Under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977, couples can get married ANYWHERE in Scotland as long as they have the landowner's permission and provided a religious Celebrant (such as a Scottish Pagan Federation approved Celebrant) performs the ritual.
A commonly shared theme for many modern Pagans is a reverence for nature, so a Pagan wedding at an outdoor site with particularly stunning views, in a liminal or threshold place, or with archaeological or historical interest, can really enhance the sacredness of the occasion.
Orkney is the perfect place to get married! A group of islands just off the north-east coast of Scotland, but still part of the UK, Orkney is full of ancient sites which resonate with the power of the ancestors, enigmatic historic ruins, and some of the most stunning natural environments in the world.
Historic Scotland own or manage many of the ancient and historic sites in Orkney, and we have excellent relationships with their staff which facilitates gaining permission for rituals. As we are both trained archaeologists, Historic Scotland know that we would never do anything to harm the environment and that we will advise couples on what is feasible and practical. At some sites there is a charge for use, but we can advise on this in advance, and we can assist with liaising with Historic Scotland to gain permissions. A popular choice for many is The Ring of Brodgar – the third largest stone circle in Europe, situated between the lochs of Harray and Stenness, and studded with purple heather – a very peaceful site, with just the call of water-birds and the lapping of the loch as background sound.
There are woodlands (yes, even in the infamously treeless Orkney!) at Binscarth just outside of Finstown, beaches of clean sand which are often deserted, wild moorlands, windswept hills and cliffs that are usually full of nesting sea-birds. All of these venues are suitable if you would prefer a natural environment. If you choose a seashore setting, you will probably have an audience of curious seals!
If you would prefer not to chance the Orkney weather, there are also plenty of indoor venues which we would be happy to advise on. However, we appreciate that many people seeking a ceremony of this type would probably especially desire an outside venue and, as your marriage licence is valid for the entire day, we can usually work with you to ensure that we are available for a suitable “weather window” even if it does require a little waiting around! The weather is constantly changing in Orkney – it just sometimes needs a little patience. What you will be assured of, though, are some stunning light effects which will make any weddings photographs truly amazing.
In the event of stubbornly terrible weather, it is possible to decide on the day, or even at the last minute, to move to an indoors venue - so please don't worry about getting drenched! We also perform a little magick spell to encourage fine weather - refer Skull Splitter Magick!
If you’ve never visited Orkney before, then simply describe to us the type of site you dream of getting married at, and we’ll advise you on what’s available … why not start by browsing the photographs on this site for inspiration or considering some of the sites listed on Helen's Blog at spiritualorkney.blogspot.com?