Melanie and Martin
03/02/2005 – Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Workshop, Gretna Green, Scotland
Gretna Hall Hotel, Gretna Green, Scotland
photos by Colin A Carpenter
How and when did you meet?
We met on a semi-blind date – Martin had seen me around town and a mutual friend arranged for us to meet at a party. I was still sort of seeing someone else at the time but as we became friends over a couple of months, things got more serious and one thing led to another…
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
I proposed on 29 Feb 2000. I had intended to leave it until the following leap year but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Martin and decided at the last minute to do it that year. I didn’t have much time to organise anything so this was the best I could do. We lived in a flat on the 3rd floor at the time and I got home from work and asked Mart to collect the heavy shopping from my car. What he found was a big bouquet of flowers. He brought them up tentatively, thinking someone else had sent me the flowers. I asked him to read the card and he looked puzzled so I told him I wasn’t joking and he smiled his sexy smile and said yes…
Did you have hen and stag celebrations?
Hen night was fab. We got a stretch Limo up to Covent Garden, had a meal and went boogie-ing at The Roadhouse – highly recommended! My best friend and ‘Bridesqueen, Richard came with his partner and five of my girlfriends so we had a wild night. No typical Stag do – Mart went down to Brighton to see his sister (the Best (Wo)Man) and they partied down there. I haven’t been told many details
Did your groom help you with the wedding planning?
He offered his opinions and preferences (venue, date, guest list etc) but as I am good at organising (I used to be an event organiser), he was more than happy to leave the major stuff to me. His major contribution was emotional support at the stressful moments.
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
We set up a basic website and used it more for for advice than planning tools.
Do you have a confetti web page?
Yes – a very basic one.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it.
Skirt was a bargain – off the peg in a sale about £40. I designed my bodice and my good friend Karen Suckling made it beautifully. I have always wanted a Medieval style wedding dress and Karen helped make that dream come true. I made my tiara, veil and cape and I got my underwear from Figleaves.com.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had a BridesQueen! My best friend, Richard, had always promised to be my assistant and despite having some pretty heavy going university exams just before the wedding, he pulled through and was an absolute star on the day. He wore a dark suit and purple shirt to tie in with Martin’s kilt.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
Martin’s Sister, Michelle was the Best (Wo)Man. She too did a stirling job and wore a dark purple suit to tie in with Martin’s outfit.
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony with a wonderful minister. She made everything feel so personal and added some lovely thoughts and touches like explaining the history of Gretna.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
Our ceremony was in Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Workshop in Gretna Green, Scotland. It was candlelit and very romantic with lots of history and a tasteful setting. Our guests were a little concerned about Gretna based on its location (200 miles away) and reputation but everyone agreed that we made a perfect choice. We would have no qualms about recommending it to other people who want an unusual yet tasteful wedding.
Where did you hold your reception?
Gretna Hall Hotel, Gretna Green, Scotland. The venue was a beautiful 300 year old manor house. All the staff were superb – the service was outstanding and we were made to feel we were the only guests despite there being two other weddings there.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
No, the Blacksmith’s is next to the hotel so we had a Scottish Piper to accompany us and our guests between the two venues.
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
We invited ten guests to Scotland. A much larger list of people are coming to our party ‘down south’ on 12 March.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
The cake, favours and table decorations (confetti, flowers, dried rose petals) were all themed in burgundy and ivory to match my dress but the favours were tied with a tartan ribbon to theme with Scotland.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes – a little burgundy satin bag with a bottle of Scottish Highland liqueur and a bag of chocolates.
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My bouquet was a very simple but beautiful and elegant had tied overarm arrangement of huge white Arum lillies, aspidistra leaves and bear grass. We only had one table decoration which was an exceptional arrangement with roses and thistles amongst others things with two candles.
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
Our venue did the catering. We had a set menu with lamb and it was wonderful – delicious and excellent value.
What did you choose for your wedding cake?
We chose Waitrose of all places – In their ‘entertainment’ range, they do lovely individual miniature cakes with roses on the top. We ordered 12 of those and they looked spectacular.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
No – we got married at 4.30pm with the wedding breakfast at 6pm – so by the time we had finished the meal, speeches etc. We didn’t have time to party!
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
Yes, we had a list with Marks and Spencer.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
We spent our first night at Gretna Hall Hotel in the Sheridan Grant Bridal Suite. It was a fabulous old room with lots of history. Our honeymoon was at Tarbet House in Tarbet, Loch Lomond, Scotland – a wonderful guesthouse on the hillside overlooking Loch Lomond. We had some amazing sunrises, deer roaming in the garden and a spa bath you could fit four people in lying down!
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
The whole day was perfect. So many things went wrong in the lead up to the day (including me putting my back out and having an emergency visit to the Chiropractor) but I guess it would have to be walking in to the workshop and seeing all the guests, the candles and Martin looking stunning in his ‘Prince Charlie’ outfit with that sexy smile again.
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
For the actual day – we couldn’t have asked for anything to be better. All our suppliers were spot on. For other brides, I would recommend getting quotes initially without mentioning it is for a wedding – we had one venue quote £110 per head for wedding reception and then £59 per head for the same menu, same date, same function room when we said it was for a birthday. The internet was an invaluable tool for researching suppliers.