Getting Married on Islay & Wedding Venues

Happy Married Couple on IslayIslay (pronounced eye-la) lies on the West Coast of Scotland, within the group of islands known as the Inner Hebrides. Islay, the "Jewel of the Hebrides" was once the Seat of the Lord of the Isles; the ruins of their council buildings can still be seen today on an island in the middle of Loch Finlaggan. More famous now for its Whisky distilling, there are currently eight working distilleries on Islay, all producing very distinctive individual malt.

Where to get Married on Islay?
There are lots of beautiful locations on Islay to choose from and you can pick any one of them, whether it be one of Islay's glorious beaches or a working Distillery. The choice is yours. Some options are Ionad Chaluim Chille Ile, Port Mor and Finlaggan.

Ionad Chaluim Chille Ile
This is the new Gaelic centre for the island, located just outside Bowmore. It was originally built as a fever hospital and was latterly used by Argyll and Bute Council as a service depot. The building was completely refurbished in 2001 and is now a very popular venue for weddings. It can seat approximately 80 people and has wonderful views overlooking Loch Indaal. All bookings for the Gaelic Centre must be made directly with them. A list of contact numbers are available at the end of this page.

Happy Married Couple at FinlagganFinlaggan - Ancient Seat of the Lord of the Isles
This was the site of the "original Scottish Parliament". Located on an island in Loch Finlaggan, the ruins of the parliament buildings can still be seen today. If you are looking for something a wee bit different then this may be the place for you. Again, all bookings must be made directly with the Finlaggan Trust. More information on Weddings at Finlaggan is available here

Port Mor
Another addition to the approved list is Port Mor. This community facility is in the beautiful conservation village of Port Charlotte. Marriages can take place in the grounds around the centre which include a small beach, camp-site and football pitches. In the event of bad weather the centre boasts a beautiful glass fronted room with fantastic views across Lochindaal to the Mull of Oa. It can accommodate 50 people. There is also a cafe on-site who can provide catering for wedding parties. Bookings must be made directly with the centre, the telephone number is 01496850441. For more information, the web-address is

Argyll and Bute Council Marriage Room
In 1994, Argyll and Bute Council converted a room in the former Church of Scotland Manse in Bowmore to be used to perform civil Marriages. The Marriage room can seat 30 people comfortably, but the Registrar must be informed in advance of the number of guests. To the rear of the Marriage Room are gardens that can be used for photographs.

Church Wedding
Romantic Church of Portnahaven and Port WemyssIf you would like to have a Religious Marriage ceremony on Islay there are currently 6 churches on the island to choose from. The most famous of these being the Round church in Bowmore which was built like this to prevent the Devil from hiding in its corners. Presently there is one full-time Church of Scotland Minister, Rev Valerie Watson who holds services in Portnahaven Church, St, Kiaran's in Port Charlotte and Kilmeny in Ballygrant. To discuss a religious service she can be contacted on 01496850241. She can also advise on contact details for the other parish churches.

Once you have checked availability for the church of your choice and discussed your plans with the appropriate Minister you need to contact the Registrar for a Marriage pack. It is the same pack for Religious and Civil Marriage ceremonies. Church wedding fees are £70.00, however each church charges a fee for use of the premises. This varies from church to church but generally prices range from £150 to £250. In addition to holding Religious services in the Parish churches, Ministers can also conduct services on remote locations without the need of a special licence. However, it is best to check with the local Minister before making any plans.

There are also two Baptist Churches on the island. One in Bowmore and the other in Port Ellen. The Baptist Minister is Rev Jim McNulty and he can be contacted on 01496810049.

If you would like a Roman Catholic service, there is a Catholic Church in Bridgend which is also shared by the Episcopal congregation. There is no Priest based on the island but one visits regularly from Campbeltown. To use the church in Bridgend contact Rev Ken Skipper who is the Episcopal Minister on 01496810321.

Planning your Marriage

What do you need to do first?
Once you have decided on a Marriage venue, contact the Registrar on Islay to ensure that your preferred date is free. If you have chosen to marry out with the council's wedding room, you must make a booking directly with your venue. The procedure for notifying the Registrar is called "giving notice". This is done by submitting "M10" forms which can be downloaded from the National Records for Scotland web-site at or can be posted out from the local Registration office. These forms must be received by the Registrar no later than 14 days and no sooner than three months before the Marriage date.

Once the forms have been received by the Registrar your names will be placed on the list showing all the forthcoming Marriages within this area which is on public display.
In addition to the forms, you will have to provide birth certificates, photographic ID for the Bride and Groom and, if either have been married previously, the Registrar will need to see supporting evidence that you are now free to marry; for example - a divorce certificate. British couples will also have to provide proof or residency in the UK. For couples who reside within the EU please check with the Registrar for information on any additional paperwork required. For any couples subject to immigration laws please contact

What Next?
After the Registrar receives your M1O forms, she will make up your Marriage Schedule. This is the document that both of you will sign on the day of the wedding. It is important that you call the Registration Office a few days before the service to ensure that all the details on the schedule are correct and also to go over the last minute plans for your wedding. If you wish to make your day more special, you can add your own choice of readings, poems or songs to the ceremony, as long as there is no religious content. Confetti should only be used outside the building and cameras can be used once the ceremony has taken place, except for official photographers who may take pictures during the ceremony.

Price List for Outside Locations

Payable by the Bride and Groom

Weekdays Monday to Friday
10:00am - 5:00pm
Marriage Notice Forms
£30 per person
Solemnisation of
Civil Marriage
Registrar Costs £215.35  
Marriage Certificate
(if purchased within
1 year
Plus Travel
Costs from
registration office
Up to 5 miles £6.40  
Up to 10 miles £12.70  
Up to 15 miles £19.10  
Up to 20 miles £25.45  
Up to 25 miles £31.85  
Happily Married Islay Couple
Weekday & Saturday evenings
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Marriage Notice Forms
£30 per person
Solemnisation of
Civil Marriage
Registrar Costs £290.70  
Marriage Certificate
(if purchased within
1 year
Plus Travel
Costs from
registration office
See left section

2:00pm - 5:00pm
Marriage Notice Forms
£30 per person
Solemnisation of
Civil Marriage
Registrar Costs £255.65  
Marriage Certificate
(if purchased within
1 year
Plus Travel
Costs from
registration office

General Fees

General Fees
I.C.C.I. - Saturday £387.05
I.C.C.I. - Week day (9am - 5pm) £346.75
Finlaggan - Saturday £393.35
Finlaggan - Week day (9am - 5pm) £353.05
Port Mor - Saturday £393.35
Port Mor - Week day (9am - 5pm) £353.05
Outside License (For registration Weddings only) £281.20
Services conducted by a minister
(Regardless of location)

Period Approval
Valid for up to 3 years- Cost: £636.55 (Payable by proprietor of establishment i.e Hotel)

Temporary Approval
Valid for one marriage on an appropriate place chosen by the couple - Cost £281.20 (£450.10 for remote Locations, see Guidance Notes) (Payable by the Bride and groom)

Vessels/ Trains /Other Transport
Period and temporary approvals will be granted for ships/boats and moving vehicles for marriage ceremonies within the boundaries of the appropriate registration district - Cost: £636.55 (Period) (Payable by proprietor) £450.10 (Temporary 1 Occasion) (Payable by Bride and Groom)

The above Fees are in addition to all other marriage fees payable by the Bride and Groom. Sunday Fees/Public Holidays Registrars Fee is £324.60 in addition to other costs

Important Notice
Before fixing a date for your marriage please check with the appropriate Registrar to make sure they are available to conduct your marriage.

Useful Contact Names and Numbers

Name Telephone
Argyll and Bute Council Registrar's Office 01496 301 320 email:
Tourist Information Centre 01496 810254
Caledonian MacBrayne (Islay)
01496 302209
01880 730253
British Airways (Islay Airport)
British Airways, Glasgow
01496 302022
0141 222111
Ionad Chaluim Chile Ile 01496 810818
Finlaggan Trust. Email 01496 840 644
Photographer Mark Unsworth - Islay Studios 01496 810010
Photographer James Deane 01496 301528
Piper Andrew MacEachern 01496 850315


Florists and Beauty:
Chatterbox Flowers (Fiona Doyle)

01496 850139 & 07775 666850
Archipelago Events and Flowers - Florist and Co-Ordinator
01496 840 585 | 07864 931 002
Beauty Treatments - Bliss beauty - Eilidh Gillies
Email: -


Linda Williams
Carole @ Bridgend
William Elliott
Laurie Bauld ( hair and make-up)

01496 302159
01496 302333
01496 810345


Wedding Favours & Stationery:
Islay Spirited Soaps - Ailsa Hayes
An Gleann Islay Tablet - Jane Mitchell
Jennifer Montgomery - Wedding Stationery
Wedding Cakes - Mrs Marion MacGregor

01496 860220
07760 234785
01496 810308

Page last updated on 6 October 2016

Argyll and Bute CouncilThis page was created in cooperation with the Argyll and Bute Council and the Islay Servicepoint, Jamieson Street, Bowmore, Isle of Islay, PA43 7HP. Tel: 01496 301301. Wedding Photography by Islay Photographic Studio. On behalf of the Islay Servicepoint, I would like to thank all the couples who gave their permission to show their pictures on this page.

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