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Scottish Castle Wedding

It’s not often that you find a wedding as ethereally romantic as this.  One that is sooo filled with gorgeous details and heartwarming moments, it kind of feels like you are watching scenes from a classic movie with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.  Add to all of that romance a breathtaking Scottish castle and the light-filled images of Craig & Eva Sanders and it’s a gallery of awesome that can’t be missed.

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From the Bride… We chose to have our ceremony at Straiton Church and wedding reception at Blairquhan castle in Ayrshire, Scotland.

We came across Blairquhan castle when we were looking around online. I think we found some pictures of a wedding here that had been taken by our amazing photographers Craig and Eva. We were looking for an exclusive use venue that we could treat as our home for the weekend with our friends and family. We took a drive down to Blairquhan Castle one day and we knew straight away it was the right place, the setting and grounds are breathtaking and although it had this look of grandeur, inside it felt so homely and comfortable. The drawing rooms where we had the wedding meal were absolutely amazing with beautiful chandeliers, large fireplaces and windows that looked out into the landscape beyond. We weren’t having a huge wedding so the space was just right and I could imagine all our friends in this room having a great time and later dancing the night away. Accommodation was great, too as Blairquhan had self catering cottages on the grounds and beautiful rooms in the castle itself. This meant that we were able to enjoy having all of our friends and family together for the full weekend.

We came across the church in the beautiful small village of Straiton a small drive away from Blairquhan Castle. I is from Ayrshire so it felt even more special that this was the place we were married. The church is tiny and very pretty with lots of original features and stained glass.

I started looking at lots of different ideas in wedding magazines, online, blogs (Style Me Pretty!) to get ideas. Pinterest was also great and really helped me pull together themes and looks that I liked. I knew that I wanted a vintage feel to our day and I loved the old world glamour look that was evident in our venue at Blairquhan Castle. I wanted our theme to reflect the beautiful interior of the castle and tie in with that look and feel. I loved the use of light and the reflection of light on the wonderful old mirrors in the drawing rooms and chandeliers. I tied in our table decorations with mirror centerpieces and cut glass flower vases to carry through this theme. We also had lots of candles and antique mirror candle holders everywhere. Little Botanica were our florist and did a beautiful job of decorating the castle full of seasonal flowers that reflected the pretty, vintage look we were going for.

For the church, I had seen an idea in a magazine of another wedding that had gorgeous arches of branches and flowers down the aisle – my aisle was tiny, but Little Botanica were able to create a gorgeous version of this in the aisle and at the entrance to the church which set a lovely theme in and outside the church. We were also conscious that we wanted our wedding to be fun and personable. So a lot of things were inspired out of the fact that we wanted our guests to enjoy the day with lots of surprises like our photo props on tables, the ‘dare game’, caricaturist and mum’s homemade Limoncello favours. We were also lucky to have a friend to do the job as Toast Taster. He was absolutely amazing and made our day feel so personable and fun.

The whole day was so enjoyable, if there is one favorite, I think it was coming out the church to all our friends and family cheering throwing clouds of confetti everywhere. It felt so magical and we even got some beautiful sunshine to go along with it.

The fabulous Craig and Eva Sanders were our photographers – absolutely loved them. Not only did they capture the most memorable and beautiful photos of our day they were also so much fun to be around and made us both feel really comfortable. I couldn’t recommend them enough.

Our cake was by Top Tier Cakes in Glasgow. Their shop is just beside where we live and we’ve sampled quite a few cupcakes from there over the years. They were really friendly and easy to deal with and delivered everything to the venue which meant no disasters getting the cake there in one piece.

Little Botanica did the flowers. They were amazing, really different and got the theme I was going for straight away. Lisa took time to understand what I wanted and came up with lots of brilliant ideas. You can tell they are really passionate about what they do and wanted every detail to be perfect.

My advice for brides-to-be: Smile, be happy and enjoy every moment of it. When it comes to planning your big day do things that really reflect who you both are, it’s your day so take the time to make it special and everything that you are.

Photography: Craig & Eva Sanders Photography | Videographer: Memory Lane Films | Florist: Little Botanica | Wedding Dress: Suzanne Neville, Eleganza Sposa | Cake: Top Tier Cakes | Stationery: E.I.Y. Love | Ceremony: Straiton Parish Church | Reception: Blairquhan Castle | Bridesmaids' Shoes: Next | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy | Make-up: Jojo Professional Make-up Artist | Hair: Adee Phelan Salon | Band: The Riffreshers | Groom's Attire: Kinloch Anderson | String Quartet: Capella String Quartet | Caricaturist: Tommy Sommerville | Veil: Eleganza Sposa | Wedding Rings: Rox

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Glamorous Ballroom Wedding in Scotland

This rustic glam affair is what daydreams are made of. Think Marie Antoinette mixed with a secret garden. From the DIY’ed silk and velvet trimmed invitations, to the rich raspberry Planet Flowers blooms, to the castle backdrop of one majestic city, Craig And Eva Sanders Photography  captured a gallery filled with romance for days, here!

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From The Bride… Our wedding was a rustic glam affair, think Marie Antoinette mixed with a secret garden, It all started with our invitation which was a wonderful DIY effort by myself (the bride) and my mother!

We sourced 100x100mm kraft boxes and had our names gold foil pressed on the front, I designed little miniature letterpress invitations using inspiration from Laduree fonts and again had them gold hot foil pressed for a glamorous effect. We wanted our invitations to be a little bit different, like a keepsake gift for our guests. We searched far and wide for something different, my mother who loves flower arranging sourced specially preserved roses, real roses that have been treated to last for many months if not years. We decided to put them in gold filigree cones with a pin so all our guests could wear them on the day of the wedding – this was so special and tied all our guest’s attire together. These roses were placed inside each individual box alongside the miniature letterpress invitation. 

We said our vows in a beautiful ceremony in St Mary’s Cathedral, and celebrated with 200 friends and family in the Sir Walter Scott Ballroom at the iconic Balmoral Hotel – all set against the backdrop of the UK’s most majestic city – Edinburgh (complete with views of the Castle!)

We wanted to inspire a feeling of romance and ‘cozy’ warmth inside from the chilly Scottish Autumn weather, so there were scented candles everywhere and we ate our meal by candle light alone. Only opening the window drapes as the sun was setting to reveal stunning views of Edinburgh castle.

I am a petite bride who found it super difficult to find a wedding dress that suited my 5’1″ frame, I ended up wearing a custom altered Elie by Elie Saab gown, Louboutin shoes and a custom made veil. My groom had his tuxedo bespoke tailored too by a long standing Glaswegian tailor Jim Forbes. Our groomsmen wore jet black tuxedos, patent dress shoes and Dessy Topaz satin pocket squares to match the glamorous bridesmaids, who wore Lela Rose draped dresses, glittery shoes and crystal drop earrings. Our flower girl wore the prettiest floral crown to match the bridesmaid’s bouquets, a romantic ivory chiffon dress and fur cape. 

Photography: Craig And Eva Sanders Photography | Videographer: Cherry Tree Films | Florist: Planet Flowers | Invitations: DIY By Bride - Letterpress By Blush Publishing | Ceremony Venue: St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral | Reception Venue: The Balmoral Hotel | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Engagement Ring: Tacori | Bridesmaids Dresses: Lela Rose - Dessy | Makeup: Kaeleigh Wallace | Band: Stax Of Motown | Bridal Gown: Elie Saab | Bridal Jewelery: Rox Diamonds And Thrills | Invitation Flowers: Verde - Nature Preserved | Lighting/Event Production: Carnival Chaos | Linen: 88Events | Tuxedo Designer: Jim Forbes Tailoring

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Chinese Tea Ceremony in the Cotswolds

Raised in Singapore, having moved to Australia and settling on the UK as home, this beautiful duo has a love that stretches the globe. So when it came to their wedding, tying together their background was oh-so-important, and Jessie Thomson made that happen. This gallery from Leah Kua is all the proof why the Cotswolds and a Chinese tea ceremony are a perfect pairing.

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From Jessie Thomson Wedding PlanningA traditional Chinese tea ceremony set in the heart of The Cotswolds in England, with close friends and family the day before the full wedding celebration, followed by an afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches and scones – set in the gardens of a boutique Cotswold stone hotel.

I was honoured to be invited to this pre-wedding celebration as a guest with my daughter, and to witness such a beautiful and time honoured tradition in the British countryside on a hot Summer’s day.

It was the perfect way to start a weekend of celebrations!

From the beautiful Bride…Ryan and I are of Chinese descent and raised in Singapore. 15 years ago, we both moved to Australia first and then the UK. When we decided to get married in the UK, we planned our wedding around two visions: one of a rustic chic barn theme on the actual day, and a cultural heritage theme on the day before. We wanted the latter to be an intimate affair purely for our families, wedding party and wedding planner. The beautiful and romantic grounds of the Rectory Hotel in the Cotswolds was the perfect spot to host the ceremony.

Steeped in tradition, the tea ceremony is the most sacred ritual of Chinese nuptials. It serves as the bride’s symbolic introduction to the groom’s family. Choosing to incorporate this tradition was our way to honour the Chinese values that we were raised with and close to our hearts, despite having been living overseas for so long. Equally, we felt this was an important feature to include, given the next day’s wedding events would take on a more modern and relaxed western approach.

Since the exact presentation can vary from family to family and different Oriental cultural groups, we kept ours simple and elegant with the showcase of the tea set being the focal item in the ceremony set-up. A complete tea set represents harmony and togetherness. Traditionally, the tea set itself is part of the bride’s dowry and becomes a keepsake that she’ll use again for her own daughter’s ceremony someday.

Sweet tea is believed to bring happiness to the couple and to foster good relations between the bride and her new in-laws. According to legend, placing lotus seeds and two red dates in the teapot brings children into the marriage early on and every year thereafter. I was very blessed to have my mother choose the porcelain tea set, bringing it from across the globe and preparing the sweet tea on the day. It was an involvement and role that meant a huge deal to her, as a Mother. And to me too.

During the ceremony, Ryan and I served the tea to both our families who would take turns, proceeding from the most senior members of Ryan (the groom)’s family and then my (the bride) family. Drinking the tea was a sign of acceptance of the marriage and therefore quite emotional especially for the more senior family members. In return, we the newlyweds, received red envelopes filled with money or jewellery as a gesture of their blessings.

Red is a symbolic colour for all joyous occasions in the Oriental culture, so it naturally became the choice of colour for my custom made “cheongsam” or traditional gown from Singapore that I wore for the event. It also turned out to be a fitting one when I realised there were pops of red colour dotted about, from the Oriental wedding wall decal, to the red packets and even the red roses in the garden!

I loved every detail of my dress from the French corded lace to the slit on the side which allowed me to show off one of my legs. Since it was a very striking dress, I kept my accessories to a minimum, choosing to don on a pearl necklace and earrings. To complete the whole look, I chose an updo style, which I was initially rather nervous about, as I have never been one to wear my hair up most of the time. But having a brilliant hair stylist meant I had nothing to worry about at all. I was at ease the whole time and was reluctant to take it down when the day was over!

As a contrast, Ryan chose to go for a western style semi-formal look which surprisingly, complemented my traditional look well. His outfit took on a pastel palette comprising a shirt with delicate prints, a waistcoat and a pair of tan leather brogues.

The day would not be complete without a little East meets West. We were in the UK after all! After the ceremony, our guests were treated to a proper English afternoon tea experience complete with scones, cakes and pastries. It gave us a good opportunity to mingle with everyone in a relaxed and fun manner, just like an afternoon outdoor garden party in the summer! Looking back, that day proved to be so precious in that we got to spend more time with everyone, many of whom have travelled from afar for us, celebrating a familiar tradition with a twist.

Photography: Leah Kua | Wedding Planner: Jessie Thomson Wedding Planning | Ceremony Venue: The Rectory | Groom's Attire: Ted Baker | Bridal Hair & Makeup: Heidi Vince

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