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Photographed by Elemental Weddings

Dryburgh Abbey


The magical, misty ruins of Dryburgh Abbey were the spot where Canadian couple Samantha and Peter tied the knot. Their Scottish adventure is a book waiting to be written, including a chapter on their midnight exploration of the ruins where they wed (just ask them about the ghost chanting monks). Enjoy lots. We did.

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How did you meet and become engaged?
Peter and I attended private all girls- and all boys-Catholic schools in Winnipeg, Canada. Our paths only crossed in University through mutual friends. We sat next to each other at a Harry Potter movie and after that wrote each other lengthy ‘letters’ on Facebook (back in the old days of no FB Messenger!) I soon moved to Toronto to pursue my career, but we kept in touch, and when I returned for Thanksgiving, we were inseparable.
Our wedding day was inspired by…
My love of books and Peter’s love of the over-the-top and ancient architecture. I’m a published author, and I work in the traditional publishing industry, so I’ve got a bit of a dreamy side. Getting married at the site of Sir Walter Scott’s resting place was very apt for me, and Peter fell in love with Scotland’s rugged landscape and tumultuous history when we first came here to celebrate our engagement in 2011.
Tell us more about your wedding venue?
The Ruins at Dryburgh Abbey are a misty, magical place. These remnants of a 12th century abbey monastery are located in Melrose in the Scottish Borders, a few miles from Scottsview, and also serves as the final resting place of Sir Walter Scott.
We took our dinner at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel next door, which allowed for a lot of PERFECT fish and chips for everyone. And even though I’m vegan, the hotel went above and beyond to create such a delicious dish for me–I really appreciated it, from the bottom of my heart!

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Tell us about your wedding dress – we love it!
Over 10 lbs of gorgeous champagne pink scalloped lace, which got dragged through the rainy Melrose mud. Worth it!
And how about Peter’s outfit?
Peter wore a custom-made kilt suit for our photos, featuring the MacKinnon clan tartan and crest. The suit he wore for the ceremony is a custom number as well from a suitmaker in Winnipeg called UOMO.
Tell us something surprising about your day?
The rain held off for the entire ceremony! And, despite our very small celebration (only our parents and one family friend attended), every stranger who walked by us either gave us hugs, or wished us luck! There were even some beautiful dun cows nearby to witness. We were surrounded by love.
Also, on our wedding night in the pitch black, we decided to ‘re-visit’ the ruins to see if the rumours were true about the chanting ghost monks…but we won’t tell.
What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?
We stayed up until midnight the night previous to write our wedding ceremony (we are procrastinators ’til the end.) We surprised everyone by switching out vows for taking turns reading verses from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
Why Scotland?
Peter and I celebrated our engagement in Scotland 4 years prior, and we wanted to make it a big part of our wedding. The history, the landscape, and our family ties (Peter has relations from Clan MacKinnon, and myself from Clan MacLeod,) Scotland is such a special place to us. The day after the wedding, we set off on an epic honeymoon wherein we drove 1400 miles around the country, climbed Ben Nevis, visited three islands (including Orkney) and every coast. It was an adventure for the ages.

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We love the sound of Samantha and Peter’s midnight exploration of the ruins. Would you be brave enough? Alie x
Ceremony venue – The Ruins at Dryburgh Abbey
Reception venue – The Dryburgh Abbey Hotel
Photographer – Elemental Weddings. Peter and I had to hire all our vendors via email and blind faith, and after searching the wide internet for the professionals who could truly capture the beauty of our destination wedding, Elemental Weddings seemed the only logical choice. Jay went above and beyond from scouting countless locations for our photos to acting as emergency bridesmaid/groomsmen, ferrying messages between Peter and I.
Make-up & Hair – Laura Gray. Laura did absolute magic with my hair, which didn’t shift a strand in all that highland rain during the 2 hour photo session. She also did my mother’s hair and make up, and that really meant a lot to me.
Wedding Dress – L.A. Collection (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)
Wedding Shoes – Nine West
Groom’s Outfit Supplier – The Highland Shoppe (Calgary, AB, Canada)