It’s not often that you need to include the booking of ferries in the list of things to do before a wedding, but this was the case for Beth Anderson and fiancé Mark Gillard, who are to be wed in Skerries today.
On top of the usual preparations of venue, cakes, rings and invites, their wedding arrangements have included a few unusual extras to ensure the day goes to plan.
The Skerries population of 70 will almost treble at the weekend, so, due to the isles’ regular ferry only being able to accommodate 30 passengers, the Fivla has been roped in to take people from the Mainland.
The ferry will stick to the normal running times but there are extra crossings planned for the early hours of Saturday.
When the couple spoke to The Shetland Times on Wednesday evening, preparations were almost complete and the pair were in the middle of decorating the hall, which Beth said looked “absolutely wonderful”.
Not living on the island has however posed a few problems. Beth said: “I live and work in Aberdeen and we travel quite a lot … trying to do all the organising and keeping tabs on who’s doing what has been hard.”
Thankfully, they have also had the help of the entire island who have pitched in with making decorations, food and even offering accommodation of the 216 guests expected to make the trip to the isles.
Beth, who grew up in Skerries, said: “Everything has been hand made … The amount of effort everybody’s put in is amazing.”
Now that the stress is over and the wedding is almost here, Beth said she was feeling “so emotional”.
She said: “It’s just brilliant. All the corners of our lives are coming together; we’ve got Mark’s family coming from Bristol, and a friend from Australia.”
The run up to the day has been great fun, she said, with a pyjama-party themed stag and hen do taking over the isles earlier in the week.
Beth continued: “It’s been great fun and we’ve just been blessed with the weather.”
All the bridesmaids and best men had arrived and more family were expected to come from Bristol. As there is limited accommodation on the isle guests are having to sleep anywhere they can, with tents being pitched and five or six caravans also coming in.
The groom, originally from Bristol, has his parents, siblings and an aunt and uncle all making their way north for the event.
Mark said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable, I’ve been bowled over by the support we’ve had.”
While the wedding – which will be a traditional Shetland affair set over two days and with a walk from Beth’s parents’ house to the kirk – is a far cry from anything Mark has experienced before, he said he was “very pleased” they had decided to do it in Skerries.
He said: “It’s very different, but I’m very pleased we’re getting married in Skerries. When I proposed to Beth I asked her where she’d like to get married and she said Skerries, so I had no option!” he joked.
The couple will be the first to be married in the isles for 11 years. While there was a hamefaring for Tanya and Norman Hughson in 2004, the last actual wedding to take place in the isles was that of Alison and Martin Ramsay, who got married in December 1998.