Sam & Becca’s wedding is raw, elemental and utterly utterly beautiful. The pair choose to elope to the Isle of Skye from their native New York albeit with a few friends and family too and say their vows against the wild backdrop of a windswept island.
I am in love with all of it.
Becca’s wise words below really resonate with me – she says of the decision to elope to Skye…’we truly felt like we began our marriage by making a declaration not only with our vows, but also with our actions…and going someplace new made us feel like we were starting off our marriage with a tangible representation of that….’ and I totally get that.
I think it’s oh so easy to forget (myself included) amongst the million decisions about decor and flowers and food that actually the most important thing is the love between you and your partner and your declaration of your commitment to each other. And really, as you’ll see in the photos below captured so wonderfully by Tub of Jelly, that’s all you need.
Becca The Bride: When Sam and I started talking about what we wanted for our wedding, we said we wanted three things: 1) the people we love the most 2) in an incredibly beautiful location 3) with a really, really good dinner after the ceremony that lasted several hours. We went through every option we thought was open to us. Big wedding with everyone we know and love in an event space near Sam’s parents, medium wedding in my parents’ backyard in California, small wedding on the rooftop of our family friends’ apartment building in New York City – nothing felt quite right.
Then I mentioned that I felt disappointed that we were talking about spending a ton of money on a wedding when really what we wanted to do was travel, and we weren’t in a position to do both. And Sam said, well, aren’t we? It took some convincing from Sam that this was something we really were allowed to do, but we soon decided to get married somewhere far, far away. We looked for somewhere in the world that was too beautiful to be real, and would fill our wedding experience with wonder and awe. We found it on the Isle of Skye, and when we told our families about our plan they declared they were coming with us.
Within the span of a week or two, our wedding went from a secret elopement to a family affair, with tickets being bought and houses being rented within the span of about ten days. It was easily the craziest decision we’ve ever made. It was also easily the best. We truly felt like we began our marriage by making a declaration not only with our vows, but also with our actions. We both wanted to approach marriage as an adventure as opposed to a tying-down, and going someplace new and different made us feel like we were starting off our marriage with a tangible representation of that. On top of all of that, we both had the most fun day of our lives on our wedding day – running around in the wind and rain taking photos on cliffs, with cows, and on wobbling rocks by the sea and having the most amazing, emotionally meaningful wedding dinner we could have envisioned.
Our entire wedding day felt sacred, in large part because we were totally removed from our daily life. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am that we did what felt right for us. We are lucky to have so many beloved friends and family and to live in a place we love, but following our gut instinct to get away from it all was absolutely the right choice for us, and we will treasure that decision for the rest of our lives.
The Bride’s Fashion
Number one on my list was a dress I could move around in. It needed to travel well and I didn’t have a huge amount of money allocated to the dress. I had envisioned something with sleeves, but ended up finding one by BCBG sitting alone on a rack in the prom dress section of a department store while walking through. It was my size, it fitted me perfectly and it was nothing like I expected. Bonus: the dress magically didn’t wrinkle no matter what I put it through. I literally balled it up to fit it in my carry-on, unrolled it and put it on and it looked great.
I also took a leather jacket to protect me against Scottish weather and bought boots so I could traipse through fields without worrying about my shoes. For accessories, I stuck with the same necklace I wear every day, and a few weeks before the wedding decided to order a flower crown from the local florist. I asked her for the simplest flower crown I could think of – just heather and a few roses at the back. It turned out beautifully and I loved, loved, loved wearing it. I tried not to take my outfit too seriously and let myself have fun with it, and I’m not sure I’ve ever loved an outfit more. I wish I could wear my wedding outfit every day!
The Groom’s Fashion
Sam had one goal for his suit – he wanted something impeccably tailored that would serve as his go-to suit after the wedding. We went to the J.Crew Ludlow shop in downtown NYC to get his suit, and while we were there I saw a moss-green tie that I thought would go well with my pink jacket. It ended up matching my flower crown perfectly, and made everything seem much more planned out than it really was. He already had the Allen Edmond shoes, and all around his outfit was much more posh than mine!
Really our venue was the whole Isle of Skye, which we traveled to from New York City. We didn’t really care what happened once we got there – once we crossed the bridge onto the island, we both sighed with relief and declared that we could get married by the side of the road if we needed to as the entire island is just unbelievably gorgeous. That said, we did originally intend to get married by Loch Coruisk, which requires a boat ride to get to, but the crazy 40 mph winds thwarted that plan.
Instead, we were married in the B&B where Sam and I were staying and where we had already planned to have our wedding dinner.The owners of Coruisk House were unendingly flexible and gracious and created a magical room filled with candles just for us to use. Their B&B is impeccably designed, so we didn’t worry about any kind of decoration at all – we let Clare handle everything and we just floated through the day on a cloud.
Accidentally, we ended up with a blush pink/moss green colour scheme that stemmed from my jacket and Sam’s tie. We needed ribbon colors for our handfasting, so we went with pink and green to match. Sam’s sisters asked if they could coordinate by wearing dresses of a certain color, so I told them light pink would match my jacket. My flower crown serendipitously matched Sam’s tie. Other than that, we had no decoration except for the candles that Coruisk House provided!
The only flowers we had was my flower crown (I didn’t want to worry about carrying a bouquet while running around outside) and six tiny hairpieces for our sisters to wear in their hair. Our florist – Simply Flowers – did an amazing job with limited instruction or communication from me. I essentially asked her for the smallest, most natural flower crown she could make and then about a week before the wedding asked if she could somehow make hairpins with flowers on them for my sisters. She delivered the most beautiful pieces that made us all feel linked throughout the day.
The Wedding Party Fashion
Aside from Sam’s sisters wearing pink to tie in with my outfit, everyone picked whatever they liked best. With so few people, I didn’t want everyone to match, but I loved that Sam’s sisters wanted to coordinate, so I left them to their own devices after showing them my jacket color.
Because we weren’t having a traditional day (we had no procession or recession – when we decided it was time and everyone was gathered I just clapped my hands together and asked Sam if he wanted to go get married now, and we did!), we spent a lot of time working on our ceremony. We wanted to honor our parents, so we asked each of them to do a reading for us. We thought a lot about where to place each reading, with Sam’s mom and my dad reading poems picked by each of us just before we read our vows.
My mother read a poem that mentions tying yourself to your partner just before our handfasting, and Sam’s dad read “i carry your heart” by E. E. Cummings just before we exchanged rings. We wrote our own vows, but discussed beforehand how long they should be and what they should generally include. We decided on two sections – the first section in which we would talk about what the other meant to us, and the second section in which we would make our actual vows and promises. That way, our vows matched in structure, but were still a surprise. At the end, we included a handfasting and said words together as our celebrant led us through the ritual. It felt so special to end our ceremony by saying the same thing, together, after having declared our separate feelings and intentions to each other through our vows and ring exchange.
My parents hired a local bagpiper to play for us throughout the day! The original plan had him hiking out into the hills near Loch Coruisk so he could play after our ceremony ended from the distance, but instead he played for us before our ceremony at the B&B and then played again as we came in from our second set of pictures to sit down to dinner. It hadn’t occurred to me to hire a bagpiper, but it added so much to the ceremonial feel of the day.
Coruisk House is not only a beautiful place to stay, it also is home to one of the best restaurants on the Isle of Skye. It’s small, so we took over the whole restaurant for our dinner, and Clare and Iain delivered the most incredible meal of our lives. Sam and I both love seafood more than anything, so having local, freshly caught fish and scallops for dinner was a huge treat for us. And having creme brulee for dessert instead of cake was a definite hit!
When looking for a photographer, we looked for someone who we thought we would want to hang out with all day on our wedding. Originally, we were going to elope with just the two of us, so our photographer was going to be the only “guest” at our wedding, and I didn’t want to have the only other person I saw on my wedding day aside from Sam be someone that I didn’t click with. When I saw Tub of Jelly’s awesome website (complete with Aladdin gif and pokemon references), I immediately emailed Sam and told him this was the one.
We also wanted someone whose photography was saturated with color and depth, that really felt like it could be from another world. Tub of Jelly achieved all of that – we looked as much at their engagement shoots in nature as we did at their wedding coverage, and we thought our wedding would be the perfect blend of high emotion with natural wonder that would really let them shine. We were right!