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Funding of £25 million is to be made available to Scottish businesses working in the wedding industry, with the opening date for applications this Thursday (28 January).

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) wants eligible businesses in the region to be ready to apply to the fund, which will run until all the money is allocated.

Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 will be offered with the support of Scottish Government, who want to help the Scottish wedding industry, and the supply chain feeding it, to survive the pandemic.

The fund will be offered to businesses for whom wedding activity is their main source of income, on a first-come, first-served basis. Evidence will be required of pre-COVID turnover and current financial status.

Businesses are encouraged to visit for further details including full eligibility criteria.

Carroll Buxton, deputy chief executive at HIE, said: "The Highlands and Islands has always been a popular destination for weddings and the wedding industry is an integral part of our tourism and hospitality sector.

“With restrictions in place over the past year, many businesses whose main income is from weddings will have been hit hard by cancellations.

“The Scottish Wedding Industry Fund is about supporting those businesses through the current difficulties and on to recovery.”

Pictures: Beach wedding in Point (Maureen DuPreez), Lews Castle ballroom prepared for a wedding reception (Together travel).