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An intimate vintage-style Fife wedding

Today we’re heading to the Kingdom of Fife for a summer wedding that is full of our favourite things. Laura and Daniel tied the knot in an outdoor Humanist ceremony in the Walled Garden at Cambo and then travelled to St Andrews, where they dined on locally sourced produce at Forgan’s and danced the night away.

From the Anstruther fish & chips (we’re also fans – they’re so worth queuing for!) to the specially sourced full sugar Irn Bru (we like your style Laura & Daniel), their day celebrated their love for not just each other, but Scotland. So much to inspire here…

How did you two meet?

Daniel and I met online back in late 2007, before meeting face to face in February 2008. We liked each other instantly, and were in a long distance relationship while I finished university in North Wales and then when I moved back to Scotland afterwards, until I moved down to Hertfordshire to be with him in 2009.

Daniel proposed in December 2013 near the West Sands beach in St Andrews (it would have been on the beach, but the weather was so foul I had suggested we turn back before we were blown out to sea!). We were engaged for 4 1/2 years, having started the planning quite soon after, but putting it all aside when we bought a house that needed a lot of work doing to it.

After close members of our family had some health scares, we realised it was important to us to have the people closest to us there to celebrate our marriage with us. Neither of us particularly likes to be the centre of attention, so we always knew it would be a small wedding with not too many guests.

What inspired your day?

We wanted our wedding to reflect us as a couple, for everything about the day to have a meaning (whether it was obvious to guests or not) and we wanted to show everyone how much we love Scotland, particularly this little corner of Scotland where I was lucky enough to grow up. Showcasing Scotland without being too cheesy was really important as many of our guests had never been before. It was absolutely brilliant bumping into them in town the next day and having them ask us to remind them where to go to get the best ice cream, or saying they’d just been for a walk on one of St Andrews’ three beautiful beaches.

We wanted to introduce people to as many local things as possible, so we served Eden Mill beers at the drinks reception, along with the best fish and chips in the world from the Anstruther Fish Bar, and fudge doughnuts from local bakery Fisher and Donaldson. Over at Forgan’s, we had been so taken by the amount of locally sourced produce they use, and the quality of the food was absolutely outstanding, with many of our guests saying it was the best they’ve ever had at a wedding!

Having a Humanist wedding was important to us, too, and Dorothy our celebrant was absolutely fantastic. She helped us create this incredibly personal ceremony – which ended up being a lot more emotional than I was expecting, and drew so many positive comments from our friends and family. We incorporated handfasting and drinking from the quaich to bring in some traditional Scottish wedding customs, and Daniel’s Mum very kindly read ‘With These Rings’ by Janet Paisley.

On the 11th anniversary of the first day we met, we made each other’s wedding rings with the wonderful Rosalyn’s Emporium in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. This felt like a really symbolic act before we gained a new anniversary date, and it feels even more special to us wearing our rings now, as we made them for each other.

For our wedding favours, we gave every guest a goody bag with some Edinburgh rock and a can of original recipe (full sugar!) Irn Bru, now a bit of a precious commodity that can only be sourced on Ebay! We fed our guests fish and chips from the famour Anstruther Fish Bar and delicious mini fudge doughnuts from Fisher & Donaldson after the ceremony at Cambo – both were exceptional! We also served beers from Eden Mill along with Prosecco there, too.

A wonderful family friend, Jackie, made our cake – it was delicious too! I made the toppers myself from Prosecco corks. We created our stationery ourselves as it turns out Daniel is a dabhand with Photoshop! We used printed.com to print everything.

Tell us about your venues…

We love Scotland! Strictly speaking, it isn’t where we fell in love (although, it is where we first told each other we loved each other, and where we got engaged), but it is really special to us. My family home is still in Fife and so we still visit 2-3 times a year, and Daniel used to visit much more frequently when I still lived there. There was never really any discussion about getting married anywhere but North East Fife, some people pick a place they have no particular connection to to get married and that works for them, but it wouldn’t have worked for us. We also really liked that we could have a Humanist wedding and it be a recognised and legal ceremony – this is not possible in England.

We were quite keen to avoid any stereotypical ‘wedding spaces’, early planning trips had taken us to hotels, but whilst the function rooms they had were beautiful, they weren’t very ‘us’ and we wanted something a bit different. We knew it would be a small wedding, too, and we didn’t want to feel like a space swamped our numbers. We actually booked Forgan’s first, we spotted it online whilst planning and fell in love with the styling in the space immediately, and loved it in real life! We could have had the entire day there, which I’m sure would have been great, but, most of our guests hadn’t been to Scotland before, and we wanted to offer them the chance to see a tiny bit of Scotland. Our favourite song (our first dance song!) is Postcards From Italy by Beirut. There is a line that says ‘And I will love to see that day, that day is mine, when she will marry me outside with the willow trees’.

When we went back to Scotland to find a ceremony venue we went to visit Cambo, and Frances, the owner, showed us the beautiful walled garden and pointed out a beautiful big willow tree. From that moment we were sold! There then followed almost a whole year of keeping our fingers crossed that it would be dry so we could get married outside. Both the Walled Garden and Cambo as a whole spoke for themselves in terms of how they looked, perfect for us as we live in Hertfordshire so were planning from afar, we knew a ‘blank canvas’ venue would mean a lot of work in decorating. We did hire a few lovely items from Elaine at Just Vintage Hire for both spaces, which really added an extra special touch.

It felt like our florist, Amy got what we wanted from our flowers immediately, which is no mean feat as we just mumbled various words and phrases at her like ‘rustic, woodland, wild-looking’. The only flowers/foliage we were really set on were seaholly and eucalyptus, otherwise we were open to whatever she thought worked best. She did an amazing job! Our flowers were beautiful, they complemented the Walled Garden perfectly and our table pieces in Forgan’s (empty gin bottles from the local Eden Mill distillery which Amy filled for us, along with lavendar and foliage around our cake) were fantastic.

We love your dress! Tell us more…

I had a morbid fear of traditional bridal boutiques. I’m sure its unfair and unfounded, but the idea of being shoe-horned into a sample size dress and trying to understand how it would fit my ample frame just terrified me. The cost also terrified me, as I was hoping to wear silk but didn’t think I could afford it. After a lifetime of hangups about my body I needed the most body-positive experience possible. I also love vintage-style dresses. Any time I get dressed up I look to that classic 50s style shape and it’s what I feel most comfortable in. After lots of googling, I stumbled upon Dig For Victory, a lovely shop in Brighton that make their vintage-style dresses with beautiful fabrics (many of which are vintage fabrics). They don’t just make wedding dresses, and you can customise your dress based on all the details like bodice, neckline, sleeve length, etc. Their wedding dresses are so reasonably priced, most of them made with beautiful dupion silk (or, indeed, any fabric you’d like. You can even source your own if you want!). I saw one online that I really liked the look of, but all of them looked beautiful.

I first went to try on dresses there with my maid of honour in January 2018 and my experince couldn’t have been better, so much so that I didn’t look anywhere else. Eleanor, the owner of Dig For Victory, keeps a variety of sizes in stock and was completely body positive. The first dress I tried on was, more or less, the one I had fallen in love with online and it was love at first sight! The others were beautiful, but the first dress was the one for me. I opted for a dress custom-made to my measurements (although the off the peg dress did fit extremely well) which only cost a very small amount more, and I picked a lace with a smaller detail on it than the one I had tried as I felt it would suit me better. Going back to try on my dress was extremely exciting, and the minute I put it on I felt really comfortable, but also exactly like I hoped I would.

I took Eleanor a piece of silk that had belonged to my beloved late grandmother – I liberated it from her ‘craft stash’ many years ago, and after she passed away I had no idea what to do with it, as it suddenly became even more special and precious to me. I asked her what we could do with it, as incorporating it into my wedding outfit seemed like the right thing to do. Eleanor suggested using it to make a fascinator, which worked perfectly.

I wanted to incorporate tartan into my outfit without it looking tacky. I opted for tartan shoes, which I had custom made through Solely Original, using MacCallum Modern. With a little of the leftover tartan, Eleanor made a bow for the fascinator, and it looked absolutely perfect. I figured I would end up taking off the fascinator at some point during the day, but I never did!

My underwear was from Pip and Pantalaimon, another lovely small business I found after endless google searches. Finding ‘bridal underwear’, particularly in a vintage style, when you are large chested and not in need of a strapless or multi-way bra proved extremely hard indeed, until I found them. They make wonderful retro-inspired underwear and lingerie and wearing it helped me feel even more vintage!

I don’t wear much jewellery, and I wanted to look really classic, so I opted for pearl studs and a small, simple ‘floating’ pearl necklace, along with my fascinator. I bought both from Ebay for bargain prices! I carried a beautiful bronze leather handbag which is vintage, and was given to me by a an elderly friend of the family many years ago. She had used the same handbag on her wedding day, and that made it feel so special and treasured.

The bridesmaid dresses were also from Dig for Victory, I sourced the fabric for my maid of honour (purple) and Dig For Victory had the navy and green in their fabric stock.

We also love Daniel’s suit!

Daniel took me suit shopping on his first trip out, because he valued my opinion which was rather nice! He was looking for either a navy blue suit or a tweed suit, and ended up with neither of those things!

Our first stop was Thomas Farthing in London which he’d looked at online. He tried on some lovely Harris Tweed suits, but they would have been too thick and warm for our wedding day, even though you can’t always rely on Scottish weather! We were just leaving the shop to go to our next place when we spotted a really cool suit on a mannequin by the door that we hadn’t seen in the shop. It turned out it was the sample of the Glendale, which wasn’t in stock yet. Adam, the designer and owner of Thomas Farthing, explained that the Glendale suit was from his upcoming Hollywood Collection, based on 1930s patterns. Daniel tried on the jacket and waistcoat (it was some kind of fate that the sample was in his size) and he looked so cool! He’s never really embraced vintage-style clothing like I have, so this came as a total surprise.

We went off to the next shop and tried on a beautiful navy suit, which looked great on him, but we were both a bit pre-occupied with the first suit. We went back to see if he could try it on again and it turned out the sample trousers were also his size, which felt even more like fate. I took a particularly bad and blurry picture of Daniel in the suit and he looked so comfortable and happy – and seriously cool! He later went back with his best man and usher to try on both suits again for their opinion, and returned home later that day with his Glendale suit and a big smile on his face.

He finds it hard to get a shirt to fit, so went to a local tailor in Watford for a custom made shirt with a collar that fit in well with his 30s era suit. He wore the Tiffany cufflinks I’d given him for his 30th birthday, a tie and pocket square in MacCallum modern tartan, and shoes and belt from Jeffrey-West. I gave him a pocket watch on the day of our wedding to help him finish the look.

Your photos are gorgeous!

Karen was absolutely brilliant! Neither of us is comfortable in front of a camera, we don’t feel like we’re photogenic people and we usually just cringe when we see photos of ourselves. This doesn’t bode well for our own wedding, does it?!

We opted for an ‘engagement shoot’ earlier in the year, which was so helpful for us to get used to having a camera around. On the wedding day, Karen and the second photographer, Lynne, were absolutely fantastic. We wanted only minimal posed photos (let’s face it, its really boring for the guests and it means lots of waiting around when there is celebrating to do!) and the rest to be documentary-style. We were keen that they captured some of the little details of the day, too, to help jog our memories when we look back in years to come.

I saved all my favourite photos to my phone (over 100 of them, it was too hard to narrow it down any further than that, she captured absolutely loads) and I’ve looked at them every day since we got the photos. We look as happy as we felt in the photos, the Walled Garden and Forgan’s look every bit as amazing in the photos as we remember that they looked on the day. Karen was always responsive to our e-mails and was very patient whilst we asked a million questions. We’d recommend her to anyone, we’re so grateful to her!

What was your first dance song?

It was ‘Postcards from Italy’ by Beirut. When we first met we bonded over music, and the Beirut album Gulag Orkestar was one of our early favourites. I mentioned already about the line about being married outside with the willlow trees which helped tie our whole wedding together, although this would always have been our first dance song as we love it!

We then played The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ because, well, we couldn’t not! Then Skyrie took our guests through various ceilidh dances. They were brilliant. We had seen them play at a ceilidh night at Forgan’s and had a wonderful time, so we knew they would help everyone learn the steps and keep things going. Everyone who joined in with the ceilidh had a great time!

After that, we played a Spotify playlist of some of my favourite dancefloor tunes to help people throw shapes late into the night. Daniel is a big fan of Tom Waits so we put ‘Come On Up To The House’ as our last song, which we ended up dancing to on our own to end the night – perfect!

Prior to the ceremony and during our drinks and fish and chip reception at Cambo, we played music exclusively by Scottish artists. We put a song request card in our wedding invitations and asked people to tell us their favourite song by a Scottish artist. This gave us a brilliant starter for the playlists and we had a brilliant, eclectic mix. During our meal, we played various jazz, big band and swing tunes, which everyone said fitted in beautifully.

We hired an awesome photobooth made from recycled whisky barrels which our guests loved, and Ryan from Oddbox is probably the nicest, friendliest person on the planet!

Honeymoon or mini-moon?

Two days after the wedding we set off on a whistle-stop tour around a few parts of Scotland. We started at Loch Ness, before heading over to Lewis and Harris, over to Skye and then Loch Lomond. We ate incredible food, visited some brilliant distilleries, bought lots of Harris tweed, spotted dolphins swimming alongside us on not one but two ferry journeys, visited beaches that were so beautiful you had to pinch yourself to be sure you weren’t dreaming, and were generally utterly wowed by the scenery and the people. The weather was remarkably kind to us, as well!

We mostly stayed in AirBnBs, and that gave us the chance to meet some lovely people. Its whetted our appetites for more adventures around Scotland. If there ever is a role going as ambassadors for Scotland, I think we’d really like to apply!

Any advice?


I’ll be brutally honest, I hated wedding planning with a passion. I’m so grateful that Daniel was really involved in it (which, given the number of comments people made to him about how he didn’t have to do anything, feels like it bucked some sort of stereotype!).

However, it was absolutely worth every minute of agonising over our spreadsheets and working out timings and fussing over finer details. Maybe it’s really common to not enjoy the planning, it felt very unpalatable when I told people that when they asked how it was all coming along, but hating the planning does not mean you’ll hate the day. We loved our wedding day, and we wouldn’t change a thing.

I’d also say: don’t worry about what tradition dictates, or what you think you should do to please other people. Choose what you want to do based on what will make you happy – that’ll make your day the best day possible!

We love hearing about body positive wedding dress shopping experiences – that’s exactly how it should be (but sadly isn’t always)! And it shows in these photos – Laura looks amazing, and so confident, in her dress. Thank you for sharing your story and incredible day with us Laura & Daniel. x

Suppliers

Venues – The Walled Garden at Cambo, Kingsbarns & Forgan’s St Andrews
CelebrantDorothy Nowak, Humanist Society of Scotland
PhotographerKaren Jackson
FloristAmy Annand
Hair stylist – Kirstie Cornwall, Lady Jane Hair & Beauty
Make-up artistSlap by Steph Devlin MUA
Wedding dress & bridesmaid dressesDig For Victory
ShoesSolely Original
Groom’s outfit – Suit from Thomas Farthing, shirt from Sartorial Rebels, Watford, shoes and belt from Jeffery-West
MusiciansSkyrie
Additional suppliersView From The Slow Lane, Moffat & Williamson, Anstruther Fish Bar, Fishers & Donaldson, Eden Mill, Oddbox Photo Booth, Just Vintage Hire, Rosalyn’s Emporium, Pip and Pantalaimon