We’re taking a seasonal #TBT trip to re-live this magical autumn wedding. Influenced by Argentine tango, The Great Gatsby and the stunning stately home they were celebrating in, this wedding has elegance and informality in equal measure…
Who saw who first?
We met at a mutual friend’s housewarming party and met again some time after that at the same friend’s birthday drinks… not too sure who saw who first but there was enough attraction for us to start soon planning a road trip to Skye together.
We were inspired by…
We took a lot of inspiration from our reception venue – the magnificent Gosford House. This stately home was built by the Earls of Wemyss and March as a place to display their extensive art collection but also most importantly to entertain in great style. Early on in our relationship we attended an event at Gosford House – a lovely, informal BBQ, and this evening of soaking up the sun on the warm sandstone balcony surrounding the house, with views over the sea and towards Arthur’s Seat, stayed with us. When we decided to get married we both knew instantly that we wanted Gosford to be the venue – so we did not even look at anything else.
Another reference point we had in mind was a Great Gatsby style party – it was not the historic period we wanted to recreate, but rather the exciting and carefree feel, with people mingling and making most use of the house and gardens. The day would bring Alan’s family (hailing from Ireland) and mine (Russian and German) together, as well as a number of distinctive circles of friends, and we were very conscious to make the whole day as enjoyable and informal as possible.
How did you personalise your wedding day?
We both have busy careers, so unfortunately a lot of DIY was not possible (although Alan did discover his graphic design abilities and created our wedding stationery), so rather than getting the scissors and glue out, we were very particular in how we wanted our day to run and the choices we made.
A lot of things were personal to us – from the medieval Church were we had the ceremony – which is a Historic Scotland Property – both of us are members, Alan’s membership was an early ‘gift’ from me; to the readings, both in German and English. An amazingly talented friend and musician, Petrea provided the music during the service playing the harp and singing German, Irish and Scottish music.
I wanted to design my own dress which reflected my tastes and quality expectations; and I wanted it to be made locally. My shoes reflected the fact that Argentine tango is a big part of my life, and the brand ‘Comme Il Fault’ are the Louboutins of tango dancing shoes! Plus I knew that they are the most comfortable shoes which I could spend the whole day in.
My dressmaker (who is also a costumer designer) suggested getting a buttonhook to help me button up my dress. This then led me to sourcing some silver antique Victorian buttonhooks – absolutely beautiful objects in their own right – which I gave to my bridesmaids as gifts.
We decided not to have a seating plan, but to encourage our guests to move around and mingle – they had the choice of eating either inside or al fresco on the grand balcony fronting the house. We also decided against a head table – and organised a small table for the two of us in the centre of our guests – this worked beautifully, as it gave us a chance to catch up with each other, have a quick bite and then join our guests again.
Instead of a wedding cake – as none of us generally likes cakes anyway – we went with a croquembouche (which is the traditional French wedding ‘cake’). We thought that the profiteroles would go down well with our guests when the coffee was served – and we were proven right as the piece was deconstructed in record time!
What was on your wedding menu?
Another very personal choice – we decided to have a buffet selection rather that a formal sit down meal. The spread included wild boar sausages, a selection of ham and roast beef (all from the Gosford estate), trout, salmon, langoustines and other seafood – all sourced as locally as possible, and a selection of seasonal salads to cover all tastes. The desert was a selection of fruit pies and crumbles (again with produce from the estate) and vast quantities of cheese. In the evening we had a selection of pates prepared from scratch by our caterer.
First dance – choreographed routine or sedate shuffle?
One of my biggest passions in life is dancing, so we both knew that a shuffle would not suffice – there was a high degree of expectation from the audience. Luckily for me, Alan also likes to dance (though he will never admit it!), so we did a few ballroom dancing courses. We then picked a song – “I’ve Got You Under my Skin” by Frank Sinatra and another friend and amazingly talented Argentine tango teacher Ricardo Oria helped us with suitable choreography, building on some of the steps we had picked up. It ended up being a happy medley of Quickstep, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha with some dramatic Tango moves thrown in for good measure – we enjoyed ourselves and our guests had some good laughs – so all went well!
What is your advice for future brides??
Consider what is important to you and prioritise accordingly. It is a cliché, but it is true – this is your day, and if it reflects your personality, your guests will enjoy it. Our day ended up being a bit different to what most people would expect from a wedding (particularly the Irish contingent will testify to that – ‘what, no seating plan?’), but it went how we wanted it and made it memorable for our guests.
What is the one thing you will never forget about your wedding day
It is very difficult to single out one specific thing – the whole day is etched into my memory with far more detail than I would have imagined.
I will never forget how well our families and different circles of friends blended together. Suddenly language barriers did not seem to exist. We did our speeches in the Marble Hall (a very theatrical setting) and I will forever remember my Mum delivering a speech in English – which she does not speak fluently at all!
Another lasting memory was an impromptu performance by my new husband – when the band started playing ‘Mustang Sally’ , Alan was pushed onto the stage by his university friends – as this was one of his ‘party pieces’ from back then. I had never heard him sing before!
Both Alan and I have embraced Scotland as our home of choice – this is a great commonality we share. We love exploring this country steeped in history, tradition but also full of surprises and a great attitude to life and fun. With our families coming from Russia, Germany and Ireland, Scotland was also a very safe bet – a neutral territory so to speak. Being able to showcase Scotland to our family and friends and share our experience gave us a lot of pleasure.
It’s a beauty isn’t it? Feeling inspired for an autumn wedding? Alie x