Mon 11th Jun, 2012
Susie and Paul met through Susie’s brother Matt, who was Paul’s boss at the time. They had met a few times before and had always got on really well. Paul proposed to Susie in New York having whisked her away for her 30th birthday.
"He thought about doing it on the plane but was a little nervous that if she said no it would be an awkward 9 hours and 3 day trip. We got to New York and Paul thought about proposing at so many different points and bottled it each time. It got to day two and with time was running out, the plan was to do a spot of shopping and then head to Central Park. Paul thought – perfect I’ll propose in Central Park – ideally romantic albeit a little unplanned." As they were walking, Susie thought he was acting strange, squeezing her hand really tight and not saying much but just thought he was distracted by how much he’d just spent on a new watch! They went and sat on the grass by the lake in Central Park and within 5 minutes Susie got restless and became a bit grumpy that they weren’t ‘achieving’ much. So she suggested they went for a wander and a coffee, but Paul was reluctant, he was determined that this was the place and was building himself up to it. And as his behavior got stranger Susie says she started to realise what was going on and thought ‘oh wow’. And then he rolled over onto both knees in the mud and said "you know I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me" and produced the beautiful ring. Through her sobs Susie said yes.
"We had so many worries before the wedding about the weather and checked forecast hour by hour as we thought it was so important to be dry so we could have the ceremony down by the loch. On the day it was raining it certainly made it different, not many people have been to a wedding where everyone (including the bride) is wearing wellies. Everyone raved about it. So our advice is: don’t worry about the weather it definitely won’t spoil your day.”
When asking about the best part of their day... “Everything! The relaxed ceremony, amazing Mavis Hall, the friendly staff, the lochside wedding, the highland games, the spit hog roast, the live band. Weirdly the rain made the day, we loved that our guests were happy to take their shoes/stiletto’s off and put on wellies to walk down to the loch side under their umbrellas, which they have since told us felt cosy. It also meant that the ceremony felt intimate because everyone was huddled round, although we were pleased to see the sunshine coming out just after we were married. Oh and one other thing – the last dance! The band surprised us with ‘you take the high road’ and Paul and I danced and jumped around in the middle of a circle of all our family and friends holding hands – it felt so amazing, a very happy ‘moment’".
The Ebury Collection wedding blog. Photography copyright 2012 Archibald Photography
The couple chose Scotland for their wedding because Paul was born and spent his childhood in Selkirk and Susie was born in Dumfries and, although her family moved south when she was still very young she spent all her holidays in Powfoot, where her grandparents lived, until she was in her twenties. Scotland is very close to both of their hearts. They wanted a venue which felt relaxed and informal and could offer a real Scottish feel – they only looked at one venue and totally fell in love with it. Mavis Hall Park is a family run farm that has been converted for events. "We first saw the barns and loved their character (especially the hens that greet you as you arrive) and inside we thought they were such a perfect blank canvas. Then Fiona, the owner, took us down to the loch to show us where we could get married and we were totally blown away. It was so beautiful, we just remember standing there in awe and all we could hear were birds."
Susie's dress was called Paris and was designed by Forget Me Not, a British design team based on the Isle of Wight. Susie said “I knew I didn't want anything too ‘traditional’ and I tended to be drawn to material rather than shape – anything vintage looking and lacy. We were looking through the dresses on a rail and pulled out this dress which was just the most beautiful material – it was a creamy, champagne gold colour and lacy."
There is a lot of pressure to find ‘the one’ all I knew is that I loved the dress because I couldn't stop smiling when I was wearing it. There were other dresses that I thought were gorgeous but I just felt really special in Paris. The style of the dress ‘fitted’ our venue and our plans for a day that would be fun, relaxed and informal. I loved the full skirt and the length was perfect for our day which was going to be spent on grass and walking through woods! I absolutely loved the detail too – the belt was unusual and the whole look made the dress have a vintage feel, which is what I wanted. I kept coming back to Paris and when I took my bridesmaids, Annie (my sister) and Kate (my friend), and my mother-in-law June they all loved it."
The couple's piper (Kenny Patterson) piped Susie down the aisle and then stood behind the marquee playing relaxed bag pipe tunes. Then after the ceremony, they had highland games for all our guests including games for the kids. This was organised by Mavis Hall and was “brilliant fun”. Luckily the sunshine came out just in time for them.
A humanist ceremony was chosen by the couple and the celebrant was Ivan Middleton. Susie told us “when we first met Ivan we thought he was lovely and on the day our guests thought he was great, really funny. We really believed in the humanist values of love and respect and loved that we could make the ceremony really personal by writing most of it."
Susie and Paul asked friends and family to video the day “They have produced an amazing record of the day for us. We asked some good friends to walk round and take Polaroid shots of everyone, which we have since stuck onto the frame we used as a table plan on the day. We also set up a video camera in a room upstairs in the barns, and we asked all our guests to make a little speech giving 3 words about us and a message to send us on our way. This after a couple of drinks was highly amusing and a lovely keepsake. We intended to do one too but didn't get the time.”
Susie says of their wedding day “The wedding day was just amazing. Calling it the ‘best day of your life’ sounds clichéd but it was just brilliant, we had so much fun. Both Dalhousie Castle and Mavis Hall Park were perfect and were a perfect combination for us: we got to stay in a beautiful castle but we had the wedding in a character filled farm whose relaxed and intimate feel was more ‘us’ than a the formal setting of the castle. The ceremony was so lovely, really relaxed. We loved that everyone was stood, gathered around us, some with a beer in their hand, watching us make special promises to one another."
Susie and Paul told us that they first saw Archibald Photography online and just thought the photos were amazing. "We made a swift trip to a wedding fair and met Donna and Mark there. We were really impressed with their work and really liked Mark which is something people always say is important for your photographer. We have so many favourite images, we can’t choose one! We love the one of the two of us holding hands, where you can’t see our heads! We also love the ones in the woods, with Paul holding the balloon the colours are amazing. And the picture of us in the distance holding hands in front of the cool house and large tree. And also the one of us kissing with Susie holding the umbrella under the trees. Oh and the one of the little girls holding the baskets. And the ones of the boys in front of the castle and the ones of Susie with her bridesmaids. There really are too many.”
The couple had Scottish slang as the table names, like 'Merrit', 'Haud yer weesht' and 'blootered' and bird cages hanging from the old beams in the barns. Susie and her new mother in law decorated the bird cages with ivy (from the florist), paper flower garlands and small sequined birds. Ivy and fairy lights were wrapped around the pillars in the barn.
Susie and Paul hired a live band called Wildcard who played lots of up to date music and some old classics. "They also included some Scottish dancing sporadically throughout the night. It got everyone up on the dance floor, and the choice to have it in between the other songs was a good call, as it was tiring for some of the older guests (and us!). Our first dance was a song called State of mind by Goldie, a nice relaxed drum and bass tune with heart felt lyrics are really relevant to us. We asked the band to play ‘500 miles’ by The Proclaimers as soon as our first dance was finished to get everyone jumping around on the dance floor. It worked!"
Supplier info (UK):
The couple got ready and had a meal the night before at Dalhousie Castle
Ceremony and reception venue - were at Mavis Hall Park
Dress - Forget Me Not
Flowers - Fiona Cumming
Photographer - Archibald Photography
Caterers - Provided by Mavis Hall Park
Bridesmaids dresses - Coast.
Groom’s suit - Paul wore a grey spirit kilt, but with a relaxed approach and socks down. Black and grey kilt, black shirt, black waistcoat and grey jacket.
Transport - Susie and Paul hired a Bentley GTC for 5 days and drove it from London to their venue and back again which they summed up as an “amazing experience”.Premier Velocity
Hair and Make-up - Lynne Deherdt did Susie's make up and a lady called Agneshka did the make up for the bridesmaids, the mothers and Susie's sister. Agneshka also did their nails. Susie did her own hair. She told us “I was a little nervous about it as I hadn’t really had much time to practice. But it was fine, I just curled it with straighteners and my sister, Annie, helped me get it right.”
Music - Wildcard
Marquee - Provided by Mavis Hall Park
Filmaker/videographer - Friends and family
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