We met in December 2009 at a music venue, O2 Academy in Glasgow. This was before selfies, and my friend and I were (badly) trying to take a photo of ourselves with a digital camera. This was well before front facing cameras, and we kept cutting our heads off. Andy kindly offered to take the photos for us. I later found out from his best friend (and our Best Man), Dale, that he said this was his ‘in’ to talk to me. It worked!
Andy knows I don’t miss a lot, so he had to be quite smart with the proposal. We were never really the Valentine’s day type, but on Valetine's Day he told me to close my eyes because he’d decided to buy me a valentine’s day gift, when I opened them, he was down on one knee with the most beautiful pale blue aquamarine and diamond ring. Pale blue is my absolute favourite colour! So, no surprises I picked that for my bridesmaids!
In the lead up to the wedding my Mum and I went to the big Scottish wedding fair at the SEC in Glasgow. It was amazing, there were so many suppliers to meet. We had such a nice day. I bought Tie the Knot, a Scottish magazine, but I mostly looked online and on social media for wedding inspiration. I also had a few bridal magazines passed on to me by friends who were engaged or married not long before me!
We decided we would have our ceremony at St. John’s Church Greenock, and reception at Ingliston Country Club.
As for the dress well, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. In my head I had a beautiful, romantic, lace gown that had a vintage style to it. The trouble is by this point I’d been working for 5 or 6 years as a bridal makeup artist, I was seeing wedding dresses 2 or 3 times a week, so it was pretty confusing when the time came to pick my own. But I was definitely going shopping with my lace gown in mind.
Every time I put on a lace dress though, I just wasn’t loving it. They are beautiful, I love them on others, but it just didn’t look right on me. It felt like I was wearing someone else’s dress, I just didn’t suit it. I kept trying and it just wasn’t working.
I have said to every bride I’ve known since; go in open minded. Try on every shape, style and material because what you thought you wanted versus what you love can be VERY different.
In the end I chose the Ronald Joyce ‘Jodie’ gown. My mum pulled it for me and said ‘oh please try this on I love it.’ I said “Mum it’s not what I was looking for, but ok I’ll try it for you.’ I was facing the mirror when the bridal consultant was fastening the back and immediately, I had butterflies. I remember saying “Wow, I feel like a Hollywood star.”
What I loved about Jodie was the simplicity and elegance of the dress. The fabric felt so luxurious, and I adored the off-shoulder neckline. I just felt a million dollars in it. I have always loved classic shapes and vintage inspired styles, and this dress ticked all the boxes.
The shopping experience was lovely. I was so apprehensive about shopping, but I settled into it after a few dresses. What I’d say is if you put something on and you don’t feel great, don’t even entertain it. Take it off and move on.
I was very close to my Gran, who sadly had passed away 2 years before our wedding. She was very stylish. The bridal consultant (Dawn) in the shop remembered her, because my cousin had bought her dress from there and my Gran had been such a big character that she’d remembered her. Dawn said to me “I don’t know what makes me say this, but I think your Grandmother would have loved this dress, it’s so classic!” I knew she was being authentic, and I agreed!
The thing is, when my Gran passed away she left me a gift of some money. Although I wasn’t engaged, I knew that I wanted to keep this gift to buy my dress. In a funny way, had my gran been with us, she would absolutely have wanted me to try the Jodie dress on. She would have seen that same Hollywood starlet vibe I got from it! I love how I can say to myself ‘my gran bought my wedding dress’. I felt like she was with me that day in spirit, even if I couldn’t have her there in person!
I honestly felt like Jodie was made for me!
I went to a few shops after, and every dress I tried on I compared it to the Jodie dress. None of them made me feel as amazing, and that’s how I knew it was the one for me. It was so timeless, classic and elegant I just had to have that dress!
I wanted to keep it simple and let the dress do the talking! My stunning veil was my something borrowed, it was my cousin Louisa’s and our Gran had bought it for her!
I had always wanted Rachel Simpson shoes, in pale blue, as my something blue. The art deco styling of them was perfect with my Hollywood style Jodie dress. I wore simple drop earrings and a delicate bracelet, and I had fresh ivory flowers in my hair.
But the biggest accessory was my satin gloves! 2 days before the wedding I was admiring my dress, counting down the hours til our day when I’d get to wear it. It reminded me so much of Audrey Hepburn because the styling was so classic! I thought that gloves would just accentuate the vintage styling of the dress, and make it feel quite regal too. So, I just headed out shopping and went for it!
My close friend Lana was doing my wedding hair (she’s honestly the best ever at wedding hair), and we met doing weddings - me on makeup, Lana on hair. She stayed to help dress me on the day - because it’s a service hairdressers and makeup artists often deliver to get their bride ‘aisle ready’. I put on the gloves and asked her what she thought and she said I must do it. So, the gloves went on. My other friend Samantha did my makeup and she agreed too. I was so lucky to have two friends I met in the wedding industry be my glam squad!
Though the gloves were a last-minute addition, they were a part of my wedding style I’ll always remember, and I’m so glad I went for them!
It was funny as I got to the bottom of the aisle in my family church, and had to take them off to exchange rings. Andy said to me ‘oh wow!’ I popped them in the pocket of my dress and he then whispered ‘your wedding dress has pockets?!’ Pockets in a wedding dress is also the most amazing thing!
I can honestly say I absolutely loved every minute of the planning! I had a spreadsheet with every supplier and cost to keep a close eye on budget.
Our wedding didn’t have a theme as such, but I wanted everything to be simple, classic and romantic.
Here is a tip I’ve given every person that’s been engaged since... Get a piece of paper and a pen for you and your fiancé. Without saying anything, each write down 10 things, 10 wedding wishes if you like, representing things you want for your day. It can be anything you want for your wedding day, and not even stuff you can ‘buy’. For example, I wrote down that I wanted to have natural photos so that I wasn’t posing for hours and hours, and that I would love a big fun party atmosphere at the reception.
After you’ve written down your 10 things, compare and contrast. Where are you both similar or different? On the things that you both want, prioritise your budget on those things, spend more on them, and spend less on things that aren’t as important. This makes budgeting and prioritisation SO much simpler, as you know you’re spending on the right things. It can also help you find the right suppliers.
The best bit of the wedding was at the church. We had just exchanged vows and came back down the aisle to a beautiful organ piece, Widor’s Toccatta - it was the piece my Mum and Dad had nearly 40 years before. Outside the church, we welcomed and hugged every single guest. It was not planned, but it was so special to see everyone we love most come out of the church.
I wasn’t holding out hopes for great weather! It’s Scotland after all. But I said to my Mum ‘I just really hope it’s dry when we come out the church, I’ve long wished for a confetti moment.’ And we got it. If I could relive that moment I would.
The funniest part was at the reception! We chose a dJ as we wanted a huge mix of music. My cousin’s husband asked the DJ to start a dance off. We also had family from Spain at the wedding and we had asked the DJ to play Gypsy Kings ‘Bamboleo’ at some point - and that’s what we ended up doing the dance off to. I have never laughed so hard, everyone was doing their best flamenco/dad dance/hip hop. One of my best friends even did the worm, and my cousin in law actually ripped the knees out of his trousers doing a knee slide. It was just the most joyful moment of my life, and I’ll treasure it forever. Andy feels the same! Thankfully my friend had the sense to film this, so we get to watch it back and laugh!
My brother Jamie is a graphic designer. He made our invitations and even made us a little wedding emblem - an infinity symbol with heart. He also used this across our stationery, and my lovely friend Leila even used it to create little tags for our button holes, and made beautiful silk pocket squares for the men. I’m lucky to have such creative friends and family!
My gorgeous wee page boy Moray had turned one the week before and had JUST started walking. I was so delighted he could walk down the aisle, he is just the best boy. My bridesmaids (my cousin, his mum) and my other cousin held a hand each.
My younger cousin Rebecca, is a trained singer. She sang ‘Make you feel my love’ by Bob Dylan while we were signing and everyone told me how much they loved the moment. I definitely made the most of bridesmaid talent.
Finally, I want to share info about the woolen ball you might see in the photos! A year before the wedding, my mum had started a giant pom pom. Every time there was an occasion - my Dad’s 60th, my aunt and uncle’s ruby anniversary, my hen etc, we did another row of the pom pom in another colour. A week before the wedding my mum cut it, and my Dad brought it to the wedding and used it in the wedding speech as a tribute to the importance and value of love and family. It was such a personal and special moment. The pom pom is hanging in my parents’ house!
I would always say if you get the chance to do something personal, even if it feels a bit random, do it. It’s your day, do it YOUR way!
Photographer: Rachel & Tonie