The planning for the wedding started very smoothly. We got engaged in December 2018 and decided we wanted to get married in July 2020, meaning we had plenty of time to sort things out. I wanted to get married near to home, but I didn’t want to get married in a church. My dad and I went to a few venues close to Loch Lomond, and finally settled on one after Rob had visited. The venue was on the banks of Loch Lomond with beautiful views out over the loch and an incredible backdrop of the Trossachs.
We didn’t have a theme in mind, but we decided early on that we wanted to spend the wedding money as close to home as possible and support all the local businesses that we could. I liked blush pink colours, and wine red and Rob wanted natural flowers, with a Scottish twist - although I said no thistles - so I started to create a Pinterest Board from there. I also wanted a floral archway. We spoke to lots of suppliers and created a spreadsheet highlighting what we wanted, how much we thought it would cost and then how much we were quoted for. In some steps we found we had underestimated the cost, but in other places luckily, we had thought things would be far more expensive. We were also very lucky because my Aunt offered to make us our wedding cake as a gift and my bridesmaid made us our invites, so we had some expenses we did not need to worry about. I also decided that we would make the favours, and we chose to make up little sachets of flower seeds. Hoping that we would be able to give back to the environment with our wedding. I spent a lot of time going through magazines and Pinterest tags to see what I loved from other weddings and it helped me to piece together an idea of what I wanted our day to look like. It was also so, so important to communicate all the way along with my husband to be and my parents who had decided to pay for the wedding.
With 18 days to go, our wedding was cancelled by the venue and we then had to decide if we wanted to go ahead and get married or if we would postpone and try again on a new date. I decided I really just wanted to get married. At this point, my advice to anyone in that kind of situation is do what makes you happy. Decide what you really want and go after it. I have no regrets from my garden wedding, even though I won’t ever walk down an aisle with hundreds of people looking at me and be able to celebrate it in a fancy venue, dancing into the night with all of my friends and family, but I was able to walk through my garden to the love of my life with the 13 people who are most important to me in the world there to witness our love.
My family worked around the clock to prep the garden for the big day. The hedge was cut, new grass was sewn, the windows repainted, and the mono block pressure washed. We were able to adapt the flowers to the new wedding style, our archway becoming even more important. My bridesmaid and I made the name tags for the table at 11pm the night before, our friends and family donated crystal glasses and outside furniture and fairy lights to help us decorate. We bought Ikea lamps and filled them with fake flowers and eucalyptus leaves and battery-operated candles from Amazon. We bought a gazebo and got a local fabric shop to make us some bunting. Turning the gazebo into the most beautiful little protected shelter, with fairy lights and bunting, and flowers wrapped up the legs. We got a local chef from the Gingerbread Man Bakery to cater the wedding and they made the most amazing food. We created our playlist and used our Bose speakers to play all the music we needed. We set up a zoom link so that we were able to share our day with those who couldn’t attend in person and we got the local Church of Scotland minister to come to garden and marry us. We were very lucky with the kindness of those we went to. By the time we were done adding the sparkle we wanted, we weren’t out of pocket, but you’d have thought it had been our plan all along. Don’t worry if you realise you can’t get to your vision exactly as it was originally intended, I assure you, if you love what you’re doing, and you follow you heart it will be perfect.
The best bit of our wedding was the intimacy of such a small endeavour. In 18 days, we had gone from a full scale white wedding in a huge venue on the banks of Loch Lomond with 120 day guests and 200 evening guests, to a beautiful garden party with just our close family and grandparents in attendance. The way it all came together, in the midst of the pandemic with all the stress and heartbreak we had experienced was the most amazing thing. It felt like everything was exactly how it needed to be. The funniest moment is a story which now feels like it means even more. At the end of Rob’s speech, he said and now to my wife, “It’s no one thing which got us to here, it’s a thousand little things that let me know you are the right one, and from now one, I promise to always save the last Rolo for you” and gave me the last Rolo out the packet. It was a really beautiful moment. We then went outside and took some photos and when we came back the empty Rolo wrapper lay on the table. I immediately started asking who ate my Rolo, whilst Rob said I can’t believe you ate that! After much laughing and accusations, my Granny, who passed away very suddenly just last week, admitted that she had eaten it - in the process of clearing the table - despite the fact she left the wrapper behind. At the time, I’ll admit I was mad, but everyone was laughing so much; and now, even in the sadness of her passing I get to remember that moment so fondly with all the laughter, and her cheeky nature in its full glory.
Another moment which makes us laugh, is that we nearly didn’t have a wedding ring for the day, so Rob got me a brass olive for fixing pipes which turns out to be my exact wedding ring size, as a backup plan just in case!
Getting married in a pandemic is the craziest thing, and it can be such a tough time for everyone, mentally and physically. I think the most important thing to hold onto is love, and considering what makes you happy, with the person you love. There’s no right way to get through this, there’s no rule book by those who had to get through this before us. We are all just learning as we go. Things might not be perfect, but maybe they will become something beautiful and wonderful and hopeful. Whatever you’re going through, lead with love, for others and yourself and you will be able to thrive. This too shall find its place in your story.
The Wedding Planner Helensburgh is a FANTASTIC and I couldn’t speak more highly of them. KJ helped me find the most perfect dress, and her and Shona calmed all my fears about a pandemic wedding and made me feel like an absolute princess with every fitting/conversation/message. I really, really appreciated it. The warmth, genuine kindness, care and attention to detail and professionalism they all behave with is incredible. Writing this and reminiscing I cried thinking about how happy it made me and how gorgeous they had made me feel. They were just incredible, and she sings the praises of Ronald Joyce as well.
I forgot to mention that I also did my own make-up and I did my mums too. On the day without being able to be pampered by hiring people in you just have to muck in and it was fun and intimate. Emma, my bridesmaid, also did her own make up. I did everyone nails. My hair was done by my long-time hairdresser and guardian hair angel Kerry Hird. She also did mum and Emma’s. Rob’s father, also called Robert, got to be his best man.
Photography by Paul Casey of Pavillion Film Photography.