It doesn’t get dreamier than this peeps.
WWW readers Katy and Gordon tied the knot on the 28th June 2014 amongst the beautiful countryside at Toftcombs Mansion House, Scotland. They wanted an intimate pastel coloured celebration that was full of personal home made touches.
There is so much to be inspired by; with the most romantic florals, rustic décor and beautiful style choices.
Katy looked effortlessly beautiful in her Essence of Australia tulle dress with her gorgeous maids beside her in pink. And of course the boys looked so very handsome in kilts.
Huge thanks today goes to Milkbottle Photography for providing the lovely imagery.
THE PROPOSAL | We had been together for 8 years and marriage was always on the cards, it was just a question of when!
During the summer of 2013, Gordon booked a summer holiday to Portugal and on the day Andy Murray won Wimbledon (7th July 2013) we decided to walk out to a lighthouse we could see from our hotel. When we got there Gordon insisted on trying to get down to the rocks and waterside which annoyed me as I was trying to take photographs! When he took my sunglasses off and took my hands in his I suddenly realised what was happening and burst into tears! He talked about the years we had spent together and the future he saw for us before getting down onto the customary one knee and ‘popping the question’ as they say! I was so overwhelmed that later, when he asked if it was everything I had dreamt of, I accused him of not getting onto one knee!! Most of the proposal is still a complete blur to me! Our first photograph as a newly engaged couple was taken by a little lady with no English who just happened to also be visiting the lighthouse that evening. We asked her to capture the moment but hilariously after 3 attempts we came to the realisation that she just wasn’t ever going to get both of us and our heads into the shot!
The following evening, still on cloud nine, we went for dinner and spent ages wandering around looking in the wee nic-nac stores and eating every kind of street food available. I started to suggest that we head back to the hotel but Gordon insisted the night was still young and had me watching the Portuguese version of ‘You’ve been Framed’ on repeat with several cocktails in a little bar we had found. I simply thought he was enjoying himself until a woman behind me asked, “did someone order champagne!?” I turned to the woman and said “no, not us sorry” and turned back round. It then dawned on me that I knew that voice and looked again to see one of my oldest friends Fhionna and her partner Rich who Gordon had arranged to fly out and meet us from Brazil and Norway where they work! I think you could probably have heard my squeals of disbelief and joy back in Scotland!
THE VISION | Having been introduced to Pinterest by another best buddy my vision for the day was pretty clear even before I was engaged! Gordon was happy to go along with whatever- always a good quality for a groom to have!
I loved the idea of pastels and rustic, shabby chic décor with lots of little details and personal touches. We didn’t want a big wedding and so we sent out our save the dates to our closest friends and family.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Having been together so long we didn’t want to have a long engagement and so we set the date for less than a year after we became engaged. I absolutely loved planning all the details with Pinning, Ebay, Amazon and Etsy surfing becoming my favourite past times! I am pretty sure those online stores saw a large increase in their profits over the last year thanks to me!
My sister-in-law gave me a small wedding planning notebook which I loved as it was easy to carry about and had little slip pockets to keep cards and various quotes and bits of paper that you seem to collect en-mass as a bride to be!
As our venue is not a specific wedding venue we very much had to find our own way when it came to planning a wedding from scratch. There was no wedding coordinator or staff at the house so everything had to be organised by us from scratch. While this gave us almost infinite freedom to source and organise the day as we imagined, it was also pretty hectic and stressful at times as we were both working our normal full time jobs and trying to juggle wedding e-mails and phone calls on top of this. It was truly like having 3 jobs for 11 months!
Our families and friends were a tireless army of support and great ideas and the day just would not have been what it was without them. The wedding was very much a DIY affair and as much as we loved and respected our friends and family before the wedding we were not prepared for the tidal wave of support and love that we received from them throughout our wedding planning process. We were and continue to be entirely overwhelmed by this whenever we remember the little and large things our loved ones did for us.
BUDGET | Having only bought our flat a few years ago we certainly wanted to plan this wedding as financially friendly as possible! I found ideas I liked on the internet and spent a lot of time researching and working out unit prices and then comparing this with the price of resources that I would need to do it myself. Where possible I then made many of the details myself with the help of friends and family.
Gordon has an unrivalled ability to create all singing, all dancing, spread-sheets which we took full advantage of when keeping a handle on our budget. We made sure we tracked everything from beads to buttonholes and this also made it easier to pay people gradually, and on time, reducing large outgoings in small spaces of time and ensuring all of our suppliers were paid in good time and on time!
I think the best tip we could give anyone who is setting out on a wedding adventure similar to ours would be to always put on your bartering hat. We quickly learnt that we lost absolutely nothing by politely asking for a discount or a better deal from just about anyone we spoke with about wedding supplies! I think I am correct in saying that there was not a single supplier for our wedding that did not agree to help us out in some way or another with the price or quantity or date of delivery. There is always something that can be done to help you out if you ask nicely and have a bit of a brass neck!
THE VENUE | Our venue proved to be a little tricky but in the end it almost felt as though fate intervened on our behalf! From the beginning Gordon and I had agreed that we wanted a very laid back and personal wedding during the summer and in the countryside. We began to look for farm venues and found Cormiston Farm in Biggar which we instantly fell in love with and booked. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, the farm was forced to cancel all of their weddings for this year and we were pretty devastated! As the farm had very limited accommodation for our wedding party we had already found and booked a large mansion house just 10 minutes away and had planned to travel from here to the farm on the day. After discussion with the truly lovely owner of the house we luckily were able to move the entire event to Toftcombs Mansion House keeping our date and all plans we had made up until that point!
The house is a treasure trove of antiques, eclectic art and beautiful period features. There is not a room in the house that disappoints. The grounds are beautifully kept and after seeing the lawn we had our hearts set on an outdoor ceremony – the looks we got from friends and family were priceless when we disclosed these plans as any Scot will tell you that there is no bigger or crazier risk than an outdoor wedding ceremony in Scotland – even in June!
Toftcombs is a rental property and can be used for just about any purpose but it does not come with any staff at all! When you book a wedding however you receive a complimentary ‘butler service’ in the shape of a delightful man named Isaac Spencer who is a freelance butler connected with Toftcombs. We wished we had met with Isaac before the day as he provided an outstanding service and was just the loveliest person to have helping you out on your wedding morning. From ironing shirts and dressing gowns to oragnising refreshments as we got ready and assisting the boys setting up outside he was simply wonderful! We did not take enough advantage of him though as we learned he is actually a rather excellent chef!!
For our marquee we went with a superb family business called Tents and Events. We met with both Janet and her husband Graeme Fletcher who could not have done enough for us – especially when a spanner was thrown in the works and we needed a piece of equipment at short notice! Kevin the assembly manager and his team were also a complete delight to work with. The marquee was set up in excellent time the day before the wedding and was all taken down and transported afterwards. No hassle, superb communication and definitely the go to company if you are in need of an outstanding marquee supplier.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I pretty much knew what style I wanted for my wedding dress and despite being very open to trying anything that was suggested I pretty much got what I set out to in the end! I loved all the romantic soft styles that had little or no bling and had just touches of lace here and there. I knew I wanted to wear a veil and that I would wear flowers in my hair with no other hair accessories. I’m really not into my ‘bling’ so the dress hunting was quite a challenge initially as every dress I liked the shape of seemed to have some kind of bling that I would have wanted to remove!
FINDING THE DRESS | After searching many wedding gown stores, I found my dress in Eleganza Sposa in Glasgow City Centre. The girls took one look at a picture I showed them and matched me to my dress! The make is ‘Essence of Australia’ and the dress had a warm tint through it which they call ‘cognac’. Despite worries as to whether I had made the right decision or not the cognac colour matched my skin colour and made the dress creamier rather than stark white. I was so happy I didn’t back out of that decision! The dress is strapless and so I ordered matching lace when I paid for the dress. This was then used to make key-hole back, removable straps. My veil was lace trimmed and was chosen to add detail to the bottom of my dress since it is completely plain tulle. I had a bra built into the bodice and I’m really glad that I did. I’m quite busty for my height and was really worried that I’d look top heavy. By having the bra built in and the seamstresses taking care to shape the bodice well, I was so much more comfortable than I would have been had I had to wear a strapless bra! Other than these small alterations I only added the covered buttons at the back. I could not have been happier with the dress on the day! I also wore a hoop and this came from Amazon at a fraction of the price of those sold by the wedding stores!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The boys outfits were a complete breeze compared to mine! We went to a local kilt shop in Paisley called ‘Houstons Traditional Kiltmakers’ and we both picked out the same tartan instantly. The shop is very well prepared for un-enthusiastic grooms being dragged into their store and they have an excellent service to deal with this… There are several ‘mock’ outfits that can simply be tied on like an apron to give you an idea of the look without having to change out of your jeans and t-shirt! Perfect for my husband who would rather be watching the rugby on a Saturday afternoon! We were in, measured up, booked and out within half an hour. The kilts were picked up on the Thursday before the wedding and everything was perfect. The boys could not have looked more handsome in my opinion!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | As we chose to have a Humanist ceremony we had the pleasure of working with Lorraine Simpson a Humanist Celebrant. Lorraine worked with my mum in school nursing a few years ago and has since left nursing to focus on a career as a Humanist Celebrant. Lorraine is the most lovely person, full of fun and very passionate about what she does. We met with her shortly after deciding on our wedding date and were sure after our first meeting that she was the lady to marry us! Lorraine asked us lots of questions about our family, friends, our story and our relationship and especially about our decision to marry. From here she began to co-write a script with us for our ceremony. She helped us to fill it with lots of little personal anecdotes and stories from our lives together. She helped us to choose readings that suited our personalities and simply did the most fantastic job of bringing everything and everyone together on the day. She had everyone laughing, everyone crying and even had all of our guests promising to foot our bills half way through the ceremony! Now that’s what you call a pro!!
Another thing that we really loved about Lorraine was the way in which she helped us to include everyone in our ceremony. My mum and Gordon’s dad were our witnesses, Gordon’s mum lit a candle to remember those that could not be with us, my nana did a reading for us and my dad walked me down the aisle. Throughout the ceremony we also had a ‘band warming’, where our rings were passed around our guests who could make a little well wish for our marriage together while holding them. The rings were then collected by the best man who returned them to Lorraine in time for us to put them on our fingers! By the end everyone felt as though they had played a significant and special part in our day.
My Nana Pat is quite a character and we knew that we wanted to involve her in our wedding in a big way. We asked her to read a poem for us titled ‘ When your hair has turned to winter’. It was the perfect reading for her to do and reminded us that this commitment was for life but in a light hearted and warm way. The second reading we had was by our close friends Amanda and Scott and they read a quirky poem in the style of Dr Zeus which got a good giggle from everyone!
For our aisle song we played ‘Caledonia’ by Dougie McLean. During the signing of the register we played James Horner- For the Love of a Princess and the Romeo & Juliet Theme Song- Kissing You by Des’ree. We exited to the Lunineers- Ho Hey!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My bridesmaids really were beautiful! My sister Lindsay was my chief bridesmaid and was the only blonde in the wedding party! She worked tirelessly to support me throughout the year of wedding planning and I felt like such a proud big sister having her next to me on my big day and especially looking as stunning as she did! I also asked Gordon’s sister Dawn as well as my two best friends from school, Colette and Fhionna, to be my bridesmaids. The girls wore Coast dresses which we bought from Debenhams and were called ‘Neutral’ in colour. I absolutely loved the colour of them as they seemed to look different in different lights. They also tied in perfectly with our colour scheme of a pale, pastel palette. The girls carried bouquets of white hydrangeas and gypsophila (aka babies breath). We also had gyp in their hair which was styled to be soft and romantic using curls and plaits. I loved that they all had different styles based around the same theme. They looked beautiful! The best part for me was that both of our mums kept to the pastel colour theme and matched the bridesmaids so perfectly on the day! Before we were engaged my mum had always had really short hair and for my wedding she grew it for fear of looking bald in her hat! I thought she looked the most beautiful I have ever seen her on the morning of the wedding. I can never repay her for all the support, words of wisdom and good old kicks up the back-side when I needed them most! At the most stressful times of the wedding planning it was mum who got the balance just right when it came to giving me a hug or telling me to just get on with it!!
THE FLOWERS | My flowers were bought from the Biggar Flower shop near our venue and I was delighted with their service. We had 4 bridesmaids bouquets as mentioned above as well as my own which consisted of a mixture of peonies, Avalance roses, spray carnations, gypsophila and other small roses. The boys had buttonholes tied with twine that included white heather and a Scottish thistle. The best man, father of the bride and groom and the groom all had a white Avalanche rose also. For the aisle we had 4 large barrel displays that had some leafy greenery to bulk them out as well as white hydrangeas. We also had jam jars on garden hooks which included more gypsophila, spray carnations and stalk. After the ceremony these were transferred to the reception where they were used on the guest and top tables as well as extra decoration for the sweet and guest book tables.
THE CAKE | Gordon’s sister very kindly had our cake commissioned in a style that I had seen online. She chose a cake company in Glasgow who had made her 21st birthday cake and it proved an excellent choice. The wedding cake was 4 tiers consisting of a mixture of Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, chocolate and fruit cake. One of the 4 tiers was made by my Nana Pat who used the same recipe which she had used for myself and my siblings christening cakes. The biggest struggle we had with the cake was getting it from Glasgow to Biggar in one piece. En route on the Friday the cake was so heavy that the icing began to crack with the movement of the car and Gordon’s parents and sister had to make an emergency pit stop to the bakery to have it fixed! Upon arriving at the bakery the head baker asked if he knew Jim (Gordon’s dad) and said that he reminded him of his mentor from many years ago. It turned out that the head baker had in fact been trained in his profession by Gordon’s late paternal grandfather! A strange and lovely twist of fate the day before our wedding!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | I had a very particular idea of how I wanted my photographs to look and I spent literally months researching photographers from far and wide before stumbling across Milkbottle Photography on the Whimsical Wonderland Wedding website and falling head over heels in love with their work! When I showed Gordon their website he completely agreed that we had to have Tim and Ben shoot our wedding. After a few lovely e-mails and a long Skype conversation the boys agreed to make the very long trip from England to Scotland to stay with us and photograph our big day. Tim and Ben are brothers and work perfectly as a team. They are incredibly easy to get on with and felt like friends through the very personal service that they provided before we had even met them. The boys drove up from England on the Friday and took candid shots to get us all used to being in front of a camera! On the Saturday they stayed the entire day shooting every little detail and moment. They are just the most genuine, fun, talented and professional pair and there will never be too many good things that Gordon or myself can say about them. Our photos have been admired by everyone who has seen them and that seems to have extended to a lot of people whom we have never even met! And if that is not a compliment to good photography then I don’t know what is! Tim and Ben are one in a million and captured our day for everything that it was. An extremely happy, laid back and personal wedding filled with family, friends, laughter and love.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | Our wedding was all about the details. I bought a gazillion small resources on e-bay and Amazon from beads, to clips, boxes to ribbon and despite the enormous time and effort that it all took me, I feel like it was worth every second.
I used Pinterest for most of my ideas and then created my own versions of things from there. My save the dates were hand made as were my invitations, order of ceremony, menus, favours, lighting, signs and sweet table. I used ‘The Print Centre’ in Paisley for larger printing outputs and this saved money. Nicole was an absolute star and spent countless hours helping me to sort layouts and figure out the best ways to manufacture my designs. I would highly recommend her and her family’s company!
My life long friends, Amanda and Wendy, were life savers on the sweet table front. As well as making mounds of utterly amazing tray bakes, Amanda bought chocolate lighthouse moulds and used these to decorate cupcakes as a throw back to our engagement! They were incredibly cute and not a single one was left by the end of the day! Wendy spent 13 hours with me on the Thursday before the wedding as we churned out large batches of cake pops, truffles and coconut bites.
Wendy’s lovely mum also made us shortbread and little biscuits. Wendy also put me in touch with a friend of hers that owns a sweet shop which enabled me to purchase large quantities of pastel coloured sweeties at wholesale price! The girls and I used various cake stands and boxes which we had between us to design the layout of the table. The girls also drove to Biggar the night before to deliver all the sweets and organise the layout and positioning of everything at Toftcombs. On the day of the wedding they still got straight off the bus and headed to the kitchen to get everything out for after the ceremony!! That’s what you call friendship!
The guest table was decorated with old photographs of our parents and grand-parent’s weddings and we also had little decorations that usually sit in our living-room and bedroom! I bought a finger print guest book from Amazon which was a bargain and everyone seemed to really enjoy adding their name and finger print to it throughout the night. The backdrop to this table was also hand made using strips of crepe paper hung from twine to create a candy stripe effect.
My favourite detail of all was the jam jar tea-lights which burned throughout the entire reception and were especially effective after the sun went down. I spent a year gathering over 200 glass jars which were decorated with PVA glue and white lace ribbon from ebay. I bought 10 hour burn candles and placed them inside each of the jam jars before the day. Gordon says he never wants to see another jam jar in his life as it became a regular Friday night job for the two of us scrubbing on our knees over a bath tub filled with fairy liquid and the weeks haul of jars that still needed the labels removed!
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Thailand for our Honeymoon and spent 3 weeks visiting Bangkok, Chaing Mai and Koh Samui. The holiday was very mixed with our favourite places being Bangkok and Chaing Mai. We stayed in the two most spectacular hotels in these locations- the Banyan Tree Bangkok and the Dhara Dhevi in Chaing Mai. In these places the people and culture were incredible. We crammed our days full with trips and adventures and not least the amazing food and street vendors produce! The last leg of our honeymoon was to Koh Samui which unfortunately was a bit of a let down. Koh Samui has been very much spoiled by tourists and was pretty tacky if we’re honest. Despite this we made the most of our last destination and returned home with many fantastic memories and photographs!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Having all our family and friends together in one place for a whole weekend of happiness! 4 months on and I still look at my photographs everyday and reflect on just how wonderful the whole experience of marriage and weddings truly is!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t be embarrassed to bargain. Don’t be scared to try a bit of DIY- use the talents, connections and expertise of friends and family and you will be amazed at what you discover about people you thought you knew everything about! Let the little hiccups go- don’t obsess and micro-analyse them. Only you will know exactly how it was all meant to be!!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
The best Scottish Humanist Celebrant | Lorraine Simpson
Tim & Ben our wonderful photographers | Milkbottle Photography
Venue | Claire at Toftcombs Mansion House
Marquee | Janet Fletcher at Tents and Events (We could not have managed without her!!)
Wedding Dress | Eleganza Sposa
Superb Professional Butler Service | Isaac Spencer
Excellent Kilt Maker | Kilt Makers
Lovely florist in Biggar | Biggar Flowers
Outstanding customer service from the Cotswold pearl Shop where I bought my bridesmaid gifts.
Thanks so very much to Katy and Gordon for sharing their wonderful wedding story with us here at WWW XOXO Lou