Wedding Show a positive experience for Moray ministers

Church leaders in Moray have described their first ever appearance at a wedding show as a positive and worthwhile experience.

They explained the wider benefits of getting married in a Christian ceremony to about 70 people in Elgin yesterday afternoon.

Elgin Wedding Show
Rev Stuart Duff, minister of Birnie and Pluscarden and Elgin High Church, was on hand to explain the benefits of a Christian wedding ceremony.

Rev Jenny Adams, Rev Anne Attenburrow, Elder Elaine Clarke and Rev Stuart Duff manned a stall in the Town Hall.

Mrs Adams, convener of Moray Presbytery's Mission and Service Committee, said they all “enjoyed the chance to meet different people and be a church presence in a slightly different context”.

Guidance and support

“It was worthwhile doing the show, to be where people were and to open up possibilities,” added the minister of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church.

“We spoke to about 70 people, and everyone was friendly and seemed pleased we were there.

“Some people we spoke to were already in touch with a minister but others welcomed the chance to ask questions and take information about who to contact and how.

“It was interesting to see the range of businesses and services offering people choices to consider for their wedding day."

A total of 82 weddings were held in Moray churches in 2015 and 63 last year.

People are welcomed into the life of the congregation and provided with lifelong guidance and support.

Rev Stuart Duff
Rev Anne Attenburrow of Forres, Rafford and Dallas Churches and Elaine Clarke, an elder at Mortlach Church in Dufftown.

Rev Shuna Dicks, minister of Aberlour Parish Church, told the Press and Journal today that she had personally witnessed an increase in church weddings in recent years.

“I think there are two reasons for that,” she said.

“We have two lovely hotels in the parish so that makes it far easier for people to get married at the church and follow it up with a reception locally.

“I also think a lot of people want a countryside wedding so our location is ideal and a church represents traditional familiarity.

“Sometimes people will come to me explaining that although they want to get married in a church, they don’t want a religious ceremony.

“They view the church as a venue so I have to explain what actually makes a Christian wedding.

“Normally we reach some sort of compromise.”

Tradition

Mrs Dicks said she has conducted wedding ceremonies in people’s backgardens and a local waterfall.

“The service I carry out doesn’t vary in particular from what would happen in a church,” she explained.

“I often find that once I get talking to couples, they aren’t actually against a religious wedding and there has been a return to a more traditional format.”

Wedding Show
The Kirk's stand at the Wedding Show .

Church of Scotland marriages topped the list of ceremonies conducted by religious and beliefs-based celebrants in 2016.

A total of 3,675 couples chose to be married by a minister, who does not personally charge for their services, in a Kirk ceremony.