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Photographed by Soraya Photography

At Achnagairn House


A beautiful Scottish Highland setting was the breathtaking backdrop for a day full of international flavour. Fusing an eclectic mix of Indian, Scottish and Canadian styles, led to a stunning wedding celebration.

How was the question popped?
Between dinner and dessert at our favourite French restaurant, La Chaumiere, in our home city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Paul got down on one knee and we had a full round of applause from our fellow patrons!
Any unexpected moments?
It is an Indian tradition for the bride’s family to steal the shoes of the groom and Jillian’s family and friends took this a bit too seriously. When it was time for Paul to go and pick up the marriage schedule from the registrar on the morning of the wedding, he nearly had to go barefoot! Luckily, he found his trainers at the last minute, the only pair to go unnoticed.
Best compliment on your wedding?
Many of our guests said it was the best wedding they had ever attended, which was quite touching. Having exclusive use of Achnagairn House meant that the majority of our guests were onsite for the night before and after the wedding so there was an intimate home and family feeling to the whole event. We also didn’t need to travel between venues for the ceremonies and reception, which saved a lot of time, stress and energy for everyone. Put that together with incredible food, homemade wedding cakes and an open bar, and you have a lot of happy guests!
Honeymoon or Mini-Moon?
Mini-moon! We spent a few lovely days relaxing at the Dornoch Castle Hotel before flying home to Canada where Paul was set to start medical school.
Why Scotland?
We were living on two continents throughout our engagement – Paul in Australia, and Jillian at home in Canada. Neither of those places made sense to us as our family and friends are also quite scattered. We decided on Scotland because we both have very fond memories of visiting and the majority of Paul’s family lives in the UK. It was the perfect choice; we even had a warm, sunny day!
Favourite thing about being hitched?
Finally living together on the same continent and sharing in the ups and downs of everyday life together.
Venue – Achnagairn House
Photographer – Soraya Photography
Hair Stylist – Louise Chrystal
Make-up Artist – Hailey D. Campbell
Florist – Stephen Seedhouse Flowers
Caterer – Good Highland Food
DJ – Entertainment Experience
Piper – Pipe Major John MacDonald
Wedding Planning Services – Timeless White Wedding and Celebration Planning

  • Angela - July 22, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    What a beautiful wedding, looked like heaps of fun.ReplyCancel

Wedding gift ideas

Looking for something that little bit different for a wedding present? Here are some inspired and original wedding gifts.

How about this personalised artwork of your friend or sister’s wedding dress. Even more special perhaps if you’re a bridesmaid and you helped choose the dress. Megan Alexander will create your bespoke bridal illustration.

What better gift for a whisky lover than their own bespoke bottle of the golden nectar? Run by a team of whisky enthusiasts, Whisky Blender allows you to create a unique bottle of blended Scotch whisky. And you even get to name it too.

Or you could find the co-ordinates of a special place for the bride and groom – their house, or the place where they wed. You can find them at Not on The High Street.

If the couple love being outdoors and participating in adventure sports, then how about a Nae Limits gift voucher? Based in Perthshire, they offer a range of activities including white water rafting, bungee jumping and sphering. The perfect adrenalin-filled antidote to post-wedding blues.

We’re In Love

Here’s what has caught our eye this week

Fancy picking up some swing steps in time for your wedding? Then head along to Edinburgh’s Grassmarket this Sunday, where The Big Tea Dance – a 1940s-themed open air dance with a live swing band is taking place. Friendly teachers will guide absolute beginners through some moves with their famous “Fifteen-Minute Foxtrot” and then set you loose on the dance floor to join more experienced dancers. The event is also aiming to beat the current world record, set in Glasgow, where 304 couples took part.

If you’re in need of some beauty TLC, then the new Party Prep Package from Zen Lifestyle could be for you. They are offering an eyelash tint, HD Brows, an Express Shellac Manicure + a glass of Prosecco for £65 (a saving of £19 on the regular price).

If your thoughts have turned to music for your wedding ceremony, and you would like something a little different, then check out Scottish singer-songwriter and acoustic fingerstyle guitarist, Simon Kempston. He composes and performs original and contemporary acoustic music, steeped in the traditions of folk, celtic and blues music. As well as performing at folk/blues clubs and festivals in Scotland, the UK and increasingly across Europe, Simon has also put in spine-tingling performances at recent Scottish weddings.
And finally, we love these little heart chalkboard picks from Cox and Cox – perfect for decorating any rustic country wedding. And the matching clips are great for place names too. They’re currently on sale, so get in there quick.

Photographed by Elemental Weddings

Inchcolm Abbey & Prestonfield House

Edinburgh, Scotland

A day that began with a magical mystery tour to a rugged Scottish island off The Forth and ended with a spectacular party in a stable – here Indian and Scottish tradition met, blended together, creating swoon-worthy style, effortless elegance and a whole lot of fun.

Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
We first met while working in Cambridge in 2006. I had to ask Sheila out four times before she said yes! Now that’s what you call persistance! Turns out she was studying for exams, so thats why she turned me down before – but i suspect she was just weighing up her options…
How was the question popped?
While on holiday to Mexico, in summer 2010. We spent an amazing day swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Cancun, before he proposed after dinner back at the hotel
Any unexpected moments?
For the guests…
We kept the location and exact details of the day a secret from all but the wedding party. We simply asked them to turn up (on time) outside Prestonfield. The transport by London Bus to South Queensferry, and the ferry corssing with the Island ceremony was a lovely surprise for most guests (except for the few who suffered from sea sickness)!
And after a quick change of outfit we entered the evening reception to ‘Eye of the tiger’ (more of a surprise to the guests than us obviously)!
Best compliment on your wedding?
“is there any champagne left in Edinburgh?”
“most fun wedding we’ve ever been to”
“amazing food, loved the dessert table!”
Did you embrace or ditch tradition?
We wanted to combine our traditional Indian herritage with our upbringing in the UK. In order to combine these into one day, we settled on a Humanist ceromony that allowed us to get married in a unique location and allowed us to write our own vows
Why Scotland?
Sheila’s family live in Kirkcaldy and she went to University in Aberdeen, before working in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. We later returned to Scotland togeather to work in Glasgow, and with family and friends in Scotland – it will always be a special place for us. We try to visit whenever we can. Hopefully in the future we can settle back here
Favourite thing about being hitched?
Being able to grow old together
Ceremony venue – Incholm Abbey, Incholm Island
Reception venue – Prestonfield House
Photographer – Elemental Weddings
Wedding Film – Creative Wedding Films
Bride’s evening dress – Justin Alexander
Shoes – John Lewis
Make-up Artist Eye Candy & Make-up Artist – Edinburgh Bridal Hair
Florist – Planet Flowers
Cake – Truly Scrumptious
Band – Callanish Music
Wedding transport – Waterside Weddings

Photographed by Archibald Photography

Holy Family & St Ninian, Kirkintilloch & 29 Royal Exchange Square

Glasgow, Scotland

From the top of the Empire State Building to the heart of Glasgow’s city centre, this is a love story bursting with romance. Think city-chic meets timeless elegance, throw in a good dose of Champagne and lots of laughs, and you have one rocking wedding celebration.


Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
We met on a night out in the West End, in Òran Mór, got together properly the following summer and have been inseparable ever since.
How was the question popped?
Ray took me to New York at Christmas time in 2009. He surprised me with the most beautiful ring, down on one knee at the top of the Empire State Building. We celebrated with champagne at The Plaza and dinner at Robert DeNiro’s restaurant in Tribeca.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?
Not really – my maid of honour did buy me a silver penny with a blue ribbon, but I think in the excitement of getting ready I forgot it!
Best compliment on your wedding?
‘Best wedding ever’, was said a lot! It truly was the perfect day!
Did you embrace or ditch tradition?
We kept a lot of traditions but decided not to have a cake – spending more on Champagne was more important to us! We also had quite different speeches as both my bridesmaid and I spoke.
Favourite thing about being hitched?
We have so much fun together- he truly is my best friend. It’s lovely to think of all the exciting times ahead and knowing that we will experience them together.
Ceremony venue – Holy Family and St Ninian’s Chapel, Kirkintilloch
Reception venue – 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow
Photographer – Archibald Photography
Bride’s dress – Ali by Augusta Jones at The Bridal Rooms, House of Fraser
Accessories – Headpiece by Jenny Packham
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Coast
Hair Stylist – Avril Haffron
Groom’s Outfit Supplier – Slaters
Band – Dead Man’s Shoes
Wedding transport – Waterside Weddings

Mini-Moons in Scotland

It might be that you’re planning a destination wedding in Scotland and would love a few days afterwards to explore this rather special country. Or maybe you’re honeymooning a few months after your wedding and fancy a mini-moon to kick-start your first few days as Mr and Mrs. Needing some inspiration – then cast your eye over these little gems.

Nothing could be more romantic than following a track through a tunnel, to a hidden harbour and The Blue Cabin by The Sea in Cove Harbour, Berwickshire. It’s as though it stepped out of a novel.

Or if fantastic food at your fingertips is top priority then The Torridon, nestled in between the Torridon mountains, in the Western Highlands of Scotland could be the perfect place to mini-moon. And if you’re craving even more seclusion then the Boat House is tranquility itself.

If you’re a foodie at heart then you’ll also want to know about Monachyle Mhor – a family-run hotel hidden along a loch-side road, north of Callendar. With home-made scones for breakfast and other such delights, you probably won’t want to leave.

For those of you looking for something completely different, how about hiring your own campervan and exploring Scotland that little bit more. Wilderness Campers have lots of great ideas for your Scottish adventure.

These are some of our finds, but we know there will be lots more. We would love to hear your top tips for mini-moons in Scotland…

Photographed by Blue Sky Photography

at St Margaret’s Church, Dunfermline & Hopetoun House

South Queensferry-Scotland

From their first meeting across a sticky dance floor to their backstage at Glastonbury mini-moon, music has played a defining role in Julie & Ben’s relationship. Their stylish wedding day was full of musical touches – from The Beatles to Brazilian beats mixed with bagpipes, culminating in a caipirinha fuelled after-show party that went on into the very small hours.


Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
Love at first sight, across a sticky dance floor, in the not so glamarous late night drinking den of Manchester’s Press Club, after sharing a can of warm Red Stripe! I can’t help but smile when I hear the Rihanna song, ‘We found love in a hopeless place….’ This is that place!
How was the question popped?
On the 7th January 2010, on one knee in the shallow waters of the very romantic Raleigh Bay, Krabi, Thailand. We shared a warm Thai beer after!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?
A vintage Beetle bug, on a blue ribbon, that once opened showed a miniature fab four – The Beatles! This covered something old, blue and new. My sister found this on eBay and it really is amazing and special to me now. I was to have my sister’s garter as my something borrowed but she couldnt find it! Just as well Im not superstitious. I borrowed a lip gloss instead.
Any unexpected moments?
Probably the most unexpected happened 9 months after the wedding, when Martha was born into this world!
Did you embrace or ditch tradition?
A bit of both. It was more traditional than we ever thought it would be, but with our own take on things – a Brazilian-bagpipe fusion band instead of a string quartet, mojitos and caiprinhas in a post meal cocktail hour, but with plenty of Champagne in between. And we had a big cheese wheel, as well as a traditional cake.
Our initial invite, a 14 track CD of songs, in the style of The Beatles’ White Album (with inserts for info), broke with tradition, but then we had a traditional church service.
It’s hard to ditch tradition as people enjoy it. I didnt want to do a first dance simply because picking a song for that was the hardest decsion in the end, but you disappoint people if you don’t. I just added some one-armed press ups and a hip hop dance off later on! We threw in glow sticks later too. Tradition is great but it is also good to add in fun elements, that reflect you and your likes as a couple.
Our wedding flowers were one area where we didn’t follow a usual traditional style. Planet Flowers came up with a unique take on table design, with upside down orchids being hung off the table decoration. Amazing! We also had vinyl table plan and table names, incorporating bands from The Stone Roses to Take That and Primal Scream.
Close your eyes and think of your wedding day – now describe it in three words…
Decadent, debauched, dreamlike (and dreich, but that never stopped the party!)
Ceremony venue – St Margaret’s Church, Dunfermline
Reception venue – Hopetoun House
Photographer – Blue Sky Photography
Wedding dress – Vera Wang
Accessories – Bird cage veil from Flo and Percy; Pearl bow cuff from The White Closet
Shoes – House of Harlow at My Wardrobe
Groom’s outfit – Bespoke dinner suit by Richard Smith; Shoes by Jeffery West; Cufflinks, pants and socks by Paul Smith.
Bridesmaids’ dresses – Project D at Harvey Nichols; Younger bridesmaid – Coast
Florist – Planet Flowers
Stationery – CD invite, Vinyl table plans and vinyl table names by Weddings Vintage
Band – Franco (Evening), Macumba (Brazillian beats with bagpipes – Drinks reception)
Catering – Heritage Portfolio
Wedding transport – Ecosse Classic Wedding Cars
Wedding filmmaker – Kissing Gate Films

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