Weddings are funny. On one hand they are one of the most intimate moments of a couple’s relationship. On the other hand, they’re also a public news broadcast to the entire world that you’ve found your lobster! Having just celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary with a honeymoon to Japan (which I will talk about in separate blog post next week) I thought it might be time to let you in on how the Glencoe elopement went down…

For those of you that don’t know, James and I met in our home town of Harrow back in 2005. I’d love to tell you a romantic tale of two destined souls finding their way to each other, but the truth is James doesn’t actually remember the first time we met – and the second time a year later was on alcohol fuelled student night at the local pub so the majority of that memory is a little hazy! Fast forward 10 years and James is desperately trying to get my attention for a romantic proposal at the top of the Empire State building in New York, whilst I’m having a great time pretending to be King Kong. I feel from this paragraph alone, you can tell neither of us take life too seriously.

Getting married has always been in the plans, but I was never the girl with the dream wedding, so it was a great blank canvas for us both to work on together. Whilst there were a handful of traditions I wanted to keep (mainly the speeches) there were a lot of other traditions we were both keen to drop, so we decided to break all the rules and elope to Glencoe in Scotland for a Humanist ceremony with only our immediate families present. Plus Miss Honey Bare of course, because my work wifey had to be there to do my hair and make up!

Why Scotland? Well, there were actually a lot of reasons. First and foremost, Glencoe is an absolutely beautiful part of the world. Not that either of us had been there before, but the internet had told us so! Secondly, the laws in Scotland are a little more relaxed than in England. You can get married anywhere you like, at any time of day, providing you have all the necessary paperwork, a registered celebrant and at least two witnesses. However, the process of applying for a Marriage Schedule was somewhat stressful. In England and Wales, the only restriction is that you have to give at least 28 days notice to marry, in Scotland you have a specific 8 week window to apply within – and I’m sure those of you familiar with the UK postal service will empathise with any premise of sending important, not-easily-replaceable legal documents through the post when time is of the essence! As it happened, everything arrived OK, but when we went to pick up our Marriage Schedule my details had been incorrectly copied from my legal documents and so they had to re-issue another one. I absolutely had a couple of G&Ts that evening to de-stress!

We stayed the night before at the Ballachulish Hotel and after a delicious breakfast in the morning with both families, James and I went our separate ways to get ready for the ceremony. After both mums had received the full Miss Honey Bare treatment, it was my turn to sit in the chair for a change! She coiffed me a beautiful vintage up-style with make up to match, before helping me slip into my ‘something new’ Mildred gown, waist belt and veil from Pronovias. Underneath, my foundation garments were a nude strapless bra from M&S (which in my 32E opinion are one of the best strapless bras around), a peach What Katie Did girdle (very similar to the Longline Glamour Nouveau) and some gifted What Katie Did stockings in ‘something blue’ Sky to match my ‘something borrowed’ garter from my mum. My ‘something old’ was the jewellery I was wearing, a present from James a few years ago.

As we were driving down to the ceremony together, we chose to have our first look down by the water’s edge at Loch Leven over the road, much to the delight of a group of tourists who started taking photos of us! After admiring each other in our finery, we jumped in the car and headed off to Glencoe; our families following suit in their respective cars.

Since James and I had not been to Glencoe before, our choice of location was partly thanks to a suggestion from our awesome photographer Neil Thomas Douglas of the ‘Skyfall spot’ and the wonders of Google Maps Street View! Due to having my tiny nephew with us, we wanted to be safely off the roadside and so after an hour’s drive down the single track path that very nearly wrote off my dad’s car(!) we arrived at the edge of the beautiful Loch Etive. The weather had been gloomy and miserable all day, but just as we stepped out of our cars and my Dad walked me down to the edge of the loch, the skies thankfully cleared up for just long enough to get through the ceremony.

On another most excellent recommendation from Neil, we were lucky to have Claire The Humanist leading our ceremony. Providing just the right amount of witty, watermelon-themed banter (you definitely had to be there) to balance out the mushy stuff, we honestly couldn’t have asked for a better human to compere our nuptials. And if you happen to watch the video by Drew and Tracy of JstMarried Filmmakers that I’ll embed below, you can hear a couple of snippets of the ceremony too! Our mums both performed readings that were close to our hearts – from Finding Nemo and Harry Dresden – whilst my brother and James’ sister did a fantastic job of being our witnesses. Even my little nephew got involved, decorating a pebble that was then passed around the group and well-wished upon by our guests for good luck in our marriage, whilst we took part in a traditional handfasting ritual with Help For Heroes tartan – a charity that is close to both our hearts.

After the ceremony James and I spent a couple of hours exploring the Glencoe area with Neil, Drew and Tracy. Climbing over rocks, dancing through valleys and posing next to picturesque white houses in the middle of nowhere, it was cold and wet and grey… and absolutely perfect. I was actually surprised at how white my dress stayed considering the rain and occasionally marshy land.

Eventually the rain started coming in a lot heavier, so after braving a few final shots against the moody sky, Neil suggested we call it a day and go to the pub before heading back for dinner with our families.

Taking a few moments to ourselves, Neil treated us to a whisky each whilst we took over the corner of the Clachaig Inn and had a chance to take in the past few hours. Of course, he was busy snapping away without us realising, which led to this little delightful image popping up in our sneak peeks a couple of days later.

Later that evening we all headed back to The Ballachulish Hotel, where we’d reserved the library for dinner with our families. Miss Honey Bare’s husband Simon lent us his portable speaker to play some music on during the meal, and we split our wedding speeches between three courses of absolutely delicious food. As we were eloping, we were limited on suitcase space and had decided not to bring any table decorations with us, however the amazing staff at Ballachulish Hotel had dressed the room for us with tea lights and a few little thoughtful touches to the room, as well as going above and beyond with fantastic service all afternoon and evening from Andrew and delicious food cooked by John and his team – who were able to cater for the wide variety of dietary requirements our group brought to the dinner table! Honestly, I could not pick a single fault with the service we received over the few days we were there.

Following our Glencoe elopement, we embarked a mini-moon tour of Scotland, including a trip to Skye, a gin making workshop, lots of good food, a little bit of Fringe Festival action and a hell of a lot of whisky… before it was time to head home and celebrate our marriage with the rest of our loved ones.

When Ruby dropped a hint that her bar, Fontaine’s, might be a perfect location for our afterparty, it suddenly became obvious to both James and I that it was EXACTLY the perfect location for us. Two decadent floors, a killer cocktail menu and a stage for us to feature some of our favourite cabaret and burlesque performers we’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my 10 years in the industry. With navy and gold wedding stationary hand crafted with help from my very talented Mum, it was so much fun sending the invites out and receiving the RSVPs back in the post!

Since the Pronovias wedding dress surprisingly survived our Glencoe elopement with no muddy marks whatsoever(!) it got a second outing in London as Neil took us on an Uber tour of East London chasing that gorgeous golden hour glow through the graffitied streets and along Regent’s Canal pathway. After arriving at Fontaine’s and delivering our joint speech (read from our mobile phone because we’d forgotten the printed copy back at the hotel) I changed into this golden made to measure Rene K gown and partied the night away, with surprise guest performances from Joanna Woodward, Neil Kelso, Bettsie Bon Bon and Phil InGud.

A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who was involved in making our wedding as amazing as it was! Out of respect for our guests’ privacy, I’ve not posted much of our guests online or the images from the epic The Photobooth Guys, but suffice to say we have a gallery full of amazing photos from both so if you were in attendance drop me a message and I’ll happily send you a link, or feel free to pop over and look through our album!

Supporting Cast

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