Tying the knot at Portavadie
The wedding season’s in full swing, so we caught up with our wedding coordinator, Rachael McGugan, about getting hitched at Portavadie.Organising a wedding is quite a responsibility. The big day has to be absolutely perfect. But Rachael, Portavadie's wedding coordinator extraordinaire, is always up for the challenge. ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way,’ she says. ‘I put my heart and soul into getting it right.’
Her job is made that little bit easier by Portavadie’s stunning location. ‘The Highland setting is romantic, with lovely views of lochs, hills and sunsets,’ she says. ‘And nothing beats fireworks over the water on a starry night.’ With all this natural beauty, the photo opportunities are pretty phenomenal too. So when a bride or groom enquires about getting married at Portavadie, the first thing Rachael does is urge them to come and visit. ‘It’s such a unique place that it’s hard to describe. But as soon as people see the surroundings, the accommodation and the fabulous venues, they fall in love with it.’
It’s a bit of a journey to get to Portavadie Marina, but Rachael reckons that’s what makes it such a great place to say ‘I do’. ‘It’s so different from a city-centre location,’ she says. ‘You’re away from the hustle and bustle of the town. You get to enjoy all this space and the seclusion with your family and friends.’ She likens the experience to a house party. ‘Often the wedding party will make a whole weekend of it. They might have a BBQ, all breakfast together, go for walks, have afternoon tea and generally enjoy hanging out.’ Just the other week, Rachael organised a round of golf and a game of football on the beach for the groom and his mates while the bride and her friends were pampered in the beauty room.
With its wide range of venues and accommodation, Portavadie offers choice and flexibility. Rachael and the team can cater for all budgets and sizes of weddings – from 2 to 150 – and can arrange pretty much anything (within reason!), so each wedding is a real bespoke affair. The Lodge is a lovely venue for those looking for something a bit cheaper (book all 11 rooms and you get exclusive use of the venue for free), while the marquee and five-star apartments offer high-end luxury. Guests, meanwhile, can choose from a whole range of accommodation – right down to a bed-and-locker. A few months ago a couple got married on their boat. ‘It was a beautiful day, the boat was festooned with flowers and the guests were all down on the pontoon. The bride was piped along the boardwalk and a choir sang Amazing Grace. It was just lovely. The bride was so happy.’
For Rachael, the best bit of her job is seeing the first dance. ‘I’m exhausted but elated at this point. Everything’s gone to plan, the accommodation, the drinks, the food, the music, and I can begin to relax.’ She likes to have a bit of a dance herself. ‘I build a friendship with the couple,’ she says. ‘So it’s nice to celebrate with them.’ Second best is the feedback. ‘People always write to thank me, telling me what a great day they had, how well organised it all was. It makes the hard work worthwhile.’
Bookings are coming in thick and fast for 2013 and 2014 as word spreads about weddings at Portavadie. For more information, call Rachael +44(0)1700 811075, email her at email@example.com or visit our weddings page. Alternatively, why not come along to our Wedding Fair Open Day on Saturday 18 August? See the venues, chat to Rachael and meet local exhibitors.