Abbey wedding ban may be reversed

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COUPLES may be able to exchange their vows once more in Arbroath’s most historic setting.

As revealed by the Herald last month, brides and bridegrooms are unable to be married at Arbroath Abbey after the custodians, Historic Scotland, halted ceremonies there.

This prompted a campaign by local MSP Graeme Dey and the Arbroath Abbey Action Group to persuade the management body to reverse their decision.

And after a meeting in Edinburgh on Tuesday between Mr Dey, Historic Scotland chief executive Ian Walford and Harry Ritchie from the Arbroath Abbey Action Group, it was revealed that if demand increases weddings could begin again next year.

Although no firm commitment has been given by the custodians to rescind the decision to cease holding wedding ceremonies within the Abbey, Mr Walford indicated they could be reinstated.

This was due to local interest in the issue and an offer by the Action Group to assist in promoting the service in a variety of ways, both domestically and overseas.

Mr Walford added that his organisation would look favourably on reinstating access in 2013/14.

Mr Dey was pleased that Historic Scotland agreed to look at the situation again but warned the facility would have to be used.

He said: “We had a very positive discussion and I am hopeful of a favourable outcome.

“However, if Historic Scotland does restore this service it would have to be utilised. We would be very much in a ‘use it or lose it’ situation.”

And Mr Ritchie added: “We put a number of suggestions to Mr Walford and his team as regards promoting weddings in the Abbey and these were well received.

“We will now be firming these up and holding further discussions which I am, based on our initial meeting, optimistic will bear fruit.

“But it is the case that we will have to stimulate sufficient interest in order to maintain the facility.”

When it was first revealed that weddings were no longer being held at the Abbey, Historic Scotland cited a lack of demand and said investment in 22 of their other properties meant couples could say ‘I do’ there.

This prompted the Abbey Action Group to demand that Historic Scotland reverse this decision as they said it “robbed the community” their chance of tying the knot at Arbroath’s best known landmark.

l If wedding services were reinstated at Arbroath Abbey would you like to be married there?

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