Peter and Rebecca married at the beginning of the year at Fingask Castle, Scotland. They opted for a late wedding ceremony so that they could include all of their guests and keep them entertained throughout.
They created a cosy and personal day, with bonfire, sparklers and different types of candle on each table. Food and drink was also high on the priority list, with a scrumptious hog roast and gluten free wedding cakes. Yum.
Rebecca looked beautiful in her Mori Lee wedding dress and fur stole while Peter went for traditional Highland dress. I so love this relaxed and happy celebration.
Thanks so much to Fraser Stewart for sharing his brilliant images with us today.
The Proposal… Was long overdue! He turned up two hours late to take me out for dinner on my birthday so it didn’t start all that well. He was acting pretty strange from the start so I pretty much knew what was going on from the start. When it got dark we drove to a remote beach so we could see the stars. My birthday is in the middle of the perseids meteor shower so there are always shooting stars. He gave me all my birthday presents on the beach and finally he pulled out a purple ring pop and asked me to marry him. He was too worried about choosing a ring I’d like so I had to go with him afterwards.
It turned out the reason he was so late was because he’d gone to my parents’ house after work to ask my dad for permission to marry me and my mum said “Since you’re here if you can just hold on a bit I’ll make her a cake”. Two hours later…
The Vision for the Day… We didn’t want to wait long having already waited four and a half years so we settled on a winter wedding. We didn’t want to have separate day and evening receptions in the traditional wedding format as we wanted all our guests to feel valued and we’ve been to a lot of weddings which happen while you’d normally be eating lunch and then you wait aaaaages for the couple to have their photos before you can eat so we laid our day out like this: 4pm ceremony while the sun set over the Tay Valley, 5 – 6pm drinks reception with bouncy castle, photobooth and real castle to enjoy, 6:30pm dinner, 8:30 speeches, 9:30 ceilidh band strikes up, 10:30 – 11pm break with cutting (and eating) of cake, 11 – 12 more ceilidh, 12 – 1 bonfire send-off with sparklers.
It was important that our guests were always: comfortable (warm enough, well fed with enough to drink, kept entertained, and offered choices where possible. So we started the ceremony with sweeties, gave out hot mulled cider (juice and non-alc versions available) at the reception as well as a choice of activities, we tried not to hold up proceedings by having millions of posed photos, the meal was a hog roast with roasted veg followed by sticky toffee pudding (hearty winter food with various other options to cater for special diets), the favours were hand warmers shaped like hot water bottles so guests wouldn’t get cold on their way home, we also gave out torches to minimise limb-breakage on dark castle grounds in winter, we already knew our ceilidh band “Jiggered” were excellent as they played at my 21st birthday a few years back, we didn’t have an evening buffet as everyone was still stuffed with roasted hog but we gave out the cake during the break in the ceilidh for anyone who could manage some. We finished off the night with a huge bonfire and hundreds of sparklers for guests to play with. We got some pretty spectacular photos from this.
We really wanted the whole day to be fun, meaningful, family-friendly and to take great care of our guests. I demanded meticulous attention to detail from everyone to try to achieve this! We also wanted everyone to know exactly why we were there. To understand what a Christian marriage is and why it meant so much to us.
The Planning Process… We did it all in four months so it was slightly hurried. Our families were very supportive and both of my bridesmaids are married so they were helpful. One of my colleagues studied graphic design so she made our invitations which were printed like letters on parchment and sealed with red wax and our personalised P&R seal. Our venue were happy to do whatever we asked so that was very simple. They recommended caterers so that was booked without a hitch. My brother is a very talented musician so he took care of the ceremony music which was handy. The bridesmaids were a bit trickier because my sister was pregnant until 6 weeks before the wedding so that all became a bit last minute but they pulled it off and looked beautiful. A florist in Dundee was recommended to me and they were happy to copy a picture I showed them so that wasn’t difficult. Photographer was a friend of Pete’s so that wasn’t difficult
The Venue… Fingask Castle. Such a versatile venue and such versatile staff! You pay a single price to hire the venue for the day and then you have your own castle to do whatever you like with. We also hired out the bridal suite for getting ready in (three four-poster bedrooms and a huge bathroom on the top floor of the castle). I felt like a princess putting my dress on up there and we got to spy on people as they arrived. Because we had a fairly large number of guests (invited 200, eventually catered for 178) we had our ceremony in the pavilion (a sort of permanent marquee-like structure with glass walls) on the lawn and we went to the castle for our reception where we used different rooms for mingling, stationing the guest room and our home-built photo booth (thanks Dad).
The Caterers… Our hog roast was provided by Highland Spit Roasts. Jenny Robb is potentially the nicest woman we have ever met and the roast far exceeded all expectations. Especially the crackling. We had been told to look forward to their famous crackling but nothing could have prepared us for that. It was sensational. They arrived several hours before the meal and roasted the hog in the middle of the dining room for all to see (and the smell was mouth-watering!). Very impressive. The vegetables, vegetarian dishes, desserts and tea and coffee with tablet were all provided by a different caterer (Highland Spit Roasts like to focus purely on their roasts) who I’ll not name as we had quite a few complaints with them.
The mulled cider and the bar were provided by the castle and their staff and our table wine came from a French vineyard owned by friends of Peter’s parents. Fingask gave us a very reasonable corkage price since we were only bringing a couple of bottles per table rather than all the alcohol for the day. We also got non-alcoholic elderflower wine from the local Cairn o’Mohr winery which we already knew to be delicious.
The Dress + Accessories… My dress was Blu by Morilee (style 5174). Ball gown cut with chapel train, sweet heart neckline can be worn strapless but I chose to use the detachable lace cap sleeves which act like a jacket and give the dress a portrait back. The bodice is embroidered and covered in silver, glass and pearl beads. Bow at back with ribbons descending the length of the dress. I had a fingertip veil complete with sparkly bits and I wore the blush over my face until “You may now kiss the bride!” – why does no one do that anymore?
Tiara – silver and pearl asymetric hairband by Amanda Wyatt.
Jewellery – since I would be standing with my back to everyone for the service I wanted a necklace with a backdrop to create a bit of sparkle on the backless part of my dress. I couldn’t find a nice one so I found a jeweller in Stirling who made one for me. It used the pendant from a necklace Peter had given me at the front and a Swarovski crystal at the back. My bracelet and earrings were from newlook (Don’t think anyone could tell) and I wore my engagement ring on my right hand.
Shoes – Concerened about the potential for snow and aware that people wouldn’t see my feet I went for sensible leather boots with a small heel. Waterproof yet elegant – Vivianna by Hushpuppies.
To Keep out Cold – I bought a mink fur stole from my local antiques centre. I don’t condone the fur trade and would never buy new fur because of the way the animals are treated but this antique was not killed for me. I wore a purple brooch on it that belonged to my grandmother. I knitted fingerless mitts for my bridesmaids and I. I tried a couple of different patterns but couldn’t get anything to look right so I eventually made one up myself. I used Merino wool to make them very soft. I also got a fantastic birdcage umbrella from Lulu Guinness in case of rain. I was almost disappointed that I didn’t get to use it.
Finding the Dress… I grew up around the corner from The Glass Slipper in Dunfermline and I always imagined that’s where I would get my dress from. My real dream dress would have been an 1880s Victorian Bustle dress in gold and eggshell blue but I gave up on this as I would have had to get it made for me and I would have been too disappointed if it wasn’t exactly as I wanted it. There are fewer risks with a dress you can try first. The first day we went looking was a bit awful. My sister had made appointments at a couple of gorgeous boutiques but I just didn’t like any of their dresses. They kept telling me that since I’m slim I should wear something figure hugging to show it off and they just didn’t seem to hear me when I said I would not be wearing strapless. In my mind it was pretty much my one chance in life to wear a really big dress so – whether or not it was the best cut to show off my figure – that’s what I wanted to do! The next day we went to the glass slipper and it was maybe the 4th dress I tried on. It was the first one I hadn’t wanted to take off. It looked and felt more like a wedding dress.
Groom’s Attire… As with most Scottish grooms, Peter wore Highland dress. He got his kilt for his 21st birthday a few years ago so he didn’t have much to do before the wedding. With his Italian Ukrainian heritage he doesn’t have a family tartan so he chose one he liked. His kilt is muted Anderson, he wore it with charcoal tweed Argyll Jacket and waistcoat, wing collar shirt and claret cravat. I had his Sgian Dubh (knife for his sock) custom made by my friend Tim at Cabar and Fiodh for his Christmas last year. He also sported Lego cufflinks I had given him for his graduation.
The Readings + Music… I walked down the Aisle to “Kingdom Dance” from Disney’s Tangled (an instrumental track few people would recognise). It’s over two minutes long and I really didn’t want to cut it as love the way it builds up so I had my nieces and nephews (who decided to dress as Disney princesses and Doctor Who) go in before us and hand out 20p mixups to the congregation. I entered when the music reached it’s full orchestral swell. Also we just walked normally. I can’t stand that weird slow processional walk people do walking down the aisle.
3 hymns during the service: “Come O Fount of Every Blessing” we used a modernised version of the words as nobody understands the original ones. “All Creatures of our God and King”. “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” an amazing old piano version of this song is used throughout the movie ‘True Grit’ which we love but we decided to liven it up a little with a gospel feel.
2 readings: from the bible Colossians 3:12-17. We wanted our faith to speak clearly throughout our wedding. The passage speaks of how to live with one another and create a loving home. One I stumbled upon on Pinterest. “Why Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali. Hilarious. I thought so anyway.
We left the ceremony to Grace Potter’s “Something That I Want” also from Tangled. Not deliberate, we chose it two days beforehand because we couldn’t think of anything else and it’s happy.
Our first dance was to “Fairytale Lullaby” by John Martin. Unfortunately we didn’t get chance to practise this before the wedding (had been planning an epic Quickstep) so it was one of those awkward shuffles.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… Unfortunately one of my bridesmaids was unable to make it to the wedding as we couldn’t afford to fly her over from the states so that was pretty devastating but my sister Ruth and my brother’s wife Jenny did a cracking job. With Ruth’s pregnancy we didn’t order dresses until 5 weeks before the wedding and when hers arrived it was completely the wrong dress. We sent it back and got her a completely different one which arrived with about three days to go. Shopping for shoes, tights and accessories was also a bit of a nightmare as we were competing with last-minute Christmas panic-buyers. They had knee-length ivory dresses with woollen tights and brown leather shoes (continuing the sensible shoe theme), light brown faux-fur coats and they carried hot water bottles to keep them toasty warm. I wanted them to look like individuals and be comfortable as they were running around after me.
The Flowers… I showed my florist a picture of a bouquet I liked and she identified everything in it and made it for me. They were a little bit greener than I liked but still very beautiful.
The Cake… I have coeliac disease so my diet must be gluten free. I didn’t want to worry about what I could or couldn’t eat on my wedding day so all the cakes were gluten-free. I bought a three-tier rustic stand from Amazon for £20 with wicker baskets to place each cake in. My mum made a rich fruit cake for the bottom layer, my friend Sarah made a chocolate brownie for the middle later and I made a carrot cake top layer. We also made ten inch versions of all three and had them pre-cut so people wouldn’t have to wait long for cake after the official cutting. All we were left with was a bit of one of the fruit cakes so it must have been ok!
Your Photographer… Peter asked his friend Fraser of Fraser Stewart photography and he did a sterling job. Even though he worked by himself it looks like we had a whole team there because he got us from every angle and everything we did on the day – even when we were separate. He also fixed a camera in different locations to take a photo every few seconds which he made a four-minute stop motion film from – a beautiful touch that we didn’t even ask for. He took a perfect mixture of posed and natural, funny and arty pictures and worked around whatever ridiculous things we asked him to do. He didn’t even laugh at me when I showed him my pinterest collection of all the girlie shots I wanted him to get. His professionalism continued when he posted our day on his website – he was so complimentary and respectful of us and everyone involved in our day and we could not have been happier with the end result.
The Details + Decor… Being a castle we didn’t have to do a lot of decorating as the décor is already rather fabulous. The ceremony took place in the Amber room so called for it’s beautiful amber drapes and the glass walls were draped with strings of fairy lights which gave a lovely warm light to the room. For the tables we were hoping to have piles of driftwood as I love its gnarled individual look but when we drove all the way to Tentsmuir beach to gather some, the wind had been so strong that it had all been buried so we had to put that one to bed. So we had different types of fire on the tables. Some had paraffin hurricane lamps, some floating candles and some votive candles in jars of Epson salts designed to look like snow. We didn’t want to have a line up as we find them sort of awkward and rushed so instead we walked around all the tables at the beginning of the meal and lit their flames for them. We hoped this would be a more natural and slightly poetic way of ensuring we spoke to all of our guests.
The stationery was all in brown ink on parchment with our red wax seal. Instead of purely an order of service we had a programme for the whole day so that people would know what was taking place when and where to be. We hoped that people would be more comfortable if they always knew what was going on, what was happening next or what they were waiting for. We also made it A6 sized so that it would fit easily into bags and sporrans for guests to keep if they wished.
The table place cards were on the favours which were wrapped up like presents for people to open and the table plan was a bit of an afterthought and involved some brown paper, string, pegs, sticky fixers, colouring pencils and trivia about our lives. My sister painted the table numbers onto paper during the rehearsal the night before the wedding.
The Honeymoon… It was supposed to be a surprise for me and he did a great job of organising it. I got a photo taken for my visa, surrendered my passport to him, I signed the bottom of a bunch of forms without reading them and I got injections for travelling, all without a hitch! Then one day at work I got a text from the Indian Embassy to say that my Visa was ready. Either India really liked me or we were honeymooning there! We went to the state of Kerala in South India for two weeks. It was incredible! We rode elephants, we went to a tiger reserve, we went into the mountains to see tea and spice plantations and we relaxed on beautiful beaches on the Arabian Sea.
Memorable Moments… When we were getting ready in the morning there were butterflies in all the rooms of the castle. It seems that switching the heating on for the first time in a while woke them up from hibernation. I love butterflies (I have a sneaky tattoo of one that I don’t show to anyone) and it felt really special to have them there at our big day even though it was the middle of winter. Amazingly, during the service, our minister used a string game of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly to illustrate how love flourishes if fed properly.
Advice for Other Couples… Make sure you have some people in your bridal party who have a natural gift for organisation so that they can take the baton from you and get things done on the day so you don’t have to worry about anything. It’s disappointing when people forget to do something that you’ve put a lot of time (and money!) into planning.
Don’t try to do too much yourself. As much as a lot of vendors charge an unethical and probably criminal price as soon as you say the word “wedding”, you’re hopefully only doing this once and saving money is not always worth it if you have the option. I would suggest that you pick one section and do that yourself i.e. décor, stationery, hair & makeup, cakes or making favours. I didn’t go to bed before 2 am in the week before the wedding between practising my hair and makeup; baking and piping decoration on cakes; knitting three pairs of mittens; printing, trimming and stamping programmes; wrapping and labelling favours; buying sweets and stuffing them into bags; and panic buying all the other necessary odds and ends (not to mention bridesmaids outfits!). In the end something has to give and in my case it was my hair – it makes me cringe in all the pictures because I had no time to do it properly.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Flowers |Acanthus Florist Dundee
Quality Scottish handmade items from natural materials |Cabar & Fiodh
Elderflower wine |Cairn o’Mohr Winery
Domaine Julien Fouet 3 Rue de la Judée, 49260 Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg, France
Venue | Fingask Castle
Photography | Fraser Stewart Photography
Dress Shop | The Glass Slipper
Hog Roast | Highland Spit Roasts
Kiltmaker | House of Henderson
Band | Jiggered Ceilidh band
Scottish antique and arts centre, Abernyte
Thanks so very much to Peter and Rebecca for sharing their super beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou