A black and white wedding in Scotland

25 Jul 2022

Covid did little to put a dampener on Gemma Connelly and Anthony Kerr's wedding day, which welcomed more than 100 guests in total

How did you meet?

We met on my first day at my new school in Rothesay, Isle of Bute. It was the first class I attended and he waited for me at the end of class and helped me find my way to P.E. We had previously met at a party months before, but only had a brief interaction.

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Tell us about the proposal.

Anthony surprised me on my birthday, I came home and he had 'Happy Birthday' balloons set up in the living room with my gifts and a cake he surprised me with. I thought that was it, and I was over the moon, and then I went into the kitchen and he had large individual letter 'Will you Marry Me?' balloons all tied up with roses and candles everywhere.

It was so unexpected, and the effort he had put in made me all emotional. Anthony had bought my ring long before and was waiting for the perfect moment. He picked my ring all by himself and he bought it from the Argyle Arcade, where my dad had bought my mum's ring 38 years ago. Anthony knew exactly what he was looking for from all my years of hints and got it perfect.

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How was your wedding affected by Covid-19?

We held our wedding in March 2022, however I was very anxious because of the rise in Covid cases in December 2021. The announcement was made by Nicola Sturgeon that stated weddings would go ahead as normal, which gave us some relief.

I do feel, however, that the lead up was more stressful than a traditional wedding, as we had lots of family and close friends catch Covid at my home hen party in February 2021. We also had last minute cancellations, changes and people pulling out on the day due to Covid and after our wedding, over 20 people caught it. 

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

I was going for a very elegant and classic day with lots of white, and I always wanted a black and white themed wedding. The bridesmaids wore black, my dress was pure white, all of the flowers were white and the groom and groomsmen wore black and white suits.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?

I chose Boclair House in Glasgow because it reminded me of a mini Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute, where we met. We had worked as teenagers at Mount Stuart and worked at its many wedding events together.

I found the venue so striking when I viewed it online that I knew immediately it was what I wanted. I booked the venue without ever seeing it or even driving past, and we never went anywhere near it until restrictions were lifted and we could visit for the first time.

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How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

I knew the shops I wanted to visit and they were Eleganza, Bijoux and Opus Couture. We visited Opus first and I filled out the initial consultation form with lots of tight, fitted dresses – nothing A-line or big. I always knew I wanted a long-sleeved dress, as I loved Kate Middleton's and Kim Kardashian's dresses and wanted something similar.

However, when I arrived in the shop the lady who helped me said she had a brand-new dress in and she would love it if I tried it. She stated it was not tight fitted and wasn’t like what I had pre-selected, but she saw me and thought it would be lovely on me. I was so hesitant as I really didn’t like it or want to try it, but my mum said there would be no harm.

I tried the dress and fell completely in love with it. When people say you know when you’ve found the one, I know exactly what they mean now. I 100% knew that was my dress. I tried on about six others and I just couldn’t see past that dress; I loved it that much. My dress was also by the Spanish designer, Pronovias, and it was long sleeved, which is what I always wanted. It was perfect.

What did the mother of the bride wear? 

My mum, Hilda, wore a Ronald Joyce dress, which was pink with a matching fascinator.

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Where did you find your suits?

The groom and groomsmen's suits were all from Slater Menswear in Glasgow.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

I had the ceremony set up with white sling-back chairs, mirrored pedestals with flower balls and large vases on top, scattered petals, aisle flower runners down each side and a trio of candles with an ivory runner all down the aisle. The backdrop had a lovely curtained flower wall with a 'Mr and Mrs' light-up sign in the corner. We had white flowers all down the staircase and a mirrored welcome sign with white flowers around it. The tables had the same flower arrangements, with the flower wall extended and put behind the top table.

Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day 

All of the tables were named after places of significance to us in Rothesay, Isle of Bute (for example, Craigmore, where we had our first kiss). The top table had an LED sign I had made and sent from America that read 'Isle of Bute'. The favours were miniature vodka bottles and little sticks of mint and strawberry Rothesay Rock. Each individual guest also had a heart-shaped cookie with their name stamped on the icing as opposed to a place card.

In the evening, we had a white LED dance floor and a photo booth.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

I felt amazing, Anthony was so emotional. It was so nice to see so many people together after Covid. It was such a lovely experience to get to walk down the aisle with my dad, who made me feel so at ease. It was my most memorable moment.

My dad always makes me laugh and was amazing for calming my nerves before we went in. My dad also chose my entrance song and it was just so perfect. I could see how nervous Anthony was and how happy he was; it was written all over his face.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We had a candle lighting right at the start with both our mums, which was a lovely touch. We also had a humanist wedding and it made everything personal to us, as it told our whole story from the start right up until that very day. We weren’t shy to include funny stories. Our celebrant also asked us to privately tell him three things we loved and one thing that drove us crazy about each other and, on our wedding, it was the first time we got to hear our answers, which was special.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

I found choosing our photographer and videographer incredibly challenging. I was so picky and I contacted so many people. I looked at countless individuals' work and spent hours on end looking through Facebook and different sites before I was able to choose.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

I chose I Get To Love You by Ruelle because I felt like the lyrics are really special and sum us and our day up perfectly.

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

We had a DJ in the evening, who was fantastic. We are a fan of all the old classic dance music so our floor was full most of the night.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

I drew inspiration for the wedding cake from Olivia and Alex Bowen from Love Island. I saw their cake a few years ago before I was even planning mine and totally fell in love with it. I also always wanted a cake topper with the bride pulling the groom ever since I saw it in a shop window in Cambuslang when I was a little girl. I now have two dogs and wanted them to be a part of my cake, so I had my dog Charlie at the top with me dragging Anthony, and my other dog Monty down the bottom with cake on his nose.

The cake was six tiers high and made up of lemon drizzle, chocolate, red velvet and fruit cake. 

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If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

I would liked to have spent a little more time with my guests prior to dinner when the pictures were being taken.

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Did anything go wrong on the day?

My dad is very old school and didn't use a sat nav when he was following us to the venue from my house with my wedding dress in the back of the car. We lost him on the motorway, which was 20 minutes of panic, but we eventually found him. However, when we arrived at the venue (already late), we saw my dad driving straight past.

We were so late that we had to ask Anthony to wait a little longer. Guests were arriving literally behind me. My dad did eventually appear at the same time as our guests, taking my dress up the stairs, but he was as cool as a cucumber and proceeded to stand talking to guests in his casual clothing.

It was stressful at the time but funny to look back on. Our celebrant actually took a pre-wedding video outside the venue, and my parents can be seen in it scrambling up the stairs with my dress.

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Was there anything you wish you’d known before?

I already knew this but I didn’t quite believe it; the day really does just disappear and before you know it it's all over.

Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We went to Orlando two weeks later, which was a bit of a disaster in itself but something we can look back on and laugh.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

Make sure that you are organised well in advance. Get all of your big things out of the way and booked, and it will leaving you feeling more relaxed and free up time for the smaller things.

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Steal their style: 

Photography: Premier Photography 
Videography: TLC Media
Wedding dress: Opus Couture 
Hair: Claire Montgomery Hair 
Make-up: Alexandria McNairn and Rachael Hunter 
Flowers: Marlene's Flowers 
Cake: Special Days Cakes 
Décor: Enlighten my Day 
Photo booth: Booths4U 

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