Lorn The Bride:
Russ and I met when we were students at University in York. Nine years on from our first date, Russ got down on one knee in Central Hall on York campus (the place he first saw me in freshers week) and popped the question. The hall was being used for a carol concert that evening and there were supposed to be people in there setting up, however Russ had spoken to the alumni team and they had given him a window that afternoon where they cleared everyone out so he had it to himself to propose. It meant we had a group of strangers cheering when we came out which was pretty surreal! Russ bought the ring himself from Hamiltons in Hatton Gardens - a beautiful cushion cut diamond ring, with a double halo of diamonds surrounding it. We got engaged at the end of November, and apart from throwing an engagement party, we put off all wedding planning until the New Year so we could enjoy just being engaged for a while.
We both have limited creative outlet in our jobs (he is an accountant and I am a lawyer) so we loved the idea of using the wedding to embrace a few crafty, DIY projects (with some help from our friends and family), which is exactly what we did. After scouring most of the barns in South West England, we finally came upon North Hidden Barn, a grade II listed barn in Berkshire. The owner hires the barn as an empty shell - no tables, no chairs, nothing. A blank canvas ready to be painted - which is exactly what we were after. So many people commented on how beautiful the barn was on the day. However choosing a wedding venue like that requires a lot of work – perhaps more than we had anticipated!! I would be lying if I didn't say there were times during the planning when I wondered why we had taken on so much, however, in hindsight I am glad we took the leap and chose a venue that allowed us to style it exactly how we wanted.
We chose to have a humanist ceremony because we wanted to be able to personalise what was said. The ceremony was conducted by Russ' uncle in a smaller, very rustic barn next to the main one which is open on one side. I walked in to First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes and my two big sisters walked me to the top of the aisle. I felt really nervous about the idea of everyone's eyes on me as I walked in and felt quite nervous that I would be really emotional. However walking in and seeing Russ at the top of the aisle ended up being one of my favourite parts of the whole day.
We wrote our own vows and our friend Becky who has an incredible way with words, wrote a "story of us" about how we met and got together which we heard for the first time at the wedding. The readings we chose were Love by Roy Croft, read by one of our bridesmaids and Union by Robert Fulghum, read by Lorn’s Sister.
We sang the Turtles "Happy Together" after we said our "I do's" which everyone really got into (thankfully!) and walked out to Daryl Hall & John Oates "You make my dreams come true". Our caterer, Brian, surprised us with two tequila shots and two glasses of fizz at the end of the aisle as we walked back down – start the reception as we meant to go on!
Bride – My dress was from Ellis Bridal
and it was probably one of the first dresses I tried on. However being an over-researcher, I had to try on about 20 more dresses "just to see", before I finally came back and chose it! I accessorised with gold sparkly Kurt Geiger
shoes (which I've worn again since on nights out), a pair of drop-diamond earrings from Carat and a very simple cut edge chapel length veil. My mum lent me my granny's opal ring (my something old, borrowed and blue – triple whammy!)
Groom – Russ looks so good in a kilt so I was really pleased when he said he wanted to wear his (which is passed down to him by my dad) for the wedding. The kilt is Ancient Ferguson tartan and has been in my family for a very long time. He had a new charcoal tweed jacket and waistcoat made by Slaters
in Glasgow and bought a new calfskin sporran. He completed the outfit with a dark green bowtie.
Best Men and Women – My best women all wore beautiful long charcoal green dresses from Debut at Debenhams
and accessoried them with black strappy heels. Russ' best men wore tartan trews which we hired from Slaters and lighter grey tweed jackets and bow ties to match Russ. Our "chief petal scatterers" (aka our nieces) stole the show in little white dresses from BHS and waxflower crowns.
I am not very into my makeup and tend to wear the bare minimum, so I knew that I wanted to keep my look very natural for the day. After a lot of deliberating (a common theme throughout the wedding planning!), I asked Amy at A Brush with Beauty
do both and can honestly say I have never felt more beautiful than I did on my wedding day. Russ' incredibly talented cousins Jill and Kate then kindly came and helped in the morning too, and did a fantastic job styling all my bridesmaids' hair.
During the reception, two of my friends from school played an acoustic set. Their rendition of McFly "It’s all about you" went down INCREDIBLY well with our nieces! Our first dance was "Your My Best friend" by the Once and we rehearsed a few twirls and spins to make sure we didn't just do the shuffle dance the whole time! Then no Scottish wedding would be complete without a ceilidh so in the evening we booked the Ceilidh Tree
. We also attempted a "last dance" to Loch Lomond (a Scottish tradition) which didn't go quite to plan but still was a great end to the night!!
The Food and Wine
Russ and I are both MASSIVE foodies and a lot of time and love went into planning our food with our fab caterer, Brian at Clementine Catering
. Brian and his team were all fabulous. We had a lot of guests with dietary requirements and he went that extra mile to accommodate these.
We weren’t keen on the idea of being sat at a "top table" so we sat our guests on two long banquet tables with us sat in the middle of one surrounded by friends and family.For our starter, we decided to dress up the traditional bread and butter by serving each guest their own plate of assorted butters and dips, with a basket of homemade breads in the middle. This went down really well, as let’s face it, after a drinks reception, that's really what you want to soak up some of the booze!
Then we modelled our main on a restaurant called the entrecote which serves only steak and chips. Keen to reinvent that, while also keeping the veggies happy, Brian created sharing platters: the first a steak with a salsa verde dressing, topped with pea shoots and the second sliced halloumi on a bed of charred Mediterranean veg. Both served with skinny fries. For pudding we had apple tarte tatin with crème anglais. We chose to have our coffee reception back outside as the weather was so nice and served teas, coffees and espresso martinis for a little post meal pick-me-up!
We bought and served all our own wine for the reception and dinner and used this as an excuse to do a few wine tastings with friends in the lead up to the wedding.
Our good friend and bridesmaid, Whit, made our delicious two-tiered banana wedding cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream icing. As wedding favours, we had a mixture of miniature bottles of home-made sloe gin and my Uncle Lewis' famous Scottish tablet (like a type of fudge) brought with him all the way from Stornoway.
We decided to break with tradition when it came to the speeches. I did a short speech before we sat down for our meal, then after pudding, we had three speeches: the first given by my two big sisters, then Russ and then his best men. I am quite a nervous public speaker but really enjoyed having that opportunity to say a few thank yous and to say some nice things about Russ before his best men got their say! We were initially quite against having a master of ceremonies as we thought it was perhaps a bit too formal for our venue, however I am very glad we did. My brother in law, Huw, acted as an incredible master of ceremonies and helped make the whole day run so smoothly for us.
The Photography & Videography
We spent weeks searching the web for photographers and stumbled upon the fabulous John and Sophie Barwood
. They are true artists with whom we know we struck gold. Not only are they incredibly talented photographers, they are such lovely people too. I don't think when you pick your photographers you realise how much time you actually spend with them on the day, therefore I really do think having nice people who you get on well with is very important! Since the wedding we have had a number of friends book them for their weddings next year which feels like a really nice compliment.
My cousin Ben kindly filmed our ceremony and speeches - such a lovely keepsake! And Russ' friend Ally used his drone to capture a few group photographs and footage which again is so lovely to have now (and created some entertainment on the day).
The Flowers & Lighting
My mum is incredibly talented with flowers and has helped a few other family members with weddings. So I very luckily left my wedding flowers in the capable hands of mum and the wonderful Karen at Allium Florist who kindly offered her expertise (and a lot of time and help!) in the lead up and on the day with flowers. As the barns were both large blank canvases, we used flowers and lights to fill the space while keeping the rustic feel. In the smaller barn, Karen created the incredible backdrop to our ceremony using branches from her garden. We lined the aisle with white hydrangeas placed in up-cycled bean tins that we sprayed copper and we had large lavender pots at the end (which mum planted for us and now sit outside our front door). Then we filled the big barn with festoon lights and a mixture of flowers in an arrangement of cut glass vases collected from many a carboot and charity shop. The main flowers we had were wax flowers, eringeums and pink peonies. I know I am biased but I still look at pictures of my bouquet and think WOW and feel very proud telling people that it was my mum who made it.
We were blessed with beautiful weather on the day, despite weather warnings of hail and thunder the day before, so during the dinner and in the evening we kept the doors to the barn open. We lit the outside with a big fire pit that burned all evening and as extra touches, we put cigars and bowls of marshmallows by the fire which disappeared pretty rapidly!
Crafting and DIY
Rock My Wedding
and Pinterest become my daily indulgences and were the source of inspiration for most of our personal wedding DIY touches. I felt very sad when I got back from honeymoon and realised I no longer had any excuse to read it anymore, then I discovered Rock My Style