Wedding No. 1: Scotland

20 Jul

Technically, I did not plan this wedding after we got engaged.  Scotland is a dream vacation for both Andrew and me (though he’s already been), so when it was clear that we were on the path to marriage, we fantasized about a small, family wedding in Scotland.

NOT this:

No offense if this is your dress

No offense if this is your dress...

We were thinking a touch more restrained.  Scotland is famous for running off to get married.  In the mid 18th century, restrictive English matrimonial law led to the increase of English couples eloping across the Scottish border, where the age of consent was much younger.  Towns along the border, particularly Gretna Green, became the “drive-through wedding chapels” of the day.  Not so romantic, you may think.   The thing is, I love Scotland, and so does Andrew, so why not elope there rather than Vegas?

One thing Scotland has in abundunce: old houses, castles, towers, cottages, farmhouses, and inns.  And it seems like all of them are “for hire” for any kind of event or lodging you would need for a destination wedding.  In fact, you could randomly pick a part of the country, drop your finger on the map, and find at least 3 lovely places to stay for a weekend and get married.

Being practical (obviously, right?  I was planning a wedding thousands of miles from my home when I wasn’t even engaged yet.  The height of practicality!), I chose an area near Edinburgh, which allowed for minimal travel time and maximized our celebration time.   Searching the internet, I found the perfect place to get married in Scotland.

Winton House

Winton House.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s the home of Sir Francis Ogilvy, and sits on 2,000 acres.  It’s only 30 minutes from Edinburgh, so people aren’t traveling for a day to and from the international airport (and wasting all their vacation time in a car or on a train!)  The main house accommodates up to 16 people, and there are two additional places to stay on the property: Wintonhill Farmhouse and Winton Cottage, which hold up to 26 additional people.

GORGEOUS.  Right?  The two small houses are “self-catering”, which is a seemingly technical term in British hospitality jargon for “has its own kitchen”.  Presumably the rooms up at the big house are more like hotel rooms, so probably cost more.  However, I figured out based on their rates, and the time of year I was thinking (August and September), that we could rent both houses for a three day weekend, and have both our immediate families with us.  We could put any overflow and friends and ourselves in some or all of the 8 rooms at the main house, and easily cover those rooms in our budget as well.

You can get married in one of the gorgeous rooms in the main house, or in the garden, and then have a seated dinner and dancing after.  Including airfare, care hire, taxes, gratuities, plus all the stuff you’d need for any wedding – dress, accessories, tuxedos, flowers, invitations (though less 40 probably), and any other more casual events we might provide, I think this wedding could have been pulled off for less than $20,000.  (That being said, I did not get a quote from the Winton House, so possibly their prices are exorbitant.  But based on the rental for the cottage and farmhouse, it doesn’t seem that way.)

Downsides for this wedding?  Probably very few of our friends could have come, and many of our family members.  It would be a lot to ask from our family members who might feel obligated to come, including siblings.  Even if we paid for the lodging for a weekend, they would have to get plane tickets and car rentals, not to mention take vacation days at work.

So.  No Scottish wedding for us.

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