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Whisky Kiss

Cutting-edge ceilidh band Whisky Kiss love mashing the old with the new and pride themselves on creating Scottish music for the 21st century. From castles to music festivals to international fashion shows, they are at home on any stage. We caught up with musician Iain MacPhail, who fell for folk music at a young age. Here he shares his music philosophy, his vision for ceilidh keep-fit, and tells us about the time Whisky Kiss got a taste of Trump power.

How did you get into music and this cutting edge band?
My dad is the Queen’s official accordionist (he plays at Balmoral twice a year) and I was brought up in a household where people were always just dropping in from places as far flung as Shetland and Perthshire, just for a “tune”. There were always live sessions on the go. There’s been such a big revival in the Scottish folk scene since the mid-90s, but back in the 80s and 90s you had to be prepared to be out on a limb playing reels & jigs when everyone else was going Acid House crazy, or into indie, etc. So I’ve always looked to take the best bits from all these other styles and mash them in with the fabulous old (and new) Scottish tunes from the traditional scene, in a way that’s both respectful and refreshing. We’ve become pals with people in other creative industries locally who are mashing the old & new too – it’s a great time to be in Edinburgh, with people like Joey-D and Howie Nicolsby of 21st Century Kilts doing similar things to us in the world of fashion, for example.

What do you love most about it?
When we were setting up Whisky Kiss we wanted to do three things really: Firstly, to create some great new music & events, mashing modern contemporary culture (music and dance) with the fabulous inheritance we’ve got in terms of traditional music & dance. Secondly, we wanted to see the world, go to far flung places and perform at outrageous events and locations close to home too. And finally, there’s such a massive boom in the number and quality of young performers in the traditional music world coming through, that we wanted to be a place where the best young talent in Scotland could come in, perform with us on amazing stages, be as creative as they wanted, and make a name for themselves.
The thing I love most about how things have gone with Whisky Kiss is that all these things we hoped to do when we set out have happened. We’ve had a great time creating new music, performing with some of the hottest young talented people around, and performing for brilliant crowds and lovely people everywhere from Glamis Castle to Dressed to Kilt in New York; from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai & Oman; from Scotland’s biggest party (Edinburgh’s Hogmanay) to Scotland’s biggest festival (T in the Park).

And what’s been the highlight so far?
If I can be greedy and pick three it would be Dressed to Kilt in New York, our gigs in Shanghai and at T in the Park (especially as we’ve been asked back at least three times to each event). These have been great life experiences, unforgettable places and events. The best thing I’ve found about being in a band at these events is you get opportunities that money literally can’t buy, things that are just right place, right time. For example, Donald Trump Jr saw us at Dressed to Kilt and immediately organised us a private tour of Trump Tower for the next morning. We had the immaculate Ivanka showing us around her boardroom and her father’s, looking out over Fifth Avenue, Empire State, Central Park…amazing! As big fans of the American Apprentice, stuff like that was brilliant. We all took a turn in The Donald’s actual chair, baring our teeth and wagging a Trump-esque index finger, firing each other from the band – “You’re Fired!”. Good times!

Which new trends are you seeing?
The majority of brides & grooms who book us for their wedding have half the guests from Scotland and the other half coming from somewhere else entirely. That could be somewhere in the UK, Ireland or – increasingly – from places as far flung as Venezuela, Bulgaria, Netherlands, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy and South Africa. In those scenarios, the show we’ve developed is working really well. It’s a first half ceilidh and second half disco.
The first half ceilidh has the dances being taught on the night, with a bit of humour and a tasty soundtrack in the background. This really gets the night going! In between the faster dances (when guests want a breather or to visit the bar) we bring on our DJ, band, world champ Highland dancers & Scottish champ breakdancers. Guests are given an aural and visual spectacular, as the girls dance off against the breakdancing Bboys, and the Highland Hotties (our dancers) can help overseas guests learn the ceilidh dances too.
Once the first half ceilidh is completed, we then let the DJ take the full dancefloor through to the end of the event, mixing the best 70s/80s classics and contemporary hits to ensure the party finishes with a real bang too. We love bringing the ceilidh dances to a whole new international audience, in a way that’s fun and accessible, and we’ve been struck that almost every wedding over the past 18 months has had a majority of guests from overseas. Good times!

What’s your favourite thing about the Scottish wedding scene?
The venues are amazing and the people we perform for are so lovely!
What/who inspires you?
I love the Latin scene, where a lot of traditional genres of music and dance combined (like tango in Argentina or salsa in Cuba) have been given a contemporary twist, retaining all the integrity and respect for the traditions that have been handed down through generations, but making them accessible to a global audience in the 21st Century. Big examples are the Gotan Project, Argentina and Buena Vista Social Club, Cuba. Love it!
If we were to really reach our goals with Whisky Kiss, it will be when we’ve created a Zumba-style phenomenon, worldwide, with people having fun and keeping trim based on ceilidh moves and dancing to Highland tunes that have been given a Whisky Kiss tartan twist!

If you weren’t rockin’ the ceilidh you’d be?
Enjoying a dram of AnCnoc single malt in the Kilberry Inn, Argyll near a wonderful wedding venue called Crear. It’s where my father comes from, it’s idyllic, looking over Islay and Jura, and it’s a highly decorated restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Either that, or eating a freshly made bowl of Pasta a la Norma in my favourite restaurant, Barbarossa in Vaccarizzo, Sicily.
On a rare day off we’ll find you where?
Depending on the time of year and time of day, you’ll find me in one of The Kilberry Inn, Easter Road, Vaccarizzo (Sicily) or having a delicious coffee in the Broughton Delicatessen on Barony Street, Edinburgh.

We’re In Love

Here’s what has caught our eye this week

We’re loving the idea of wine tasting with style. This weekend at Edinburgh’s Signet Library, The Three Wine Men are on tour. Head along with friends as part of a lush weekend out in Edinburgh. And maybe even find out more about wine at the same time. For tickets, you can visit The Three Wine Men.

With yet another wet spell dashing our ever-optimistic hopes of getting the hotpants out this summer, we’ve retreated instead into daydreams of beautiful brollies and wedding wellies. Weddington Boots are proving popular with Scottish brides, with one couple who were married this January kitting out their bridesmaids too. When the longed for snow didn’t appear, they decided they were too pretty to waste and wore them anyway. On the umbrella front, Brollies Galore has colour-pop combinations that are perfect to brighten up a grey summer’s day. We also love the elegant pagoda top umbrellas by Lisbeth Dahl. Starting to wish it would rain yet?

If you’re out and about in Glasgow tomorrow then be sure to check out the Hidden Lane Festival. The Lane is in Glasgow’s West End and is filled with over 60 creative businesses, from jewellery makers to recording studios. Venture along the cobbled lane and enjoy live music, DJs, delicious food including a hogroast, licensed bars, the best market stalls, fashion shows and, new for this year, the jazz lounge. The festival runs from noon until 9pm.

And finally, a new university course is set to study the Scottish tradition of “blackening” grooms. The ritual involves the (usually reluctant!) groom being chased and caught by his friends, stripped to the waist and covered with treacle, before being coated in flour or feathers. Public parading usually follows. Thought to ward off evil spirits, the custom is still carried out in areas including Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife and the Scottish Islands. According to BBC News, The University of Highlands and Islands hopes that publicity surrounding the new Disney-Pixar film, Brave will generate interest in studies of Scottish history, music and religion.

Photographed by NDK Wedding Photography

at Crieff Hydro

Perthshire – Scotland

A wedding peppered with a little bit of tradition, plenty of romance and a whole lot of laughs. And with a conga as first dance, this party was destined to continue into the wee hours.

Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
Ha ha, depends who you ask! We were both a bit drunk, Ruth more than me. Fairly instant attraction for us both I think.
Any unexpected moments?
The conga for the first dance going down as well as it did.
Honeymoon or Mini-Moon?
Honeymoon – Kuala Lumpur, Borneo, Singapore.
Wedding style?
Laid back, good fun. Not too serious, lots of laughs but serious when it needed to be (briefly).
Close your eyes and think of your wedding day…now – describe it in three words…
Best day ever.
Why Scotland?
The weather.
Ceremony & reception venue – Crieff Hydro Hotel
Photographer – NDK Wedding Photography
Hair & Make-up – Pamper and Polish
Wedding Dress – Amanda Wyatt
Groom’s Outfit Supplier – Kiltpin
Bridesmaids’ Dresses – 2 Birds Bridesmaid
Cake – Sensation Cakes
Band – Franco

  • Nick Kirk - June 21, 2012 - 3:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing Ruth & Jim’s wedding. Your blog is looking great.

    Cheers, Nick.ReplyCancel

Filmed by Cherry Tree Films

at Dundas Castle

South Queensferry-Scotland

A magnificent Scottish castle was the romantic setting for Sara & Elliot’s wedding celebration. They embraced Jewish tradition and threw in some modern twists along the way, creating a day they will always look back on as “magical, beautiful, perfect”.


Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
For me (Sara), I guess I knew Elliot was the one, not sure how I knew but I did. Growing up he was friends with my eldest brother so I remember him coming around and I used to hide as I was very shy and had a little crush on him! For Elliot, it was a gradual thing!
How was the question popped?
We went away for the weekend on Sara’s birthday to Bray, staying in a romantic 19th century cottage. We went for a meal at The Fat Duck restaurant and then after, back at the cottage with the open fire lit and our favourite band, U2 playing, I proposed!
Best compliment on your wedding?
One of the best weekends and weddings people had ever been too.
Honeymoon or Mini-Moon?
On our honeymoon we went to America, firstly visting Las Vegas then down to California and Los Angeles.
Why Scotland?
We visited Edinburgh for Hogmanay and felt it was the most romantic place and was just perfect to get married there.
Favourite thing about being hitched?
Saying my wife! – Saying my husband!
Venue – Dundas Castle
Filmmaker – Cherry Tree Films
Photographer – Claudine Hartzel
Hairdresser – Jodi Thompson
Make-up artist – Karen Bowen
Wedding dress – Suzanne Neville
Shoes – Gina Shoes
Accessories – Chez Bec (hair accessories) & Carat (earrings)
Children’s dresses – ilovegorgeous; Made of Honour – Dessy; Pageboy outfits – Little Bevan
Flowers and chuppah by Planet Flowers
Cake – 3D-Cakes
Lighting – Finix
Table linen – 88 Events
Caterer – Prestige Scotland
Piper – Pipe Major Iain Grant
String quartert – The Cairn String Quartet
Band – Ernest

  • Steve at Cherry Tree Films - June 20, 2012 - 9:58 am

    A fabulous wedding to be part of, thanks for featuring it guys!

    Elliot and Sara had a blast, and their blend of ancient Jewish traditions and the modern wedding celebrations gave us a visual treat! Loved every minute of it!

    Thanks to Elliot and Sara for agreeing to share this very special film.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte Ward - June 20, 2012 - 1:01 pm

    I can feel the love and the emotion just from watching this film, what a very special thing to have to remember your wedding day, the light looks beautiful and you have captured the true essence of the people and the day!ReplyCancel

  • Shaun Ward - June 20, 2012 - 3:47 pm

    Really nice video guys.
    This is a perfect example why brides should pay for quality.ReplyCancel

  • Nicholas Frost - June 20, 2012 - 8:17 pm

    Love it guys!ReplyCancel

  • Donna Marshall - June 20, 2012 - 10:52 pm

    Love it! You guys are the wedding film masters!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Thacker - June 21, 2012 - 5:57 pm

    What a fantastic video, capturing all the laughter, love and emotion throughout the day. It’s like a fairytale movie – as it should be – all sparkling and full of expectation.ReplyCancel

  • Louise Barclay - June 21, 2012 - 8:29 pm

    That video made me quite emotional! Beautiful and perfectly captured in the most wonderful venue. Love it xxReplyCancel

  • Jill - June 22, 2012 - 11:07 pm

    Beautiful film, thanks so much for sharing. XxxReplyCancel

Sorbets with Style

Designing your perfect wedding meal can be one of the hardest, but most fun elements of planning your day. We Fell In Love recently had the pleasure of dining in with Robbie Gleave, one of Heritage Portfolio’s executive chefs, as he shared a masterclass on sorbets at Edinburgh’s magnificent Signet Library. Think sorbets are some Seventies throwback? Then think again.

Robbie’s top tip when planning your wedding meal is to imagine a painter’s palette. “It is easy to confuse the palate with too many flavours so think primary colours, hints of secondary colours and possible hints of tertiary. No brown food – bright and vibrant for me!”

The masterclass on sorbets was set in Edinburgh’s Signet Library – in such a setting you know you’re going to be treated to something pretty spectacular.

Robbie challenged this definition of sorbet and showed us that savoury sorbet can pack a punch. What better way to get your guests drooling over your wedding food than surprising them with a zingy sorbet course. And it doesn’t have to be any ordinary sorbet, as Robbie demonstrated.

How about this salted cucumber and fennel sorbet served with pickled vegetables, goats cheese and tomatoes?

Or this feast for the eyes, gazpacho and olive oil sorbet drizzled with green oil, roast fennel, onion seeds and chive flowers.

And here’s a tasty brunch-style sorbet of wild garlic served with soft brie and pumpernickel.

Or, how about apple and Calvados sherbet sorbet and quinoa popcorn? Didn’t we tell you? Not a boring Seventies sorbet in sight.

Having an insight into how a chef creates a dish is always inspiring. We’d love to hear from you if you have any exciting menu options or tales of sorbets. Lets fall in love with sorbets again…

Photographer – 1500 Photography

at Park Circus & Chinatown Restaurant

Glasgow, Scotland

From a traditional proposal to a wedding that celebrated their Chinese heritage, Wan & Ling became husband and wife in a high-energy, fun-filled celebration. Add in a few Western influences, and it was an unforgettable day.

Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
Wan: I definitely thought Ling was beautiful when I first saw her, and as I got to know her more, I fell in love with her more.
Ling: I thought Wan’s hair was not to my taste (too long), and I thought he was quite strange, but as I got to know him, I fell in love with him.
Best compliment on your wedding?
It’s hard to single out one. A lot of people said that they had never been to a wedding like ours before and thought it was an amazing experience. The fact that everyone enjoyed it and we did too, is probably the biggest compliment.
Honeymoon or Mini-Moon?
Honeymoon on a Mediterranean cruise. It was thoroughly enjoyable, waking up to a new city every morning. Eight days of enjoying each other’s company. Not a single argument and lots of good memories.
Close your eyes and think of your wedding day…now – describe it in three words…
One fine day
Why Scotland?
We both love staying in Scotland and have made many friends here. The people here are the friendliest out of everywhere we’ve been and are very kind, generous and thoughtful. The weather could be a little better though!
Favourite thing about being hitched?
Knowing that we will be spending the rest of our lives together.
Ceremony venue – Park Circus
Reception venue – Chinatown Restaurant
Photographer – 1500 Photography
Make-up Artist – Findlay Make Up
Wedding transport – White Diamond Wedding Cars

Table name themes

Looking for a little inspiration on the table name front? You’ve seen lots of things done and fancy something a little different for your wedding day. Here are some ideas to get you started.

You could pick something that tells a little of your story – like films you’ve watched together (or your favourites of all time)

Or, places you’ve visited together – from ski resorts to European cities, or even mountain tops!


Here’s an inspired look for your favourite bands, with the table names made from old records. We love it!

As an alternative, you could choose something that involves your guests participating a bit, like this London Underground map table plan

And finally, following some Scottish tradition, you could pick your favourite (or your guests’ favourite) whiskies

We’re In Love

Here’s what has caught our eye this week

We’re loving the new beauty products from the team at EyeCandy Couture. Recently launched in Harvey Nicks, Miss Flicklash false eyelashes come with an eyeliner flick attached, taking the trauma out of getting ready for a night on the town. EyeCandy Couture is based in Scotland and set up by two sisters – make-up artist Lynne Mills, who is well known on the Scottish wedding scene, and product designer Lucy Ross.

Looking for a twist on the traditional ceilidh? Our inner breaker went all a backspinning when we saw these photos from Parallel57. Gemma and Danny were married at Dalhousie Castle, outside Edinburgh, and entertaining their guests was one of the country’s leading ceilidh bands, Whisky Kiss. They brought along their World Champion Highland dancers (also known as The Highland Hotties) and Scottish Champion B-boys, who fuse traditional steps with toprock to a soundtrack of classic hip hop and underground folk tunes. We love it!

Getting married in Edinburgh? Looking for somewhere uber stylish to get ready on your wedding day? We love beautiful townhouse B&B, One Royal Circus. With its chic modern interior, contemporary artworks and baby grand piano, this is the perfect place for getting a party started.

If you’re loving a bit of fame and glamour then spending some time revelling in the the Scottish Fashion Awards 2012 is a must. Personally, we’re loving Dashing Tweeds (pictured) who scooped the award for Scottish Textile Brand of the Year and William Chambers who claimed the title of Scottish Accessory Designer of the Year.

Photographed by Nicholas Frost Photography

at King’s College Chapel & Norwood Hall Hotel


It was love at first sight through gin-soaked eyes when Rachel and Graham met. A twisted take on antique chic set the tone for a day of unbridled, whirlwind fun.

How was the question popped?
On some rope swings, on a tiny beach, on an island (Pulau Weh) with no roads, in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia where we were scuba diving.
Something new, something borrowed, something blue?
New weddings rings, borrowed extra hairpins from photographer (never to be returned) and blue flower sewn into lining of dress.
Any unexpected moments?
Lighting a unity candle during the ceremony as a blessing, and the minister’s lighter wouldn’t spark up. Thankfully our best man came into his own and produced one from his sporran, apparently for cigars later.
Honeymoon or mini-moon?
Mini-moon to Berlin for a week. Grand trips are the way we normally approach holidays, so a mini city break seemed a good way to mark the occasion – with something different.
Did you embrace or ditch tradition?
We embraced our own interpretation of tradition!
Why Scotland?
Scottish weddings are the best in the world – plus, we live here.
Ceremony venue – King’s College Chapel
Reception venue – Norwood Hall Hotel
Photographer – Nicholas Frost Photography
Bride’s dress – Madeleina by Forget-Me-Not Designs
Accessories – Paloma Headpiece by Halo & Co
Shoes – Irregular Choice
Wedding rings from Finnies the Jeweller
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Jasmine Bridal
Hair Stylist & Make-up Artist – Ishoka
Florist – Nicky Walker
Cake – Celebration Cake Shop
Band – Graham Geddes Band
Wedding transport – Aristocars

An hour or so north of Glasgow lies a romantic hideaway, complete with a treehouse overlooking the loch. With the sound of water lapping and the smell of wood burning, you can imagine how relaxed this intimate wedding was.

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