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The BBC's Carole Jones
"The couple are said to be enchanted by the place"
 real 56k

Thursday, 7 December, 2000, 20:24 GMT
Madonna gets her Guy in Scotland

The couple's names are fourth on the list
Pop star Madonna plans to marry her film director boyfriend Guy Ritchie in Scotland on 22 December.

The couple's banns of marriage have been posted at the registrar's office in Dornoch in Sutherland as part of the formal wedding procedure in Scotland.

The notice reads that Guy Stuart Ritchie will marry Madonna Louise Ciccone on 22 December.

It has been widely predicted that the couple will tie the knot at Skibo Castle and hold a christening ceremony for their four-month-old son Rocco at Dornoch Cathedral.

Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Their wedding will put Dornoch on the world map
Mr Ritchie, 32, is tipped to walk down the aisle in full Highland dress in Hunting MacIntosh dress tartan.

The outfit is believed to be a tribute to his war hero grandfather Major Stewart Ritchie, who served with the Seaforth Highlanders.

His father John also served in the army.

Mr Ritchie is reported to have ordered his outfit from The Scotch House in Knightsbridge, London.

Media buzz

The wedding is likely to attract worldwide attention to the quiet Highland community.

Reporters and photographers gathered outside the office on Thursday morning waiting for confirmation of the wedding.

It emerged that the registrar, Lesley Conner, put up the notice of intended marriages after the office closed at 1700GMT on Wednesday.

MacIntosh Hunting Dress tartan
The groom is expected to wear the MacIntosh tartan
"This is the most famous person we have put up on the list," she said.

"The interest in this wedding is nice for Dornoch and good for local businesses.

"It is not necessary to meet the couple beforehand and I can't comment on whether I met them or not."

Asked whether local people were excited, she replied: "People here generally keep themselves to themselves."

Hen night

However, some of the women of Dornoch have issued an invitation to the singer to hold her hen night in the town.

They said Madonna should come for a "traditional" Highland hen night, including L-plates and fancy dress.

Staff at the castle have already been issued with identity passes and some will not be allowed to leave the grounds for up to a week while the wedding party is in residence.

The subject of the showbiz couple's festive wedding was raised during the Scottish Parliament's First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

Bedroom, Skibo Castle
One of the luxurious rooms at Skibo Castle
Jamie Stone, Lib Dem MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "Would the first minister agree that the forthcoming nuptials of Madonna in my constituency will do much for Scotland in Europe and the rest of the world?"

But Presiding Officer Sir David Steel intervened and said: "The first minister is responsible for a lot of things, but Madonna is not one of them."

Dornoch provost Duncan Allan said the event was very important for tourism.

"It makes us better known amongst the portion of the public which is perhaps not into things like golf.

"If we can get young people to recognise it is a beautiful place, a romantic setting for just what Madonna's using it form," he said.

Three other couples are named on the list of intended marriages but none for the same date as 42-year-old Madonna's.

Her wedding is the 34th entry at the office in Dornoch this year.

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See also:

07 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Guy Ritchie's rise to fame
07 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Madonna, queen of reinvention
07 Dec 00 | Scotland
Madonna picture gallery
07 Dec 00 | Scotland
Dornoch: No room at the inn
07 Dec 00 | Scotland
Loch, stock and Dornoch
06 Dec 00 | Scotland
Hot gossip on Madonna's wedding
29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Madonna gig: Webcast review
11 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Madonna's baby arrives early
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