February 20th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
When you think of a destination wedding, a sandy beach and an epic sunset usually spring to mind. You know – somewhere hot. But actually, if you live halfway across in the world in San Diego, where could be better for a destination choice than a magnificent castle wedding in bonny Scotland?
Today’s feature couple, Ellen and Ryan, thought just that, enticing 62 guests across the pond to Edinburgh to laird it up at the beautiful Dalhousie Castle. There they laid on Highland Games and fireworks, live entertainment, and surprised guests with a rather unusual ring bearer.
We just love Ellen’s beautiful Watters gown, perfect for swishing around the dancefloor as she desired; and my word, that’s some serious #girlsquad she has – do we count nine beautiful bridesmaids!?!
With images by JPR Shah Photography.
ellen says: We are from San Diego, USA, and we had our first date at Balboa Park, a collective of many different museums, galleries, restaurants and gardens. My favourite place in Balboa Park is the Botanical Garden, so Ryan knew he wanted to propose there. He is known for his off-the-wall ‘what if’ jokes. So, as we strolled through the Botanical Garden, Ryan noted that the building was 100-years-old. He asked me, “What if this building collapsed on us?” Following my eye roll, he then asked, “Or, what if I said I wanted to be with you for the rest of my life?”
Ryan proposed with a family heirloom diamond. His mom had a ring with three diamonds that was passed down to her. Ryan received one of the diamonds from the ring and designed a ring to match our relationship. Ryan knew I would want friends and family to share in the joy of the engagement. So, after the obvious kissing and reply of “absolutely yes!”, he took me to the rooftop of a building where our friends and family were waiting to congratulate us.
We got married on 22nd June 2017. I’m a teacher and, in order to have a destination wedding, we knew we’d need to get married over summer. So, we picked the earliest summer date that allowed us and our guests to get overseas. We knew that, if we were going to get married abroad, we wanted to do so in a place that was different from anywhere we could get married in the USA. Ryan presented me with the idea of getting married in a castle and we found a castle that could house all of the guests overnight, that was close to an airport and that we loved! Dalhousie Castle fit all the bills and we would absolutely recommend it! The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly, and the food and venue were amazing. Our friends and family left our wedding saying it was the best wedding they had ever attended. Our venue was perfect!
We didn’t have a theme, other than ‘Scottish Castle’, which for us was pretty unique. We had a company come and do the Highland Games with our guests, which helped acclimatise everybody to Scottish culture.
We chose purple and grey colour scheme, simply because we really like these colours.
We travelled to Edinburgh a few days before the wedding and stayed at the castle the night before everybody arrived. We hired a bus company, Ladywell Travel, to transport our guests from Edinburgh to the castle.
December 12th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
“Be organised” – these are the words of wisdom from today’s bride who planned her beautiful big day with military precision. The high level of organisation meant that when the wedding day arrived, both Hetty and her beau Fred could just relax and enjoy the proceedings.
Making the day both pretty and personal, the crafty duo incorporated special touches through handmade décor and chose a venue that will always remain close to their hearts.
With images by AnnaJoy Photography
hetty says: Fred had initially planned to propose during a surprise long-weekend in Paris that he’d organised for our sixth anniversary. Unfortunately, he was called for jury service for an eight-week trial around four weeks before our anniversary so the trip was cancelled. We still had a special anniversary weekend at home in London and Fred popped the question in the Italian Garden of Kensington Gardens, after a long walk through Hyde Park. It was a beautiful, sunny winter’s day in London and was absolutely perfect. Better than Paris! After I’d said yes, he took me for afternoon tea at the Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras Station, marrying my love of afternoon tea with his love of trains!
Our wedding day was 30th April 2016. We were married in St Salvator’s Chapel at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. We actually met for the first time in the chapel, singing in the University Chapel Choir. We met on the first Sunday of fresher’s week in our first year, and sang together throughout all four years of university. We graduated in 2012 but the chapel is still symbolically a huge part of our relationship. We know the organist and university chaplain very well, so it was an obvious choice for our wedding. The chapel is also stunningly beautiful, which helps!
Our reception was at Lower and Upper College Halls, opposite the chapel in the main university quad. The wedding breakfast was in Lower College Hall, and then then ceilidh and dancing upstairs in Upper College Hall. We had actually both sat exams in those rooms over the course of our university career so it took a bit of imagination to see it as our wedding venue, but the lure of having the reception and wedding all within the beautiful setting of the quad was too much to resist.
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May 25th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Following on from our ethereal style sheet feature yesterday, we have more captivating woodland wedding inspiration for you, courtesy of Roma Elizabeth Photography.
Joining forces with talented supplier friends from across the UK, Roma, and her team, headed north to the enchanting Puck’s Glen in Scotland, to capture pretty bridal dresses and styling set against fit-for-a-fairy-tale surroundings.
Perfect for those that love the simple things, the shoot has a relaxed and undone feel, resulting in a romantic rustic look that offers an alternative to polished and glam. Here with all the details of the shoot is the lady that captured it all, Roma…
With images by Roma Elizabeth Photography. Model, Kathryn Halliday.
roma says: The styled shoot was came together through a collection of creatives. I’d planned to travel to Dunoon, Scotland, to put together a shoot and mentioned the idea to a couple of friends. Two of the girls are based down south but were keen to come up and visit the locations and get involved. We teamed together with another friend from Scotland, between us bringing suppliers and accessories together from all over the UK, and decided to base the look around the dresses, with soft ivories and pinks creating the colour palette.
As the chosen shoot location had a wild and unruly look to it, we wanted to keep everything linked into this style; from the model’s hair being loose and wild, to the dresses in soft tulles with beadwork detailing. The stationery by Claire Gould Calligraphy for Weddings, and the flowers by First Blush Flowers, had a rustic look to them too, as we did not want anything too ‘neat’.
I usually put together a few styled shoots a year and the details included are always based around the location. Scotland has so many stunning locations that I find inspiring, and after coming across Puck’s Glen I knew that I wanted one of the dresses featured in the shoot to be a beaded design to reflect the waterfalls and it also had to be an elegant shape to contrast with the wild woodland. The second dress we used was a two-piece with soft flowing organza and lace, which made a beautiful contrast to the first. Wendy from Flossy Dossy, provided both dresses. She designs and makes all the gowns herself and was keen to be involved. Her attention to detail and flare for classic gowns is beautiful and fitted in perfectly with the look we wanted. The pretty rings meanwhile, were provided by The London Victorian Ring Company.
January 5th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
So here we go, 2016! To get our New Year off to a gorgeous start we’re heading north to bonny Scotland to relive the big day celebrations of Louise and Duncan.
Keen to incorporate parts of her past into her future, Louise chose to wear her mum’s French lace wedding dress that had been carefully stored away in the attic for 35 years. With a few alterations by a dressmaker, Louise created her dream dress, turning something old into something new and proving that the tradition can still work for modern day brides. We love!
With images by Green Wedding Photography.
louise says: Our engagement story isn’t the conventional romantic type, but in our own personal way it was perfect for us as a couple. Dunc and I used to drive to a lovely forest near Dundee called Tentsmuir in the days when we first started dating. We would drive there in the evening and look at the stars through the sun roof of his 20 year old Honda Prelude! It was here that we had our first kiss and so was such a special location for us. One evening we drove to Tentsmuir Forest under an incredibly clear, starry sky. I was standing out of the sun roof of his car, enjoying the peaceful evening and trying to spot shooting stars, I glanced down to see Dunc awkwardly balanced on one knee on the driver’s seat with a ring in his hand. He quite nervously asked if I would marry him, and I of course said yes, but couldn’t help but laugh at the comical aspects of the situation.
We got married on 22nd April 2014, at Dalhousie Castle, near Edinburgh. It is a beautiful old castle, dating back to the 13th century. It has all the old features and is decorated and furnished appropriately, which we both loved. It also has a quaint little chapel for the ceremony to take place. It really had everything we were looking for in a castle wedding venue. After seeing Dalhousie for the first time, we knew we didn’t have to look anywhere else.
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December 10th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This morning’s real wedding couple decided to focus their handmade wedding day on three important factors – their faith, family & friends.
So after a traditional service at their church of choice, David and Rachel went to a local hotel for delicious food and entertaining speeches followed by tea and cake, giving them plenty of time to spend with those nearest and dearest to them.
With images by AnnaJoy Photography.
rachel says: David knows how much I like a good treasure hunt, and so set me one as part of our engagement in December 2014. He had me drive around all our favourite places in Glasgow where he’d placed clues, including the church where we first met, the King’s Theatre where we had our first fancy date and our favourite Subway! The last clue led me to Bothwell Castle where he was waiting with the ring, which we had designed ourselves. It was so romantic!
We set the date for 22nd August 2015. David works through the summer months of June and July and I started university in September. We wanted enough time for a two week honeymoon and just about squeezed it in!
I’m from the Shetland Islands and I have a ginormous family, so we decided getting married up North would be better! Getting married in a church was very important to us because we wanted God to be part of our marriage from the very beginning. We chose the Lerwick Baptist Church because it’s beautiful and has enough space to seat all the afore-mentioned family members! The church was built a few years ago and so is nice and modern and beautiful inside and out. Our wedding breakfast was held at The Shetland Hotel.
We love vintage, rustic and wild things, and so wanted to incorporate these into our special day. We thought that reflected our personalities better than super chic or blingy!
September 11th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Though today’s bride Allanah didn’t want an obvious theme or colour scheme for her wedding, the details of the day harmonise together so well that you could be forgiven for thinking this is a styled shoot rather than a couple’s big day.
The clear clue that it’s not a shoot however, is the genuine expressions of joy, excitement and love upon the faces of the bride, groom and their guests.
I’m certain I’d have been smiling from ear to ear if I was present at this wedding too. Just look at the venue, those flowers, that cake and Allanah’s stunning dress, designed by sponsor and friend of Brides Up North no less, the fabulous Charlotte Balbier.
So sit back and allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty!
With images by Kitchener Photography.
allanah says: We got engaged in April 2014 while on holiday in Japan. We were visiting Daigo-Ji in Kyoto and Andy proposed in a garden on the grounds. Cherry blossom season was just starting and the temple itself was very quiet, it was beautiful. That night we celebrated with a special dinner in the Geisha district and we saw the elusive Geishas. The proposal was much unexpected and we enjoyed the rest of the trip keeping the engagement a secret, apart from telling our parents.
Our wedding date was 18th April 2015. We had wanted to get married in the summer but there was only a few dates left at our venue so we ended up with April, which in the end was perfect because we had a really sunny, warm day!
We got married at The Byre at Inchyra in Perthshire. We had gone to a wedding in tipis and loved the idea of having the venue somewhere a bit different. The Byre was still a building site when we went to view it but the space was perfect and we knew right away it was the venue for us so cancelled all other venue appointments! We loved how it was rustic yet had all the mod cons so we didn’t have to worry about adding kitchens or toilets!
We didn’t choose to have a theme but words that came up often when talking to suppliers were rustic, elegant, and informal. We wanted to capture a feeling so directed lots of attention to making our guests have a great time and making it really personal to us. Flowers, dancing and food probably captured the day pretty well!
I love the Sofia Coppola Miss Dior adverts so I was inspired by those where everything looks beautiful and polished but you’re having so much fun, it doesn’t matter if the dress gets dirty or your hair falls out or you forget to do something. If there had been a fountain, I’d have probably gotten in it!
We didn’t really have a colour scheme either, we just went with what we liked. We were definitely led by the flowers and they were whites, pastel pinks and light greens. The crockery was all mismatched and we just went with plain white linen so everything popped against it.
In terms of matching bridesmaids to groomsmen, we just did our own thing and I think it turned out for the best. The bridesmaids wore navy and the groomsmen had dark green ties. Nothing was too ‘matchy matchy’ but the colours blended well against each other.
I wore the Iscoyd dress from Charlotte Balbier, bought at Kudos in Edinburgh. It was the only dress that I felt myself in, the neckline especially reminded me of my favourite LBD and I could dance in it, which was very important (I did a lot of pretend dancing in bridal stores)! I also liked how it had the gold detail and swiss dot lace, lots of little details. I can’t rate the service from Kudos enough, they really provide a 360 degree service and nothing was too much trouble. I would also recommend Charlotte Balbier wholeheartedly, from personal emails from Charlotte to custom making a veil to match the colour of the dress in a length I wanted, plus it’s made in Britain and a sense of ‘buy local’ was important to me.
On the wedding day I also wore a delicate flower crown in my hair made by an artisan crafter in Paris, I trawled for ages looking for something that wasn’t sparkly and came across Lysa Creation. The flowers are made from Japanese resin and they also supply French couture houses with these flowers so if it’s good enough for Chanel!
Andy is a Yorkshireman but chose to wear a tweed kilt from Nicolsons Kiltmakers of Edinburgh. He also wore a buttonhole of ranunculus and eucalyptus. The groomsmen all wore matching kilts with a different tweed jacket to Andy. And the same buttonholes.
The bridesmaids wore navy strapless dresses with a sweetheart neckline from French Connection, which suited all of them. Our flower girl, who is my sister Scarlett, wore the Estelle dress from Monsoon with a little cardigan and a flower crown in her hair – so sweet!
On the day my bridesmaids and I had our makeup done by Emma Motion, who made everyone look exquisite and has a really calm presence. I fully endorse Emma! Our hair was by Gillian of Pin Up Hair Glasgow. Again, Gillian was so much fun to have there on the day and all the girls looked great with subtle braided updos with a hair grip from Anthropologie. For myself I wanted it quite loose, inspired by Katherine Ross in the Graduate with some Priscilla Presley vibes thrown in so we did an epic bow dry.
We chose Kitchener Photography, a husband and wife team, Joanna and Dylan who live in Edinburgh. They’re really known for their stunning elopements and dramatic landscapes so we were thrilled to have them for the day. We both loved their use of natural light, there’s no flash photography, and their documentary style captured so many wonderful moments.
We also had the day filmed by Joe from Edinburgh Wedding Videos who did a fantastic job, we’ve had so many compliments on the highlight reel.
I carried a hand tied bouquet of white anemones (my favourite flowers) alongside eucalyptus, pink ranunculus, pink chrysanthemums and white astilbe. They were made by Hannah of Vintage Gathering based in Edinburgh, who was fantastic. We met with her and shared all of our ideas and we shared a lot over Pinterest.
The alter where we got married had a floating flower wall and Hannah dressed the room with lots of foliage, garlands and scatters of daisies and gypsophila. I had no idea she was going to do anything like that. She also made garlands for the Byre pillars and floated flowers in the original stone troughs in The Byre, which were also filled with floating candles.
On tables we had glass jars collected and decorated with antique lace by Andy and myself two nights before the wedding. I wanted to do a little of the flowers myself so my bridesmaids and I, along with my mum and stepmum, arranged them the day before sitting out in the sunshine. We bought buckets of flowers from the Country Garden Company, you provide a colour palette and get flowers to fit – we got anemones, tulips, ranunculus and so many more!
We weren’t really fussed about favours having been to so many weddings where they are left on tables so went with pairs of macarons in glassine bags for everyone – a sugary pick me up!
Our cake was made by our caterer, Lazy Sunday. I was initially going to bake my own cake but decided against adding one more thing to the list and Carole was happy to do it. We didn’t want a traditional cake, instead we had a lemon sponge with buttercream icing and jam filling, covered in buttercream. The cake was beautifully decorated with flowers, and Sepia Smiles from Etsy made the cupids arrow to ‘shoot’ through it.
Carole from Lazy Sunday really had the measure of us! We met her and within days she sent us a sample menu which was perfect. Andy is a really good cook and I come from an Italian background and love to eat family style so Carole put together sharing platters of Scottish charcuterie meats, scallops, langoustines and breads and salads. Followed by the tenderest lamb over lentils – it melted like butter. We then had a dessert table filled with individual posset, meringue, macarons, cheesecakes and brownies! The food was certainly a talking point! I can’t recommend Lazy Sunday enough and I’m bothering her about doing supper clubs just to eat her food again!
Carole also put together an evening snack of macaroni and cheese and pies – which Andy, as a diehard Yorkshireman, insisted upon, though he never got one in the end!
My friend and bridesmaid Kirsty, organised the all wine as she works for a wine merchants. Kirsty also designed the personalised wine bottles for us.
To entertain our guests, we chose a band called Daytura. We did a long trawl for a band and really liked how they made songs their own. They did an excellent job of performing the first dance for us, The Vaccines, I Always Knew.
We did a lot of DIY to make the day all the more personal. I tea-stained luggage tags and crumpled them up to make place settings – my poor hands were stained for days!
Because The Byre is so big, we wanted to be creative with use of space so we created a mini area on the dance floor so people could join in with the band and take a break from dancing. We also had giant gold foil balloons spelling out ‘dance’- a subtle reminder!
The photo table plan was Andy’s pride and joy. His mum sourced the antique gold frame and Andy put it all together. We liked how it made the wedding a bit more intimate rather than names on a piece of paper and had a lot of fun choosing photos. We found Square Snaps to be a really fast supplier!
Andy also made the signs directing people to the wedding with his dad and they even had an appearance at my bridesmaid Jennie’s wedding a few months later and I think Andy’s sister might use them too!
We also had a Polaroid guest book, we just left the camera with lots of film and props in the Stable Room seeing as the flower wall would make a nice backdrop – it’s one of our favourite parts of the wedding, the photos are so funny.
For stationary we used Teri of The Lovely Drawer. Teri was incredibly patient and creative and everyone should follow her blog for home design inspiration! We had everything printed via printed.com to reduce stationary costs and put towards more wine instead!
Finally, our natural confetti was from the Confetti Cone Company and it was definitely top quality for a really reasonable price.
We would most definitely recommend our choice of venue. You can really put your stamp on it. There’s so much flexibility with how you can set it up that no two weddings look the same. You do need to be well organised since there isn’t an event manager and it is a blank canvas venue but Caroline and James are always on hand to answer your questions and were incredible in the lead up to the wedding.
The highlight of the day for me was getting married to Andy and having everyone we love and care about there. We had a humanist ceremony and being able to totally personalise every aspect of the ceremony made it really memorable. Also, spending the day with all our favourite people was amazing. I’ve never laughed or danced so much – we have the best friends and family. People are still telling us how much fun they had and how the food will go down in history!
For our honeymoon we went to Sri Lanka first, for a few days of intense sightseeing, then onto The Maldives for intense relaxation.
After my wedding I was bridesmaid for two of my best friends and my one bit of advice to them, which I would pass on to other Brides Up North, was not to worry about it if things don’t go to plan because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter and you’re too busy having a good time to really care. Also, one thing we did which has inspired a few others is to request that no-one takes photographs during the ceremony apart from the official photographers. It really makes a difference as everyone is enjoying the moment and not attached to phones. Finally, when planning, record every single pound you’re spending into a spreadsheet.
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