Scottish wedding traditions such as bagpipe music, tartan clothing, kilts and Celtic rings have become popular additions to wedding ceremonies in the United States and Canada. As VisitScotland, the official tourism office for the country, celebrates the “Year of Homecoming,” it’s an ideal time for couples wishing to visit the birthplace of these traditions and incorporate authentic versions into their celebrations should consider Scotland as a wedding destination. Famed for its unspoiled beauty, distinctive culture and warm hospitality, Scotland is also the ideal romantic destination in which to tie the knot. From small, countryside inns to luxurious, historic manor houses, Connoisseurs Scotland offers an array of perfect locales for that special day. All properties can be booked for exclusive use, making it a true getaway for the whole wedding party.
Intimate country-house weddings are the specialty at the quaint Airds Hotel, located in the Scottish Highlands in Port Appin. The small hotel, once a ferry inn, has just 11 guest rooms and a private, two-bedroom cottage, making it ideal for the most personal of wedding celebrations. The Airds’ award-winning cuisine (the restaurant has earned three AA Rosettes and a Gold Award with Eat Scotland) featuring fresh local seafood and produce is modern and beautifully presented, earning it an international reputation as one of the best restaurants in Scotland. Staff at the Airds can help arrange every detail of the big day, a relief for couples doing their planning from abroad. The Airds allows for exclusive use of the property for “larger” weddings—up to 38 guests—and smaller events— eight guests or fewer—can be held without exclusive use of the hotel.
An authentic Scottish seaside wedding at the Crinan Hotel, set at the end of the famous Crinan Canal, offers a breathtaking setting with views of the islands of Jura, Scarba and Mull. The family-owned and run hotel, which features 20 double bedrooms, is just minutes away from a quaint church for couples who wish to be wed in one, or the ceremony can be performed in the hotel garden. The friendly staff at the Crinan is at the ready to help organize dancers, harpists, singers, bagpipers or a Ceilidh band—all elements of a traditional Scottish wedding. After the ceremony, the happy couple and their guests can embark on a boat trip to look for wildlife and visit the imposing Corryvreckan, the third largest whirlpool in the world. The Crinan can be booked for exclusive use for events with up to 40 guests.
Couples seeking the romance of the Scottish countryside may wish to get married at the luxurious Greywalls Hotel, located at the edge of the Muirfield championship golf course, close to Edinburgh. This Edwardian home, built in 1901, retains the charm and character for which it was renowned and creates an impressive backdrop for celebrations. The spectacular walled garden makes a lovely setting for a ceremony or simply for photos. Golf enthusiasts will love that there are 10 golf courses located within five miles of the hotel; the staff at Greywalls can even help to arrange Mini-Highland Games in the garden. Chex Roux, the restaurant at Greywalls, was named 2011 Restaurant of the Year by the Scottish Hotel Awards and offers upscale catering menus. Exclusive use of Greywalls is available for up to 50 guests.
Connoisseurs Scotland’s collection of 28 luxury accommodations also includes city-center properties; country house hotels; exclusive-use properties; Scotland’s only destination health spa, Stobo Castle; the ultimate luxury train, The Royal Scotsman; and the only cruise ship in the world with a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen, The Hebridean Princess. Seven of the members boast Michelin-starred restaurants, including the only two-starred restaurant in Scotland, which is found at Gleneagles.
Information on Connoisseurs Scotland, its member resorts, partners and special offers can be found atwww.luxuryscotland.co.uk. In addition travelers can download the Luxury Scotland app, which provides news and offers from members, onto their iPhones or Droids.