Rob and Victoria married in secret by the waters of Loch Awe in Scotland last month. They shared their day with their gorgeous twin daughters and filled it with style, intimacy, beauty and, of course, love. Voyteck from Voyteck Photography was there to capture the amazing atmosphere in inspiring detail.
Wedding Date: 21.02.2012 – a palindromic date (which means it reads the same in both directions), which we both had engraved on our wedding rings. Photographer: Voyteck Photography Venue: Ardanaiseig Hotel Length of Engagement: 7 months
We met… Technically we met early in May 2009, although we knew each other for quite a while before that. Rob worked in Southampton and I’d just been offered a job there, so a mutual friend of ours put us in touch. We chatted by email and text, but with one thing and another it took us a little while to meet! Then one sunny day in May we went for a drink in a rooftop beer garden, and that was that…
The proposal… We had twin baby girls who arrived on Rob’s birthday at the end of April last year. We spent the next few months in a bit of a blur and up at all hours. It was about 4am on 20th July and we were both up, I’d just finished feeding the babies and they had finally fallen asleep. We were just sitting together holding one baby each and talking, when Rob knelt down with a baby under his arm and asked me to marry him. It was absolutely lovely, because it was completely unplanned, no ring, no fancy meal – just us and the babies and the first light of dawn. We came downstairs and opened one of the bottles of champagne that we were given when the babies arrived. I’ll never forget how happy I felt that at a time when we were both utterly exhausted and (it’s fair to say) I was not looking my best that he felt that way.
Our secret wedding… We thought long and hard about how we wanted our wedding day to be, and also the logistics and practicalities around having a big wedding. We decided that it would be just us and the babies for the wedding as we had kept the engagement a secret. We’ve had a very busy couple of years, and like lots of people we are trying to save for a deposit for a bigger house.
However, we wanted to make sure that we incorporated different elements throughout the day so that we could share it with our families and friends when we returned. I already had my dress and I also ‘borrowed’ some of my mum’s jewellery which on a previous occasion she had told me had been in the family for many years, and that she would like me to wear if I ever got married.
The other thing I borrowed was the photographer, Voyteck Photograpy, from my sister’s wedding! We loved the photos he took for them, and we were over the moon when he agreed to fly up to Scotland to join us, and keep it quiet. At your wedding you want the photos to capture the essence of the day, and although ours was very different to my sisters, he got it spot on!
Our ceremony… The ceremony was held at The Ardanaiseig Hotel, which is a stunning building only comparatively recently converted from a house to a hotel – filled with beautiful furniture and antiques, and literally by the waters of Loch Awe in Scotland. We wrote our own vows and chose most of the blessings.
We added some words to our vows that were important to us and although family and friends weren’t there in person, they were definitely in our hearts on the day. There are a couple of jokey bits, for example a toy that I had when I was a child and that the girls now play with made its way into some of the pictures.
Our reception… We didn’t have a reception as such as the four of us stayed at the hotel. That said, once the babies were safely asleep in bed, we sipped whisky by the open fire, and then had a sumptuous feast overlooking the Loch. Because of the colour of the dress, and my engagement ring (a cognac diamond from Harriet Kelsall, who also handmade our wedding rings), the colours for the day became browns, caramels and gold tones which we think worked quite well with the vintage feel we were going for.
The food… The venue handled the catering- the food was spectacular, from full Scottish breakfast to a full dinner tasting menu… the head chef was voted Scottish Chef of the Year last year and definitely didn’t disappoint!
The cake… We didn’t have a wedding cake on the day, but once we returned and had told our families, the next time we saw my parents my mum had made a beautiful wedding cake for us. It was my favourite kind of cake, and she had iced it and added flowers the same colour as my dress and dotted with pearls. Beautiful.
My dress… I bought my wedding dress with my mum many years ago from a charity shop (when I was much too young to be thinking about marriage!) It is an old dress, and I just loved the colours and style. Because I knew that my mum wasn’t going to be there on the day, the dress was even more special to me as I knew that she would recognise it straight away when we showed them the pictures. I had the dress altered to fit me, and the lacing put into the back. I used the off cuts from the dress to add detail to the babies shoes and to make them some little ribbons for their hair. Also, some of the pearls from the dress were used in the flowers. The dress was everything that I could have hoped for. I don’t think I would have been able to find anything like it new, and because we wanted the wedding to have a vintage feel about it everything just seemed to come together with the dress as the starting point.
The flowers… When we decided that we were going to get married in February, on the West coast of Scotland, we knew that we were taking a bit of a chance with the weather. For this reason we wanted to pack all of the essentials into the car so that most things that we would need would be there with us when we got there. I decided that I would investigate the idea of having artificial flowers so we could take them with us. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but found an amazing florist online who specialises in artificial flowers. I met up with her to have a look at the kind of thing she makes and was thrilled by the range of colours and how real they looked. She made my bouquet and a comb for my hair, Rob’s buttonhole and some little brooches for the girls. I loved how they turned out as she’d matched the colours to my dress and the girl’s dresses which I’d taken with me when I met her. She’d also incorporated the pearls from the dress, and tried to match the vintage theme with the styling of the bouquet. The company is called Floral Revolution, and our florist is called Ellen.
Any glitches? Not really – A couple of close-ish calls…. I bought the girls dresses months ago, and only tried them on them about a week before the wedding- they only just fitted! I wanted my nails to look quite natural in terms of the colour they were painted, but I needed extensions as I use my hands lots(!) looking after the twins. I must have tried about 10 versions of varying manicures- each one the white was so white it just didn’t ‘go’ with the dress or my engagement ring. Sounds silly, but I guess with a wedding as small as ours we had smaller things to worry about!
My most memorable moment… Standing opposite Rob with the babies looking on and just knowing that everything felt right. Hopefully this isn’t a rude thing to say, but I also had a moment when I looked down as the minister held our hands and read the ‘blessing of the hands’ which we had chosen as a reading. She is an older lady, in fact a retired minister, and I looked at her hands and thought, one day my hands will look like that holding Rob’s.
My advice for other brides… I personally wouldn’t do anything differently – the day was perfect for us. In terms of advice, I’d just say remember to look around on the day and take it all in – it’s easy to get lost, and I would think more so if there are lots of people there. Also, I’d say don’t be afraid to do things your way. Lots of weddings now seem to focus on other people’s expectations. Have fun and remember what it’s all about. The people who truly care about you will be happy if you are.