There’s a special place in my heart for Winter weddings, especially when they’re in Scotland and set against a glorious backdrop of hills and mountains and lit up by candlelight. Which incidentally Rhiannon and Dave’s big day was…I know how lucky are we this morning!
Rhiannon married the love of her life in a Lusan Mandongus frock whilst Dave sported a bit of traditional tartan cut in a very modern way. Granted it was January and one of the coldest months of the year but warmth and love oozes from every one of the photos you see below. If there is one adjective to describe this gorgeous couple’s big day then it’s got to be ‘spectacular’. From the show-stopping fireworks for the guests in the evening to the dashing groomsmen and to the monumental displays of flowers that appeared on the tables and down the aisle; everything is a wonderful statement of love.
The Brides Fashion
Rhiannon The Bride: We decided to have a short engagement (just 5 months), so I didn’t have a lot of time to search for a dress! I’m not a fan of shopping so luckily, a week after we got engaged I found a dress I liked online. It was too good to be true but there was a stockist of the designer in Bothwell and the rest is history!
I wanted a dress that had both a relaxed and feminine look and one that ‘didn’t wear me’. My everyday style is simple and understated so I didn’t want anything too fussy or uncomfortable.
The gown was by Lusan Mandongus and I loved its sophistication and femininity. I’d say the look of the dress and accessories was classic, vintage glamour. Overall including the simple accessories and hair down, the look was romantic and feminine! The dress had a delicate, translucent cape / bolero jacket which accompanied it (perfect for a January wedding) and the design of its beading was the same as that of the dress. I felt really glamorous when the sun set and the beading caught the evening candlelight.
My bridesmaid suggested I ‘went for it’ on the shoes, hence Jimmy Choos were purchased. They were a simple style with peep toes and were well and truly worth it!
The Groom and Groomsmen Fashion
The groom and his best men wanted something modern yet classic. They decided to go for a tweed suit, to reflect the grandness and Scottishness of Mar Hall. They quickly discovered that traditional tweed suits are not made with lycra and these boys like their fitted clothes so they opted for a slightly more modern three piece tweed suit from Topman. The look was masculine and trendy at the same time with the skinny legged trousers giving an almost rock style feel. They looked pretty damn cool!
Mar Hall was the venue for our wedding and reception; it’s a very special place to us. It was the venue of the first wedding we went to together and is somewhere we have been back to stay several times since. The views from it are beautiful, overlooking the Clyde and the Kilpatrick Hills. When you are there you feel like you are getting away from it all, however it is only a half an hour drive from Glasgow and 15 minutes from Glasgow Airport. January is generally freezing in Scotland (!) so we also wanted a venue where we could do everything in one place and guests did not have to go outside (although we were lucky and the sun made an appearance, so we quickly nipped out to the beautiful grounds for some photos).
We really didn’t have a strict colour theme. The bridesmaids, best men and Dave all like navy, which works well for winter, so we decided to run with that. Apart from the outfits, everything else was crisp, clean and unfussy and we didn’t introduce any other colours. The venue itself is fairly ornate, full of rich dark colours with huge windows and fantastic views so anything we did was to enhance or complement these features.
Our ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception was all held in the same room and we were really keen to have three separate looks, so we hired the amazing Jordana Event Design and Florist team to help create this. Boy was she worth her weight in gold.
My instinct was to keep everything low key, but Jordana persuaded me that it’s a one off, huge celebration and you want it be memorable! I am so glad she did. Jordana worked with our brief to produce a wintery, cosy, candlelit feel, but she added SO much more. She and her team created the atmosphere and set the tone for the whole day and made us and our guests feel so comfortable in the surroundings.
When I walked into the ceremony it was like a fairytale. Huge vases with flowers towered above us! It felt elegant, magical, sophisticated, beautiful yet relaxed. During the wedding breakfast, we had night lights hanging from branches and flowers and candles were added to the fireplaces and mantle pieces. The white flowers complemented the candle light and made everything look bright and crisp. The look was romantic and enchanting!
In the evening, I would never have dreamt we would have chosen a twinkly dancefloor and 5ft light up initials but we did and it looked fantastic and really lifted the room!
Wedding Party Fashion
The bridesmaids both wore knee length, navy, 50’s style dresses. Their dresses were different, Katie’s from Coast, Jenny’s from J.Crew. I wanted the girls to choose something that suited them individually. Their shoes were the same, gold and sparkly, from Dune. Our Flower Girl, Aya (my 5 year old niece), wore a lovely floaty Monsoon dress. I wanted her to be comfortable and she dressed it with a little shrug to keep her warm and gold sparkly shoes too!
Our florist sourced a flower basket and Aya scattered petals as she walked down the aisle. All three girls wore headpieces in keeping with mine. Our pageboy Rory, my 3 year old nephew, wore custom made tartan trousers and a matching bowtie. I wanted him to be comfortable too so he didn’t wear a jacket, just a waistcoat. He looked so cute! We chose a tartan that complemented the bridesmaids’ dresses.
Our humanist ceremony felt very special and personal and was conducted by our lovely neighbour Helen, who is a fantastic Humanist Celebrant. She spent a lot of time with us, listening to our ‘story’, and making sure we were happy with the feel of the ceremony. We had loads of input and it was a really nice experience. It set the tone for the day – relaxed, informal, full of laughter and fun.
During the ceremony our good friend Roddy Hart, sang for us. We chose two songs; Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms” and The Waterboys “Fisherman’s Blues”. Roddy and Andy produced a beautiful arrangement of both and it was something for the guests to listen to and enjoy whilst we signed the register. The ceremony was also a chance to include other important people in our lives – Dave’s nieces and nephews were ushers and usherettes, his sisters acted as our witnesses, our good friends did readings and my brother was the best ring bearer ever! It was also a time to reflect on those who couldn’t be with us – Dave’s parents and my mum sadly passed away years ago and Helen included them beautifully in the ceremony.
We wanted music to be a very prominent feature throughout the day and we spent a lot of time researching and thinking about it beforehand. It can be a long day for guests and we aspired to keep them entertained. On arrival, they were welcomed by a Scottish bagpiper and drummer. At the drinks reception in the Grand Hall, Andy played the piano and sang. He created a beautiful, relaxed atmosphere and was a focus for those guests who didn’t know many people whilst we went away for photographs.
The top table was also piped in for dinner and during the meal we played background music from our ipod and speakers. It worked well and kept the party atmosphere going. After dinner, Andy’s band The Lounge Machine played. They had everyone up within minutes! We didn’t want a typical wedding band, and they were the opposite! Andy spent a lot of time with us before the day, working out what we liked. After the band finished, we had fireworks outside to Florence and the Machine “You’ve Got The Love” which was a nice touch for the evening guests.
Everyone was cheering and it was lovely to be out for a few minutes in the beautiful grounds! A really special memory we will have forever as Dave and I got a fit of the giggles! The buffet followed, and then the DJ played until carriages at midnight! Our DJ was fab – we sent him a list of songs we really wanted to hear and he played those and added his own touch. Having a band and a DJ worked well, and helped to create different atmospheres throughout the evening.
We met Sydney (Bella’s Cakes) at the Vintage Wedding Show. Once we tasted her cakes, that was it – sold! It was such a lovely experience working with her. She had us round to her home for cake tasting and coffee; we felt so spoilt. In the end, we chose three tiers, each a different flavour – sticky toffee pudding, lemon berry and nutella!
Both Dave and I are extremely camera shy and don’t particularly like being photographed! So we knew we wanted a photographer who we would get on with, who wouldn’t take us away from our guests or make us pose for photos for any length of time; we were not easy customers (poor Morag!). Morag at Brown’s Photography, was highly recommended to us by several people. We checked out her site and absolutely loved her relaxed documentary style of work. She has a lovely unassuming manner and you feel completely at ease with her instantly.
She worked incredibly hard on the day and it was really appreciated. Morag captured moments that nobody else would even have noticed. She did exactly what we asked and hardly took us away from our guests. We couldn’t believe it when she finished the family photographs in less than 10 minutes. Nearly all the photographs Morag took were documentary style as opposed to posed. And if they were directed, she literally had next to no time to take them (like the ones of my bridesmaids and I in the bedroom)! Those photographs were taken in 30 seconds! She really thought creatively about how best to photograph our wedding and was very tuned in to how we felt about things. We couldn’t be happier with the results.
Once we had made the decision to have our wedding filmed we knew exactly who to speak to. Bowery Productions is a fantastic production company run by the beautiful Jo Pirie. We had seen a lot of Bowery’s work that we loved and they came highly recommended. Jo is a very talented documentary producer/director and this is so evident in her wedding films.
Similar to our photographer requirements, we wanted the day captured as it happened. We didn’t want to be directed or taken away from our guests. Jo and her lovely husband Donald filmed with us all day.
There are many parts of the day we couldn’t remember – particularly the ceremony and the speeches, so to have these captured is absolutely brilliant. The crazy thing is we hardly remember any of the footage being filmed! There are parts of the day you miss, so to see what was ‘really’ going on with our guests, was just lovely! Jo and Donald were so discrete and just fitted in like friends. We received a 5 minute highlights video the day we returned from our honeymoon which was incredible. It was produced beautifully and helped to curb our sadness. I don’t think we fully appreciated just how important these films would be to us. It’s a fantastic keepsake from a very special day for us to relive over and over again – and that is exactly what we have done!
We loved our invites designed by the very talented Olive & Eighth. It’s the first glimpse your guests have of the kind of wedding you will have. We were looking for an invite with a ‘wintery feel’ and relaxed text and we wanted Mar Hall illustrated in some way. Working with Andie Cooke was a joy! The invites felt very personal and we had such lovely feedback from our guests as soon as they received them, which kickstarted the countdown to our wedding day so nicely.
General advice for brides to be!
Listen to your suppliers! They do it all the time and they do know best. I had some very set ideas and I am SO glad in the end, I listened to the experts. It is what you are paying them for!
Readings – we had two readings at our ceremony read by our beautiful friends. Our venue didn’t provide a lectern, so we printed the readings out on nice, thick card. The readers were photographed and it looked professional and smart (and any shaking was minimised!).
If you plan to be filmed or photographed getting ready in the morning of your wedding, think about what you’re going to wear. My bridesmaids and I wore simple black M&S nighties and dressing gowns which looked smart in the photographs. Hotel robes tend to be a bit bulky around the neck for when your hair and make up is being done.
For our guests who chose to stay at the hotel, we sourced personalised “hangover bags” from Etsy. We filled them with paracetamol, crisps, irn bru, love heart sweets and chocolate. Everybody seemed to love them!
Gifts – there’s a lot of people to thank! We bought personalized gifts for people which they seemed to love. We loved Demi John where you can choose someone’s favourite spirit and add a thank you message on the bottle.
Photography by Brown’s Photography
- Bridal Gown Lusan Mandongus
- Boutique Ivory Pinks Bridal Couture, Bothwell, nr Glasgow
- Shoes Jimmy Choo
- Headpiece Melle Cloche
- Florist Jordana Event Design and Florist
- Venue Mar Hall, Bishopton, near Glasgow
- Light Up Letters I Love Letters
- Cake Bella’s Cakes
- Groom/Groomsmen Topman
- Bridesmaids Coast
- Bridesmaids J.Crew
- Stationery Olive & Eighth
- Grand Hall Pianist Andy Lucas
- Piper & Drummer Pipe Major Stuart Mackenzie
- Ceremony Singer Roddy Hart
- Fireworks 21 cc Fireworks
- DJ Graeme Lacey (DJ)
- Videographer Bowery Productions