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Wedding saved after Stratherrick church reopens for one day

By Jamie Hall

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An Inverness-shire church which is set to be sold off reopened for one day only – allowing a bride to become the third generation of her family to get married there.

Michelle Macdonald (31) tied the knot with fiancé Michael Strachan (32) at Errogie Free Church on Saturday January 5, 63 years after her gran and 35 years after her mum.

The three weddings have also been the only ones to take place in the church in that time.

The new Mrs Strachan always wanted to get married in the church, but admitted that she thought it would be impossible after it was put up for sale by the Greyfriars Stratherrick Free Church congregation.

However, she contacted Greyfriars who agreed to open the building specially for the big day.

She is likely to be the last bride to ever tie the knot at the historic place of worship.

“I knew I wanted to get married in the church but at one point I didn’t think it was going to happen,” she said.

“However, Greyfriars agreed to risk-assess it for us and in the end it turned out it only needed a bit of a hoover and dust and a tidy up outside.

“We did the cleaning over about four months to make sure it was ready.

“Everything came together really well and we are really grateful that we were able to use the church.

“It is a strange feeling knowing that we are probably the last people to get married in the church. I don’t think the legacy of it has quite sunk in yet.”

The service was conducted by Greyfriars minister Rev Malcolm Maclean and was followed by a reception in Stratherrick Hall, attended by 70 family and friends.

The couple, who live in Portlethen near Aberdeen and got engaged last summer, brought the wedding forward to make sure they could use the church before it was sold, as well as enabling Mrs Strachan’s sister, who lives in Australia, to attend.

She was thrilled to have been able to have the ceremony in the church, and said it made the day even more memorable.

“Having the wedding in the church made it a bit more special because I was following in my mum and my gran’s footsteps,” she said.

“Because we knew the church was up for sale it made sense, especially with my sister being over from Australia, to bring the wedding forward to this time of year.

“We are just happy that everything went smoothly. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the weather held out which was a relief!

“We were quite lucky.”

The couple are now planning to enjoy married life before they jet off on honeymoon later in the year.

Mrs Strachan added: “We are going to wait and plan our honeymoon and go away somewhere in the summer. It’s been full-on so we want to relax a bit first!”

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