There is good news for those wanting marry across the border in Scotland – the Church of Scotland allows those of other faiths to marry in the time-honoured Church of Scotland tradition, provided they believe in monogamy. However, a guide to Church of Scotland wedding ceremonies is essential.
For those wishing to have a Church of Scotland wedding ceremony, there are some certain legal requirements. Couples must firstly be over the age of 16 and not be related to each other. You must not be legally married to anyone else and if you have been married before, you must be able to provide evidence that the marriage has been terminated by death, divorce or annulment. Both parties should be capable of understanding the concept of marriage and consent to this ceremony.
Couples should not be of the same gender at birth and if you are from outside the UK, the marriage must be valid in the country of your residence. The majority of countries will recognise the validity of a marriage performed in Scotland, even if the bride and groom are 16, but you should always check with your local authorities.
Banns are not read in Scotland, unlike with that of the Church of England. Intent to marry should be handed to the register no later than 15 days before the marriage. As long as there are no impediments, then the District Register will provide a Marriage Schedule a week or so before the wedding takes place. This must be handed to the minister on the wedding day, before the ceremony starts.
Before the wedding, your minister will probably ask to see you, to stress the importance of this ceremony as the Church of Scotland views marriage as a lifelong commitment. They will confirm that you understand the nature of marriage and discuss what will happen.
On the day of the wedding, the groom and his ushers will arrive about an hour beforehand and help sit the guests. Guests of the groom are seated on the right side pews, whilst guests of the bride are on the left. Guests usually arrive about 30 minutes before the ceremony and it is the job of the groom and his best man to greet and seat them.
The mother-of-the-bride and the bridesmaids arrive next and wait for the bride, who appears last with her father or the man giving her away. Once the bride is ready, the chief usher will then walk the mother to her seat. This indicates that the ceremony is ready to begin. The doors open and the bride walks down the aisle to the groom, who is anxiously waiting for his beloved bride.