Love and marriage - minister arrives in horse drawn carriage to get wed in own church

A minister brought a town to a standstill by arriving at her own church in a horse drawn carriage to get married.

Rev Louise Mackay wed Jason Vagionakis at St Nicholas Parish Church in Lanark in South Lanarkshire in front of her friends, family and members of the congregation.

Rev Louise Mackay in Lanark
Well-wishers lined the street to watch Rev Louise Mackay get married.

The ceremony on Saturday was conducted by Very Rev Dr Russell Barr, a former Moderator of the General Assembly, who said it was “unusual” for a minister to get married in their own church.

It was a case of the boot being on the other foot for Ms Mackay, 30, who is originally from Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, because she is more accustomed to conducting weddings for other people in the church.

“Getting married is always a special occasion for any person but being able to get married in my own church makes it extra special," said.


St Nicholas Parish Church is the most famous landmark in the market town and located at the foot of the High Street near the site of Scottish patriot William Wallace’s house.

Lanark Louise
Rev Louise Mackay

It was packed with guests as well as members of the congregation and parishioners.

Mr Vagionakis is originally from South Africa and the service was live streamed online so family members and friends who were unable to travel could watch it.

Following the ceremony, the happy couple departed on the horse and carriage to the delight of onlookers.

Ms Mackay, who was ordained and inducted into the Lanark church in 2017, said: “We had a great day and we are so glad we were able to celebrate with our family and friends as well as members of the congregation.”


Dr Barr said it was a “great privilege” to marry his former student who spent her probationary year at his church, Cramond Kirk in Edinburgh, in 2015-16.

“Louise had been an outstanding student and we have kept in touch with one another since her appointment to St Nicholas,” he added.

“I was delighted when she asked me to conduct her wedding service.

“The sun shone, people lined the streets as the bride's arrival in a horse and carriage brought the town centre of Lanark to a standstill.

“It can't be often a minister is married in her own church and like every bride she looked quite nervous as she came into church.

“Thankfully she soon relaxed and I hope she and Jason enjoyed a wonderful day.”