The colour-scheme of today’s Scottish wedding between Caroline and Nathan is inspired by Peru, after Nathan popped the question on the Inca Trail – and what glorious, bright and vivacious hues it provides, in pinks, oranges, reds and blues with an overarching theme of navy and gold.
As far as arrivals go, we love the 12-piece pipe band that led the couple down the long drive to their castle venue. What a spectacular, regal sight to see – and hear – as a guest. No wonder it gave a lot of them goose bumps! The wow factor continued throughout the day, with a ceilidh band to get the crowds moving and a superb firework display to round off the night in style, providing some gorgeous photo opps. Caroline and Nathan definitely upped the ante when it came to laying on the entertainment.
And we have to give them kudos for their attire too, with Nathan pulling off a subtle tartan jacket for the daytime and switching to tartan suit trousers at the evening party. Meanwhile, Caroline was a vision of beauty in a princess-style dress perfect for a castle wedding, complete cute bow detailing and a sparkly beaded belt.
With images by Ian MacMichael.
caroline says: We got engaged on the Inca Trail in Peru, on 23rd April 2017. Nathan carried the ring in his pocket the entire time; I had absolutely no idea! After a slow start with me falling in a puddle and torrential rain all morning, he got down on one knee. It was at the last Inca site on day three before we got to Machu Picchu at a place called Intipata – a beautiful spot where you can look out over the entire valley. It completely took our breath away and was the perfect location.
We got married on 2nd June 2018. As soon as we saw pictures of Carlowrie Castle in Edinburgh and went to see it in person, we fell in love and knew it was exactly what we were looking for. We had our actual ceremony at Mayfield Salisbury Church. The church has very close connections to our family, so we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.
Carlowrie Castle was exactly what we were looking for. It has an incredible driveway, beautiful gardens and, even though it’s a castle, it’s completely modern inside. Due to our numbers (140) we thought it best to have a marquee, so we could take advantage of using the gorgeous orangery for our drinks reception and for our photobooth, sweet station, etc.
We would absolutely recommend the venue to other brides and grooms. We had multiple meetings with Jen, Ailsa and the team at Carlowrie. They were excellent with calling, emailing and catching up on a regular basis. On the day, Jen and the team absolutely smashed it. Everything was taken care of; we didn’t have to ask for anything and they needed no prompting to keep the evening going strong. They went above and beyond, to the point where one of the waitresses brought us canapés while we were having our photos taken! Absolute dream. It’s in a beautiful setting, convenient for both Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh City Centre. This venue has it all!
In terms of a theme, having gotten engaged in Peru we wanted to feature bright and bold colours in the wedding. This was mainly done through the bouquets, flowers at the church and evening reception but our main wedding colours were actually determined by the bridesmaid dresses. We found lovely beaded navy blue dresses and thought that a gold colour would complement them beautifully, so we brought those colours through in any way we could – the table plan (frames within a large frame that we made ourselves!), the wedding stationary, the cake, etc.
My dress was by Morilee and I bought it at Gwenne in Broxburn. I tried on one of every style in the store as I wanted to make sure I didn’t prefer something else to my favourite and so that I had the full bridal experience! My dress was full-on princess style with a beaded belt, under-netting, embellishment and detachable straps that I took off for the evening part of the wedding (and applied a red lippie!). I just loved it!
Nathan wore a subtle tartan suit jacket (blue/green) with black trousers, a white shirt and a black bow-tie, all from Hugo Boss. He kept his outfit a secret, which was such an amazing surprise, and he completely took my breath away. He looked so gorgeous: the perfect combination of England and Scotland. He also had a change for the evening, where he switched it up into a dark shirt and the subtle tartan trousers from the original suit, again from Hugo Boss. He looked incredible. I can’t believe he had an outfit change and I didn’t!
For our makeup, I was incredibly lucky with the super-talented Aimee Morrison, who is a Bobbi Brown pro makeup artist. She did me, my mum and my maid of honour. To do the other five bridesmaids was Jenni Jeffery, who is also a Bobbi Brown makeup artist. Hair wise, we had Emma Wallace, who owns her own salon in Edinburgh and nailed everyone’s hairstyles. All of them were so lovely and calm, which made it a real joy getting ready in the morning. No fuss and nothing was too big an ask!
For transport, we hired two classic cars for the bridal party – a white Bentley and a white Daimler. These were from a company called Stretched Out Limos in Dalkeith. For guests to travel from the church to the reception venue, we hired two coaches from Edinburgh Coach Lines.
We had a pair of photographers – Ian and Hazel MacMichael, who are based in Liverpool. They were both absolutely amazing. They shoot in a photojournalistic style, focusing on the moment and feelings within the picture. It’s all really natural and a true representation of the day. We just cannot recommend them enough; they were great at communicating with us on the run-up to the day, got some gorgeous pictures on our engagement shoot, turned up early on the day and, in all honesty, I had no idea they were even taking pictures! There was none of the ‘can you just do that again’ – it was all completely natural. We are so happy with our photos; there are so many special moments captured so beautifully. We got more than 600 pictures and love every single one. They are wonderful photographers and a wonderful couple.
We had a pair of videographers too, from a company called Swift Productions. We haven’t seen the wedding video yet but are super excited to see the final film in the near future. We chose Swift Productions based on their video reel of previous weddings and, as with our photographers, they shoot in a photojournalistic style, capturing all the little moments throughout the day. They were really great on the day and we would recommend them despite not yet seeing the final film.
My bouquet was a mixture of flowers in keeping with the bright colours you might find in Peru – pink, yellow, blue, orange, red, green, etc. We asked for Nathan’s buttonhole and my bouquet to include a thistle to bring a bit more of Scotland to the outfit. All the flowers were provided by Planet Flowers in Edinburgh. They were really helpful and accommodating and, by trusting them to do their job, they absolutely smashed it! They had great imagination and we would highly recommend them.
The flowers for the wedding breakfast were large, bright, multi-coloured flowers similar to the bridal bouquets, in tall flute vases with a gold cummerbund for the guest tables. For the top table, we had a few empty vases for the bridal bouquets; we thought it was a nice way to re-purpose the bridal party flowers. We also used different sizes of candles and gold tea lights for the top table, plus more gold tea lights for the guest tables. Aside from the marquee we didn’t actually need any other flowers or decorations, as Carlowrie is so well decorated.
As favours, we gave Tunnocks Tea Cakes (dark chocolate – blue/gold packaging, which was in keeping with our theme) and also had a sweet station where guests could ‘create their own favour’.
For the cake, we chose a four-tiered creation from Liggy’s Cakes. The bottom tier was vanilla sponge decorated with lots of bright flowers replicating the flowers from the florist. The second tier was red velvet, decorated with navy blue icing (some bright flowers at the base of the tier gave the impression of flower overgrowth). The third tier was lemon, decorated with an edible gold paint to give it a nice shine.
The final tier was chocolate cake with ivory icing and our wedding logo, which we had created and used on our wedding stationary.
The food was delicious. We chose our food based on a food tasting day at Carlowrie Castle. For the starter, we had feta cheese and vine tomato tart tatin with carpaccio of fig and honey dressing; the main course was a slow-cooked featherblade of Scotch beef, horseradish mash and slow-roasted chantenay carrots with black pepper cream or butternut squash and sage ravioli with toasted cashew nuts and almond dressing; dessert was a duo of dark chocolate and salted caramel pave, and passion fruit and mango delice.
For entertainment, we wanted a proper Scottish knees-up, so we went with a ceilidh band but chose one who could do both ceilidh songs and more popular songs. The band was called The Tatties and they really got the crowd going!
The best ‘special touch’ must be the 12-piece pipe band we hired to pipe us down the driveway of Carlowrie Castle. We asked that they play whilst the guests arrived and to walk halfway down the drive to pipe us down the driveway for a spectacular entrance. It was amazing and has to be one of the highlights of the day. Everyone commented on how they’ve never seen anything like it at anyone’s wedding and it gave people goose bumps! One of them also stayed behind to pipe us into dinner.
We hired the pipe band from Scotia Pipers.
Other highlights would be the church chamber choir and string quartet for the ceremony, the sweet station, our homemade love letters and the photo booth. We used Fotobox for our photo booth and they were excellent. Within a few days of the wedding we received our USB with all of the images, and they ensured we got our guest book on the night. We also hired confetti cannons and arranged evening fireworks from 21CC. This provided a spectacular group shot and a truly brilliant end to such an amazing day.
The most special moment of the day was when we said our vows. It’s hard to explain but we both said the same thing: when we said the vows it felt like it was coming from deep within, from our very souls. Sounds cheesy I know – but it’s true. It’s hard to explain. We also loved the pipe band and the fireworks, and Nathan singing Sweet Caroline with his own lyrics as part of his wedding speech was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it and it blew me away. We just laughed all day and the love and laughter that was felt and heard throughout the day really made the whole thing so special.
For our honeymoon, we’re actually going travelling! We’ve saved up, quit our jobs in London and decided to travel for five or six months. We’re starting our adventure in Kenya and Tanzania, then on to India and Nepal, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, the west coast of Canada and the US, Antigua for Christmas, New York for New Year and then, finally, Iceland!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is – try not to stress over the little things; they really are exactly that. Getting married is the most important thing of the day. Also, trust your suppliers. You’ll have chosen them for a reason, so let them do their thing! We also put them all in touch with each other, which meant they could chat to each other without us being the middle man – much quicker!
My final top tip is to do a full run of show and contact sheet and give it to everyone who is part of your day. Then everyone is kept in the loop and you don’t get plagued with a million questions in the run-up to the big day. We’d do it all again in a heartbeat: we loved every second!