IT sounds more likely to be every bride's worst nightmare - but an unusual Scottish wedding tradition is making a surprise comeback.

According to wedding organisers, The Blackening is becoming increasingly popular among brides and grooms.

The unusual - and sometimes fairly rough - ceremony sees one or both of the happy couple waylaid by their friends before being stripped, bound and "blackened".

Anything from flour and treacle to custard and soot is used to make sure the bride and groom are as dirty as possible before they are coated in feathers.

Amber Love, from Mauchline, had told her bridesmaids that she wasn't keen on being blackened before her big day.

But that wasn't enough to make her friends stand in the way of tradition.

The 25-year-old said: "It certainly wasn't something I arranged. The lovely bridal party arranged it on my behalf and managed to keep it a secret from me.

"My mum had come in one day and asked for my help moving the horsebox. Next thing I know, the doors open and 25 of our friends jumped out and grabbed me.

"I was tied up with twine and covered in mustard, custard, all sorts of different things.

"My husband was in on it as well. But what he didn't know was that his friends had arranged a blackening for him - about 20 of them turned up in cars and tied him up too."

Amber, whose mum was also blackened before her wedding, had told friends that she would rather have a "glittering" than a "blackening".

So they took her at her word and, at the end of the ceremony, covered her in multi-coloured glitter.

The origins of the tradition are somewhat obscure, but the idea behind the Scottish ceremony is to confer luck on the couple as they start their life together.

Amber, who has been with her husband Craig for six years, added: "All I remember now is the four or five showers afterwards to try and get all the glitter and mess off me.

"My friends from home all know what The Blackening, and some have had blackenings themselves, is but a lot of my friends from the Loudoun Musical Society were there and they had never heard of a blackening before. They loved it, they thought is was really good fun.

"I'm not surprised that more people are having blackenings now. It's good to keep these traditions alive, for luck especially."

The Blackening is most common in farming communities and on the islands but according to organisers of The Scottish Wedding Show, it is becoming increasingly popular in Glasgow and the west of Scotland.

The wedding show returns to the SECC Glasgow on February 20 and 21.

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