21 Oct 2019 Admin

How to Plan The Ultimate Wedding In Scotland From Abroad

Are you planning a wedding in Scotland from abroad?

You’ll probably be wondering about Scotland destination wedding costs; perhaps you’re thinking about eloping to Scotland and the legalities around this – the marriage notice and such like. You will most definitely be intrigued by the Scottish wedding traditions and how to integrate them into your big day and you may well be concerned about the logistics of planning a wedding in Scotland from another country. Never fear! At Music for Scotland, we have seen plenty of couples pull of fabulous nuptials from the other side of the world and have picked up some tips, tricks and wedding hacks ourselves, to help out future bride and grooms. So whether you’re looking for advice on how to book your live wedding band and entertainment or inject some authentic Scottish wedding traditions into your big day, read on.

Know the Scottish Wedding Laws


If you’re coming from abroad (and specifically outside of the EU – we won’t pull at the other thread) you will first need to have a marriage visitors’ visa. You can apply for these up to 3 months before your wedding and once that’s done and dusted you can send off for a license to get married to whichever registry office is closest to your wedding venue. Each of you will need to return a marriage notice form, details of your witnesses and any previous marriages at least 29 days before the date of the wedding - at the latest. You’ll also need to bare in mind that, if you want to have a humanist or religious wedding ceremony, your marriage license will have to be collected by one of you in person, before your big day.

The good news is that you can get married anywhere in Scotland and it will be legally binding – up a hill, in the middle of a loch (it’s happened), in a castle, in a cave…you get the picture (and already know that in Scotland, that picture will be stunning.)

So once you’ve dealt with the boring legal bit, you can plan the fun stuff!

Use a Wedding Planner


If you want to focus on the details of your big day and not to worry about the big stuff, use a wedding planner. Some wedding planners will have specific elopement packages, which are designed for couples planning their wedding from further afield. Not only will they offer tailored advice on how best to achieve your perfect day, they will arrange the legal paperwork for you so all you have to focus on is those little things that will make your day unique to you. Also, because wedding planners generally have a close working relationship with their suppliers, they may well be able to get a rarely available wedding band, a discount on your wedding venue or an upgrade on a wedding catering package. So while you will be paying them a bit extra for the service they provide, the amount of your time this will save is priceless.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money on a wedding planner, no problem: there are plenty of online tools that will help you plan your perfect day and any number of real-wedding blogs to get inspiration from.

Hire your band


This one’s crucial. You’ve decided that, in order for your big day to have that all important atmosphere, you want a destination wedding in Scotland. It is unlikely then, that you’ll be satisfied with hiring a DJ who may not capture the mood of the day with a set playlist. Live wedding bands are unequivocally the better option if you want to inject fun, excitement and adaptability into the day as well as make it memorable. Post wedding, conversations frequently focus on how the band “made the day” – honestly, it’s rare to hear the same about a DJ who, whilst being a practical and cheaper option, just lacks that pazazz that comes with live music. Plus, if you want to have a ceilidh, you’ll need to have a professional caller to help you master the jigs and reels and that option is only available with an experienced ceilidh and covers band.

A word of warning; whilst live wedding bands in Scotland are plentiful, the exceptional ones - who will get your guests up on their feet and motivate them to stay on the dance floor all night - get booked up fast and, sometimes, years in advance. So if you’re looking for wedding bands Glasgow, live bands in Edinburgh or ceilidh bands in Scotland, follow our advice:

- Use a Music Agency: this offers you far more protection, choice and experience than an individual band.

- Audition your band: some agencies, like Music For Scotland, have invested in creating professional videos for their bands, to give potential clients an idea of what the band will look and sound like on the day. These are hosted on their websites and can really help couples understand which band is right for them. Live wedding band showcases are also worth considering if you’re in the country at any point in the planning process. These are free and allow you to audition your wedding band before making a decision.

- Book early: booking a live wedding band should be at the top of you list of priorities, close to booking a wedding venue.

Get traditional


Scotland has countless wedding traditions, going back centuries and wearing a kilt is the very least of them. Scottish wedding traditions vary from county to county so you can incorporate the beliefs from several corners of Scotland to make your wedding really quirky. Here are just some of the traditions you can appropriate on your big day to get that authentic Scottish experience.

- On the day of the wedding, the bride should always step out of her house on her right foot to make sure the marriage itself will get off to a successful start

- The wedding scramble - or warsle as it is called in Ayrshire - is still very much a part of a Scottish wedding. This is where, as the bride gets into the waiting wedding car, the father of the bride throws a handful of coins for the gathered children to collect. This is said to encourage financial prosperity for the happy couple

- Other symbols of good luck are a sprig of white heather hidden in a bridal bouquet, a shiny sixpence piece placed in the bride’s shoe and a luckenbooth – a silver brooch – given to the bride by the groom

- For those couples looking to stick to a tight budget for their big day, Scottish traditions have you covered here too. The Penny Wedding is a practice where the guests bring their own food and drink and the bride and groom splash out on the wedding cake

- No traditional Scottish wedding will be complete without Scottish country dancing. Jigs and reels are a must for anyone wanting to have an authentic Scottish experience. The Lang Reel is the most traditional of these and hails from the fishing communities in the North East. The wedding party and the villagers dance together at the harbour and then continue to dance all the way through the village, with the crowd getting smaller and smaller as each couple in the procession leaves the party as they’re going past their house. Don’t fancy having the whole village involved? Not to worry: an energetic ceilidh band will get your guests spinning round the dance floor to Scotland’s most popular dances – with the help of a professional caller of course.

Scotland is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and atmospheric countries in the world and a wedding here would be truly unforgettable. Fancy making memories in stunning scenery, surrounded by legendary castles, glens and lochs? Get the key components of the big day sorted and don’t miss out on making your wedding day extra special with a phenomenal ceilidh and covers band keeping the party going into the night.

For information on ceilidh bands or, indeed, any other type of band you may wish to consider, don’t hesitate to give Music For Scotland a call – we’d be delighted to help you make your wedding day one to remember.