“After dinner Ann our photographer bundled us into her car and off we went to climb a mountain. The brief minutes my husband and I had atop the Cairn O’Mount I will always treasure as a time to soak it all in, reflect on what we had committed to each other and what a wonderful day we’d had. If time allows then go on and sneak away for a few precious moments”
I couldn’t have said it better myself – Victoria and Mark have the most beautiful misty mountain portraits, not to mention the most amazing blooms known to man, a stunning castle setting and more love and laughter than you can shake a kilt at. This is a proper Scottish wedding with an abundance of style and sass – also, the bride had not one but TWO stunning gowns!
Did I mention the amazing blooms?
Victoria The Bride: I’m originally from Hong Kong where we now live whereas Mark is a Glasgow boy born and bred. We decided early on that there are few places more beautiful in the entire world than Scotland and nothing as much fun as a proper Scottish wedding. So our wedding in May this year was a traditional northern affair set in the rugged hills of Aberdeenshire where we took over a 19th Centrury castle for a weekend of good wholesome fun and debauchery.
The Brides Outfit
Wedding dress shopping was not always an enjoyable experience for me! After being left disappointed by the styles and selection I’d found in Hong Kong I booked a trip back to UK giving myself a week to find a dress. Countless appointments and 70+ dresses later I realised this was a big mistake – wedding dress blindness, an emotional and teary bride and a flight back without a dress.
After taking a few months off from the dress hunt I went back to one of the first boutiques I visited that stocked Caroline Castigliano dresses where I was able to customise my perfect dress. I took the top from one, skirt from another, changed the neckline and the lace. The designers in London were fantastic about accommodating these changes and finally I had exactly what I’d imagined.
I added a lace jacket and the most beautiful Sara Gabriel veil I had ever clapped eyes on. I justified it with being a castle wedding that it should be a cathedral length veil, but in truth we could have been getting married anywhere, I was always going to go big.
There was also no way that I was missing out on being flung around the dancefloor in the ceilidh so I invested in a second dress for the evening by Kobus Dippenaar . Nude silk and sheer tulle with exposed corsetry, lace, and grey thistle beading across the bodice, it was sassy and I adored it.
My Mother-in-Law as a wedding gift had her engagement ring redesigned into a pendant with Mark and my initials. It was such a touching gesture and I pinned the pendant onto my bouquet.
The Grooms Attire
In contrast to my mammoth dress hunt, Mark’s wedding attire was sorted in one shop in about an hour and a half. His kit and accessories were from MacGregor and McDuff who were fantastic in accommodating our timescale, doing all the fittings and alterations in the few weeks leading up to the wedding. He spruced it up with a tartan cape (not the technical name) a tailored shirt and some dashing tan ghillie brougues.
Living abroad meant a lot of google searches and scouring photographer’s blogs for venue ideas. We made a list of criteria important to us and when we came across Drumtochty Castle, it filled each of these and more.
Set in the wild mountainous Aberdeenshire countryside, it had space for everyone to stay on site, a stunning ballroom, it’s own loch, and the serenely beautiful St Palladius church a short walk away. We booked it without even having visited (I figured if it was good enough for James McAvoy to get married there then I’m sure it would be good enough for us) and once we finally got to go and have a look it was everything we could have hoped for. Ewan and his team were instrumental in making sure everything ran smoothly, giving us freedom to use the Castle as we liked for the whole weekend, making us feel at home, and hardly batting an eyelid the morning after the wedding on arriving to find stuffed goats discarded on the dancefloor and stag head mounts pulled off the walls by slightly over-enthusiastic merriment.
From the outset we didn’t want to have a set colour scheme, theme or anything too formal as we wanted our guests to feel relaxed, let their hair down and enjoy themselves. We didn’t go crazy with decorations as the venue really didn’t need it. We set up a sweetie table, a Whisky station, got a bit carried away with jam jars, personalised stickers, candles and pom poms. We bought wooden bird cages and blue and white porcelain from markets in China and shipped them back to use in the decorations as a small homage to our home.
Mark made welcome packs for everyone containing mixtures of souvenirs from Scotland and Hong Kong, some trivia about our guests including the number of different nationalities (15 in total), where, how, and how long people had traveled to get there (total distance was equivalent to 11 times around the world!) and some of the finest local delicacies on offer…shortbread and Irn Bru.
We had early on spoken to Tom Gautier of Paper & Things about designing a bespoke suite of wedding stationery. Being a bit of a perfectionist the stationery I had seen just wasn’t going to cut it for me. We gave ourselves a year and a half to design everything, which although seems a long time, most was spent writing long emails on life, love, living abroad and – amusing now, less so at the time – wedding dress disaster stories. Tom became a close friend and confidant and somehow in-between all this found time to design the most exquisite stationery suite we could have hoped for. It had stunning details, a flower chain save the date, beautiful penmanship, luscious letterpressing, and quirky illustrations all wrapped up in a beautifully hand-drawn map. We had so many amazing compliments from friends and family and it was hands down my favourite part of the wedding planning process.
The choice of florist was one of the easiest decisions, Gemma and her team at Planet Flowers are so incredibly talented and were an absolute joy to work with in the year leading up to our day. I didn’t want anything too structured and so we went with a huge selection of flowers including peonies, delphiniums, garden roses, ranunculus, thistles, sweet peas to name a few in a range of warm corals, blush, blues and greens. Planet Flowers took our brief with gusto and created magical woodland countryside arrangements with huge trailing urns, a wild flower fireplace archway, floral crowns for the stuffed bison, centrepieces that grew up candleabras and across the tables and a set of bouquets which melted my heart.
We had three Bridesmaids who wore lace dresses from BHLDN, hand delivered by a dutiful Bridesmaid all the way from New York. The Groomsmen wore jackets and waistcoats from MacGregor and McDuff with their own family kilts to keep a bit of individuality.
We both wanted a traditional ceremony and St Palladius church in the grounds of the Drumtochty estate provided the most beautiful setting. The Father of one of Mark’s childhood friends conducted the service, giving a heartfelt, personal and at times wonderfully amusing ceremony.
My Brother and a good friend of ours did readings which we asked them to choose themselves. Jess chose ‘All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum’ and my Brother put together a poem from a song by Walt Whitman. Both readings were about taking to the open road and exploring the world together which suited us perfectly.
We spent a lot of time selecting music that meant a lot to us, and when the piper started playing the first bars of Highland Cathedral as we left the church it instantly brought a lump to my throat. It holds an emotional place in my heart for being Mark’s favourite bagpipe piece and also as it was played at the lowering of the flag at the end of British colonial rule during the 1997 handover of Hong Kong
Our band Bahookie did not disappoint with their unique style of ceilidh merging into modern songs half way through. It was rather surreal when you realised you were doing the Gay Gordons to Coldplay or a Dashing White Sergeant to The Prodigy. The ceilidh was definitely a highlight and I can’t imagine ending the night in a more magical way than surrounded by a circle of family and friends all singing Loch Lomond.
The food at Drumtochty is locally sourced so we stuck to good old Haggis, neeps and tatties, Scotch Salmon, Abderdeen Angus beef and a classic sticky toffee pudding.
The cake from Bonnie Wee Cakes was a present from my Mother who helped design it, needle felted the cake toppers and drove the cake all the way from the Lake District to Scotland. A feat of love.
Many hours were spent looking for the right photographer and 5 minutes into our first Skype call with Ann, I was well and truly smitten. We met up for a portrait session on Loch Lomond the week before the wedding where we climbed some mountains, hung out by the loch and laughed an awful lot (‘Mark pretend you are sniffing Victoria’s ear’). On the day she brought the lovely Siegrid Cain to assist.
Ann’s skill behind a lens is effortless, and the photos she takes carry such depth of emotion and character. She has an innate ability to make you feel instantly at ease in front of a camera and, despite the weather trying it’s hardest to scupper things on the day, the colours, the landscape and the emotion in the shots Ann took is just breathtaking.
We had debated for some time whether to hire a videographer, we worried about having too many people with cameras around and whether it would make guests feel uncomfortable, however I can hand on heart say it was one of the best decisions that I am so thankful for every single day.
Shutterbox Films were recommended to us by our photographer Ann and after a look at their films and an amusing chat with Lee, I think about cats rather than weddings, we were instantly hooked. These guys are two of the most talented videographers I have ever met and are just such lovely people to boot. They created an incredible feature film and trailer condensing so much love and laughter into the most perfect 2 minutes of footage that we will treasure forever.
We are so thankful for all the friends and family who helped along the way as planning a wedding from the other side of the world is hard, you need to rely on email, google and Skype a lot. Meeting new suppliers can be a challenge at the best of times but when it’s all done online it has more potential to be so. We ended up being so incredibly lucky in bringing together an amazingly talented dream team of suppliers who we got on so well with that despite not meeting most until the week of the wedding it felt like we had known each other for years. Give yourself enough time to plan and trust your instincts, if you don’t click with suppliers or they are slow/non-responsive to emails then move on, it’s an additional stress you don’t need.
After dinner Ann bundled us into her car and off we went to climb a mountain. The brief minutes my Husband and I had atop the Cairn O’Mount I will always treasure as a time to soak it all in, reflect on what we had committed to each other and what a wonderful day we’d had. If time allows then go on and sneak away for a few precious moments.
Photography by Ann-Kathrin Koch Photography
- Dress Designer Caroline Castigliano
- Veil Sara Gabriel
- Second Dress Kobus Dippenaar
- Grooms Attire MacGregor and McDuff
- Venue Drumtochty Castle
- Stationery Tom Gautier of Paper & Things
- Florist Planet Flowers
- Bridesmaid Dresses BHLDN
- Band Bahookie
- Wedding Cake Bonny Wee Cakes
- Videographer Shutterbox Films
- Second Photographer Siegrid Cain
- Bridal Shoes Rupert Sanderson
- Bridal Jacket Rosa Clara
- Headpiece Twigs and Honey
- Bagpiper Greg Stewart