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Tribal, thunderous Scottish castle wedding

Today’s wedding is a lesson in doing things your way. Natalie and Angus were married outside, in the rain, in a day that was so very them. From the tribal, thunderous drumming to the 80s hip hop action, we are loving their style…

Love at first sight?

We met when we both worked in a cinema. They’re pretty romantic places to work!
 I was due to start a new job and had a week where I was free, so we decided to have a few days away in my favourite place, Barcelona. We booked our flights four days before we left, so I had no idea that this was going to happen.

On our first night I cringingly got a wee bit tipsy and told Gus I thought we should get commitment bracelets or something that only we would know that we were committed to each other. The next day I promptly forgot about it and we took in the sights of the city that we hadn’t visited the first time around – we took the cable car up Mont Juic; had a beautiful wander through gardens; visited the famous fountain. We went to all these beautiful and romantic places but he actually proposed on the roof top terrace of the hotel we were staying at at midnight. He’d carried the ring around in his pocket the whole day and I’d been none the wiser!

We couldn’t decide on who to inform first so we sent our closest family and friends postcards – they took two-and-a-half weeks to arrive!! Longest wait ever.

We were inspired by…

Things we love – our family, our friends, nature, dancing and rum. 

We didn’t really have a theme or colour board – we knew we wanted leafy greenery, mixed metals and lots of lights. 
I finally figured out how to use Pinterest and went a bit crazy with grand ideas, naturally some had to get pushed to the side because there was just so much I wanted to do.

I became obsessed with collecting glass and metal Indian lanterns and was really inspired to create a space with light and colour, whilst also immersed in the green of the outdoors!

I looked at We Fell In Love all the time! I loved seeing all the different things we could be doing in Scotland, it got a bit overwhelming – one day I wanted to run away to a mountain on Skye after seeing a beautiful wedding featured there, and the next had me wanting to get married on a beach… WFIL is incredible inspiration, I loved reading about everyone’s stories and looking at their photos.

Tell us about your venue…

When we visited the venue we were greeted by peacocks and a very enthusiastic Laird. It was secluded, had loads of different wee areas, a coach house for the barn look we wanted and a witches’ maze! 

It was so versatile – it allowed us to have a cosy wee castle for drinks, a ceremony under a tree and dancing in a barn. It was beautiful. A truly unique venue.

We were able to make our own bar (there’s no corkage so we got to have all our favourite drinks – and support super local breweries!) and have our choice of caterer (who also focus on seasonality and locality). It was important for us to get these two things just as we wanted. They set the tone and scene of a wedding and I think they’re overlooked a fair bit.

Rhoderick and his wife are so accommodating and really went out of their way to ensure we were well looked after and had everything we needed. The venue really felt like it became our home for the weekend. We had so much freedom to do what we liked.

How was being photographed?

Jen Owens is amazing! Hands down the best choice we made. As soon as we met her, we just knew wanted her to be there. I remember Jen offered to give us time to think about it but we knew right away we wanted to work with her. She’s lovely, incredibly talented and completely got us and what we’re about. We didn’t want any posed photos or staged cheesy stuff, I can be a bit awkward in photos, and she captured our day beautifully, with all the fire of the evening too! 
Jen even helped Gus with his buttonhole too!

It definitely helped that we had an engagement shoot, it is such a great opportunity to discuss what you like and what you don’t, without the pressure of it being the big day. 
Both times we were absolutely spoiled for photographs, and they are something we really are going to treasure forever.

Tell us out finding the (other) one?

The day I took my mum, my sister, my brother and my best friend to Emma Roy, I had already shortlisted a dress I’d found in a previous visit. It was a ballgown – completely not what I thought I’d go for. After trying on a few more new collection dresses I ‘revealed’ the dress I had chosen, but my mum was really disappointed. I agreed with her – during the trying on I tried on this absolutely gorgeous mermaid gown. I think I tried to not choose it because I was aware that it was so typically me and I thought I could go for something totally different. I tried it on another few times and even made another appointment later that day to try it on again.

It was so beautiful; it had two different kinds of lace, loads of beading and a beautiful scalloped edge, gorgeous train and it fit me amazingly. It really made me feel beautiful. I’d leant towards a ballgown to suit our venue, but I think I knew I would always get a mermaid fitted gown.

When I went back to try it on I just knew that it was for me. I am an overthinker though and doubted my decision but each time I went back to see it (and when it arrived in the shop, try it on), I knew it was everything I wanted. 
The staff at Emma Roy were really supportive and lovely, and understood how big a decision it is, and helped me so much. I kept thinking at the time how silly I was being and that it is just a dress, but it definitely is so much more than that. 
Even though I was precious about my dress – it didn’t stop me having fun in the evening! I danced so much in the muddy lawn that everyone commented on how nice it was to see a bride embrace the day – lawn dancing and all.

I bought a crystal headband and on the day of the wedding my dad went back to Edinburgh to get it from my house as I’d forgotten it, but I didn’t wear it in the end. 

I bought a crystal bangle to wear for a little bit of sparkle but I didn’t wear that either. 
Instead I wore a beautiful bracelet that Angus’ great aunt Betty left me. She passed away the month before our wedding. We got on so well and I knew I wanted to wear that on our day as a wee nod to her.

My sister Ashleigh wore a dress from John Lewis’ own collection of bridesmaids dresses, & my 2nd bridesmaid, Ani wore a dress by Chi Chi (‘Saskia’), and my brother Matthew, who was my Bridesman, wore a kilt hired from Geoffrey Tailor.

And what about the groom?

Angus has his traditional family tartan kilt that he wears to weddings and the rugby, so we knew we wanted him to have his own just for the wedding. We went in knowing we weren’t conforming to a colour scheme, but we did bear in mind the season and what would work with that.

We settled on a light tweed kilt with a light jacket and contrasting waistcoat. It was so much fun discussing it with the staff at Kinloch Anderson, but a bit of a risk too as we had to wait a few months to see it all together. All you have to work with are some swatches. The shop staff admitted they’d never made the combination we went for but I was fairly confident and he looked incredible in it! He was so handsome!
 It was finished off with a light brown leather sporran.

Your bouquet is sending our hearts aflutter!

The florist was amazing! I absolutely loved my bouquet, it was massive! And just so incredibly beautiful and wild. My bridesmaids were speechless when they saw their own versions and couldn’t believe how suited they were to them.

 For my maids’ bouquets I wanted to include something just for them, so my sister’s bouquet had a minature sunflower included and my friend had some lovely small wild roses.

My bouquet featured feathers I had collected from our venue. I wanted big pheasant feathers but was concerned over sourcing them ethically, so two weeks before the wedding we visited the venue and collected all the dropped peahen feathers which were beautiful browns, oranges and speckled. These were also used in the buttonholes for the gents. 
I love that we collected them from the grounds of our venue, there’s something really nice about that.

We are loving the sound of the thunderous drums…

Ahhh! I couldn’t wait for our entertainment to start! One of the first things I booked was Clann an Drumma. I found them on freakmusic.com and had to have them; they were tribal and Scottish with drums and bagpipes (I asked for extra drumming)! I thought they would not just set the scene but really make it. They were incredible!

I asked if they would play outside, starting just before the evening guests would be arriving so we could really get the party started. Everyone went wild for them and we had muddy lawn dancing & jigging as the sun set. It was so atmospheric and people are still talking about them. One of our best decisions!

Even though we danced together outside and got muddy, our first dance took place inside the Coachhouse. Our ceilidh band, High Drive let us use their sound system to play our first dance which was Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Where do you go to my lovely?’. We struggled with choosing a song as we have very weird music taste, and a lot of songs we love just wouldn’t have been appropriate, and we also didn’t really want something modern. But we both love this song and have our own wee funny ad-libs. It also turns out to be one of my dad’s favourite songs (I had no idea!) and it was beautiful. We just swayed and swished and took in all the love. Our family and friends even sang along for the last wee bit and it was better than I could’ve imagined.

In the evening we had a two piece ceilidh, after all the drumming outside we thought we would take it easy! We asked to not have a ceilidh caller as we wanted to make our wedding a bit more intimate and asked some of our guests to call dances especially for us! Included in some of the invites was a special card that Angus made. It had a link to the dance and a comment on their dancing and commanding capabilities! Everyone leaped at the opportunity – we had Angus’ sister Alison calling Canadian Barn Dance as her partner is Canadian, and the Orcadian Strip the Willow as a nod to Angus’ childhood in Orkney, called by his mum.

We were also inspired by a club night in Edinburgh called Magic Nostalgic – this inspired us to change the music every 15-20 minutes with a different category or genre, ranging from 80s hip hop, Mark Ronson vs Funk and Opium (from our teenage days in rock clubs!). We had someone come and pick a silver or gold envelope to dictate the next category. Our friends loved it and we got to dance like maniacs. I don’t think they’d been to another wedding that played what we played. We were adamant we weren’t going to have all that standard music you get at everyone else’s weddings. (No hi ho silver lining here!).

Tell us something surprising about your day…

How well it all worked out! Our first look, our ceremony, the band, it was better than I had imagined.

The night before the wedding we were staying at the castle with our closest friends and we were still trying to organise the treasure hunt for people to take part in during the photos, and our tables hadn’t been finished either. I was so tired and I really thought things wouldn’t be sorted but the next day everything went amazingly. 
I was really surprised by Angus who had gotten up early and organised his best men to help him finish setting up our bar and the tables – it looked so good! I’m still really impressed.

Any advice?


Natalie – Book hair and make-up with more than three months to go and ask to see portfolios! I was so preoccupied with getting everything else sorted that I put it out my mind and then stressed about it. I initially used a make-up agency and they sent someone to my house – but I didn’t see any of her portfolio and was really disappointed at the quality of her work. It was an expensive mistake.
 I am so fortunate to have found Elaine at TopDrawer Make-up, I honestly don’t know how she was available but she was!

Invitations might look expensive but if you don’t have the time, consider going pro. 
We made all the stationery ourselves using old images online. It took a very long time. Very long. I have regrets.

And finally! If you want to get married outside, or have a first look, or have no children at your wedding – then go for it, and don’t let anyone try change your mind.

Angus – Doing it yourself might seem like a lot of work but it is worth it, you can really have everything exactly how you want it to be.

Why Scotland?

Scotland is our beautiful home and anything is possible. There is a true freedom that comes with getting married in Scotland; you can be anywhere you like, have anything you like, and you have that unpredictable weather to stir things up a bit! 
I would not have traded Scotland for anywhere else in the world.

What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?

Natalie – Everyone singing our first dance with us and everyone dancing with us on the lawn.

Angus – Clann an Drumma playing as the sun set, and lights casting our guests’ dancing shadows onto the walls of the castle.

I’m at a total loss as to what to pick as my favourite bit. I pretty much love everything about Natalie & Angus’ day! Christina x

Suppliers

VenueTullibole Castle
PhotographerJen Owens
Florist
Narcissus
Make-up artist – Elaine at Top Drawer Makeup
Wedding dress;Sottero & Midgley ‘Gintare’ from Emma Roy of Edinburgh
Shoes
Irregular Choice – Yolanda
Groom’s outfitKinloch Anderson
Bridesmaids’ dresses & bridesmaid’s kiltJohn Lewis, ChiChi & Geoffrey Tailor
Cake
Kuma Kitchen
Musicians
Clann an Drumma and High Drive
Additional suppliersAnnie Smith (rings – ask for Ariel, he’s awesome ), Lazy Sunday, John Gordon – Humanist celebrant (he was an absolute gem of a find).