Katharina + Alan

Photographed by Crofts & Kowalczyk Photography

at Seton Collegiate Church & Gosford House

East Lothian-Scotland

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…

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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.

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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.

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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!
Why Scotland?
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.

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It’s a beauty isn’t it? Feeling inspired for an autumn wedding? Alie x
Ceremony settingSeton Collegiate Church, East Lothian
Reception venueGosford House, East Lothian
PhotographerCrofts and Kowalczyk Photography
FloristJudy Reid
Hair stylistCascal
Make-up artistLG Makeup
Wedding dressSara Hill Dressmaking
ShoesComme Il Faut, Argentine tango shoes
Groom’s outfitMoss Brothers
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Dresses sourced from the German store Sinn Leffers
BandNorthern Star
TransportEcosse Wedding Cars
Caterer – Jenny Mill, Townhouse Catering
Additional suppliers – Photo Booth by Edinburgh Fun Casino Company; Dance Teachers – Rumbos de Tango

WFIL guest bloggers

Bring on

The Bridesmaids

This week our lovely guest blogger Shiona shares her bridesmaid adventures with us. She’s talking dress and how to select the perfect style and colour for her urban wedding and her best girls. So far she’s half way there…

Pastel bridesmaids dresses

“Okay so every girl loves to talk dresses, but before I blog about my own indulgence I’ve been busy sorting out my bridesmaids! I was by the side of one of my best friend’s Alyson a couple of months ago and everyone at the wedding commented about how amazing our dresses were and how our colours really tied in the decor, so I’ve taken inspiration!
For Alyson’s wedding we originally looked on the high street and wound up at Sarah Louise Bridal in Glasgow where they had a myriad of dresses from short to long, traditional to modern, strapless to three quarter sleeves and satin to lace. We tried various ones on and fell in love with the “Jolie” by Ebony Rose. A floor length floaty skirt that met a lace top with a key-hole back which complimented the wedding dress but was also comfortable and flexible for wearing all day. They are made in the USA and take around 5 months to be delivered so that’s why I realised I wanted to get my girls sorted soon!
I was one of three bridesmaids, and there was only two of us shopping and we are both brunette and loved the pale green called Jade. Alyson was so relaxed about it, the only prerequisite was pastel shades to match the flowers she’d chosen; sweet peas and dusky roses. When we went back to our third musketeer who is blonde she wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the mint colour so chose lilac instead. She didn’t want to be on her own in a different colour so after looking at blues and greys, I decided to switch to pink, so we were all in the same dress but different colours. With the walled garden at Loch Ness Country House Hotel near Inverness, the dresses were perfect for the woodland vibes and photos amongst the lavender. Doesn’t it look pretty?

Pastel Bridesmaids dresses

With our wedding, we will have a leafy backdrop at Glasgow University but a more urban feel at St Andrews in the Square so I am hoping the oranges and yellows stand out against the concrete and the (fingers crossed) blue skies.

So after such a wonderful reception being a bridesmaid, I wanted to create something similar for my own four. Alyson is of course one of those and I also have Annabelle, Fiona and Cazz.

We had an afternoon of discussions about what everyone liked within the citrus theme and luckily for me, they’re all willing to try their hands at an array of colours! As I’ve mentioned before, my oranges and lemons wedding theme is all centred round my beautiful yellow engagement ring (swoon!).

The only problem is my four fabulous friends live in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling respectively we decided it would be too difficult to get shopping trips arranged so we took to the World Wide Web!

Yellows and brights as wedding colours

We found dresses by ASOS own brand, Chi Chi London, Maya Vintage, Coast, Little Mistress and Ashley Roberts for Key Collections. All of them within the palette of colours I’m going for, but with different styles and fits. So we bought them all! Bridesmaid dress roulette began.
The dresses arrived the next day and I duly sent them round the houses to the girls. Annabelle and Fiona were sold which is brilliant. Their dresses have some synergy; one is a yellow halter neck with a lace top and the other is a tangerine with cape style sleeves. Alyson and Cazz weren’t in love; one of the dresses was too much of a coral shade and the other a bit insipid and one had embellishments which we decided didn’t really fit in with the relaxed look. I didn’t want them to wear something they didn’t feel had the ‘wow’ factor.
I want them to feel as amazing as I did on Alyson’s big day and if their style reflects their personality and keeps within the yellows and oranges then I’m one happy bride! So we sent the three deemed not quite right back. Two out of four ain’t bad! I’m planning to have a look at David’s bridal at Braehead as I’ve heard they had a large selection, and I’m still looking on other websites to see what is on offer. With Autumn setting in there seems to be more mustard and golds, along with terracottas in the shops so those could also be contender colours. The hunt continues….
We always love to talk dress. Anyone else feeling inspired to go for a mix and match approach for their best girls? Alie x
Shiona & Michael are getting married at Glasgow University Chapel, followed by St Andrews in The Square, Glasgow. Think Oranges and Lemons and a whole lot of city chic…