Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Destination Wedding Locations: Scotland

Great Britain is quite a popular honeymoon destination for couples looking for a bit of ancient history, pomp, and circumstance plus (as an added bonus) natives who speak a reasonably intelligible version of English. Scotland offers a different ambience for those not interested in the big-city life in London or the ultra-touristy haunts of England like Stratford or Bath. Instead, you can opt for a little Highland fun with bagpipes, kilts, and haunted castles—it's even possible to get married in such a location.

Wedding Logistics
Scotland doesn't have a residency requirement, but complex rules and regulations make hiring a professional destination wedding planner a must. There is a filing period which averages six weeks for document processing. The cost of a license is 26 pounds (about $45 dollars).

Local Bridal Customs
From kilts to bagpipe music, many couples incorporate local traditions when they marry in Scotland. Lute players often provide soft ceremony music while tapestries provide unique backgrounds for wedding photos.

Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Scotland is in the late spring or summer. While it is always rainy year round, the winter can be much worse. It can even snow in the high altitudes of Scotiand and the damp, cold weather is not much fun. By comparison, the driest and warmest weather is June, July, and August, which also corresponds to the high tourist season.

Costs, Accommodations, and Getting Around
Europe ain't a cheap place to tie the knot and Scotland is no exception. Expect to pay $2000 for
a simple ceremony, cake, flowers, and an on-site coordinator.

For the honeymoon, you can stay in a castle for about $400 a night, while an inn runs about $200. In the western highlands, Inverlochy Castle (01.1-44-397-702177) has sixteen guest rooms; prices start at $384 per couple in the high season and include a full break-
fast. Inverlochy apparently has a famous afternoon tea that is the highlight of the stay.
A less expensive alternative is Creggan's Inn (011- 44-369-86279) at $256 per night, which includes breakfast and dinner.

What Makes it Special
Since the Scots invented it, golf is no doubt one of the biggest attractions in Scotland—diehard fans will find the many courses quite challenging. Other outdoor sports such as hiking and camping are also popular.

History buffs will be enchanted with the many castles and ruins to visit. These include Balmoral Gasde (Queen Elizabeth's vacation home), the grounds, of which are open to the public from May to July (except when the royal family is in residence).

Of the dozens of other castles open to visitors, Drum Castle in Drumoak is. certainly worth a stop. The castle actually has one of the rings of Mary, Queen of Scots on display as well as various other artifacts. Graigievar Castle, a seventeenth-century structure near Lumphanan, has quite a collection of weaponry, family portraits^ a dungeon, and a few ghosts as well.
Don't forget to visit Scodand's most famous inhabitant: the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, Scotland has quite a few lakes and streams with excellent fishing— just don't catch Nessie!

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