and need a bit more help and guidance from us.

“The tailored look is still popular while others have a preference for some softer and floaty – we have a vast choice of options and wonderful European labels that have been hand-selected with many exclusive to our boutique.”

At the moment, there are 2000 outfits on the shop floor and more than 2000 matching headpieces. Access is via appointment only and lasts 90 minutes.

“We have plenty of space so can still adhere to social distancing,” Fiona explained. “You can also bring a guest with you, ideally someone who is influential in your purchase.”

Fiona introduced an appointments system when the shop was allowed to open after the first lockdown and although life continues to edge even closer to how things were pre-Covid-19, she decided to continue with the appointments system. “It means we can spend more time with and really get to understand what you’re looking for,” she said. “It also guarantees 100% privacy for our customers.”

Frox asks customers to browse its website and fill out a wish list so that staff can look out some outfits in advance of your appointment based on the information you provide. Fiona added: “We’ll pull out a few wildcard outfits too and be ready for you when you arrive for your consultation. “We know it’s a big thing for you so we like to be prepared.

“Attending a wedding is something really special and it’s our aim to make the mother of the bridge and mother of the groom feel special too.”

Fiona has More Frox too, which is right next door to the main shop and has some fantastic bargains on end-of-season outfits and also a Facebook clearance page at: http://en-gb.facebook.com/groups/FroxClearance/


Make a statement on your big day at Murthly Estate

MURTHLY Estate is a private family home comprising Murthly Castle, the Chapel of St Anthony the Eremite, and a 17th-century walled garden. In addition, there are beautiful tree-lined avenues which are ideal for that all-important wedding photography.

The approach taken by Murthly, is to your wedding allows you to feel that this is your own place and how the day runs is entirely up to you. With just 12 weddings a year, Murthly's wedding team's role is to assist and advise you as best they can, rather than try to take charge. The chapel seats up to 200 people and can host religious and humanist ceremonies. The Douglas fir avenue and garden are also popular for wedding ceremonies.

Receptions can take place either in the spectacular reception rooms in the castle or in the expansive walled garden, complete with original fountain, box and yew hedges, summer house and terraces.

The historic settlement of Dunkeld and Birnam, overlooking the River Tay, is four miles away and is the perfect place for your guests to stay, with its wide variety of accommodation, numerous pubs, cafés and shops in addition to riverside and hill walks.


From hospitality to celebrancy

MANY industries were hit hard by Covid lockdowns and restrictions – none more so than hospitality and catering which relies on the day-to day revenue from walk-in customers.

Just ask Andrew D Scott – he knows all about this. A well-regarded hospitality and catering entreprenuer, Andrew could only stand by and watch as his award-winning coffee shop, Heaven Scent, in Milnathort, was forced to close its doors and his consultancy clients dwindled away.

But never one to stand still for long, he had a brainwave. Just before lockdown he had attended a wedding – a stunning wedding, perfect in every way … except for the lacklustre celebrant.

So, highly experienced in creating memorable events and public speaking, Andrew reckoned that he could be a good celebrant – and spent lockdown doing just that. He did the training, studied hard and passed with flying colours.

With his other businesses now thriving once again, Andrew has already made his mark on the Scottish wedding scene. Funny and irreverent, witty and warm, Andrew can be found in his kilt or distinctive tweed suit delivering highly-personalised ceremonies for couples across the country.

If you’d like to speak to Andrew about your wedding ceremony, please call 07732 454639 or email hello@victuscelebrantservices.com

Bloomin’ lovely blooms

FUSING inherent creativity, skills and more than a decade of experience in the hospitality and events sector, John Gold – for the first time – is offering his dedicated floristry services under his own name.

Keen personal interests in horticulture, art and design underpin his chosen profession. The foundations of his stunning designs are nature-based but also a nod to his architectural interests. And the overall outcome from this experienced florist is a style which is timeless and elegant, yet also bold.

Based in 'the garden of Scotland' – the Clyde Valley, in Lanarkshire – John operates his floristry business from Silverbirch Garden Centre where he also forms part of the seasonal creative team. His services are available across the Central Belt and beyond.

Visit John’s website for further information and a flavour of how his designs will bring colour, flair and originality to your special day.


Dress to kilt from fleece to fabric

FOR Selkirk-based textile house, Lochcarron of Scotland, the launch of its first 100% UK-sourced kilt will appeal to those who are passionate about supporting local suppliers and like to know the story behind the products they buy.

Championing sustainability and localism, Lochcarron of Scotland’s all-British wool premium kilt cloth is woven at its mill in the Borders. The wool is sourced and spun in the UK, giving the firm a valuable opportunity to support British wool growers and textile manufacturers across the UK.

Lochcarron has developed its British wool yarn together with its spinning partner, Spectrum Yarns. The yarn composition consists of approximately 75% Scottish wool from Cheviot sheep, blended with British Romney Marsh wool.

The British Wool depot, based in Galashiels, sorts through and grades the fleece. The raw wool is then cleaned and spun in Yorkshire before the freshly-spun yarn is delivered to Lochcarron, in Selkirk. It is weaved in the mill with the fabric then sent for the final finishing stage, carried out by another trusted partner, Schofields Dyers and Finishers, in Galashiels.

This process is completed without compromising quality, supply, or service as Lochcarron works to improve its ethical and sustainable credentials from fleece to fabric.

Lochcarron of Scotland has been manufacturing tartans in the Scottish Borders for over 70 years. From kilt to catwalk, it champions the making of traditional tartan cloth while continuing to innovate through design and production.


Let the experts take care of the detail

WITH you looking to plan the wedding of your dreams with a modest budget? At Clementine Weddings and Events you can choose affordable wedding planning packages to suit all budgets with full transparency from the offset.

With seven years’ experience in the Scottish hospitality industry and an effervescent and informal approach, your experience will be encouraging, inspiring and a whole lot of fun! Service fees are very clear as they are a one-off cost, making it easy for you to budget.

Are you considering a DIY, barn, or marquee wedding? Have you thought about who will manage the day – from moving flowers and décor, putting wet weather plans into action, communicating with your suppliers, controlling the timings of the day?

That’s where Clementine’s on-the-day co-ordination comes into place – let the experts take care of the details so you can enjoy newly-married bliss!

There is limited 2022 availability but the 2023/24 diary is now open. Get in touch with them for a complimentary welcome call to discover how we can help you create the best wedding.