Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wait, who am I not allowed to marry?!

Last Sunday I went for my first bike ride around Edinburgh, and it was everything you would expect out of a ride through Scotland. The morning was overcast and misty, but not fully raining and the roads were relatively quiet. I bundled up and off I rode through country roads, past fields and into the mist, even passing a castle.

Melville Castle to be exact. Of course I had to look it up when I got back! According to the website (, while the grounds have been of importance since 1155, the current castle was built in 1786. Like all good castles, various royals have visited and ghosts still linger, but today after years of being vacant, it has been restored and is now a hotel. It seems the big draw is its use for special functions such as meeting and proms…and especially weddings. In fact, a good portion of the website is devoted to “Wow Weddings.”

I had a look about and discovered a page entitled “Getting married in Scotland” which outlines all the regulations and paperwork needed in order to come to Scotland and realize the little girl fantasy of getting married in a castle. Important information to be sure, although it seemed that most of it could have been sent to people who had already booked their wedding, not information the general public needed to see on a hotel website. Especially when I got to the section at the bottom labelled “Forbidden Marriages.” Oh yeah. This had to be good…

The section consists of six tables, three for men and three for women, outlining who they may not marry in categories of sanguinity, affinity, and adoption. Words can’t really do them justice so I've included them below, or alternately they can be found here: I especially enjoy the clauses at the end regarding age and gender change.
And ok, I get that this is crucial information when getting married. But again, is this necessary on a website for the general public, must of whom will just be looking to book a hotel room, or like me, figure out what castles are nearby? Also, to some degree shouldn’t this be common knowledge? Or is this a case of having to publish the rules up front because at one time someone didn’t follow them? I suppose that would be awkward to show up with your nephew, ready to commit only to find out that it is in fact illegal! So many questions…

So anyway, Melville Castle: A beautiful castle, in a beautiful area, with royals, and ghosts, and strict rules against incest. Another magical discovery in Scotland.

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