A small Scottish wedding in the sunshine
13 Oct 2020
It was third time lucky for Victoria Wilson and Winston Reynolds, whose previous two wedding dates were cancelled by Covid-19. Finally, they were able to tie the knot in a small ceremony in Rhu, Scotland
Photography: Gryffe Studios
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Scotland and in particular Gare Loch for several reasons. As it was our third attempt at getting married (the first two being cancelled due to COVID-19) we wanted to be married outside if possible so that venue restrictions would not apply and we had less chance of it being cancelled for a third time. Scotland is where we enjoyed our first holiday as a couple and where we have returned many times. The beautiful lochs, especially on the west coast are perfectly situated as they are rural while still being easily accessible by train from London and other parts of the UK. Being married in an Air BNB also meant we had full control over the various elements such as decoration, placement, timing etc. It turned out perfectly and I would recommend to all couples struggling with the choice to ‘elope’ with a small selection of family members to Scotland as it was utterly magical.
How was your wedding different to that you’d originally planned?
It was not similar to what we had originally planned and all the better for it! The intimate ceremony and small group made it feel very private and meaningful. Most of the day was very calm with us swimming in the loch in the morning - a bit different to worrying about bouquets or bossing about flowergirls! Our celebrant was fantastic as she talked us through the whole process beforehand, was very natural and reinforced the purpose of the day - namely for us to express our love and commitment to one another. Our celebrant also helped to explain the legal process, provided contact details for local authorities and kept us up-to-date on the restrictions in place due to the pandemic.
Tell us about the dress
I tried on approximately 15 wedding dresses from skimpy silk numbers to huge meringues. I had the designer – Sheila Harding from BOA in Richmond – create the dress from scratch having liked different features of multiple other dresses.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
My sister-in-law Laura wore a beautiful teal dress that was floor-length at the back and knee-length at the front. It suited her colouring perfectly.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
No. I did all the planning myself which third time round was easy.
Tell us about your floral arrangements
They were supplied and designed by Lavender and Rose – I couldn’t speak more highly about these florists. Rosie was so creative and knew exactly what I wanted from my bouquet. The broken flower arch, table decorations and buttonholes were a complete work of art and really made the venue look so beautiful. The suggestions and professional but friendly approach made their huge efforts appear seamless.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day
As the wedding was so small we were able to focus more on the extras. This spanned from hand painted menus (that I painted with each menu choice for each guest) to personalised video messages from other guests. Cigars helped us celebrate the wedding after the meal in a traditional way while a tartan bow tie for the dog meant everyone looked the part too. Rather than wedding favours we got each guest an individual gift that was tailored to their personality and our relationship with them. Each element made it even more meaningful and perfect while still focussed on the marriage rather than embellishment for the sake of it.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Rather than an aisle I walked round the corner to see Winston waiting for me – this was surreal. Feeling emotional is an understatement. My mind could barely concentrate due to the ecstasy I was feeling. Winston not only looked incredibly handsome but was also emotional too which was when I realised how much this really meant to both of us.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
We had a handfasting included and altered the vows to suit our personal commitments.
Tell us about the reception
Following the ceremony, we went to Rhu point to capture photos and see the Gare loch in all its glory. We enjoyed the sunset and drinks while calling other friends and family that couldn’t be with us. The evening meal was cooked by a private chef that had full control of the kitchen as well as a separate entrance and facilities. The food was exceptional and the group were all able to bask in the perfect day. A few speeches were made and multiple toasts followed by more merriment and partying.
What was your most memorable moment?
Once the official vows had been exchanged our dog - Merlin - came and sat between the two of us, this made us all laugh and was a slight relief during this highly emotional part of the ceremony. Walking along the beach at Rhu point was very special as it’s such a stunning location. We also shared a secret dance in the corner of the dining room after dinner. Being in my new husband’s arms is a moment I will cherish forever.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Organising it all from London and not knowing if it would be able to go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions
What was the most important investment for you?
Venue/location – we wanted it to be someone that meant a lot to us and that we would always remember
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We didn’t really have one but we danced to Don’t Let Me Down by the Beatles as it means a lot to us both and optimises both our commitment and fears.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Not really, we just played music and danced round the house – it was all very low-key.
Tell us about your wedding cake
My dad got this made for us with a sweet figurine of us on top alongside our dog and sitting next to a loch. It was chocolate cake with chocolate icing and honestly so delicious.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I wish I’d known how much more enjoyable it is to just have a few guests as you can spend more time with them. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was truly the best day of my life. The disappointment and frustrations caused by the pandemic only made this magical day even more overwhelmingly awesome.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Remember what is important – you and your partner – it is about a marriage not a wedding – that only lasts a day.