Michelle and Jonny were married last September at the beautiful Hoscote Estate, Scottish Borders. They had the most incredible wedding which was a fusion of alternative, homemade, organic, eco friendly, old-world and seasonal elements. And you know what it so works.
Their wedding was a rustic pretty overload, with a wonderfully decorated tandem bicycle, a stunning custom made wedding dress, gorgeous florals and a LOT of love.
Anyway enough from me, i’ll let you devour the details yourself.
Names…. Michelle & Jonny
Wedding Date…. 17th September 2011
The Proposal…. Jonny planned a secret holiday to the Clare Valley wine region, in South Australia to celebrate Michelle’s 30th Birthday in 2010. After arranging the hire of a tandem bicycle and riding along the beautiful Riesling Trail (ahem, well Jonny did a lot of riding and Michelle did a fair bit of leaving her feet off the pedals whilst texting friends to tell them all about the excitement of her birthday so far), Jonny proposed amongst the fallen autumn leaves at lovely Seven Hills Winery. It was surprising, romantic and perfect…despite the saddle bottoms we were nursing!
The Vision for the day…. A smidgen of the alternative (for fun), lashings of organic (wherever possible), part old-world (to add some charm), seasonal (like the weather), mixed with homemade (just because we wanted). These were the styles that influenced our day right from the start. We both share these preferences and from them we chose our favourite ideas. Fortunately, those ideas all worked well together. Phew!
The Planning process…. We wanted to have a ‘wedding weekend’ with the main focus being the coming together of family and friends from other ends of the globe, something we knew wouldn’t happen often. The planning went well, working from a comprehensive ‘planning schedule’ we had created early in the piece. This helped with budgets and time scales. Somehow, we still felt rushed towards the end but apparently that’s quite normal! We did almost everything on our own, which was hard work and at times trying but we are immensely proud of what we achieved. We received some fantastic advice from our photographers and the support of the wedding planner at Hoscote. In our own minds we knew what we wanted, however you can’t underestimate the value of advice from those more experienced than you.
Budget…. Having a wedding weekend was always going to be tough to be ‘budget’, we were mindful of making savings everywhere we could from the dress to the cake to the decorations to the stationery to the entertainment (an mp3 player!). This was fairly easy to achieve given our style choice and also our desire to make most things ourselves.
The Venue… Initially, we short-listed a number of venues around Scotland that fitted our chosen the criteria: exclusive use for us and our guests for the weekend, Scottish splendour without being too fussy or precious, somewhere our guests could feel at home and finally, available in the coming Autumn (our favourite time of year). Hoscote Estate was the first venue we visited and we were sold immediately. It was all the things we wanted in our venue and Lindsay (Hoscote’s Wedding Planner) was absolutely fantastic. Whilst we did visit other venues on our list, nothing compared to Hoscote. We have absolutely no regrets, it was all we could have wished for.
The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was designed by Michelle (and drawn in a very basic ‘girl in a triangle dress, holding a droopy bunch of flowers’ kind of way) and brought to life (in an understated, old world, simple but elegant way) by Abi Lezemore of Blue Cat Clothing in Edinburgh. The fabric was selected by Michelle and her Mum from Mandors Fabrics in Edinburgh, the buttons from a little button shop in London, the shoes were from Schuh and the gold St Christopher necklace was Michelle’s Nanna’s. The headpiece fabric, ribbons and metal floral discs were bought from VV Rouleaux in London and was designed by Michelle and made by Abi. The garter was made by Michelle with the floral ceramic button and ribbons for the garter were purchased at Liberties of London.
Finding the dress…. Michelle’s courageous Mother, Karen, made the jaunt from Adelaide to Edinburgh for just 6 days (!!) in the cold dark month of February to help out with the dress and general wedding planning. “I’m extremely close to Mum and having her over to help me work through the finer details was priceless”. After nailing the dress plan, the months following consisted of me sending secret emails with photos of the dress as it progressed. Going through this part on my own was probably more difficult than I expected it to be – it would have been reassuring to have someone there helping me along the way – but I was more than happy with the end result. We pulled together the dress plan, the table decorations and plan, the shoes, visited the venue down in the Scottish Borders, did a spot of general wedding shopping and even bought Mum’s dress for the wedding. All done and dusted in 6 days whilst keeping jet-lag at bay. Not bad considering Karen left the scorching Australian summer to arriving to the freezing Scottish winter! She did however completely zonk it in the relaxation phase of her yoga class two days after returning home. Bless.
Groom’s attire… Jonny’s outfit was bespoke, made by 21st Century Kilts in Edinburgh. Jonny selected the tartan cloth, the lining to match along with wooden buttons and horn cuff links. The leather sporran was also handmade by Sporran Nation of Inverness.
The Readings + Music…. We had a Humanist wedding ceremony and wrote ‘our story’ and our own marriage vows. We hoped to make the ceremony light, humorous and lovely, whilst showing our guests how much it meant that they were there to share the day with us. Instead what we achieved is a sobbing contest! The two of us chuckled and giggled throughout most of the ceremony, aside from us though there wasn’t a dry eye left in the room. We’re even told the wedding planner was outside the room having a tear too! Whoops! I guess we wanted ‘our love story’ to be romantic and sweet…. so romantic, it will bring a tear to the eye…apparently! Jonny’s wonderful Aunt did a reading for us of her own selection and our friends Melanie and Emily also read a cute poem during the ceremony. We signed the register to the instrumental ‘A River Flows In You’ by Yiruma and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of ‘It’s A Wonderful World’. We left the ceremony to a surprise version of ‘A Bicycle Built For Two’ played on the bagpipes by Gregor Speirs (a lovely ode to Jonny’s proposal). We danced to ‘Stand By Me’ by John Lennon and then ‘The Power Of Love’ by Huey Lewis & The News. We put together our own playlist and played it on our MP3 player.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. We didn’t have a bridal party, just two beautiful witnesses!
The Flowers… Our flower selection came from Narcissus Flowers Edinburgh. The florists there helped us to communicate our ideas with regards to flower design but mostly, we left it up to them. Seasonal, rustic with a vintage feel was the order. We had collected lovely little jars, bottles, vases and other glass vessels from flea markets and op-shops in the lead up to the wedding. We decorated some with lace and string and delivered them all to Narcissus who filled them with gorgeous flowers which exceeded our expectations. Jonny’s boutonniere consisted of a thistle, eucalyptus leaves (Jonny being Scottish and Michelle being Australian) and some rosemary, tied to a small piece of drift wood he found on the beach at Musselburgh a few months prior. It was finished off with a metal button we brought together with some copper and string. Michelle’s bouquet was a delightful combination of all the flowers making up the large collection of filled vessels along with some thistle and fresh herbs and hand tied with a large cream ribbon.
The Cake… Jonny has always been rather partial to a Victoria Sponge which Jonny’s very clever and talented Aunt Helen just happens to be amazing at making! We topped it with a big handmade red heart, some miniature bunting and fresh strawberries. It was the most perfect wedding cake we could have hoped for. We had a bit of a desert table with some of the deserts also made by Helen (namely fudge slice, chocolate brownies)
Your Photographer…. Craig and Eva Sanders were a really big part of our wedding. Given most of our family and friends were far away, having them involved was really comforting. Planning and ideas searching on your own can be a little daunting and Craig and Eva’s experience and advice were invaluable. Trying to achieve a day that was unique and a true reflection of us was made so much easier with them to bounce ideas off. Several of their suggestions made a big impact on the wedding itself, not just the photo’s. As it turned out, Craig and Eva had a little baby girl (Lila) just weeks prior to our wedding which meant Eva couldn’t make it on the day. They had however lined up Lindsay (a friend and professional photographer) to step in. And so we had Craig and Lindsay on the day! To say we were elated with the photos they produced would be a major understatement. They have made for us an album of beautiful memories which captured the spirit and emotions of wedding in print. To have something physical we look at and share with our friends and family forever is invaluable. Their standard of work and professionalism speaks for itself and to describe them merely photographers really does them an injustice, they really provide so much more. Our wedding just wouldn’t have been the same without them.
The Details + Decor…. We did a lot of the decorative touches ourselves including a save the date video email (the bicycle scene from a clip of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), the invitation booklets, menu, coasters, posters and welcome card for our guests. All of our resources were sourced locally and made from eco-friendly products wherever we could and our menu consisted of local, seasonal, sustainable produce. We put together a welcome pack for our guests with some Scottish shortbread, a wee bottle of whisky, organic handmade soaps and a guide to the weekend ahead. Mother of the Bride made the tie for the traditional celtic hand-fastening. Hoscote provided the table that we used for dinner. Its timber was old and beautiful and although it had a few markings from years of wear, we loved it and kept it undressed. We laid a linen runner along the middle of the table, topped with old doilies collected leading up to the wedding. We dotted re-useable candles, glass jars, bottles and vases along with our gorgeous flowers, and bottles of ‘You’re Lovely’ elderflower by Belvoir. The room had some lovely furniture already with charming mismatched wooden chairs around the table. The décor was complimented by some homemade signs and photo-frames we brought with us.
The Honeymoon…. It was our good fortune to spend the weeks immediately following our wedding with family and friends! We had an amazing holiday in the highlands of Scotland, Lake District and Cotswolds. Nine months later, we had an incredible 3 weeks in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro which was perhaps our delayed honeymoon
Memorable moments… Seeing each other in our wedding ensembles after so much secret planning! We couldn’t wait. It was magic. A highlight for us was having our very dear friend Gregor piping for us. Hearing the pipes outside in the moments leading up to the ceremony gave us goose bumps! “For me, walking down the stairs on Dad’s arm about to enter the room where everyone was waiting, seeing Gregor give me a cheeky wink before he belted out ‘Highland Cathedral’ was pretty special”.
At the table for our Reception dinner, we had to pinch ourselves looking around seeing 18 of our favourite people sharing one table, in the one room, in the one country. We felt extremely lucky and much loved. The weather was not great for our wedding day. In fact, it was very Scottish! In the hour before the ceremony was due to commence, we opted for an indoor ceremony rather than outside in the walled garden. A wise choice as it turns out as there was sideways rain falling throughout the whole ceremony. The weather improved for the photos thankfully but we really could have done with some wellies! A gorgeous rainbow appeared in the window behind us just as we sat down to dinner.
Advice for other couples… Enjoy the planning as much as the day itself. And remember that the engagement is a really special, exciting and lovely phase in your relationship. It’s often faded into the background during glorious wedding planning craziness! Oh, and marriage is bliss ;-)!
Credit where credit is due…
Michelle’s rings – Mark McAskill (Australia) http://www.markmcaskill.com.au/
Jonny’s ring – Liam Ross (Scotland) http://www.jewellerybyliamross.com/home-page.html
Photographer – Craig and Eva Sanders Photography (Scotland) http://www.craigsandersphotography.co.uk/
Dress – Made by Abi Lezmore of Blue Cat Clothing (Scotland) http://www.bluecatclothing.com/
Piper – Gregor Speirs (Scotland and England) [email protected]
Hair & Make-up – Katherine Milby (Scotland) http://www.katherinemilby.com/
Venue – Hoscote House (Scottish Borders) http://www.hoscote.com/
Videographer – MacDonald Studio (Scotland) www.macdonaldstudio.co.uk
Sporran – Sporran Nation (Scotland) http://www.sporran-nation.co.uk/
Flowers – Narcissus Flowers (Scotland) http://www.narcissusflowers.co.uk/
Handmade Soaps – Miss Ballantine (Etsy) http://www.etsy.com/shop/missballantyne?ref=search_shop_redirect
Thanks so so much to Michelle and Jonny for sharing their story today, aren’t they just the most beautiful couple?! XOXO Lou