By Blue Sky Photography
at Hopetoun House
We’re heading to Edinburgh today for an autumn wedding with a whole lot of wow factor. From the topiary decorations to the tricycle cake stand, Katy & Peter’s day was a floral filled celebration of the things they love – dogs, bicycles and each other. Their perfect day was capped with an atmospheric after party, fireworks and a pipe band finale. So much to love!
Who saw who first?
We were set up by our respective best friends, who were actually our Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid, at a party in London on 10 October 2009, six years prior to the day we were married. As it fell on a Saturday, 10 October was the obvious choice.
We got engaged at the top of a Hampshire hill, a spot where Peter and his brother used to play as kids, in July 2014. Despite being together for several years, we’d never been on a weekend away that wasn’t for Peter to participate in a triathlon or marathon, so he surprised me with a weekend away and, on route there, popped the question with an incredibly beautiful ring (I can’t believe he got it so right without any help!) over a champagne picnic. After a glorious weekend in the Cotswolds, we returned to an impromptu boozy BBQ to surprise our closest friends in person.
We were inspired by…
Before we started thinking of the practicalities, we made a list of the things we loved. Dogs and bicycles were high up there and, whilst we knew we wanted a very traditional and elegant wedding, we also knew that we wanted it to be as personal as possible, and that there should be a sense of fun to every aspect, as our top priority was to make sure our guests had a wonderful and memorable day celebrating with us.
As sticklers for attention to detail, we thought the best way of bringing everything together would be to create a motif and, after hours of trawling online, we found the exceptionally talented Mandy Maria. Mandy converted our idea of a little dog (closely modelled on my parents’ beloved cockapoo) riding a bicycle into a charming illustration, that we used over and over again, effectively creating our own wedding brand. Mandy’s illustration featured on all of our stationery, and made it’s way onto wrapping paper, branded umbrellas and even Pete’s waistcoat. All of the tables were named after breeds of dogs, and Mandy kept the beautiful drawings coming, even replacing the bathroom signs with some canine alternatives.
From there, the dogs and bicycles were subtly worked into most aspects of the day. From the bridal party’s dog slippers, to the boy’s bicycle cufflinks, from transparent serving platters filled with bicycle components, to the dog themed props in the photo booth, and the hot dogs in the evening.
Peter restored several old bicycles to decorate the venue, alongside Gemma’s topiary hounds, the most triumphant being the tricycle turned cake stand. It was the focal point of the ballroom, surrounded by flowers, grey stone dogs and lots of Heather’s magnificent Irn-Bru flavoured pup-cakes (yes, cupcakes iced to look like dogs) – it even managed to stay upright all night!
My mum took on a lot of the DIY, painstakingly restoring an old chest of drawers to store escort cards in, creating an adorable post box to fit in with our cream and grey theme, and making lots of confetti cones from pages of Peter Pan and What Katy Did.
Tell us about your venues…
St John’s is an absolutely stunning church, in the very heart of Edinburgh and, as I was christened there, there was no debate about where we wanted to be married.
We both fell in love with Hopetoun House
from the moment we first saw it. It was a perfect contrast to the bustle of Princes Street and, despite it’s size, felt very welcoming. The Ballroom also proved to be a blank canvas that we could really make our own, which we did.
What inspired your amazing floral styling?
There aren’t many florists that would take a request for topiary dogs in their stride, but Gemma at Planet Flowers
is, luckily for us, one of them. The most important thing to us was making the day as jam packed with detail and as personal as possible and Planet Flowers got on board from the onset with our plans for a wedding filled with dogs and bicycles. Gemma always took the time to discuss ideas with us and her creativity proved endless, from making flower crowns for the mounted tiger heads, to woodland inspired table decorations and creating an entire pack of pooches, which thrilled our guests.
Gemma worked very closely with Heather from Heather’s Cakes
to create a stunning dessert installation, all centred around Peter’s labour of love, a floral filled tricycle cake-stand. Planet Flowers embraced our vision with incredible enthusiasm and really brought the ballroom alive.
And tell us something surprising about your day…
Whilst we had planned every detail ourselves, and so there weren’t many surprises on the day, seeing it all come together in reality was still completely thrilling and we surprised ourselves at what we had managed to achieve.
We were also both surprised at how calm we actually felt on the day itself. After so many months of planning, we were both determined to have a ball, which we definitely did.
Your dress is so beautiful – how did you find it?
I’m a big shopper, but I actually didn’t enjoy the process of trying on wedding dresses as much as I thought I would, until I walked through the doors of Stewart Parvin’s bridal boutique on Beauchamp Place in Knightsbridge. Jamie and Martina were just wonderful and, most refreshingly, honest. They made me feel completely at ease, even went I was standing there topless or wearing a dress that looked ridiculous on me. They helped me work out what did and didn’t suit me, focused my mind on the style I wanted and arranged an appointment with Stewart, to design my dress.
My Mum and I had a great morning with Stewart, his very talented team and beautiful dog Max and from there on in, it was all very easy. The dress was made to measure and every fitting, there were a lot, was a delight as I watched the dress slowly take shape. Justina, the seamstress, knew exactly what tweaks were required and did not rest until it was perfected. She even sewed a panel of my Mum’s wedding dress inside. I would recommend Stewart Parvin to anyone.
How did you complete your bridal look?
My Mum lent me her sapphire engagement ring, as my something old, borrowed and blue. I wanted to keep the rest of my jewellery very classic and simple, and ended up wearing pearl studs that Peter bought me several Christmases ago, which I wear all the time. I bought my shoes from Freya Rose, and managed to last in them for most of day, which is impressive for me.
In the evening, I accessorised with a sparkly Stewart Parvin belt and a Jenny Packham headdress. Some of my oldest friends, and bridesmaids, bought me a gorgeous bracelet shortly after we got engaged from one of my favourite costume jewellery shops, which added some more sparkle. At the end of evening, I wore my Grandmother’s fur jacket, which she would have loved.
Peter looks very dapper – we love his bespoke waistcoat!
We knew we had found the right outfitter when we suggested to Tim at Favourbrook that Peter wanted to personalise the back of his waistcoat with the wedding logo and he instantly knew how to deal with it. The morning suit Favourbrook made was classic but with a couple of twists – lighter grey trousers (for a more contemporary look) and a double breasted waistcoat (royal blue with cream piping) and the all important logo on the back (which was hidden until Peter removed his jacket for the first dance).
The look was set-off with Peter’s great-grandfather’s pocket watch and a tie from Ferragamo featuring horseshoes and four leafed clovers (just for luck). In the evening Peter decided to embrace the Scottish occasion and switched into some trews in Armstrong tartan (about as close to a family tartan as he has!).
How did you entertain your guests?
The musical entertainment for our guests started with Pipe Major Iain Grant welcoming them outside St John’s Church and, once inside, the wonderful choir at St John’s sang as I walked the aisle, and at various points during the ceremony itself.
Le Swing played during the drinks reception at Hopetoun House and for part of dinner. Le Swing were a great addition to the day and really got people talking – there were lots of tapping feet during the drinks reception as people enjoyed their jazz twist on classic songs.
Your dancefloor looks like it was a lot of fun…
We wanted a big party in the evening, and thought it would be best for us to lead by example. As we have four left feet between us, we called in the help of a dance coach at Peter’s gym, the very patient Shaun Christie.
We didn’t make it easy for Shaun when we decided our first dance would be a mix of Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk and Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen (a longstanding favourite from a Californian road-trip many years ago), however, he managed to coach us into a fantastic performance. We started off with some typical wedding dance moves before breaking into a cheekily choreographed dance to Carly! It got people laughing and filled the dance floor, so was a perfect start to a long night of dancing.
Corra not only learnt our crazy mashup but beautifully mixed covers of our favourite songs with some chaotic ceilidh. Jane led the way with amazing vocals and the band even managed to get me up on stage for some dubious drumming. We’d never heard Corra play, but we had nothing to worry about as they really made the evening unforgettable.
The night finished with a local pipe band performing a Beating Retreat, which was a complete surprise to all of our guests and an excellent way for the day to conclude.
Just remember that it’s all about how the two of you want to celebrate. Whilst you obviously want to make sure your friends and family have an amazing time, it is really about creating a day that reflects your personalities and life together.
We’d also say (or I would say) that it is worth being as organised as possible beforehand, so that the last couple of weeks before the wedding are as hassle free and enjoyable as possible. We prepared a (now infamous) Wedding Manual(!) which took hours, but did mean that everyone knew what was happening when, which meant the day went like clockwork, and we didn’t have to worry about a thing.
I was born and bred in Edinburgh and, despite living in London for several years, Edinburgh is still home. I wanted to get ready in the house I grew up in and it was lovely being able to host celebrations on the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon at my parents’ home. Peter spent much of his time childhood in Scotland, at his grandparents’ house is in Shetland, and for us Scotland was the easiest decision of them all.
What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?
Katy – There are too many moments to mention! I loved getting ready with my best friends in the morning, dancing like a mad woman all night and I will always remember the thrill of meeting Peter at the top of the aisle. I just loved every moment of that surreal amazing day.
Peter – Standing at the top of the aisle at St John’s when the choir began to sing, knowing Katy was about to walk down the aisle.
I love all the illustrations throughout the day. And how amazing are those topiary dogs?! Christina x
Venues – St John’s Church, Edinburgh and Hopetoun House, South Queensferry
Caterer – Heritage Portfolio
Photographer – Blue Sky Photography. There are so many great Edinburgh based photographers, we initially found it hard to decide who to opt for, but we definitely made the right choice with Blue Sky Photography. Before we’d even booked them, Niels and Alie were helping us think about how we wanted the day to take shape, and their great ideas never stopped. Niels and Alie were just such a pleasure to spend time with, from the engagement shoot, to the run-up, to the day itself, and we are thrilled with the memories they’ve captured. Always professional, never intrusive, and a lot of fun.
Filmmaker – Cherry Tree Films. Here’s our wedding film trailer. We just don’t think there is anyone out there quite like Cherry Tree Films. Katy was so determined to make sure that Steve and Yvonne would be able to capture our day that we checked their availability before setting the date, and we’re so pleased to have had them on board. Steve and Yvonne captured so many wonderful moments, all unbeknown to us, and worked so hard from first thing in the morning, to the bitter end, constantly capturing the best footage. The final product is very slick and, no matter how many times we watch the trailer, it still gives us goosebumps.
Florist – Planet Flowers
Hair stylist – Cat Nicholson at Charlie Miller
Make-up artist – Mikee
Wedding dress – Bespoke adaptation of “I Want You” by Stewart Parvin from Stewart Parvin Bridal, London
Shoes – Freya Rose & French Sole
Accessories – Stewart Parvin belt and a Jenny Packham headdress
Groom’s outfit – Morning suit & bespoke waistcoat by Favourbrook & tie by Ferragamo (see more details above)
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Dessy, from Les Trois Soeurs
Stationery – Gee Brothers, Mandy Maria Illustrations
Cake – Heather’s Cakes
Band – Corra
Musicians – Pipe Major Iain Grant, Le Swing & Hopetoun Pipe Band
Additional suppliers – After a brief interlude of hot chocolate and fireworks, the ballroom was transformed with some amazing lighting from Tower Productions. Dance coach – Shaun Christie.
Transport – Ecosse Classic Cars, Avantgarde Hire, Edinburgh Coach Lines