Wishing you could skip the build up and just get married already? Jemma and Alistair’s wedding is proof that you don’t need months of planning or a big budget to create a beautiful day. Especially when you have a slightly pressing deadline to beat! Arranged in just six weeks, during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, their celebration stole our hearts.
Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
We met at St Andrews University. We both worked at the student union there and we became really good friends first. We then got together as a couple after we graduated and had both moved to Edinburgh to find work.
After 8 years together, Alistair finally proposed to me on my 30th Birthday in Paris. It was a very romantic gesture, especially for someone who you might say is not your typical romantic. We were engaged for a long time as my mother fell ill and really sadly passed away very unexpectedly shortly after my 30th birthday. I just couldn’t get my head around getting married without her there to plan and share it with, as we were very close. I had brief periods of looking at venues and researching for inspiration. My heart just wasn’t in it.
Anyway, after I fell pregnant I suddenly realised that the only thing stopping us was all these hang-ups I had about trying to get everything ‘just right’. After I let that go it was a bit of a ‘light bulb’ moment. It just felt like the right thing to do before the baby arrived. It then became really easy and fun to plan and organise, and from start to finish it took about 6 weeks to arrange everything.
We were inspired by…
I really like vintage style things and love the idea of old meeting new. With that in mind I tried to find things that were sympathetic to the vintage style without being too fussy. So much of the wedding was done ‘DIY’; and it really saved us so much money and made it a bit more personal.
I went to Aldi in Portobello the day before the wedding and bought arm fulls of all different bouquets of flowers. I then spent the evening before the wedding with my friend and sister cutting, tying, and arranging the flowers into a bridal bouquet, three bridesmaids’ bouquets and 10 buttonholes for the male family members. It was so much fun and was a nice creative task for me to do with my top girlies. We had nibbles, music and fizz (non-alcoholic fizz for me). Any leftovers got used for the table setting posies. Very little was wasted. I would really recommend doing this if you are on a budget as it was really easy and fun and I got all my flowers for about £50!
I made my own wedding stationery! I used supplies from Hobby Craft and John Lewis and made all the invites, table cards, orders of service etc.
My mother-in-law made our cake. She made six versions before the final one was made .
Tell us about your reception venue…
The Vaults are located in the historic Leith area of Edinburgh. We have lived in the Leith area on and off over the last 10 years and we love it. The building itself dates back to the 18th Century, and is one of Scotland’s oldest commercial premises, originally used as a wine warehouse. We really love it there – its comfy leather sofas, roaring fires and friendly ambience. We first came here to see a local folk band with my sister and her husband about 10 years ago and have been big fans ever since!
How did you choose your photographer?
We were so delighted with the photos! We knew we wanted Ali to do our photos as I had seen some of her work on a friend’s Facebook pics of her wedding (Angela and Stuart had a gorgeous wedding up in the Highlands at a lochside hall).
She is great fun and really puts you at your ease. I love her photos because they are more natural than some wedding photoshoots I’ve seen. She is good fun and really professional to deal with, taking care of little details even after the wedding with her gorgeous presentation keepsake box for the pen drive!
Your dress is gorgeous! Tell us more…
So this is slightly unusual – in that I was about 8 months pregnant when we got married, and we only booked the wedding about 5 weeks before the big day!! So the usual options of high street shops or fancy boutiques were simply not an option for me!!
I bought my dress from a website that specialises in bridal and special occasion maternity wear, so it was perfect for my needs. The dress was great value and super comfortable to wear. I got so many lovely compliments on it and I think people were surprised about how easy it was to organise.
I know some brides really spend a lot of time, energy and money on their wedding dress and that’s ok, but for me I couldn’t have been happier with my choice. I’m so glad I got to wear a dress with stretchy fabric as it meant I was free from the corsets and boning to move, dance and eat as much as I wanted (admittedly less than usual when you are that heavily pregnant!) .
And what about the groom?
Alistair hired a kilt in Stuart grey tartan which is in some way connected to his family lines.
Slow shuffle or big number?
Because I was so heavily pregnant we didn’t have a first dance! We did make up a special wedding reception playlist on Spotify and got our guests to give us tunes to add to it before the day. We then played it through our phone at both the wedding and reception venues. I walked down the aisle to ‘I promise’ by Radiohead, as I really love the lyrics (and the band!) .
Tell us something surprising about your day…
I managed to not go into labour, even with all the excitement! Haha – this was a very real fear for me as I was 8 months pregnant at the time! Also getting married during the Edinburgh festival was perfect as I am sure some onlookers didn’t know if it was a real wedding or just another show!!
Try not to get hung up on the small details! No one will remember what the wedding stationery looked like, or what choice of canapes you have. People do remember if the bride and groom are having fun, and are happy and relaxed on their special day.
We have both lived in Scotland for most of our adult lives. Apart from that it really does have so much to offer. Edinburgh is a beautiful city with so much history and gorgeous architecture. During the Edinburgh festival there is an electrifying buzz in the air too. All that just added to our own excitement on the day.
What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?
My now husband dropping the ring and it rolling away down the aisle just as we were exchanging rings! It was very funny and broke the tension as the whole room, and especially both of us, had a really good laugh about it.
I love seeing a bride rocking a bump, don’t you?! Christina x
Venue – Lothian Chambers & The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Photographer – Ali Jay Photography
Hair stylist – Kylie, Medusa Hair
Make-up artist – Danielle Townend
Wedding dress – Helena Gown Long from Tiffany Rose
Shoes – Ban Joe by Irregular Choice
Groom’s outfit – Bowden’s Kilts
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Dorothy Perkins navy Josie lace maxi dress
Transport – Ocean Wheels