A ubiquitous sight whilst meandering through our sleepy coastal town is that of fellow students falling from the impact of Cupid’s bow. Upon joining the university, we are all warned that one in ten of us is likely to marry a fellow student; a comment which at first is shrugged off our shoulders like the Scottish rain in September. The realisation only comes down harder as the days spent going for coffee, enjoying dinner parties, dancing at house parties and drinking in warm pubs mount.
St Andrews as a place certainly cultivates a romantic atmosphere. Whether we are treading the cobbled streets to lectures or staring out across the wild sea, there is an aura of wellbeing and satisfaction that few other university towns manage to muster. Our close-knit community and affection for the place engenders an experience that only fellow students and alumni can begin to comprehend. But is the longing for a fairytale wedding more delusional than pragmatic?
We have been coined as a match-making university, with this reputation stamped more assuredly on our forehead since the Royal Wedding of Catherine and William in April 2011. Their relationship has publically highlighted the aspects of life here which is so suited for couples. The question remains as to why current students and alumni feel the need to marry within the ancient walls of St Salvator’s chapel. It is easy to imagine that returning to be wed in St Andrews is both in pursuit and recognition of the happiness once had here. A wedding is a day for celebration of the love shared between two people, and is there a better place to do it than where you spent some of the happiest years of your life? Images of red gowns, kilts, bagpipes, choirs, and sunshine in the quadrangle spring to mind at the idea of a St Andrews wedding; a pretty and familiar sight.
However, the dream of a Scottish wedding can sometimes be just that. It can become a futile search for somebody to marry under the pressure of family and strangers asking if the matchmaking university has done its job for you. A friend of mine often states that she is here for her “MRS. degree”, and whether they admit it or not, this is probably the view of many (female) brains within the three streets. Marrying another student is the ideal in more ways than one, not only does St Andrews play host to a plethora of nationalities and personalities, creating a large and diverse population from which to choose a spouse, but these people are also like-minded and intelligent. Despite all of this, nine in ten of us will not marry someone from our time in the bubble, regardless of how idyllic a marriage here would be.
PHOTO CREDITS: Celeste Sloman