a portent of spring
Tomorrow sees our first wedding of the year. Yes, these days all landed estates have to diversify to survive. Holding weddings was an obvious thing for us to do as a business: there are plenty of people who share the dream of a romantic wedding in a Scottish castle, with kilts, bagpipes and wild dancing into the wee hours. We were married here ourselves, so we know what we’re talking about when we enthuse about it as a venue!
Our March ‘happy couple’ are from the States. They are having a small and laid-back gathering which sounds tremendous fun. Generally, we do the behind-the-scenes preparations – which might include anything from setting up tables to sweeping the chapel, fetching buckets for the florist to finding a safety pin for the bride – and then stand back and let the bridal party get on with it. This particular group have very kindly invited us to join them and, not least as they are having two of my favourite local folk musicians to play at the reception, I am keen to accept and am frantically trying to get hold of my babysitter. Although the reception will take place in a wing of our own house, it’s so far from the domestic part that I really cannot leave the children out of earshot in their bedrooms without an adult.
Unusually, the wedding party is starting tomorrow with my husband giving them a tour of the castle and policies. While we do a number of private tours for interest groups every year, I don’t think we’ve ever done one on a wedding day before. There is still just enough snow on the hills to lend a certain grandeur to the setting, although it has all gone from the policies now, leaving everything a little soggy underfoot.
On the whole, though, the thaw is welcome. Snowdrops are nodding prettily on the grass and under the great Douglas firs. Today it is 9 degrees Celsius, as warm as it has been since November. The lochan below the castle is still frozen – that’s three months – but there is a patch of open water on it today where the burn runs into it, and I heard wild ducks on it this morning.
We are just starting to dare to hope that spring might indeed be coming. Perhaps the arrival of our first bride of the year, so early in the wedding season, is a good portent?