WWW readers Donna and Simon eloped to the Isle of Skye in April to get married in a personal humanist ceremony.
“I loved the WWW blog and was slightly addicted whilst planning our day. It was great to pick up ideas from other slightly different/eclectic weddings featured! It was also how I found our fabulous photographers, as they had previously done an Isle of Skye elopement which was featured.” Donna told me.
It was important to them to get married somewhere remote and mountainous that reflected their love of hiking together. They hired a pretty cottage, booked fantastic photographers and found a perfect restaurant for their wedding meal. Donna chose a striking vibrant orange wedding dress teamed with a pretty wildflower bouquet. Simon wanted something a little quirky and went for a tweed jacket and waistcoat with some tan chinos. They looked beautiful.
Thanks so much to the brilliant Wilson McSheffrey Photography for sharing their photographs with us today.
The Proposal… It wasn’t so much a proposal as a conversation whilst lying in bed one Sunday morning! We talked about what our wedding should be like if we did it, then just said ‘shall we just do it?!’. It doesn’t sound overly romantic, but it was very ‘us’ and the relaxed, unfussy vibe continued right the way through to the wedding day.
The Vision for the Day… From the moment we decided we were getting married we knew we wanted to just disappear and come back married. For us, the ‘being married’ was far more important than the ‘getting married’, but we still wanted the day to be special and representative of us as a couple. As we spend so much time hiking in the mountains and generally feeling like we are the only ones left in the world, we thought somewhere beautiful, remote and mountainous, like the Isle of Skye, would be perfect and was somewhere we’d both wanted to go to because of the challenge of the Cuillin mountains.
The Planning Process… Google was my best friend during the planning process! Utilising my new best friend I found a beautiful little cottage in Elgol, Skye with the most amazing view of the Cuillin mountain range and then emailed to book, explaining that we were looking to elope and did they have any recommendations for nice places to have the actual ceremony. Joanie who owns the cottage suggested somewhere called Loch Coruisk, so again I Googled it and instantly feel in love! It was the most perfect place for us – luckily Simon agreed!
After we had the cottage and the ceremony location sorted, everything else fell into place. We booked the boat to get us across to the loch and a table at a/the local restaurant for our evening meal (well it was the only restaurant within a half hour drive of our cottage – luckily for us, it was fabulous!) The lady at the restaurant also recommended the Florist.
The Venue… We were married next to Loch Coruisk on the Isle of Skye, which we had to take a boat to get to. The only other way to get to it is a 6 mile hike across the mountains and although i’d normally be up for that, I’m usually in a Gore-tex jacket and walking boots not a flowing floor length dress!
We were panicking the day before the wedding though as it was terrible weather and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to sail and we’d have to use the local village hall for the ceremony, luckily we woke up on the morning of the wedding to a beautiful blue sky. Cue a huge sigh of relief!!
The Dress + Accessories… I wore a floor length, one shoulder orange dress made by a lady on Etsy.com. I sent her my measurements and the colour I wanted and she created the masterpiece for me. I also wore a pearl bracelet given to me by my best friend years ago and a delicate pearl drop necklace which I’d been given when I was a bridesmaid a few days before our own wedding. I just couldn’t decide on a cardigan or shawl and left it until about 4 days before the wedding to finally find a perfect shawl made of alpaca wool from Amazon.co.uk which was lovely and warm!
Everyone has also asked what shoes I had on under the dress as there was a bit of scrambling up and over rocks and stepping stones to get to where we had the ceremony… I was going to wear my walking boots, but decided on some flat knee boots from Dune in a dark tan leather. They look great with jeans too, so I’ll definitely be wearing them again!
Finding the Dress… As soon as we decided we were getting married the hunt for a dress began… i trawled wedding blogs, wedding dress sites and even Monsoon/John Lewis/Insert generic department store here. But couldn’t find anything which I thought would suit the surroundings and how I wanted to feel on the day. I came across a wedding blog which featured a lady in Australia who wore a beautiful orange, one shoulder dress and it was like a light bulb moment – that was it – that was the style and colour of my dress!! It was then a case of finding that dress or someone who could make it for me. By pure chance I saw a lady advertising a similar one shoulder dress on Etsy.com . I could have had it in one of a million colours, but the one in the picture was just the orange I wanted – it was my perfect dress. I sent off my measurements and received it about 4 weeks later. I was really worried I wouldn’t like it when it came as I had some moments of doubt whilst it was being made, but at soon as it arrived I knew I’d made the right choice. It just felt ‘right’.
Groom’s Attire… Simon wears a suit for work every day and he didn’t want to get married feeling like he was in his workwear, so we looked for something a bit different for him. We used Pinterest and wedding blogs to get some ideas until he settled on a Harris tweed waist coat with blue shirt and tie, beige chino/jeans and brown boots. It was only a week or so before the wedding that we realised he might get cold and would need a jacket to go over the top, so he luckily found a Harris tweed jacket on Ebay in his size, which ended up fitting perfectly and being very warm!
The Readings + Music… We had a humanist ceremony, so could incorporate nearly anything we wanted to in the ceremony. Our celebrant, John Howieson was wonderful and helped us to build the ceremony into something really personal and beautiful. We wrote our own vows and had a traditional Celtic handfasting ceremony using some ribbons I had plaited into handfasting cords to match our outfits. John also printed us a copy of the full ceremony to take away so we could share this with our friends and family, which was a really nice touch and I think appreciated by our parents especially.
We obviously didn’t have any music, but we did get a particularly low -fly by from a RAF helicopter during the ceremony! The rest of the time it was just the perfect silence of the mountains as a backdrop.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… None. – unless you could count the on-looking seal colony.
The Flowers… I wanted a wildflower bouquet which looked like I’d picked it on my way to the ceremony and I think the florist did a really good job despite the very vague instructions I’d given her. I’ve no idea what flowers were actually in the bouquet, but it was lovely and went with our outfits really well.
The Cake… We chose not to have a cake as it was just the two of us.
Your Photographer… The fantastic and talented Wilson McSheffrey! I cannot praise these guys highly enough. They helped to make the day relaxed and fun and I think the images now speak for themselves – we were unbelievably happy with them. Andrew and Emmett also kindly agreed to be our witnesses, so we could have a true elopement without needing to take some friends or family for the legalities.
The Details + Decor… We didn’t have too many details or decor, but I did really want an ‘announcement photo’ to be able to send to friends and family, so I made a ‘Mrs & Mrs’ sign using a heart shaped chalk board bought from Hobbycraft. We were meant to have a heart each with Mr and Mrs separately, but one broke on the drive up from Southampton, so I had to make a last minute alteration with the chalk!
The Honeymoon… We spent a week on the Isle of Skye in the most beautiful little cottage with fabulous views of the mountains and sunsets over Loch Scavaig, generally drinking lots of wine and indulging in the amazing seafood available on the island. We then spent another week across on the mainland of Scotland in the Cairngorms at a B&B we’ve been a few times before and love. The weather wasn’t quite so kind to us on the second week though.
Memorable Moments… The whole day is etched in my memory, as it was so relaxed and there was no stress at any point, which was lovely. But key moments were probably;
· Going to the registrar in the morning to pick up the marriage schedule in my rollers!
· The boat trip back from the ceremony as the skipper and his wife had decorated the boat with ribbons, bunting and heather hearts – we didn’t expect it and it was so sweet of them.
· The 1 mile walk to the restaurant in the evening – random people stopped and congratulated us. It was apparently the talk of the village that a couple had got married at the loch that day. We were still in our wedding attire, so it must have been fairly obvious who we were!
· The 1 mile walk home from the restaurant – It was pitch black and we only had a little wind up torch, but the sky was so clear and the moon bright. I don’t think i’ve ever seen so many stars – you could see billions of them as there’s no light pollution on the Isle of Skye. We needed to walk off all the fabulous seafood and champagne we’d consumed anyway, but it gave us a lovely chance to reflect on the most perfect day we’d just had.
Advice for Other Couples… Don’t feel you have to have a big white wedding for it to be special and memorable, Small (OK ,tiny!) weddings /elopements can be amazing too and as long as you invest in a great photographer your friends and family can share the day with you afterwards through the photos. When you strip the day right back to what it’s actually about – 2 people declaring their love for each other and that they want to spend the rest of their lives together – you don’t sweat the small stuff, you just enjoy it.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
The below suppliers all played a part in making our day unbelievable special and I can’t thank them enough.
Misty Isle Boat trips: http://mistyisleboattrips.co.uk
Coruisk House (Fabulous seafood restaurant where we had our wedding meal. Clare and Ian who run the place are so lovely and made it feel very special) – http://www.coruiskhouse.com
Wilson McSheffrey Photography: http://wilsonmcsheffrey.co.uk
Shore Cottage (Wonderful cottage, we’ll definitely be back!): http://www.elgol-self-catering.co.uk/
Simply Flowers, Broadford – http://www.simplyflowersskye.co.uk
So full of love. Oh how i love it when a couple chooses to elope, it’s just so romantic. Thanks so much to Donna and Simon for sharing their beautiful day with us XOXO Lou
Tags: Elopement, Humanist Wedding, Isle of Skye, No Bridesmaids, Orange Wedding Dress, Orange Wedding Ideas, Real Weddings, Tweed Groom, Wildflowers, Wilson McSheffrey Photography