Jill and Russell came very close to being outshone by a friend of the four-legged variety on their big day at Coos Cathedral up in Scotland. Yes folks we’re talking about Brucedog; the cutest bow-tied daschund I ever did see. Honestly you’re going to love him!
I say ‘close’ because both Russell and Jill have serious star quality of their own going on and their exquisite geometric inspired wedding decor isn’t half bad either! I particularly love the florals in this ‘I Do’ or perhaps I should say foliage since Jill opted for oodles of botanics when it came to her wedding flowers. From her craspedia, succulent and poppy head bouquet to the chestnuts, moss and acorns spread liberally on the reception tables this is a bride who knows exactly what she wants and implements it. And by jove it blinking well works!
The same can be said of the garlanded balloons that sweep along the length and breadth of their awesome wedding venue too; a movement that flows throughout the day right down to the ceilidh hosted at the end of the night.
The uber talented Ann Kathrin Koch captured this wonderful big day and as usual her portrait shots are full of love and wonder and all that gorgeous Autumnal light.
Jill The Bride: Being Scottish I was of course keen to get married in Scotland. However, as one of the last of my group of close friends to get married, my lovely friends had used all of the venues where I’m from and I was determined to find something different! I hunted high and low for somewhere that hadn’t been used much and that I could really put my own stamp on. After a long time searching, I found The Coos Cathedral and totally fell in love. The sheer height of the building coupled with the amazing surrounds really made for the most perfect setting.
Nearby Tarland is home to the beautiful St Moluag’s Church. It’s a small Scottish Presbyterian Church but has the most beautiful view out front and was just the right size for the number of guests we had.
I don’t generally wear much in the way of make-up day-to-day so it was important for me to still look like myself. Through a lovely contact Merle Brown in Scotland, I came across Sam Johnston. Sam’s worked on various fashion campaigns and films and really was the most friendly, professional person. She fully understood what I wanted and delivered the most perfect look.
Hair-wise, Nicola Lamont came recommended from Merle as well. I wanted a relaxed, textured look to go with my jasmine crown and she completely understood, no corkscrew curls for me! Finally the nails; my most amazing sister-in-law Pamela created some gorgeous nails for my using Lavishly Loved Vinylux with a gold glitter fade on top. My only touch of sparkle!
My dress was ‘Diana’ by Raimon Bundo and came from Angelica Bridal in Camden Passage, Islington. I wanted something quite plain and instantly fell in love with it the minute I saw it! I thought I’d wear something short but couldn’t resist the beautiful lace of the dress.
Ann-Kathrin Koch photographed our wedding for us, we fell in love with her pictures and Russell and I both love shooting on film when we’re on holiday so loved the fact she shot on film herself. Her photos have a timeless quality which we really wanted, we didn’t want something that would date really quickly. The photos are an amazing memory of the day and perfectly capture it from start to finish including all of the details I’d put so much effort in to!
I borrowed the only jewellery that I wore on the day from my Chief Bridesmaid Colette – a simple silver bracelet. I had cute little Marc Jacobs mice pumps for the evening but alas when the ceilidh got going, all shoes were thrown aside in favour of bare feet! I didn’t have a veil but instead opted for a jasmine flower crown as I felt it was a much better fit with my dress and with the venue.
My lovely bridesmaids wore dusty pink midi length dresses which after much searching, we found in Oasis! The girls were all really happy with them and felt comfortable which was my main aim. I believe the wedding party should all enjoy the day and nothing stops you from enjoying a day more than wearing an outfit you’re not comfortable in. The groomsmen’s suits came from Marks & Spencer’s Autograph collection, the colour was perfect and complemented the bridesmaids and Russell perfectly.
The amazing Natalya and Fiona at Pyrus in Edinburgh worked on all of the flowers for me (apart from the succulent favours) and delivered an incredible selection. Homebase’s bulk buying department helped me source the mini succulents used for favours before I’d found Pyrus – they couldn’t have been more helpful!
Natalya and Fiona at Pyrus had several Skype calls with me and realized I was pretty obsessed with succulents and craspedia so came back with mood boards, incorporated their own personal take on things and delivered amazing botanics throughout the venue. They are so unique in what they do and have some great ideas, they incorporated some perfect seasonal touches like chestnuts and acorns without making the arrangements too Autumnal. The pew ends included my other favourite flowers – cabbage flowers. Teamed with seasonal and delicate wax, they looked perfect in the church.
My bouquet had succulents, hydrangeas and craspedia, it was a simple palate of white, green and a highlight of yellow. I also had my something old on there, it was held together with my gran’s vintage cameo brooch. It was actually pretty heavy, who knew succulents weighed so much!
The bridesmaids had beautiful loose hand-tied bouquets which looked quite wild. They complimented my bouquet and their dresses perfectly. The men all had succulent button holes and Russ had a craspedia in his version to tie in with my bouquet. We also had an amazing scent system from Scentair with the smell of freshly cut grass installed. It really brought the outside in and is my favourite smell.
Our service was very personal to us as a close family friend the Rev Gary Caldwell conducted it. He managed to include our much-loved sausage dog Bruce in there and really delivered some heartfelt moments! We had Russell’s Aunt Lucy read ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton as I’m partial to a dinosaur and a bit of shopping, I cried through the whole thing!
Of course being in Scotland we had to have a ceilidh! After we’d danced to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ – a song we picked thanks to a mutual love of The Mac we discovered when we first got together – the amazing Whisky Kiss got everyone up and dancing. It was hilarious – us Scots know exactly where to go and what to do when it comes to country dancing, the same can’t quite be said for all of the non-scottish people so we really did have a laugh getting everyone on the floor. We followed with a DJ set for the later part of the evening.
My Chief Bridesmaid Colette not only delivered her duties perfectly on the day but she also made the cake! It was delicious, three tiers with carrot cake, red velvet and vanilla. It’s the first three tier cake she’s done and it was incredibly professional, plus of course it tasted great!
Val Morrison did our catering for us, I did a lot of internet research to find her and she certainly delivered. I loved the fact she is local and uses as much local produce as she can get. We had Pimms for the reception along with sesame and teriyaki cocktail sausages, caprese sticks and mini haggis, neeps and tatties in pastry cases all served on Scottish slate platters.
Everyone is still talking about the starter! We had incredible local smoked salmon fillet served with local leaves and warmed Balmoral bread with sea salt crystal butter, it really was the best salmon I’ve ever eaten. For our main we had delicious chicken on the bone servied with skirlie mash, buttered kale and a rich jus while the vegetarians had halibut fillet with a lobster bisque and skirlie mash. Desert was a perfect shortcake stack with local fresh raspberries, elderflower cream and lavender sugar. Tea, coffee and tablet finished the meal off.
The children all had their own happy meal style boxes with snacks to start followed by chicken and mash then jelly and ice cream. They were all given flutes of milk with cookies on top for the toast! At 9.30pm Val served sausage and mash in a cup along with fresh mint tea, hot chocolate with marshmallows, tea and coffee. All on my request although I was too busy socializing when it all came out and missed it!
Stationery was one of the most important details for me, the weight and grade of paper and everything was meticulously picked, my print buyer at work, Maninder, got out all of her sample books and we spent ages choosing the perfect stock. My lovely friend Jodie at ilovedust designed the invites for me based on a brief with several pantone references and a broad graphic theme. We have very similar taste, we both love the Scandinavian aesthetic and very clean graphic lines.
The lovely Sarah-Louise Matthews used her fantastic paper-cutting skills to do my table plan, die-cut the front of the order of service and cut out the garland shapes. Russell’s Mum, Sue, then stitched all the cut shapes together to make meters and meters of garland. Once the invite was designed, the overall look sat in line with it with lots of graphic shapes and a colour palate of grey, pink and lemon yellow. Every single piece of printed material was referenced back to certain pantones and GF Smith paper colours I’d picked – I was quite obsessive about it!
For the balloons, I colour-matched some tissue paper I found in Stockholm and spent time chopping it all up into triangles. Joanne and I then stuffed all the balloons with the confetti the night before the eve of the wedding. Eilidh and I then inflated and tied all the balloons with me the day before the wedding, we had a few moments when we managed to burst a few in our faces but ended up with a not-planned confetti strewn floor which looked amazing!
Gill took control of making up the favours which she, my Mum and several others (including poor Joanne’s boyfriend Dan) spent most of Friday doing. They practically had no fingers left after tying 140 succulents!
Instead of a guest book, we had a message box. Each person had an envelope and paper (colour-matched to the wedding of course!) on their place setting and there was a little message box for everyone to post in. We laughed as we read them all out the day after – definitely more wine consumed when some were written than others!
I also wanted the kids to have fun so they had various bits and pieces to keep them amused at their place settings but I also created a craft area for them complete with toys and a monkey piñata – it was a hit!
We put a photobooth in for a few hours and encouraged people to stick their picture strips in an album and leave a comment – Mum wearing Kanye West style glasses was probably a highlight! It’s always worth thinking outside the box; our florist didn’t quite have the vessels we wanted so we ended up with planted candle holders from Ikea which were ideal. Fiona and Natalya went on a mission to get them for me, nothing was too big an ask.
I created a huge staging book which I circulated to everyone involved ahead of the day. I’m involved in events as part of my job and know how important it is to share information. Let people contact each other, don’t feel you always have to be involved in every conversation, you won’t have time! I also had the lovely Susie at Knot & Pop run things for me on the day – it’s so important to have someone you can just have action things for you. I know she spent quite a bit of time chasing after Brucedog when the meal was served which I’m sure isn’t something she does at every wedding!
Also make sure you have a plan for where everything is going afterwards as you’ll have to break it all down the next day and ship it back to where it came from.
My dad and I getting into our Landrover Defender and heading to the service was a journey I’ll never forget, the countryside was so beautiful and was just changing colour. Seeing my Mum’s proud face outside of the church really made me happy and crying when I looked in the mirror after I put my headdress on with the girls will always stick with me.
I laugh as well when I think about going down the aisle, Dad telling me to slow down, reaching the bottom, turning a corner and remembering Russell was there too!
I don’t remember it but Russell said the night before, when the venue was all set up and looking amazing, I grabbed his hand and said ‘I did it!’ with a huge grin on my face. No detail was left untouched and I’d managed it all pretty much stress-free.
Brucedog made a lovely little bed for himself in my dress during the meal and settled down for a nap, you can just about see him in a couple of the photos, he did also disgrace himself during set up by running round the venue with a dead pigeon (thankfully during set-up though)! We all tried to catch him for about 45 minutes but he’s speedy when he wants to be!
The Queen was in residence and we were near Balmoral so some of the girls went to Crathie Church and saw her the next day, one friend Minnie burst into tears when she waved at her – this is just one of the happy memories our guests have shared with us, everyone was talking about it for weeks afterwards and all seemed to have a fab time.
Dress ‘Diana’ by Raimon Bundo | Boutique Angelica Bridal | Shoes Marc Jacobs | Groom’s outfit Reiss | Band Whisky Kiss | Florist Pyrus | On The Day Co-ordinator Knot & Pop | Stationery ilovedust | Bridesmaid dresses Oasis | Transport Cars By Aberdeen.
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