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A destination wedding in a 13th century chapel in Scotland

Travelling all the way from South Pasadena, California, these two love birds celebrated their connection to each other, and to Scotland, in an intimate ceremony in a 13th century chapel.

How did you two meet?

I was teaching in a high school and he came to my class as a substitute, so naturally, we didn’t meet for a while. I kept calling him back because my students really liked him.

When we finally met, I learned that he was already married, so we became good friends. Then I remarried. He came to the wedding. I know, kinda weird, but it is part of our story, right? Then he got divorced. Then I got divorced. Through all this time, we remained good friends.

One day, when we were both on campus, it was just like a movie – he was walking towards me, outdoors, on a beautiful day. Then, “Oh, hi!”. I was thinking, “OHHHHH, HIIIIII”. We started dating after that, and haven’t really been apart since then.

What inspired your wedding plans?

When we visited Scotland in 2014, neither one of us was planning to get married again. We were there to fulfill my late brother’s last wishes to have his ashes scattered at the kirk at Old Struan, where my ancestors are from.

On the way there, we stayed at the Old Churches House Inn. When we were leaving, the woman at the desk wanted to show us something… it was the 13th century barrel chapel in the back of the property, that was being used for storage. We couldn’t forget about it when we returned to Los Angeles.

When we finally decided to get married, there really wasn’t any other place we considered. We are an older couple, and wanted a small ceremony. It all came together so beautifully. We thought we would only have our dear friends from Belfast in attendance, but people just kept saying, “I’m coming, too”. We also thought it would be a good time for my siblings to be able to visit the chapel at Old Struan where we had the ceremony for our brother. It was beautiful – and COLD in January.

Tell us about your venue…

Overlooking the iconic Dunblane cathedral, Old Churches House is a charming and intimate nine-bedroom hotel in Dunblane. It is formerly a Scottish Churches House and home to Scotland’s secret chapel, carefully restored, that retains much of its original charm while creating a wonderful combination of cuisine and comfort. Dunblane is about five miles from Stirling, and about an hour from Edinburgh.

We love your outfits! Tell us more…

I wore a full, flowy skirt and a lace tank top in ivory. I did not want a traditional dress, since this was not my first wedding. I loved the dress, which was from a shop in South Pasadena. I also ordered a Robertson plaid, and I lined it with ivory fleece for additional warmth.

Taggart wore a nice suit from Macy’s in Pasadena, California. We bought a fantastic waistcoat in Edinburgh before the wedding because we traveled in and around the UK for about three weeks prior to the wedding, and the waistcoat he brought was a little snug!

How did you choose your photographer?

My husband is a commercial photographer, so I left the selection to him. Ashley’s approach was to take photos that were a little more candid and less posed, which we liked. We felt that his photos really captured the day and how we felt about each other and the people who came from the UK and the States to be with us on our special day. He was also willing to drive with us from Dunblane to Old Struan to take photos of us at that location. It was so special for my family that was not able to travel with us.

Were there any challenges along the way?

We both had terrible colds, however, there was no way that was going to prevent us from having a wonderful time.

Tell us more about your flowers…

I would have loved to have a florist, but struggled to source flowers during the week between Christmas and New Years. So, I had some beautiful dried flowers, which my wedding planner Helen Davies put together. She did an amazing job, especially since we were planning from Los Angeles. I could not have pulled all this off without her.

Did you manage to stick to your budget?

No. Hahahaha. An international wedding is bound to go over budget, but we really didn’t care.

Old Chruches House Dunblane exterior brick wall bride groom portrait photography modern white tees bakery wedding cake mr & mrs succulent cake topper Old Chruches House interior wedding table styling purple white

Any advice?

Flexible thinking is good, especially when there are a lot of different needs and different personalities. We were all able to spend time together either traveling, or sharing a meal. I didn’t overthink anything. We made general plans and invited whomever wanted to participate. There was no pressure to try to please everyone all at the same time.

Honeymoon or minimoon?

Our honeymoon happened before the actual wedding. We are both in education, and had three weeks vacation. We left a few days before the end of the fall semester and traveled in the UK before the wedding.

Our guests arrived at different times depending on their schedules, so we were able to travel/spend time with them all separately before the wedding. We spent a few days before the wedding with everyone in Edinburgh, and again after the wedding. we were also able to spend a couple of days in Edinburgh before coming home. We especially loved Hogmanay under the castle and the Christmas market.

What’s the one moment you will always remember?

That day was a complete love-fest for us. The people that attended all loved each other too. Even though most of them had never met before. It made the day so special to see the people we love all together for us.

Why did you get married in Scotland?

We both love Scotland, and felt a connection to places there that we never felt in California. We especially felt connected to one another in a way that was really special. That feeling of connectedness has remained, and our memories of our time there are still bright. We can’t wait to return, and have talked about relocating to the UK, so we can visit more often.

Old Struan bridge bride groom portrait photography ivory fleece lined Robertson plaid shawl blue suit Old Struan bridge bride groom portrait photography

So much love in these photos. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day with us Tracy & Taggart! x


VenueOld Churches House
PhotographerAshley Coombes
Wedding PlannerHelen Davies 
Cake Tees Bakery