03/07/2004 – Braelangwell House, Balblair
The Crown Court Hotel, Inverness
How and when did you meet?
We went to the same school but only knew each other to say hello. We met, years later, in a local pub and got chatting, for so long in fact, that all of our friends left and we didn’t notice! At the time, I had a boyfriend, and John lived abroad, so nothing came of it. Around 6 months later, I broke up with my boyfriend, and started thinking about John. I didn’t even know if he still lived abroad, or what he was doing, but decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and give him a call. I asked a mutual friend for his number or e-mail address, but he didn’t have them. I decided maybe it wasn’t meant to be and tried to forget about him, but he kept popping into my head! Unbeknown to me, at around the same time, John had been trying (unsuccessfully) to get hold of my number, as he had moved back to the UK and wanted to ask me out for a drink! As it happened, we both went back to our home town for Christmas and bumped into each other in the pub (again). We got together the next day, and have been together since!
How old are you both?
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
We went to Ireland together for New Year and stayed at a friend’s lovely house. On the evening of the 1st, we were snuggled up on the couch in front of the fire, listening to Van Morrison and drinking Champagne, and John asked me to marry him.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Yes, lots! We live abroad, but got married at home, so we each had one here with our friends (John went away with his mates for a weekend of debauchery and I had a great night out with the girls, all glammed up and being driven around town in a limo). Then once we went home to Scotland, John had a night out with his friends, and I had a night out with mine, and also a smaller one locally with some friends and all the mums!
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
Not a lot! Actually, most of the planning was done by my mum, since we were holding the wedding at home, and it was difficult to do much from here. I couldn’t have done it without her! John did choose his outfit, and his best men’s outfits though, and helped choose the invitations, which were a mock-up of the Sergeant Pepper Album Cover with us on it too(John’s a huge Beatles fan).
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
Yes, I was addicted to the ‘For Her’ forum! It was fantastic for advice and to chat to like-minded brides, especially in the last run-up to the big day.)
Do you have a confetti web page?
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
My Mum ordered a lot of things online (confetti, cones, ribbon, flower decorations etc.) and I visited the shop in Glasgow to stock up on last minute confetti poppers and a few bits and bobs.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
My dress was by Watter & Watters, I bought it at the Anne Priscilla Bridal Shop in Glasgow (they were BRILLIANT – can’t recommend them enough). My dress was actually a bridesmaid dress, but I loved it, so bought it for my wedding dress!
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had 4 bridesmaids (admittedly a bit OTT for such a small wedding, but it just wouldn’t have been right to have not chosen any one of them!) My sister Amy was chief bridesmaid, and 3 of my closest friends, Dawn, Becca & Ruth were my other bridesmaids. They all wore black – I bought the material and let them each pick their own style to be made by a dress-maker, as they are all different shapes and sizes and wouldn’t have all suited the same thing. They all looked gorgeous! I had another 2 friends who I would have loved to have asked, but 6 would just have been too much for me, so we had another 2 close friends, Jacquie & Lynsey do a reading at the wedding; it was lovely, and I was so glad we involved them in the ceremony.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
His brother James, and best friend, Greig were both his ‘best men’. When John was best man to James, 2 years ago, he couldn’t have done it without Greig’s help, so he started to consider having 2 best men to share the duties. James and Greig were his natural choices, as he’s so close to both of them.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
Where did you hold your ceremony?
In the walled garden of Braelangwell House, Balblair.
Where did you hold your reception?
The Crown Court Hotel, Inverness.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
Our friend drove my dad and I to the ceremony in his new red and white mini, and 3 of my bridesmaids were driven in another friend’s black mini. My mum and sister were taken in a friend’s black convertible BMW. I thought it was very appropriate that they both had black cars, since they were wearing black. I liked that my red mini stood out too.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We had approximately 60 daytime guests for the ceremony and a delicious buffet meal. Then we had around another 60 in the evening.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
Not really, although we had ivory and pink balloons (to match my dress) and millions of candles and fairy lights!
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
We weighed down 3 helium-filled balloons on each table on long ribbon so they floated above. We also had candles, and scattered reflective confetti on each table. The overall effect was sparkling and magical looking.
Did you give your guests favours?
No, the whole day was very informal, so we generally steered clear of anything traditional.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
I had a small posy of white and pink stargazer lilies, and my bridesmaids were given clutch bags instead of flowers! My flower girl Rachael, had a small posy of ivory and pink roses. The Florist we used was Simpsons in Culloden (I think, again, mum organised all this!) They did an amazing job of the flowers, and also decorated 2 big arches for the garden, which we were married beside. They also decorated the mantelpieces of the dining room beautifully.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
We had an outside caterer and decided to have a buffet meal, rather than a formal sit-down dinner. To start, we had soup and fruit, then for the main we had beautiful cuts of meat: ham, beef and salmon, and several colourful salads, and new potatoes drenched in butter. We also had a veggie ‘roast pepper pie-thingy’, which I was told was delicious. For desert, we served slices of our yummy chocolate fudge wedding cake and mini fruit of the forest cheesecakes. We also had cheese and biscuits, and tea and coffee.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
Inside, our cake was rich chocolate fudge (divine!) and on the outside it was decorated with white chocolate, and fondant flowers to match my posy, and ivy. It was made by a local baker at Harry Gows, who my mum made re-do the cake several times to get it ‘chocolaty enough’. Poor man, but it was really worth it!
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
During the day, we didn’t put on any entertainment, the venue was a nice smallish size, and we had music playing in the background on a CD player (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra etc.) In the evening, we had a band, The Blue Notes. We were expecting old rock ‘n’ roll, with some Beatles, Stones, Van Morrison etc., with a small smattering of Celidh dances, but unfortunately all we got was Scottish music! We were really disappointed with the music, but fortunately were having such a good time, we didn’t dwell on it.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
No, unfortunately with living abroad, it was very difficult to arrange a gift-list that was transferable. Most of our guests kindly gave us money, as it would have been difficult to carry lots of big gifts back abroad.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
Our first night was spent at the Crown Court Hotel, where the dance was held, and then we spent our second night as man and wife up all night at a mate’s party! Since we live in Dubai, we had decided to spend a few days at home after the wedding before heading off on honeymoon, then back to Dubai. Honeymoon was in Sorrento, Italy and was AMAZING. I can’t recommend it enough. We booked through Thomas Cook, but once we were there, realised it would have been MUCH cheaper to book it directly.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Probably the ceremony – after managing not to cry the whole way through, at the end I burst into tears and gave John a huge hug! That’s definitely the most memorable part for me.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
No, not really. Just the usual stressing about guests arriving at our town and all the hotel bookings we had made for them going smoothly. Plus I was very weepy for the few days before – I guess I’m not very good with stress! On the day though, I woke up more calm and relaxed than I had been for weeks!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
I wouldn’t do anything differently, as the day really did feel just perfect to me. But I would advise any other brides that no matter HOW many people recommend a great band to you, ALWAYS go and listen to them if you can, or send someone who knows what you’re after. We didn’t have time to do that, but had so many recommendations for our band that we just booked them, and they were nothing like what we were after. Also, on the day, don’t try to rush around speaking to everyone – spend time with your friends and family, and let others come to you.