Doreen Clacher has no plans to slow down after turning 80 but will continue to help couples tie the knot.
As Falkirk’s – and potentially one of Scotland’s – oldest marriage officers, she is set to officiate at more than 15 ceremonies this year after celebrating her milestone birthday last month.
She said: “I just really love weddings. I love seeing couples so happy. I love when wee children are involved, as you just don’t know what is going to happen next. It’s tiring, but it still feels wonderful helping people create such happy memories.”
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Doreen was a stay-at-home mum before working in Moray and Abbotsgrange Middle Schools. In 1988, she became assistant registrar in the Grangemouth office and worked there until she was 65.
She said: “I loved my job, and really didn’t want to stop working, but I got the letter to say I had to retire the day before my 65th birthday, so I retired on the Tuesday and the next day became a marriage officer with the same registration service.”
Having helped hundreds of couples tie the knot over the past 31 years, Doreen has been central to a wide range of ceremonies – from the traditional to the lavish, and more unusual.
She said: “Conducting ceremonies in different venues is really interesting, as are the different styles couples want. The most memorable was on a steam train at Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway; another was when a bride arrived in a helicopter.
“In the past, couples couldn’t play music with religious connotations, such as Robbie Williams ‘Angels’, but the rules have relaxed a little. Couples are also now adding enhancements to their ceremony such as handfasting. In terms of dress code, men still like to wear a kilt, women a traditional wedding dress.
“I truly love my job, and as long as I feel I can conduct a good ceremony and continue to get good feedback, and as long as they still need me, I will carry on.”
Fiona Mitchell, chief registrar with Falkirk Council, said: “Doreen takes great pride in her job and anyone who has ever met her says how wonderful she is. She’s a real asset to the team and we are delighted that she wants to continue helping couples create beautiful ceremonies full of happy memories.”
Alongside weddings, Doreen conducts baby naming ceremonies, is involved in local citizenship services, and is an Elder at the Kirk of the Holy Rood. She’s also a classroom volunteer at Moray Primary School three mornings a week, which keeps her “feeling young”.
With 58 years of marriage to Alistair under her belt, what does she think the secret is to a long and happy marriage?
“Patience!” she said. “And give and take.”