Ever feel like your wedding is spiralling into something that no longer reflects the two of you? After taking stock of their plans, Hannah and Craig took the brave step of cancelling their huge wedding and eloping to the remote and romantic west coast of Scotland. Here’s why they have absolutely no regrets…
Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
Craig and I met through Roller Derby, a full contact sport played on roller skates. During our first training session together, I gave him a nosebleed by elbowing him in the face. I certainly made myself memorable anyway!
There was a definite spark between us when we first met, I think we both felt it and gravitated towards each other. Every time I saw him my stomach would flip and we would just think up any excuse to talk to each other!
We had a lot of obstacles in our way, including distance, but we found we just couldn’t quit each other, we spoke everyday for 6 months and by that point I think we both knew we were on to something big!
We were inspired by…
Last year we were in the midst of planning a massive wedding, the venue was booked and the deposits were down. It began to sink in that we were planning a wedding for everyone else and not for us.
Somewhere between the 160 person guest list and the 7 tiered wedding cake, there was a stark moment of clarity. I realised we had gotten so far away from what we initially wanted and the pressure of trying to please everyone was exhausting. So, we decided to cancel everything!
Instead we decided to elope, just the two of us and our trusty Dog of Honour, Fox.
Just because we were eloping didn’t mean we were doing things small. I had bought my dress before cancelling the original wedding so it was a massive lacy non elopement like dress. We had a cake (using the deposit put down for the original 7 tiered monster cake), flower garlands, hair and make up, the whole works!
We absolutely love the setting for your wedding!
We eloped to the amazing Crear on the West Coast of Scotland and managed to score the day of our dreams! We chose Crear because of the landscape, it’s hard to put into words how truly breathtaking a place it is. From the white sandy beach to the amazing views of Jura and Islay, if you appreciate the outdoors then Crear is second to none.
We also love the beach and both grew up in seaside towns on the east coast of Scotland, so the seaside is very close to our hearts. Getting married near the sea was very important to us and one of the factors which made us reconsider the massive city based wedding we had originally planned.
Getting married in Scotland can be risky in terms of the weather but we tried not to think about it too much, nothing would dampen our day. We were rewarded for putting our faith in our bonnie land, the skies were crystal clear and the sun shone on our wedding all day.
Did you DIY any elements of the day?
One of the major reasons for eloping was to make sure the wedding was ‘us’, so there were a few personal DIY touches.
We made our own wedding rings. We found an amazing jewellery designer in Edinburgh (Make Your Own Wedding Rings), who spent a day with us helping us to make our wedding rings from scratch. I made Craig’s ring and he made mine, we were able to add a hammered texture to them and produce something really unique. It was such a great experience and I would recommend it to any couple out there. It also worked out a lot cheaper than some of the rings we were looking at, we basically paid for the gold and the workshop and Donna even supplied our lunch, it was a dreamy day and I’ll remember it forever.
Our Cake was a little bit DIY as well. We topped it with two ceramic cats I bought at a car bootsale and foraged for ferns and flowers to decorate it on the morning of the wedding.
We had a very personal Humanist ceremony, with personalised vows, a traditional handfasting with our family tartans, and lots of laughter. We helped to create the entire ceremony with our amazing celebrant Annie, so it was completely tailored to our relationship and future marriage, it was lovely.
We love your outfits! Tell us more…
My wedding dress was designed by Justin Alexander and inspired by Grace Kelly. Originally I didn’t like it on the hanger and didn’t want to try it on but once I did I just knew it was the one. It was definitely the emotional response I had heard other brides talk about. Also it had pockets………enough said. My cathedral length veil was custom made by Joyce Jackson and really gave the outfit that bridal vibe.
I opted for really simple gold earrings which looked like stags antlers and that was the only piece of jewellery I wore besides my rings, I just felt like the dress spoke for itself.
Because we were getting married outside, I decided to go for a pair sparkly pink and gold ombre Converse! This ended up being a good choice because we did a fair bit of rambling on the day.
Craig’s outfit had a bit of a DIY element to it. He hadn’t liked any of the kilt suits he had seen, so he decided to source his outfit from lots of different places instead. His kilt was from a kilt maker in Musselburgh, he was really friendly with the staff at the shop as he quite often takes his classes there on school trips! The colours he opted for were greens and browns, really earthy to compliment the fact we were getting married outdoors. The tie and flashes matched the kilt and were made from the leftover tartan.
His jacket was from Slaters, brogues from H&M and socks from an online retailer. He opted for a blue shirt which worked really well with the jacket. The whole look just turned out so well, everything about it was very Craig and he looked so handsome. I was so chuffed for him!
Your photos are breathtaking!
I cannot tell you how glad I am that we had Wonderful and Strange capturing our wedding day, they are the most professional, warm, talented and lovely people you could ever meet.
They put us at ease, made us laugh and went the extra mile to capture some incredible shots of our day. Not only were they our photographers but they were our witnesses too.
They drove four hours to Crear and spent the entire day with us, we couldn’t have asked any more of them and I think the pictures speak for themselves.
Any surprises on the day?
The weather! Being from Scotland, you learn to be prepared for anything and experiencing four seasons in one day is commonplace. But, on our wedding day we were blessed with clear blue skies and amazing sunshine for the whole day! Extremely lucky, considering it hammered down the next day.
There was an old couple sunbathing on the beach after the ceremony and the gentleman sprung up to shake our hand, “taps aff” and everything. We also had some people in kayaks giving their congratulations from the water.
And how did your families react when they found out?
Surprisingly everyone took the news really well, which was not exactly what we expected. Most people were really happy for us and could understand why we were doing it.
Hannah: My mum was a little bit emotional about the whole thing initially but she respected us for having the courage to do things our own way.
If we had a penny for the number of times someone said to us “Oh I wish I’d done that!” We’d have paid for our honeymoon!
Any advice for couples thinking of eloping?
We really wanted to share our day to show that weddings come in all shapes, they don’t have to be typical or traditional and they can be completely and utterly about who you are as a couple.
Also to give courage to those considering an elopement themselves or those who may feel like the pressure of their big day is starting to swallow them. Telling family and loved ones can be nerve-wracking but the people who love you will be happy for you. Once you tell everyone, you will feel like a weight has been lifted.
If you do decide to elope you don’t have to play it small, you can still have all the things you want – wear a massive dress, have a bouquet, do a first dance, have your cake and eat it!
Be true to yourselves and remember a wedding isn’t just about the material things, it’s about your marriage and that can be a very personal thing.
We are both Scottish and are very proud of that, so it meant a lot to be married in a country we both love. We also love the outdoors and Scotland gave us the freedom to be married outside.
I think the scenery provided such an amazing backdrop, honestly you can’t beat coastal Scotland on a summer’s day, it’s breathtaking. We live in a truly beautiful country and I can’t imagine getting married anywhere else. Scotland has it all, white sandy beaches, rugged atmospheric coastlines, dense green lush forests and epic views in all directions.
What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?
Craig: The most unforgettable thing about the day for me was seeing Hannah in her wedding dress for the first time.
Hannah: For me it was the ceremony and how perfect it felt. It was so personal and just confirmed to me that we had made the right choice to get married in this way. I smiled and laughed all day and I’ll always remember that feeling.
Golden advice from Hannah and Craig – be bold, be brave, be you. Christina x
Venue – Crear
Photographer – Wonderful And Strange
Florist – The Crear Florist
Hair & make-up – Karen & Hazel at Occasion Hair and Beauty
Wedding dress – Justin Alexander dress from Amilou Bridal
Rings – Make Your Own Wedding Rings
Groom’s outfit – The Kilt Hire Co, jacket from Slaters
Humanist Celebrant – Annie Loughlin
Additional suppliers – Iain and Bart from Crear (piper and wedding video).