As one of the most stunning parts of the UK, Scotland is a popular wedding destination. For Matt and his newlywed Lauren, who has family ties to this unspoilt and beautiful country, it was a no-brainer and Norton House proved to be the perfect venue.
Despite the fact around 5000 couples tie the knot in Gretna Green every year, making it one of the world's most popular wedding destinations, it was not on the top of Matt and Lauren’s wish list as a Scottish destination to celebrate their special day. Norton House Hotel & Spa may not be steeped in traditions dating back over centuries, but it is a perfect setting for a wedding.
Lauren takes up the story: “For us Norton House was the obvious choice – not only for its beautiful grounds and excellent reputation for service, but as we had lots of guests travelling from the South of England we wanted a venue that could host the ceremony, reception and accommodation all under one roof.
“We also liked the atmosphere and the staff were very welcoming, spending a lot of time with us, giving us a tour of the house and answering all of our questions. As it was so far from where we lived, we found the wedding fayre really helpful and I would highly recommend it to other couples who are looking to get married. It was a quick way of meeting various suppliers and the ones we recruited from it were all great.”
Matt and Lauren also took advantage of Hand Picked’s food tasting appointment, which gave them the chance to sample various options from the menu. “We made a night out of it, and brought along both sets of parents to help us decide on what would be most interesting and crowd pleasing for our guests. Luckily most people liked our choices, the feedback was great and the staff catered well for all those with different dietary requirements and allergies,” reveals Lauren.
Many of the hotel’s main rooms are licensed for civil ceremonies, but as Matt and Lauren were having a fairly large scale wedding, they had a choice between the Ballroom and the Garden Suite. As self-confessed nature lovers they went for latter as they liked the floor to ceiling windows that not only filled the whole room with a soft light, but also looked onto the Victorian walled garden, which was in late summer bloom.
Dress code is an important factor in any wedding, and one Highland tradition is to wear a kilt, jacket and sporran. Despite the fact that Matt is English, he was keen to show off his knees and pay tribute to his Celtic roots. Each of the groomsmen followed suit, so it was certainly a unique sight for those from south of the border.
Another time-honoured Scottish tradition that Matt and Lauren incorporated to make their union even more special was following their first dance with a ceilidh. The word ceilidh (kay-lee) descended from the Gaelic for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’. Nowadays people think of a fun-filled night of dancing, folk music and great company – perfect for a wedding. “One of our guests teaches Scottish country dancing and she kindly offered to be the Caller, who talks you through the dance before you begin.”
The couple also chose to have a traditional Scottish bagpiper play at their wedding.
A sprig of white heather hidden in the bride's bouquet is another popular Scottish wedding trend, but for Lauren her cake topper was her good luck token. “Unfortunately our beloved cat Flo couldn't make it to the wedding. She is not good at travelling and she can't be trusted around food, but we wanted to somehow make her a part of the day. So we got a customised cake topper featuring myself, Matt and Flo. It made for a nice souvenir to prompt the good memories.”
From the moment you get in touch at Norton House, our experienced wedding co-ordinators we will help take care of all the details, offer advice and stay by your side every step of the way. On the day our specialist events team will then ensure everything runs seamlessly, leaving you free to treasure each moment, just as Matt and Lauren did.
ENTERTAINMENT: John Mackintosh, Highland Piper (0131 556 4342)
FLORIST: Val Hamilton (07742 574715)
PHOTOBOOTH: Oddbox (07522 236 588)
CAKE: Truly Scrumptious (01506 671133)
CAKE TOPPER: Made by Izzy (07870 454 096)