Storm Gertrude and Henry may have had us hunkering down over the last few days, but be assured brighter days are ahead, in only a few short weeks, the days will lengthen and we will get a spring back in our step.
And with the hope of better weather the 2016 wedding season will soon be upon us, so what better way to get inspired and get ahead of the game, but to check out some of the options here in our pages.
As a bride to be as soon as you said YES! to that romantic proposal you probably had a fair idea of what kind of wedding you would like, and very soon I’m sure the bridegroom to be also got on board this runaway train and started throwing in his own ideas and suggestions for a great day.
But when you start to do a bit of research your preconceived ideas can soon fall by the wayside, either due to budget, or availability, or simply because wedding plans can soon grown arms and legs, with that small intimate ceremony for 20 people soon growing into a 100-strong army of friends and family keen to help you celebrate.
All around the Islands this summer you will see successful wedding parties all dressed up in their finery celebrating a very special day in the lives of the people they love, to help you get started on your plans you should be thinking about the ‘main four’ advance bookings to be made – the ceremony, the reception venue, the dress and the photographer.
One event locally that is bound to inspire is the Wedding Fair taking place at the Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway on the 20th of February from 2pm to 5pm.
There will be an opportunity to talk to the wedding managers from the Cabarfeidh Hotel and Caladh Inn about how they can help provide your wedding reception for the bride and groom.
Clients are free to input as much or as little as they choose – for example, the hotels’ staff can organise the entire room set up, or the client can introduce their own décor and table dressing.
A fixed price means that you know what your bill is going to be, right from the start, with no unexpected surprises!
This all-in-one service means the hotels’ staff do everything – the bride and groom don’t have to prepare the hall, or clean up afterwards etc.
And with professional chefs and serving staff – the food and ambience is right every time.
At the Wedding Fair there will also be a chance to build up contacts with local wedding suppliers, such as photographers, videographers, cake makers, dressmakers, favours and décor suppliers.
While it’s possible to save money with a do-it-yourself option, in a marquee or village hall, with family or caterers cooking the food, the amount of work involved can be enormous and stressful.
It takes a brave bride or extremely dedicated mum to arrange a menu, shop for ingredients, persuade friends and family to cook food on the big day, find enough tables and chairs, buy the right amount of drinks, decorate the room and complete a seemingly endless list of tasks. Especially at a time when you have a list of personal preparations to get through, too.
If you wish to have your wedding on the mainland - sometimes this is more convenient for islanders who have lots of family travelling for the big day - a popular choice is an Inverness based wedding.
Situated along the beautiful banks of the river Ness, The Waterside Hotel, Inverness offers a stunning wedding venue with fabulous views over the river to Inverness Cathedral and the hills beyond.
The wedding and function suite boasts impressive, modern fibre optic lighting and an interactive sound system.
From a starry night scene to a rainbow of twinkling colours this venue can certainly add the ‘Wow’ factor and personalise the surroundings to your requirements.
The Waterside Hotel have an experienced, dedicated team, who will help you to plan your wedding day, and ensure everything runs exactly as you imagined it.
They can comfortably seat 120 day guests plus an additional 30 for the evening and if guests require overnight accommodation, preferential rates are available on the wedding night or the hotel’s 35 en suite bedrooms.
Aside from the venue, their wedding menus have been produced using locally sourced ingredients and the bespoke menu selector gives you control to offer the perfect menu for your guests, who will receive friendly, attentive and professional service.
The Waterside Hotel is registered to cater to civil, religious, partnership and humanist ceremonies.
Once your venue is sorted out and you have a dress and the groom’s attire is chosen other items such as flowers, photography and make-up can be taken into consideration.
Floral arrangements for weddings usually tie into a colour theme and the island florists can easily advise on the best blooms for the season, as well as conforming to a colour palette.
You and your wedding party will want to look fabulous on the day itself and this takes a bit of thinking ahead, it is wise to consult with an experienced beautician to get the right balance on the day.
Heaven forbid that you have a disaster with fake tan, so take the time to book a consultation and your beautician will be able to advise on the best regime for skin care, so that you are glowing on the day.
Many modern brides like an ‘underdone’ look for their make-up, looking as natural as possible, but still being gorgeous for the wedding photographs.
Another area where some weddings can come unstuck is commemorating the day with wedding pictures and video, but having a good chat with your photographer/video maker will soon pin down what you are expecting, and they are bound to be able to offer a few ideas which you didn’t even think of!
Whatever your plans for the perfect Wedding Day, get your thinking cap on early enough and you should have a stress free and enjoyable experience.