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Scottish Highlands Anniversary Session

What do you think it’ll take for me to convince my future Mr. that we should go to Europe for an anniversary photo session? I’m hoping these pics by Annamarie Akins right here will do the trick, because I’ve already fallen in love with them and the whole idea. This shoot in the Scottish Highlands is breathtaking and intimate all at the same time and these pics will be my motivation for years to come.

From Annamarie AkinsSet against the backdrop of the gorgeous Scottish highlands, I hope this anniversary session will take your breath away! The scenery was unreal and the couple is absolutely beautiful. During their trip to Scotland they wanted to commemorate their time with photos in celebration of their third wedding anniversary in the country where her mom grew up! She came here every year as a kid and was so excited to introduce her husband to the gorgeous countryside. In true Scottish fashion it rained in the middle of the shoot, but the rain was short-lived and it was replaced again by the most gorgeous sunset!

Photography: Annamarie Akins

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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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Fall

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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Fall
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ChurchHotel

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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Scottish Whisky Distillery Wedding

Visiting Scotland is currently item #1 on my must-travel list, so when this darling wedding from Victoria Phipps came along, I nearly squealed out loud. Held at a quiet countryside church followed by a whiskey distillery reception, it’s basically everything you’d think a Scottish wedding should be, plus a whole lot more. From rich, green scenery to bagpipe players to little ones in kilts, there’s no shortage of beautiful images captured.

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From Victoria Phipps PhotographyI first visited Islay in January 2012 with my other half on a sort of whisky/photography pilgrimage. There is something very special about this island. It’s a real effort to get there and perhaps that’s part of it, but even on the bleakest of winter days something about the landscape captivates you. There was an inevitable blog post a few months later which, through the power of google, led Lynn to contact me about photographing her wedding there in June 2014.

Reading Lynn’s first email, I had a really good feeling about the whole thing. Her kindness shone threw her words and I was so excited to be invited to capture her wedding day! At the time Lynn told me her mother was fighting cancer and how much strength the family was drawing from having such a happy occasion to look forward to. Tragically Lynn lost her mother late last year, but she certainly made her proud that day in Islay. Lynn & Kyle’s wedding was brimming with love and laughter and their family and friends could not have been more warm and welcoming to us. This was an authentic Scottish wedding with real traditions and real values at the heart of the day… an absolute joy and privilege to photograph.

From The Bride…I first met Kyle watching his team play rugby back in 2002. He was absolutely covered in mud and running towards me, even looking like that I thought ‘oh, I like him’. From that day onwards we became friends and that friendship eventually blossomed into a relationship. I think my 3 year old Border Collie Jed might have helped seal the deal too!

Kyle’s Mother was born and raised on the Isle of Islay and we have holidayed there every year since our relationship began. Islay felt like home to me, as it reminded me of the rugged and peaceful landscape of the village of Kinlochbervie where I grew up in the North West Highlands. So on a beautiful summer’s evening there in June 2013, when we were walking along Singing Sands beach Kyle went down on one knee and proposed to me just as the sun was setting. It was perfect and very ‘us’. Jed even got in on the act too and covered us in sand mid-proposal!

We chose the unique Ardbeg Distillery to host the wedding reception, as we loved the rustic feel it had and the surrounding scenery is beautiful. We wanted our style for the day to be genuinely in keeping with Ardbeg and the island as a whole, so kept a very scottish rustic theme throughout. Our friends and families were keen to be involved in the wedding preparation so we had them collecting jam jars, pine cones, shells, and pebbles! We made sure everyone felt as though they had been part of the day. I am very into Arts and Crafts and Pinterest inspired me with lots of creative ideas so I couldn’t wait to turn all these into a reality. Even Kyle started to enjoy all the crafting once he got stuck in!

I went to the bridal shop with my Mum, Sister & Cousin in the Summer of 2013. There was a new collection being previewed that day, so the place was buzzing with ‘brides to be’ from the moment we walked in at 9am. The lady I had spoken to on the phone to arrange my appointment gave me a wink and suggested we head to the back of the shop where this new collection was, so luckily I had it all to myself! I chose seven dresses from this collection but one really caught my eye. I watched the lady place it 3rd in the pile of dresses. So the first dress was pretty but a little too white, the second one was a bit too sparkly for me and so onto the third… as I put the dress on I couldn’t stop smiling. The lady tied the belt around my waist and I walked out of the changing room. I looked at my Mam first. Her smile beamed from ear to ear and she started crying, then my Sister and Cousin joined in too… it was the one. I only ever tried on three dresses!

Kyle & I are both very close to our families, so we decided we wanted to keep the wedding small and intimate with just close friends and family. I lost my Mother in the November of 2013 after a battle with cancer. We had planned to have the wedding within a year of getting engaged with the hope that she would be well enough to attend, but sadly she lost her very brave fight. This inspired me to make the wedding very personal and make sure she was remembered in different ways throughout the day. One idea we had was to collect small pebbles from our favourite beach in both Kinlochbervie and on Islay and paint little hearts onto them. We asked people to take a pebble in memory of loved ones who could not be with us on the day and to leave in a special place close to their heart. So far these stones have rested in California, Asia, New York and many other places around the world.

I wouldn’t change anything about our wedding day. Many moments will stick in our memories forever. We set a lantern off in the evening for my Mam which was a very emotional. It gave us all a quiet and special moment to remember her and reflect on the day. At one point in the evening we spotted some of our guests venturing outside and we weren’t sure why. When we went outside to investigate we discovered the most amazing moon we had ever seen. It was so bright and seemed huge in the sky – it felt as though it was resting on top of the hill. It was breathtaking. Victoria our wonderful photographer captured the moment perfectly. It was a really magical end to a perfect day.

Photography: Victoria Phipps Photography | Flowers: Chatterbox Flowers | Wedding Cake: Handmade Cakes By Donna, Aberdeen | Ceremony Venue: St. John's Church, Port Ellen | Reception Venue: Ardbeg Distillery | Bride's Shoes: Jenny Packham | Bridesmaids' Dresses: 'B2 Jasmine' From Perfect Bridal Rooms, Aberdeen | Groom's Attire: The Bute Heather Range, Houston Kilt Maker, Glasgow | Bride's Veil: Richard Designs | Flower Girl's Dresses: Monsoon | Hair & Make Up: Lyn MacIntyre | Ladies Favours: Spirited Soaps | Mens Favours: Ardbeg Distillery | Wedding Dress Designer: Stella York

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Romantic Castle Wedding in Scotland

To say that I’m obsessed with this wedding captured by Craig & Eva Sanders is an understatement. Straight out of a fairytale, everything from the immense beauty of Murthly Castle to the relaxed blooms by Coach House Flowers and everything in between  is enchanting beyond words and looks like the perfect storybook romance. Dive in here!

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Summer
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Luxury Venue
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Elegant

From The Bride…Alex and I met at a party of mutual friends when I was celebrating my last exam from university. We got engaged four and a half years later on Christmas Eve on Store Beach in Sydney, when we were on holiday visiting Alex’s brother and sister who both lived there at that time. We were engaged for a year and a half before our wedding day, so we had plenty of time to plan all the details!

The most important thing for us was having all of our family and friends around us, which is why we chose to get married in Scotland where we both grew up. We wanted to create a relaxing and fun day for everyone closest to us. We loved the fact that we could have the ceremony and reception at the same venue, and that we could add our own touches by having a marquee.

The weather in Scotland can be very unpredictable, so we planned for the worst case scenario. We had organized umbrellas for all of our guests, but were delighted that the sun shined all day!

I loved walking down the aisle and seeing Alex’s face for the first time. We were very lucky to have our very good friend’s Dad officiate our wedding ceremony, who made the service very personal and special for us both. The chapel was very small, so it created a very close and intimate atmosphere for all our guests. We rented a lodge for the entire wedding party for four nights. I loved that the wedding was not just limited to one day, but that the celebrations just kept on going!

The bridesmaids dresses were the most stressful part of the wedding! I originally ordered dresses online, which were delivered late and the sizings were all wrong! Three weeks before the wedding, I was left with the small task of finding new dresses for five bridesmaids! My bridesmaids were amazing and we all scoured the internet to see what we could buy on the high street. As I had five bridesmaids, I liked the idea of mismatched dresses that suited everyone’s size and style.

I decided not to follow a particular theme for the wedding flowers, but wanted a relaxed summer bouquet with soft colors. The florists captured what we wanted perfectly and I loved the bouquets next to the bridesmaids’ dresses.We didn’t go for a table centerpiece, but instead we had a random mixture of jars and vases of different sizes, with soft summer flowers. I was quite relaxed about the flowers, as I knew that they didn’t need to specifically match anything.

We decided that we didn’t want a traditional wedding cake, as so often people are full by the time the cake gets served. We decided that a cake table would be a great way to use the wedding cake as part of the wedding breakfast whilst giving everyone a selection of cakes to choose from. We are friends with Linsey Reith from Three Sisters Bake, a gorgeous café and craft boutique in the West of Scotland whose cakes are fabulous, so it was really easy to organize and completely stress free.

Our friends very kindly lent us their homemade bunting so we decorated the marquee with that and also with pompoms that I had bought on the internet. My brother-in-law was put through sweatshop like conditions by my sister and made the wooden structures for the ribbon and confetti stands, and also all the signs that we had around the venue. We were so touched by the distance people had travelled to join us on our wedding day, so decided to put all of the destinations that people have travelled from and the number of miles to their destination on the signs. We were lucky enough that one of our guests is a very talented artist so she painted the signs the day before the wedding!

We set up our own photo booth with costumes and wigs that my friends and I had in our fancy dress boxes. My favorite was the Hawaiian skirt and leis which looked great on the boys! We bought a polaroid camera because we thought it would be fun for people to see the photos instantly. We had a BBQ the next day and it was fun looking through all the photos and outfits with our guests!

A tip for all future brides is don’t sweat the small stuff! Enjoy the planning and do not let yourself get stressed over the details. The most important thing is your love for one another, and it is your love that will create a perfect wedding that everyone remembers.

Photography: Craig & Eva Sanders | Videographer: Barry Meek At Adore Weddings | Flowers: Coach House Flowers | Wedding Dress: Liliana Dabic, La Novia | Cake: Three Sisters Bake | Rings: Christine Sadler | Make-up: Molly Sheridan | Hair: Hair Creations By Anna Wade | Castle: Murthly Castle

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