Personal Neon & Tropical Luxe Barn Wedding

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It really is a joy to be sharing WWW readers Becca and Andy’s wedding with you today. They didn’t have a vision as such to begin with, they just wanted to make it personal and ‘them’. The results are simply stunning and their nuptials at the Cow Shed, Crail in Scotland on 4th May 2019 are proof of what a magical day you can create by making each choice come back to you as a couple.

Becca’s a girl after my own heart, filling up their spare room with furniture and other wedding purchases over their two year engagement, everything looks just brilliant all together on the day.

Becca and Andy also tell us how important it was for them to get on with their suppliers and choose people that were genuinely excited about their day. Never is this more true than with your photographer who you will spend a lot of time with on the day, and our pair were absolutely delighted to have Burfly Photography capturing their celebrations. I think you’ll agree that the images are something special so thank you so much for sharing Alan and Gill!

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The Proposal

My mum had been nagging us for YEARS to get engaged (we literally couldn’t go anywhere without expectant looks on our return) and Andy is a self-confessed unromantic person so I always thought I’d know when the proposal was coming. In the end, I didn’t at all! We took our dog Georgie for a walk at one of our favourite local beaches and Andy proposed at a secluded spot. I was in gym gear with no makeup on, greasy hair and my nails needed doing so he got me good! We spent the rest of the weekend surprising family with the news and Andy whisked me away for a night in Glasgow – romantic after all.

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The Vision

We didn’t have a set vision for the day but we were both on the same page in terms of the ‘feel’ we wanted to create for our wedding. We wanted our wedding to feel like ‘us’ so that meant a relaxed venue, a space we could make our own, a weekend of celebrations and lots of good music. We were clear from the outset that we wanted to do away with any traditional wedding elements that didn’t have meaning for us and change up some of the gendered expectations of the day in whatever ways felt authentic to us and our values.

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The Planning Process

We planned our wedding for just under two years which meant there were periods with lots to do and stretches of minimal wedding tasks. The impatient side of me sometimes found that long planning time difficult(!) and it does mean you don’t have that wedding buzz constantly (I don’t think we’d have any friends or family left if we had just chatted wedding for the full two years!) but we’re definitely glad we gave ourselves that time. It meant we weren’t restricted in terms of suppliers (who it turns out book up crazily far in advance) and I don’t think it felt as stressful as it could have done, especially when choosing a DIY venue and coordinating lots of different elements. In hindsight, that two years went really fast anyway!

We tried to enjoy the whole planning process, to make most decisions jointly and to involve others in the process. The bit I found most difficult was asking for help and getting what was in my mind out of my mouth in any coherent way so that others could help!

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Budget

We naively went into the planning process thinking we could pull off our day for relatively low cost but it turns out weddings really are expensive. Suppliers who are fab at what they do don’t come cheap and we didn’t want to compromise on who we wanted to be part of our day either in terms of guests or suppliers (in the end, we’re really glad we didn’t!). We worked to a spreadsheet throughout the process for estimated costs, actual costs and payment dates which was really helpful especially when you get to that last month with lots of payments to make. We tried to save money where we could by collecting things in shop sales (H&M Home is my favourite place!) and from Gumtree & Facebook marketplace over the two years – Andy is glad to now have our spare room back which became a bit of a wedding treasure trove!

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The Venue

Our venue was the Cow Shed in Crail. We visited a few different venues but once we nailed down exactly what we wanted, the Cow Shed stood out by a mile. It gave us that informal but beautiful look we wanted to create even before adding any additional décor, had loads of spaces to use whatever the Scottish weather chose to do and was near to our hometown in one of our favourite places, the East Neuk of Fife, which meant we could be near the sea. What really clinched it for us was how easy the venue was to deal with in terms of friendliness, the freedom they give you to do your own thing, prompt reply to emails and being super helpful and relaxed about venue visits (important when trying to envisage what a blank canvas venue will look like on the day!). We figured that there would undoubtedly be other areas of stress so let’s go with a stress-free venue 😊

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Your Outfits & Accessories

My dress was Eliza Jane Howell’s ‘Velma Kelly’ dress, bought from Sophia Grace Couture in Haddington. I knew I wanted something a bit different but didn’t go into shopping with any set ideas of what. I loved the wedding dress shopping process, in fact not dragging it out longer is my only regret! I had visited a couple of shops but Sophia Grace Couture provided the most lovely experience, they didn’t rush you or push you and the shop itself is gorgeous. I actually went there to try another dress but it didn’t live up to its Instagram on me and by chance, there was an Eliza Jane Howell trunk show on. My mum chose my dress to try and I was happy to put it on but it didn’t overly grab me. Then as I made my way through others and discounted them, I found myself excited to try this one on. It felt like ‘me’, was a perfect blend between vintage and modern and I hadn’t see anything like the beadwork on it before. A second appointment confirmed my decision. I will say though, you hear and see so much about ‘the moment’ with your wedding dress but I’m not a happy crier and didn’t become one through the process (except on the day)! This did make me second guess myself for a while (advice: step away from wedding dress Instagrams once you’ve bought yours!) but in the end, I knew I’d absolutely made the right decision and I’m still soooo in love with it. I got my fingertip veil from Sophia Grace Couture too – it was perfect for making me feel bridal without being a massive wind hazard.

I always fancied the idea of a hand-painted leather jacket for the day but when I looked into having one made, I just couldn’t justify the expense alongside everything else wedding related. Ever the keen shopper (as Andy would testify!), I spent a lot of time browsing online for options and came across the perfect painted and studded leather jacket on the Topshop website of all places! Again, it was a bit pricey so I made myself exercise some restraint and checked back regularly in the hope it would eventually end up in the sale. I’d pretty much given up hope after months of checking but by a stroke of complete luck, suddenly found it had gone into the sale and there was just one left, in my size – fate!!

Shoes were never something I felt strongly about investing in, especially since I’m useless in heels these days and no-one would really see them. I got my daytime white slingbacks from ASOS and another pair of block-heeled sandals for the evening from Tesco – they were a godsend!

I finished my look off with simple pearl and diamond earrings from BHLDN, my engagement ring and my late granny’s ring.

Andy’s kilt was hired from Macgregor & Macduff who provided a really high quality service and offer some exclusive tartans so it felt a bit different. He chose the Arran Mist tartan and charcoal jacket. I was happy for him to choose his own, but he wanted my sign-off! You can’t beat a man in a kilt though.

He also wore rose gold cufflinks gifted by Becca on the day.

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The Flowers

I was so excited about flower decisions (despite zero flower knowledge!) and Kaylie and Rhys from Oor Fleurs absolutely NAILED it. I loved the idea of a wilder style using succulents, lots of lush green tropical leaves and some colour for the bouquets but couldn’t find any images that represented what I wanted (I feel like I’ve completed Pinterest!) so poor Kaylie was basically working from one image that showed the colours I liked. When they arrived on the wedding morning, I was blown away.

Kaylie also created our incredible ceremony backdrop, top table hoop backdrops, hanging leaf structures in the marquee and loads of leaves and plants throughout the venue. I wanted it to feel really green and lush throughout and it definitely did.

My bridesmaids got me a flower crown from Oor Fleurs for my hen do and I loved it so much, I ended up making a complete change to hairstyle plans to accommodate one on the wedding day, which I put on for the evening reception.

The guys also had succulents and greenery for their buttonholes, again with each slightly different.

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Beauty

One of my best friends (Health & Beauty by Ruth) did the funkiest palm leaf wedding nails for me. I never get plain nails so I wasn’t going to start on my wedding day – after all, you should feel like you!

Lauren Fisher did all our hair on the day and makeup was by Alev Karsli and Georgia Sinclair. All came recommended by my sister (who is also a makeup artist) and they did the most amazing job, with each of us choosing our own preferred styles. Our hair and makeup stayed perfectly in place all day. Not only that but they were so lovely to have around on the wedding morning which is hugely important for a nice, chilled vibe!

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Groomsmen

All the groomsmen wore the same kilt as Andy, also hired from Macgregor and Macduff in Glasgow. They wore navy jackets and finishes whilst Andy’s was charcoal so it was nice to have them similar but a bit different to the groom.

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Bridesmaids

I was adamant from the outset that I didn’t want my girls to be wearing the same dresses – what occasion would you be happy to be wearing the same outfit as another guest? It was important to me that they felt comfortable and individual in their dresses. I ended up finding their dresses through BHLDN (annoyingly only in America) and everyone loved them. I ordered a few (beware of customs charges!) and we had a trying on session – the dresses were gorgeous colours and quality and luckily, everyone chose different ones and adored them. We ended up with two styles and four colours. Even if you don’t order from BHLDN, the website is a great place to browse different styles and colour combos.

The bridesmaids all chose their own shoes and accessories, including jackets.

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The Readings & Music

Music was one of many highlights of our day and one of the things we’re most proud of. As big music lovers and regular gig-goers, we wanted it to feature heavily throughout our wedding and to share some of our favourite songs and artists with our guests.

We are sooo fortunate that Andy’s sister Ailsa and her partner Stewart are amazing singers and we asked them to sing some of our favourites during our ceremony. They sang as the bridal party entered, during our ring warming and during the signing of the register. It added such a personal and beautiful touch and really set the tone for the day. We are so grateful to them.

During the drinks reception, Michael Cassidy played an acoustic set for us. He did an incredible set ranging from Bob Marley to Britney Spears with a bit of Jungle Book thrown in. Our guests haven’t stopped raving about him and he even let the small kids play instruments. Plus, he was so nice (definitely a theme with our suppliers!)

For the evening, we wanted a live band who weren’t super polished or cheesy and asked friends and family who had attended many weddings if anyone had stood out for them. Through that, we found Three Card Trick and the dancefloor was absolutely packed all night. They played an amazing set of those songs you haven’t heard in years and have forgotten that you love, which is exactly the feel we wanted. They also threw in some ceilidh songs – a must at a Scottish wedding but absolute chaos after a few wines and a strong non-Scottish contingent! Warning though, 9pm to the end of the night goes scarily fast so just relax, dance and enjoy every minute.

We asked my sister Sarah and Andy’s brother Gavin to do readings for us as part of the ceremony and let them choose what these were. It was lovely to hear our loved ones sharing things that reflected us as a couple in their eyes. Sarah read a personalised version of ‘Love is Like Owning A Dog’ (based on our own canine terror Georgie!) and Gavin read ‘Instructions for Life in the New Millennium’. It was our perfect balance of humour, sentimentality and seriousness.

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The Cake

As indecisive people with a sweet tooth, we knew we wanted to have a cake table rather than one cake. This was also a decision that saved us a fair amount of money. We are incredibly lucky to have insanely talented friends and family who made our gorgeous cakes for us. My friend Gillian made the amazing marble showstopper as a wedding gift – a decision I’m sure she regretted when trying to extract information about what we wanted and we know nothing about cake making! It had layers of carrot cake, orange and almond and lemon and elderflower. My grandad’s partner Irene also made us four cakes in flavours of fruit, lemon, coffee and chocolate. These were downplayed to us as simple sponges and turned up looking amazing!! We also made a last minute decision to order some cupcakes from DediCaked and then panicked we’d have far too much cake but we got through an impressive amount! That might say something about our guests’ appetites but we think it is testament to how amazing they all tasted.

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Your Photographer

Best decision EVER hiring Burfly for our day. We have my sister to thank for that! As a wedding makeup artist, she has worked with loads of photographers (good and bad!) and the first one she recommended was Burfly for their style, lack of bossiness and loveliness as people – she wasn’t wrong. I cajoled (read ‘totally strong-armed’) Andy into agreeing to a pre-wedding shoot which was a great decision and experience – it meant we could get to know Alan and Gill and practice ways of not being the most awkward people ever in front of a camera. Throughout the whole process, they were so easy to deal with and fab to have around. You spend a lot of time with your photographers on the day so genuinely enjoying their company and having a total laugh is a huge plus. I think that shows in our photos, which we still can’t quite believe are us! Absolute wizardry.

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Your Filmmaker

We went into the planning process pretty sure that we weren’t going to hire a videographer but then took the advice from other couples on blog posts who said to spend money on the bits you will have left to remember from the day. We then came across Orangetide Films, who create quirky films that feel a wee bit different, and we completely changed our tune! Colin and Ben were great to have around on the day, they have absolutely mastered the knack of blending in to the background! We can’t wait to see our film in the coming months – it’s something else to look forward to and we know they’ll have captured so many moments that we have either forgotten about or missed entirely.

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The Details & Décor

Our venue was a large blank canvas so that combined with my ‘more is more’ attitude meant we ended up with a lot of stuff to decorate with! We didn’t have a ‘theme’ for our wedding décor and worried that choosing one might feel a bit naff. Instead, we just ended up collecting things that we liked (and that I could justify getting by finding a place in our house for them!) and from that, a theme naturally emerged of lots of coppers and metallics, luxe fabrics and tropical touches without too much kitsch. We described our theme as ‘classy tropical’ and wanted to create a space that felt lush and luxurious but still informal and fun. Our colours centred around greens, blues, pinks, burgundies and metallics – it sounded a bit all over the place but we found lots of things (like our table runners from H&M Home) that pulled it all together. I developed a bit of an addiction to buying chairs (you could have held a large meeting in any room of our house in the run-up!) but the bargain green chesterfield chair was a particularly good one.

I also became a wee bit obsessed with the idea of having a neon sign but thought it would be out of reach because they don’t come cheap. We hired Just Vintage Hire to help style the space for us (and to curb at least some of my shopping urges) – not only did she help make the venue look amazing but she also ended up getting the ‘Til Death’ neon sign not long before our wedding so we hired it. On top of that, my sister and her partner surprised us with the ‘Young Love’ neon sign (our wedding hashtag – Andy’s last name is Young and we’ve known each other from aged 14) and when there was a major stress with the delivery of it two days before the wedding, the supplier sent the ‘Marry Me?’ one as a backup, so we ended up with three! Neon heaven.

We wanted our love of music to continue in our theme so our tables were centred around band names. Andy’s dad made the most amazing centrepieces out of whisky barrel staves and in these, we placed pictures and gig tickets from each of our favourite bands. We also created a playlist of these for over dinner.

We actually did a fair amount of DIY for the wedding. We strung up lots of polaroid photos of us from throughout the years (there are a fair number of shockers!) and also created our signage from pallets, which I found quite therapeutic to make! Andy’s dad again created a signpost for the courtyard detailing some memorable places from throughout our relationship as well as places guests had travelled from and his wife made little chocolate box favours. It was really lovely to be able to add these personal touches to the day and know our and our loved ones’ hard work had gone into them.

Finally, the glitter bar! Andy admits that even he was hugely sceptical about this but it ended up being one of the highlights of the day. Instead of a photo booth, it was an easy and cheap option that gave a nod to our love of music festivals. We thought that maybe a handful of people would get involved in the evening but by the time we came back from getting some photos taken at 3.30pm, we were surprised and delighted to find most guests already covered in it! There were glitter mohicans, monobrows and beards. It really got people bonding over decorating each other (we discovered some new guest talents!) and everyone looked amazing.

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The Honeymoon

Between guests visiting from around the world and Becca’s mum having major surgery the week after the wedding, we decided not to rush off on honeymoon straight away. We’re probably going to go to South Africa in January and try to do some small trips to Scottish islands before then so it’s nice to have something else to plan together when tackling the post-wedding blues!

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Memorable Moments

It’s a bit of a cliché but the whole day was both memorable and an absolute blur – we honestly loved every single minute and the day goes by at crazy speed. A few standout moments though:

We loved our ceremony, largely due to our amazing Humanist Gary Smith who let us create our own ceremony and filled it with humour, emotion and feeling. With Gary’s help we found ways to involve all of our guests in different elements including my mum and dad walking me in, our parents making a pronouncement, our siblings singing/reading, a ring warming in which all guests held our bands and passed on their wishes for us, and having surprise witnesses. We wrote our vows together but also separately included why we wanted to marry each other and didn’t hear each other’s answers until the day.

The speeches were another memorable moment. Despite both having experience in public speaking, the thought of meeting ‘wedding speech’ expectations and doing so in front of so many people you know was scary but on the day, all those thoughts went out the window and we both genuinely wanted to get up and give our thanks to everyone who made the day possible. My dad and our best man Chris delivered amazing speeches – it’s so strange yet humbling to hear other people publicly talk about both of you and your relationship.

The bit that has stayed with us the longest though is the overwhelming feeling of love that comes from everyone on and around your wedding day. It was so humbling to have so many people make such an effort to share the weekend with us and to get stuck in with our plans. Stepping back and seeing people who don’t know each other mingling and laughing together is amazing, and we were genuinely moved by so many of our guests openly sharing their emotions with us, the end of the night turned into lots of hugging and happy tears! We’re going to hold on to those feelings for a long time and it gives you a new appreciation of all the people in your life.

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Advice For Other Couples

Oooh so many things, but lots that we learned from other blogs!

Really do try to enjoy the whole process because even when the wedding seems a million miles away, it is over so soon. There can be a sense that as soon as you’re planning a wedding, everything happens in a perfect romantic haze. It doesn’t. People still let you down, life and work still gets on top of you, and sometimes you will strongly want to run away just the two of you (or kill your fiancé!) but it is also full of so many exciting things you don’t get to do at any other time. Just keep some perspective and have some wedding free days. We went away to Spain for a few days the week before the wedding – everyone thought we were mad but it was the best decision ever and we came back refreshed and ready to tackle the madness. Do what works for you and your sanity!

When you know what sort of day you want, make that clear with important people as soon as you can to minimise those well meaning but often unhelpful assumptions and expectations about what you ‘should’ be doing, whether that’s the style of wedding, guest list or anything else. Little remarks and opinions can suddenly become super annoying when you’re stressed! Pick your battles and deal with issues calmly and directly when they arise but ultimately stand up for what you and your fiancé want – if your day feels like ‘you’, it will live up to those ‘best day ever’ expectations.

If you have a DIY venue and your budget allows, invest in a coordinator for the day. Cat from Fin Flukra was a god send for us! She worked with us from a few weeks before the wedding contacting suppliers, getting final logistics in place and coordinating jobs on the day (don’t underestimate time spent on emails in those last few weeks!). Coming from a family of party hosts, it really did allow us all to relax and enjoy the day fully, I’m sure there were probably multiple hiccups she dealt with behind the scenes and we were none the wiser. On a more general note, choose suppliers you really click with and who share your excitement for your plans, selecting who you work with to create your day is a two-way process. We’re going to miss ours, thank goodness for Instagram to continue our love fest!

Brides, do a speech! Even if you hate public speaking normally and just say a few quick thanks, you’ll be so glad you did. I was amazed at the number of guests who were really surprised that the bride did a speech but it was lovely to hear them saying they would now either be considering it themselves or encouraging it with their daughters. It’s important. I really believe there needs to be more women’s voices in weddings (and elsewhere), beyond the crazily annoying and derisory ‘bridezilla’ tag! You are so much more than a pretty face on your wedding day, own it and enjoy it.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

What an amazing day! Thank you so much Becca and Andy for sharing your epic wedding and all your tips with us. Rachel x

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