July 11th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Sweden meets Scotland in today’s charming real wedding between Ellinor and Michael, which brings together traditions from both cultures; from communal singing and lots of speeches on the Swedish side to kilts and ceilidh from the Scots! Marrying outside under the spectacular cherry blossom trees in the venue’s beautiful garden and led by a traditional piper, Ellinor floated down the aisle in a gorgeous tea-length dress made by a talented friend, with a lace illusion bodice and sleeves, and finished off with a delicate veiled headdress.
There are some beautiful details, such as the intricately designed songbook used for the communal singing and the cake of cheese decorated with flowers and grapes. With a rustic vibe and a clever colour scheme to represent the flags of both countries, Ellinor and Michael’s big day manages to feel both glamorously international and charmingly local, with seasonal flowers and lots of handmade elements.
We love the spicy idea for the table centrepieces, using bowls of cardamom, ginger, chilli and so on to indicate the table names rather than written signs, and jam jars collected over the months make the perfect vessels for candles and flowers, even if it does mean eating your weight in jam and chutney before the big day! Tell us more, Ellinor…
With images by A Little Picture.
ellinor says: We got engaged in India, near Darjeeling, where my mother was born. We were travelling through India and I had always wanted to see the place my mother grew up before she came to Sweden. Michael proposed on a Himalayan hilltop overlooking two rivers. It was absolutely beautiful.
We got married on 19th May 2018. We wanted to get married in the spring/early summer because I think that is the most beautiful time of year and the weather is usually better at that time in Scotland! We didn’t know when we booked it that cherry blossom would bloom at that time in the garden of our venue – it turned out to be the perfect time!
We got married (both ceremony and reception) at Kirknewton House Stables, outside of Edinburgh. We chose it because it is a really beautiful place, with a really big garden, and there’s a bit of a rustic feel to it. As you do everything yourself, there are no restrictions in terms of caterers or bar. This meant we had to plan and make everything ourselves, but it allowed us to do exactly what we wanted, including a free bar all night. I would absolutely recommend our venue to other brides and grooms: it is a gorgeous building with a massive garden and you can do what you want with it.
I am originally from Sweden and Michael is Scottish, so our theme was ‘Sweden meets Scotland’. We mixed traditions from the two countries: lots of singing and a lot of speeches (Swedish traditions), and ceilidh and a piper (Scottish traditions). Our colour theme was based on the Swedish flag (yellow and blue) and Scottish flag (white and blue).
For my dress, I always knew I would have a short dress (i.e. tea length) as I don’t think a full-length dress suits my body shape. I also love to dance and couldn’t imagine being on the dance floor in a ball gown or mermaid dress. It turned out to be surprisingly difficult to find one I liked. Most shops only had one or two short dresses. But then my beautiful and amazing friend and bridesmaid Laura said she would make my dress! Laura trained as a costume maker and seamstress and, while she now has a different career, she makes dresses now and again – she made all the bridesmaids’ dresses for our friend’s wedding a couple of years ago! We live in completely different parts of the country so it all involved a lot of planning, but it turned out to be a great excuse to see each other. A great memory is driving to London together to go fabric shopping. There is this street in northwest London lined with fabric shops and we probably went to ten different ones, comparing and haggling. But when we found a particular lace, we knew straight away – that was the one. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and I loved wearing it on the day. I am so lucky to have such an amazing friend.
Michael wore his family kilt that was made for his brother’s wedding a couple of years ago by a kilt maker in Aberdeen. The groomsmen also wore their family kilts.
For the bridesmaids, we were looking for ages for something that would go with the colour theme and would also be shorter and fun (as opposed to formal); in the end, one of the bridesmaids stumbled across the perfect dress from ASOS. To keep with the fun and informal theme, we all wore Melissa shoes.
Handily, live above a great hairdressers, Myles East Edinburgh, so they popped up to do our hair on the morning of the wedding. I had a makeup session in MAC and bought lots of products and my bridesmaid, Nola McIntyre, did my makeup. Nola also did all our beautiful stationery designs – the invitations, the menus, seating plan, the song booklet and the name tags – and I would really recommend her to other couples.
Our photographer was Alice Little from A Little Picture. I would absolutely recommend her. She was great, so nice and friendly – and patient with us! It didn’t feel strange having her around all day. And her photos are absolutely gorgeous! She picked really amazing spots for portraits and got us to feel natural and relaxed. She caught some really great moments during the speeches and dancing.
The bridal bouquet was in the colours of the wedding with a bit of a rustic look and the bridesmaids had bouquets with baby’s breath. They were provided by local flower shop Charmed Floristree, Edinburgh.
When it came to other decorations, again we wanted to keep it local. A friend of a friend grows flowers in East Lothian outside of Edinburgh and we bought five buckets of seasonal flowers from her (Stem Ginger Flowers). She ended up staying a couple of hours teaching us how to arrange them, which was so nice of her. We were collecting jam jars for ages and decorated them with twine and ribbon to hold flowers and candles. Table names were spices and, rather than a sign, we had a bowl on each table with the spice in (e.g. chilli, ginger, cardamom). A friend of Michael’s parents provided the food for the centrepieces and Michael’s mother made bunting with our photographs.
For favours, in line with the Swedish-Scottish theme, we had homemade Swedish ginger biscuits and Scottish fudge as small favours. For the communal singing, my bridesmaids, my dad and my brother also created a song booklet that each guest received.
We went for a cake made of layers of different cheese from Mellis, Edinburgh. It was stacked and decorated by Michael’s sister. I didn’t manage to have any on the day, but we were eating leftover cheese for weeks.
For the wedding breakfast meal, we had Mediterranean chicken and venison stew from King Boar Catering.
As entertainment, the Swedish tradition is to have a lot of speeches and singing throughout the meal, including communal singing. I really like this because it brings everyone together and really lifts the atmosphere in the room. I was worried the Scottish guests would not be into it, but it turns out everyone loved it! We also had a ceilidh and DJs because we both love dancing.
Looking back, I couldn’t pick a single favourite moment of the day – it was all so great. Highlights were the singing, dancing and the ceremony under the cherry blossom trees.
Following the wedding, we went on a minimoon for a week on the Amalfi coast, which was really relaxing and lovely. We are planning a longer honeymoon to Cuba in November.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: don’t forget to enjoy the day. So much planning (and sometimes stress) goes into it but once it starts, just relax and enjoy it, and whatever happens happens. Stop and think – this is it, I will remember this forever.
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Aislinn has a background in journalism, having filled all manner of publishing roles from editor to copywriter to feature writer. She is a former wedding photographer who ran her own business with her husband Michael. Together, they have travelled as far as Australia to photograph a client’s wedding (and spent all their earnings on a campervan trip up the Aussie coast!). Aislinn left wedding photography behind to take on the biggest commitment of her life as mummy to her young son Tom. She has been a bride, bridesmaid and even best woman (she has the speech to prove it!), which is almost all angles covered!
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