“Every moment is made glorious

by the light of love.”



Sometimes it can be hard to imagine how your wedding in Scotland could look like. Some of the couples whose wedding ceremonies I conducted have kindly agreed to let me share their stories and images here, to inspire other couples. Below you will find a small sample. You can find them and more on the new all the ceremonies of the north website, which focuses on the ceremony side of my work. Click on the link below to access them…
A Clachtoll Beach Spring  Elopement
As soon as we got in touch with Monika to begin plans on our wedding she made us feel totally relaxed and at ease, which is exactly the feel we wanted for our very intimate beach wedding. She was always quick to respond to any of our queries and also help us with ideas to include on the day.
The wedding itself was conducted beautifully with a poem that Monika had chosen which suited our dogs perfectly, it felt like it could’ve been written about them!
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Monika as a celebrant. Thank you for making our day so great!
Tina & Patrick
Tina & Patrick
When Tina & Patrick first got in touch with their ideas of a beach wedding at Clachtoll Beach I knew this would be one truly up my street (or sandy path) – a couple, their two kids, two mothers & two dogs! Like many couples I meet, they had fond memories of their wedding destination from previous stays and couldn’t imagine a better place for their very special occasion. And a special wedding day it was, on a sunny afternoon in May…
After meeting at the carpark – kids, dogs, photographer and various bits of equipment we all meandered down to the beach to find the spot that seemed right for the ceremony. A wedding party on a beach always creates curiosity, and spreads cheer – Tina and her daughter, beautiful in white, Patrick & Hamish in their kilts, bouncy dogs – love and happiness in abundance.
With everybody settled in our ceremony spot, with a backdrop of blue sea and white sand, what better way to start than with a poem about dogs on a beach, establishing the tone of the ceremony as fun and relaxed. What followed were heartfelt promises to each other, a sand ceremony that delighted the youngest member of the wedding party in particular, a lovely poem about family read by the couple’s son, rings, and a lovely impromptu contribution by Patrick’s mum. With the dogs happily frolicking in the background we signed the marriage schedule in a sheltered corner of the beach, propped up against ancient rocks and then celebrated with flower confetti.
A wonderful day for a wonderful couple & a wonderful family! Thanks for letting me be part of this joyful event.
A Small Clachtoll Bay Wedding with Family & Friends
We found out Monika lived nearby and lots of good feedback from other couples as we live so far apart we had to email. She gave us good advice for our big day. Monika has a lovely manner and nothing was too much bother. We made our vows to suit our Happy life together and Monika was great and kept a wee secret I slipped in to make my now husband laugh. We met up with her and were welcomed into her home. She kept in touch with us checking everything was OK. On the day it was perfect. The weather was a bit wild but love conquers all. We laughed and cried during the ceremony. It was written out perfectly to reflect our love for each other
April & Robin
April & Robin
April & Robin’s Highland wedding at the Salmon Bothy at Clachtoll Bay was a celebration of love later in life and making a wedding not just about close family & friends, but including a wider circle of friends. Clachtoll campsite is the place where they spent their first holiday as a couple a few years ago, and they love to return regularly. We got to meet during their holiday a year before the wedding date and made some early plans, keeping in touch via emails and calls through the next 12 months, with their ceremony slowly brewing and taking shape until we got a chance to make some final touches in the days before the ceremony when we could meet again. I got a taste of the growing wedding excitement at Clachtoll long before the couple’s arrival as various of their local friends started preparations. 
Some weather woes kept us all on our toes on the morning of the ceremony, but the changeable Highland weather delivered a dry afternoon and as always during a ceremony, the couple’s joy was all that mattered. Witnessed by family, friends (and two alpacas) a moving handfasting ritual and honest, caring and funny promises to each other were at the core of the ceremony and after all formal parts were concluded everybody piled into the characterful Salmon Bothy to witness April & Robin drinking out of the quaich, before toasting the newly wed couple for the first time!
One of those weddings that I will always fondly remember for being extra special…
An Autumn  Achmelvich Beach Wedding
When my partner and I began our search to have our wedding ceremony elopement, we didn't know where to start or if it was even possible to get legally married on Achmelvich beach, a place that I fell in love with while traveling the north of Scotland. We began our search on google, Monika was the first celebrant that popped up, our search was over. We are so very humble that we chose Monika as our Celebrant to conduct our ceremony. From the very first email, Monika gave us all the information we needed and more, nothing was too much trouble, she provided us with our witnesses, she was effortlessly patient and guided us to figure out how we wanted our perfect moment to be. She made it clear to both of us, that the ceremony would be our way and her generosity and kindness were made clear from the very beginning. She freed up her full day to make sure she was ready to go, so my husband and I could get married on the hour that the tide was perfect and when the weather was calm. Our photographer that we had chosen canceled two evenings before our wedding, I messaged Monika & straight away she saved the day by putting us in touch with another photographer within the hour, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Our day was perfect, the witnesses she provided were so kind and made us feel so comfortable and really helped to make our ceremony perfect. Monika was perfect for us from start to finish and gave us our perfect day in our perfect chosen place. We now have a slice of Achmelvich magic in our hearts forever, for that I will always be thankful & blessed. Thank you, Monika, from the bottom of our hearts.
Lauren & Lee
Lauren & Lee
For me, It felt like a true privilege to finish the 2022 wedding season as I had started it, with a very intimate elopement on a North-West Highland beach. The couple were Lauren & Lee this time, and the location was Achmelvich Beach. The plan was as daring as Sarah & Tim’s March elopement to Balnakeil and the early conversations were similar – about the weather! How would it be, what was the risk, was it worth the journey? Because I’m local to the area I always give couples my honest view – yes the weather is unpredictable, but if you accept that and value the scenery, the atmosphere, above a guaranteed blue sky then you will be in for some magic!
Lauren had fallen in love with Achmelvich during a North Coast 500 tour last year and when considering locations for an elopement in Scotland. felt drawn back to this amazing place. That Lee, her fiance was willing to trust her choice and come all the way North to a place he’s never been to is a testament to their love and strong relationship.
With only two months of planning, we hit the ground running via emails and a meeting on WhatsApp to discuss their ideas for their beach wedding. As often with elopements, Lauren & Lee’s wish was to keep it simple, and very personal. For me as the celebrant that means it’s really important to get all the elements right by building a rapport with the couple. Like when playing a piece of music hitting that right note is really essential because in a short and sweet (and possibly windswept) ceremony the words, the symbolic gestures, and the flow need to be ‘in tune’. Fortunately, Lauren & Lee were super easy and a pleasure to work with, generously sharing their story and what they mean to each other, as well as being honest and down to earth when describing what they were hoping for.
In the end, the weather kept us guessing, and worrying until the very end, but like so often, on the afternoon of the wedding we were lucky and it remained dry. When Dougie the photographer, the witnesses and I arrived on the beach Lauren & Lee had already set up on their chosen, sheltered spot. Lauren looked stunning in her simple white dress and bouquet of dried flowers. After Lee’s quick dash back to the car park for the rings, we were all ready to go. What followed was a lovely heartfelt ceremony, very private, with a backdrop of a moody sky, dramatic waves, and cheerful diving birds. Reflecting on their story, hearing their promises to each other, and witnessing the exchange of rings was very moving and their joy was simply infectious! We all noticed that just as they kissed for the first time as husband and wife a rogue wave came up to kiss Lauren’s heels, the sea’s touching approval, what more can you wish for!
Of course, a picture, or a few, say more than a thousand words – rarely have photos captured so well how it felt on the day!  Dougie  had only stepped in two days before, when the couple’s original photographer had cancelled on them. It all turned out for the best, being local to Assynt and not just an accomplished wedding but also landscape photographer he truly understands the land, and sea, and sky of the North-West, and that paired with a true interest in the couple made for a winning combination! 
Thanks, Lauren & Lee for letting us share and capture the joy! 
A Small Wedding at the Little Beach at Achmelvich
We were so lucky to find Monika. When we first emailed her about the possibility of being our celebrant, we were pretty clueless about the whole business. Monika was fantastic and, over many emails and Zoom calls, guided us through the process of creating our perfect day. She thought of everything and covered many things we had never even considered. After agreeing on the general outline of the ceremony and sending Monika the readings, our story and other information she requested, Monika began crafting the ceremony. Experiencing it for the first time on the day was fantastic. Monika had taken all the random snippets of our life and woven them into a story linking everything together. The ceremony surpassed all our expectations and was truly perfect.
Chris & Rico
Chris & Rico
For me, the story of Chris & Rico’s wedding starts and ends with two lovely tales. The first one: when Chris emailed from New Zealand in early March 2022 to ask if I was able to support his wedding to Rico during a family holiday in the area, he shared that he had come on holiday to near Lochinver every year as a child and that he had great memories from that time. Such a connection is always a great starter! He & Rico had expected to have a registry office wedding until they realised all the freedom that Scotland offered with regard to outdoor weddings. A small, intimate wedding ceremony at the little beach at Achmelvich Bay was now their favourite option, and they were delighted to have found a local celebrant. As it happens this very beach is what my family call’s ‘grandad’s beach’ as it’s on my parents-in-law’s croft and it has long been a dream of mine to conduct a wedding there! 
It might seem short, but three months can be a perfect amount of time to plan a wedding ceremony. It’s short enough to require a real focus, and long enough to still allow for some proper time to explore and consider options. Once we had established that necessary extra steps like a marriage visa (Rico is a US citizen) were doable, our discussions quickly tuned in to the heart of a wedding – the ceremony. ‘Small and intimate’ is often mentioned when I first hear from a couple and it’s always a pleasure to get a better understanding of what that means to individuals. During several zoom calls on Scottish mornings and Auckland evenings and vice versa and many emails we discussed various possibilities, from readings and rituals, to the vows and the role different family members would play on the day. And we talked about the weather, and footwear… I always hope for the best weather-wise and yet I usually have an honest talk with all my couples about the prospect of inclement weather and where their tolerance levels are. The same goes for the terrain, because being local I know that what looks like just a bit of rough ground on a map could well be tougher for some members of a wedding party. Chris assured me his family was used to the outdoors AND would opt for sensible footwear!  
As it happened the two week forecast showed perfect conditions, the one week forecast was still positive about sunshine and as we got closer to the wedding day – we knew Chris & Rico had indeed hit the weather jackpot!
On the day sunshine, warmth and a perfect light breeze welcomed the wedding party at the car park, where I met Chris & Rico, the wedding guests and Allan the photographer. A somewhat different wedding processional followed, along the track and then down the path, laden with blankets, flowers, buckets and spades, pies, cake and champagne – and all sensibly wearing wellington boots. As we set up everybody was astonished about the weather, and incredibly awed by the atmospheric setting – the sparkling white coral sand, shades of turquoise water and blue sky. For the ceremony Chris & Rico had chosen a part of the beach which comes with a backdrop of 3 billion year old rocks of Lewissian Gneiss. The features of the sand and rocks and the stream flowing towards the sea change all the time and luckily, at this very moment, the exposed rocks formed the perfect seating area for the wedding guests, looking towards the couple, and the sea in the background.
The ceremony itself was a joyous celebration of the ‘love journey’ of two men from two different continents, who met on a third and now live on a fourth. Aptly, the theme that ran through the ceremony was travel, not just in their personal story as a couple, but also continued in the readings various family members delivered and through my words about the meaning of marriage. After saying ‘I do’ in response to the words of commitment they had written themselves, formally taking each other as husbands, they exchanged rings made out of New Zealand gold. What a wonderful reminder of their current life, wherever their future as a married couple will take them to.
After the ceremony there was champagne and a wonderful cake, later followed by a swim in the sea. And this is my cue to share the second tale I alluded to at the start… as I chatted with Chris’ parents Karen and John over cake we discovered that for their first wedding anniversary John had bought Karen a pair of ear rings from my father-in-law’s gemstone shop, followed by others in the years to come. How wonderful that many years later I had the privilege to marry their son, at our family beach!
Thanks Chris & Rico for choosing this place so close to my heart for your special day and having me as your celebrant!
A Micro-Wedding at Prestonfield House, Edinburgh
Asking Monika to officiate our wedding was a no-brainer for our elopement. We've known each other for years through my work, and when we found ourselves in the unenviable position of organizing a wedding in two months, we figured we'd give Monika (even though she is about as far from Edinburgh as one can be) first right of refusal. To our delight she did not.
From Zoom discussions to a very timely subtle reminder to pick up our marriage license that genuinely nearly got forgotten in the chaos that was the run up to our wedding, Monika has been a pillar of calm, knowledge, and support. There have been many back and forth emails about running orders, vows, rituals, and the ceremony, things we'd never have considered ourselves, but with Monika's help came together beautifully in a day that will go down in the story of our relationship, and now marriage, as perfect. The ceremony was beautiful, personable, and tailor-made for us as a couple. It fit like a glove - just like Monika's presence in our very small company did. We wouldn't have had it any other way.
Jolanda & Jason
Jolanda & Jason
It is always a special privilege to be asked to be the celebrant at the wedding of somebody you know very well. Jolanda and I have been working together online for many years and swapping our usual conversations about Social Media for discussing wedding rituals, and vows was truly enjoyable. Their chosen venue was the Garden Room at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh and it was always clear that it would be a very musical event as Jolanda and both her friends and witnesses are involved in opera. I knew Pianist Ailsa from another strand of my online life too, so all six of us who met on a lovely but thundery September afternoon in this stunning venue had some connection, which contributed to a very intimate atmosphere.
The bride entered the room to Jamie singing ‘Liebesbriefchen’ (Love Letter) and after the welcoming words Jolanda sang at Jason – my first ever singing bride! Witnessed by their close friends and their lovely big dog Cerby what followed were some poetry, song lyrics, reflections on their story up to their wedding day, and then the big moment of rolling the dice to see who would go first with the vows. A quirky choice that made total sense to a couple who love Dungeons & Dragons! Jason & Jolanda’s promises to each other were personal and heartfelt and totally befitting to this very personal setting. And then after the I do-s, exchange of rings, and signing of the marriage schedule a humorous final rolling of the dice to determine the likely success of the marriage – I’m glad to say it looks good for their future! 
With music such a key theme in this wedding I had been determined to choose a poem for my final words that honoured Jason’s more technical job – ‘Scaffolding’ by Seamus Heaney seemed a perfect match, especially as Jolanda had talked about the walls of their house in her vows:
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
Returning to Achmelvich Beach for a Family Wedding
When we started our search for a celebrant we were delighted to hear that Monika, who has such a close connection to our chosen ceremony location, was willing to marry us. From our first meeting we knew that Monika was the one we wanted to conduct our ceremony. She has a fantastic, personable manner and made every step of the way effortless and enjoyable. The guidance, support and advice we received from her was invaluable. Thank you Monika for making our wedding day so special and one we will never forget.
Rhona & Calum
Rhona & Calum
Rhona & Calum were the first couple I had the honour to marry, on my local beach, no less, and it could not have been two lovelier people to co-create the wedding ceremony with! After getting engaged in 2019 at the little beach in Achmelvich, a beach wedding with all their family and friends had been their dream, and I’m so glad it finally came true in May 2021. In the 15 months before the big day we had times of intense chat and bouncing back and forth ideas, and quiet periods of mulling things over and simply trusting each other that things would come together (and rules would allow things to happen as planned).  
It was a smaller event than originally planned, but truly special! The sun had made the perfect appearance in early afternoon, just in time for  the wedding processional  to head down the white sandy beach, accompanied by piper Gilly Bee. The groom and wedding party were waiting at the beautiful wooden arch Rhona’s dad had built, and what followed was a ceremony that was caring, fun and relaxed, just like the couple at the centre of it. It included readings by both the bride’s and groom’s mother, Rhona and Calum’s love story and vows to each other, rings and a handfasting and quaich . There were lots of  smiles, some laughter (especially at Benji the dog digging under the chairs and then barking at the piper), and a few tears.  You can see that perfect little personal space created for family & friends, which felt really special and intimate, and yet there were quite a few people around the beach and up the hill who all felt so privileged to witness such a happy occasion from a distance. 
That very spot on Achmelvich Beach will always have a special place in my heart! Rhona & Calum, thanks for making me part of your wedding day! 

If you are looking for a celebrant to conduct your wedding, civil partnership ceremony or vow renewal in the North-West Highlands of Scotland get in touch to discuss how I can support you. 

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