Real Weddings

something old, something new. an heirloom dress for a romantic castle wedding in scotland – louise & duncan

05th January 2016 | Rachel Parry

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A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (30)

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.

A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (10)

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.

A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (18)

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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It’s difficult to put a name on our theme – it was a mixture of everything that was special to us. Our engagement story in Tentsmuir Forest was incorporated in many aspects. Our floral arrangements were filled with greenery and we had ivy cascading along the beautiful bannister down to the chapel. My bridesmaids’ both wore fresh flowers in their fishtail plaits wired up by our talented florist. ‘Tentsmuir’ was even a name for one of our tables, along with other names that were meaningful to us. We embraced the castle backdrop with candelabra centrepieces arranged with flowers and trailing greenery.

Another important theme to me was bringing things of the past into our new beginning. Dunc’s great grandmother’s ring was the first thing. I wore my mum’s wedding dress, re-designed into my perfect dress by a wonderful dress maker Andrina of Fabricated Alterations. Andrina also made me a bespoke headpiece laced with my late gran’s pearls. These little touches made our day all the more special.

Our colour scheme was green-y blue-y purple-y! My bridesmaids’ dresses were a cross between blue and grey, and my flowers had different shades of purple and blue.

A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (19)

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When it my wedding dress, I hunted bridal shops from Edinburgh to Glasgow and did all the usual online dress shopping, but to no avail. I couldn’t find my perfect dress. I always knew my mum had kept her French lace wedding dress wrapped in black paper in her loft for 35 years since her and my dad were married, and so I asked if I could try it on. It had some very dated features such as a high neckline and puffy sleeves. But as soon as I stepped into it I began to redesign it into the dress I was looking for. We located a dress maker in Glasgow and went for a consultation. Within months she had transformed my mum’s 1970’s wedding dress into an elegant modern version of the original, whilst maintaining many of its original features.

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Dunc, of course, was going to wear a kilt. However, much to my despair, it was going to be the tartan of his local football team, Dunfermline Athletic Football Club. Fortunately, the tartan was actually very subtle and tied in with other parts of the wedding. It was black and white with a subtle red detail.

The groomsmen dressed in Dunfermline athletic tartan to match Dunc. My bridesmaids wore stunning floor length dresses bought in a shop in Edinburgh called Pretty Woman.

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The night before the wedding I stayed over at the castle and so didn’t require transport.  Dunc meanwhile arrived at the venue in the very Honda Prelude we got engaged in! I might add, he was almost late and his petrol light was on for the whole journey!

A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (53)

Green Wedding Photography was the photographer we chose. Samantha has a wonderful natural style of photography and captured the feel of day perfectly in her shots.

A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (3)

For the wedding flowers, Natasha at Tupelo Tree – who I would recommend go anyone – went out of her way to ensure I received exactly what I wanted. My bouquet was predominantly made up with hydrangeas along with deep purple parrot tulips, white spray roses, wax flower, eucalyptus leaves, ruscus and lots more greenery.

Natasha also made arrangements for our candelabra centrepieces and two extravagant arrangements which sat on antique wooden stands in the chapel. The bannister down to the chapel was draped in ivy.

Lily Special Events provided our seat covers. They were reasonably priced and hassle free regarding set up and take down.

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As our favours we had quirky little alcohol miniatures – Bombay Sapphire gin for the ladies and Glenfiddich whisky for the gentlemen! We spent hours stamping recycled card tags with our names and wedding date and tying them round the neck of the bottles with twine.

For us, the cake wasn’t a particularly important part of our day. We chose the easy option and ordered a simple three tiered wedding cake with pearl drops from Marks & Spencer. Our florist added some fresh tulips as decoration and the finished result was an elegant but simple wedding cake.

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You really can’t beat a great Scottish ceilidh band at a wedding, and so we decided to go for just that as our entertainment. Our band, Stravaig Ceilidhs were so musically talented and also interacted well with the guests, which encouraged more people onto the dance floor. My friend has since booked them for her wedding next year! My single friends also enjoyed the fact that the band were all quite young, handsome men!

Instead of having a traditional first slow dance. Dunc and I decided to begin the dancing with a ceilidh dance which we led. We choose to do strip the willow, which was so much fun!

For our guestbook we decided to leave a Polaroid camera for guests to take some selfies with and stick into our book along with a message. It captured the moment in a different way from the official wedding photographs and left us with a visual memory to keep forever.

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We would certainly recommend Dalhousie Castle to other brides and grooms – it really is the fairy tale wedding venue. It was ideal having a room for the meal and a separate room for guests to move into for the ceilidh dancing. There was also a quaint little tower room which allowed guests to get away from the music and converse. For those that stayed up until the ‘wee hours’, the Library Bar remained open until the last guest choose to retire to bed. The chapel, which we were married in, had stained glass windows and a magnificent wooden staircase leading down into it. The surrounding grounds are dotted with ancient trees and a river runs nearby creating an abundance of photo opportunities.

I loved our wedding day from beginning to end, but if I had to pick a ‘best part’, I’d have to say the moment Dunc and I were pronounced man and wife, after all, that’s what the day was all about!

A Romantic Wedding In Scotland (c) Green Wedding Photography (59)

For our honeymoon we went to Italy and visited Rome, Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Venice. The holiday was filled with ancient sites, romantic locations, amazing food, great wine and of course the best company – I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it, not even the torrential rain we had in Venice, which just added to its magical ambience.

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – don’t get too caught up on the little details. On the day if something goes wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore because what does matter is that all your family and friends are together in one place, celebrating the happiest day of your lives.

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