Today we have lovely two brides who planned their dream DIY Scottish wedding in the countryside.
TELL US THE STORY OF HOW YOU MET
We were both teammates and played cricket for Scotland together. Annette is no longer playing (due to many an injury!!) but Abbi is currently still within the national squad.
NOW ABOUT THE BIG DAY! WHAT WAS THE THEME AND INSPIRATION? HOW DID THE DAY LOOK LIKE? DID YOU STYLE IT YOURSELF?
We took our time when it came to venue selection but once we had set foot in the brilliant Cow Shed there was no need to continue our search. It ticked all the boxes. Set in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland (Crail, East Neuk of Fife), secluded enough to know you and your guests would be able to enjoy a proper shin-dig of a celebration, but also so spacious and rustic, with a brilliant layout to let our imaginations run wild and a blank canvas we couldn’t wait to turn into our dream Scottish wedding.
We knew we wanted a laid-back and relaxed wedding style – both perfect words to describe Annette’s character, and well…not so much Abbi, but that mood would certainly help ease her nerves a little! With two brides both set on wearing dresses (that we kept secret from each other until the big day – definitely one of the hardest parts!) we didn’t have an obvious colour theme that some couples may usually pull from the tartan of choice by the groom. But after a lot of Pinterest and Instagram scrolling, we both settled for warm tones of blush and lavender to make up the main colour theme of the wedding. These were the colours our 8….yes EIGHT, bridesmaids wore too!
With a DIY venue that we had to furnish and style, we hired the help of the amazing all-woman team, The Little White Cow (TLWC). These ladies are nothing short of creative and there is no doubt that they LOVE what they do. Having passionate suppliers on board to help turn your Scottish wedding dream into a reality is so important and we were so lucky to have Jessica understand and really listen to what we both pictured in our head. The warm pinks and purple tones were added to with the use of greenery, gold and brass, some of our favourite quotes displayed in rustic frames around the venue, and not to forget a ‘subtle’ important theme of personalised cricket props – old school wooden bats and balls formed props around the drinks reception, old maps of countries we’ve both been lucky enough to visit to play cricket in, a table plan that resembled an old cricket scoreboard with table numbers to match, place setting names that were handwritten on miniature cricket bats and a welcome sign made from artificial grass! As two patriotic Scots, we didn’t want this wedding to resemble a garden tea-party where cricket could be played on the front lawn (!) but it was important to us both that we tried to give a subtle nod to the reason we both met each other – and I think TLWC married the theme and style perfectly to tell our story exactly how we envisaged. TLWC have a huge array of props and furniture to pick from which was brilliant. We also hired in our tables and chairs from Virginia’s Vintage Hire which complemented perfectly.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE VENUE AND WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
Our ceremony and reception all happened within the Cow Shed. We wanted the day to be as relaxed as possible for our friends and family and the thought of having to transport people from one venue to another mid-way through just didn’t appeal to us. And plus, with a stunning and as versatile a venue as the Cow Shed, we didn’t need to look for anywhere else.
We also knew we wanted to have a humanist wedding. As we both don’t come from any religious backgrounds and after being at a few humanist weddings prior to ours we knew that is what we wanted. We hired the help of another super-woman, this time in the form of a humanist come newly first time-mummy, Ronit Quayle. From our first meeting with Ronit in a coffee shop in Edinburgh to the moment we hugged and said our thankyous and goodbyes on our wedding day, we didn’t stop laughing. This woman has such a warm and infectious character and is not shy of standing up for her beliefs and sharing her opinions…which we LOVED. A Feminist with a capital F, Ronit shared many stories with us; from phoning her young niece when same-sex marriage was legalised in Scotland to make sure she understood the significance of this moment, to teaching us both about the use of violets and how historically they were used as a symbolism for lesbian and bisexual women! Ronit shared her stories and her passion for drawing the best out of the couples who entrusted her to conduct their ceremony – important factors that helped us relax around her and really open up about our relationship…all whilst having a good giggle of course!
We chose to include a handfasting in our ceremony, a unique way of celebrating our Scottish heritage with the joining of our families tartans. This tradition is used to symbolise the joining together of our two ‘clans’, with the tartan ribbons being wrapped around our hands, effectively ‘tying the knot’ and giving us a little keepsake from the ceremony too. We also chose another Scottish tradition to include in our ceremony – the drinking from a Quaich. Annette’s Dad had gifted us a beautifully engraved Quaich with our names and wedding date, the night before the wedding (another keepsake from our ceremony). Drinking from the same Quaich is a Scottish tradition said to be symbolic of the life you will share together, symbolising trust, love, and peace between two people. We ‘slightly’ broke the Scottish tradition of not using whisky to fill the Quaich, but instead our favourite wee dram of Disaronno…followed by a cheer and round of applause from our guests knowing that when there’s Disronnono, there’s always a party! The perfect way to end the formalities we felt…
With our confidence fully in Ronit, we knew the ceremony would run smoothly. But before we were able to stand side by side in front of our nearest and dearest, there was one of the biggest logistical challenges of organising a two bride wedding to solve. THE BRIDES ENTRANCE. Neither one of us wanted to wait at the top of the aisle for the other, in typical ‘groom’ fashion, and it also wasn’t really fair that one followed the other down the aisle either? With many a doodled diagram and lots of scribbling out, we settled on something we knew would work for us. Our guests were seated in two bodies with a central aisle splitting the two (usual set up for a wedding). We had a sign saying ‘Pick a seat, not a side, either way, it’s for the Bride’ – added cheese but we loved it and it meant our guests all chose to mingle for the ceremony which was brilliant. The wedding party (our 8 stunning bridesmaids, 2 gorgeous flower girls and the main man in our lives, little 2-year-old Alfie (Abbi’s nephew) our page boy) all entered down the main aisle to our chosen song Can’t Help Falling In Love, a violin cover
Now the brides’ turn… we, together with our parents, separated at the beginning, circled around the outside of our guests, and walked towards each other upon reaching the front row, where we met in the middle – in perfect, unrehearsed tandem thankfully!! Speaking to our guests after the ceremony they loved it, as they didn’t know what to expect or where to look. Even on reflection, the symbolism of us both getting to experience the ‘walk down the aisle’ with our parents at the same time and them coming together as a family in front of our families was beautiful, and something we’re so glad we did. At the end of the ceremony, we both exited together, hand in hand, leading the rest of the wedding party down the central aisle – the path to the rest of our lives as Mrs & Mrs!
It was never a doubt that we were both wearing wedding dresses on our big day. The thought of finding ‘the one’ however was rather daunting. Both not a fan of shopping…! And both knowing we couldn’t take each other shopping to help pick – we decided to keep our dresses a secret which was difficult but so worth it! Abbi took one day, and just the two shops to make her mind up, opting for the dress she had in mind before going shopping and it being the first one she tried on too – which rarely happens apparently. Annette took a little longer, shopping around a bit more and re-visiting shops to try on the same dresses more than once – luckily for her she had the stylish duo of her mum and brother to accompany her who didn’t mind attending all the dress appointments. Abbi got her dress, The Grady by Sottero & Midgely, from Anna Rose Bridal in Dundee – a vintage-inspired mermaid gown with tulle overlay, lace, beading, and pearls. Annette found the one – Eden by Modeca – a true boho bride, the dress featured a deep V-neckline and V-backline with gorgeous lace and beading. A common question we were asked – but what if you both buy the same dress?!! We do have similar taste, so to avoid any doubt, once Abbi had bought her dress, Annette’s brother Ross was shown an image to ensure he could ‘divert’ Annettes attention from that dress if the risk was there, without giving the game away! As for the shoes…sorry girls, heels don’t ‘do it’ for us. So we don’t have anything exciting to mention here. We did wear heels for the ceremony as we do agree that we felt much more graceful in our gorgeous dresses wearing them…but the only concern when purchasing them was COMFORT. Footwear was important however, we both purchased some trendy converse for hitting the dancefloor, but most importantly the best purchase was our matching pink glittery welly boots! Got to be prepared when getting married at a Cow Shed in Scotland, right?
FLOWERS & DECORATIONS – DID YOU DO ANY DIY?
Our flower supplier was Amy Annand Flowers – one look on her Instagram page and we knew we were booking an appointment at her shop. One visit to her shop was enough to make Abbi consider a career change and become a florist. OK, the career change didn’t happen but what a beautiful little boutique shop. Amy is a very talented and knowledgable florist and was super helpful in helping us pick the flowers. We wanted flowers to match the already explained colour theme and we loved peonies and roses and eucalyptus for the greenery. It was settled. But one last ask…was to add in some Scottish white thistles! We did say we were patriotic Scots after all! Amy Annand Flowers supplied us with the 2 bride bouquets, 8 bridesmaids bouquets, 2 flower girls posies, and the button-holes for the kilted-up men in our families.
We were lucky enough to have the Cow Shed run an open day at their venue after we had secured our date but before our big day. This was a chance for us to see the venue with some furnishings and to meet some local suppliers who could assist us with the wedding plans. We remember that one of the first stalls we visited there was an array of beautiful cakes on display. Loren Brand cakes. One bite of the samples on offer…booked. Just delicious! And local to the venue. Two boxes ticked.
We met with Loren at her home where she had prepared samples of the flavours she offered and the designs she could make. We opted for a ‘semi-naked’ cake, fitting with the rustic venue, but when it came to picking the flavours they were too good we could decide on one. So why have one when you can have three?! The bottom (biggest!) tier was banana, choc chip & salted caramel, the middle tier was classic vanilla with buttercream icing and the top tier, the curveball – lime and coconut sponge….drool. Loren teamed up with Amy Annand to decorate the cake with some matching flowers and used some local summer fruits to top it off. DELICIOUS!
We provided little in the way of entertainment throughout the day (post-ceremony) as we knew our guests would enjoy their drinks and catching up with friends old and new. We did have a local bag-piper, Struan from Kingdom of Fife Bagpiping greet the guests on arrival to the venue, who also stayed and played some background music in the courtyard after the ceremony. Also in the courtyard, we had Rolly’s icecream set up. A brilliant Scottish company, who make fresh flavoured ice-cream ‘rolls’ right in front of your eyes, by pouring cream on to frozen metal pans and chop up the toppings of your choice. Rolly’s was a brilliant addition to the wedding and the guests enjoyed snacking on the ice-cream on offer, tiding them over until the wedding breakfast! Rolly’s even let us pick our flavours prior to the wedding, making guests choose between ‘Abbi’s favourite’ and ‘Annette’s favourite’. A slight competition ensued as we watched who’s choice was more popular…
After the meal and once the evening guests started to arrive, we had hired the brilliant ‘Something Blue’ as our wedding band. We both wanted a mix between a band that could provide live covers for us to boogie the night away to, but could also provide a ceilidh set as it is arguably one of the best parts to a Scottish wedding! And Something Blue provided just that. The 5 piece band with a belter of a female lead vocalist provided our guests with hours of booty shaking and kilt twirling entertainment.
The first dance…another common question we were asked in the lead up to our wedding. We both don’t shy away from a dancefloor, particularly after a few Disaronno’s, but when it comes to a couples dance, with all eyes on you, sharing an intimate moment that had to be in sync…no thank you. It just wasn’t us. And although we had a few friends and family try to convince us that a first dance is a tradition that should be kept in all weddings, we just did not like the idea of it and we wanted to do things our way. Top tip 101 in how to plan a wedding we say! Instead, after cutting our cake in front of our day and evening guests…we had asked the band to kick start the night by inviting ALL to the dance floor to share our first dance with everyone. And the song…Bruno Mars – Marry You! It. was. perfect!
YOUR WEDDING PLANNER
We were very very lucky to have Anna Elizabeth Events on board to help keep us on track throughout the planning but most importantly run the wedding on the day so that we could both fully relax knowing the guests were moved at the right time, the caterers knew the timings, furniture was shifted in the right places etc. For anyone doing a DIY wedding, we highly recommend making sure that you have someone on hand to assist with this. Abbi met Anna at university where they both studied Events Management. Despite Abbi’s degree, Annette has to take the credits for the majority of the planning as Abbi (some say tactfully!) accepted a work secondment to New Zealand for 6 months, just 8 months before the wedding. A difficult decision being away from your other half for that length of time, nevermind in the lead up to and during the important months of wedding plans. But Abbi knew that with Anna’s knowledge and experience and Annette’s ‘get sh*t done!’ attitude, the plans would all come together, and they did just that.
It’s no secret we both love our food, and living in Edinburgh we are spoilt for choice when it comes to date night! So we knew the food at our wedding was super important (Annette describing it as the most important part of the day, for Abbi to correct her and tell her second to the vows of course…!). We hired The Pantry to cater for our wedding. They had previous experience of weddings at The Cow Shed before which was a big tick. And as frequent visitors to their cafes in Edinburgh, we knew what kind of food they were capable of producing. Priding themselves on a relaxed and local food style they also allowed us a degree of flexibility in producing our menu which was important when having to pick a menu that would suit a lot of mouths!
The canapes; halloumi lollipops with pineapple salsa, haggis bonbons, rare flat iron steak on tattie scones, feta and watermelon, and scallop lollipops went down a TREAT with our guests. The separate bride only canape platter was also a nice touch – no way we were missing out on the food we’d spent hours deliberating over! And for the main meal, we had a seating plan made up of tables of 8, and we knew we wanted a menu that involved big sharing bowls of food that our friends and family could dig into and share around.
To start, we had trays of tacos line the centre of the tables – finger food for our guests to dive into, the main course – a trusty roast chicken dinner served up with big bowls of roast tatties & veggies, summer greens and charred sweet corn. For dessert – The Pantry’s self-titled, ‘the best Sticky Toffee you ever did eat’. And we’d find it hard to disagree.
For the evening guests (and to soak up the alcohol consumed by many of our day guests!) the Pantry served up some traditional Scottish stovies, with oatcakes and beetroot. Not forgetting a plentiful supply of tommy sauce too!
We had hired the venue and cottages on the farm for the full weekend. We knew after the partying on the Saturday night that our guests would probably surface having missed breakfast but desperate for some scran! So we booked the brilliant ‘Fish n Frites’ van to park up outside the cottages and had our guests nip outside to pick a local chip shop supper of their choice! It was something we weren’t sure if it would be worth it or not, but hearing the silence of the room as everyone was tucking into their food was hilarious. A brilliant company and such a nice little extra we were glad to book for our friends and family.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
We stumbled across John’s photography on Instagram – never underestimate the power of simple #’s suppliers! We instantly loved John’s work. From the moment we met him and his lovely little family for a coffee, we knew we had found the right guy to photograph the big day! As a couple who are not so keen to get in front of the camera, it was important we found someone as laid back as we are but equally would be able to capture all the little moments that we knew we wanted to be documented for life. And John did just that.
In the lead up to the wedding, his communication was brilliant, and his organisation made us feel at ease. He was also brilliant at listening to any suggestions we had about images we would like or parts of the venue we felt we wanted to use. We felt super comfortable on the wedding day and John was full of ideas and suggestions which made us feel very relaxed in front of the camera. His attention to detail and ability to capture those little special moments even when you and your guests are completely unaware of his presence shows his skill as a wedding photographer. And with two brides – it was certainly no easy task!! His candid photography will make us smile for many years to come, as we’ve been spoilt with an array of images encompassing the best day of our lives in the most perfect way. We now understand when married couples tell you ‘the day just flies by’, and now, thanks to John, he has ensured there wasn’t a second of our wedding that we missed!
We’ll be honest. We booked our videographer pretty late on in the day as initially, it was something we weren’t too bothered about. But how we were wrong, and now SO GLAD that we did. We were very lucky to book Alice Goulding, or ‘Ginger Alice’ as her company name. Alice prides herself on shooting wedding films as short documentaries with a cinematic twist. And she captured the story of ours just perfectly. She was super friendly, but also went about her trade in a discreet manner, which meant you never really suffered from ‘stage fright’ in front of the camera because you never really felt she was there! Both she and John worked very well together (an important detail if your photographer and videographer are separate suppliers). Alice travelled from south of the Scottish border and admitted to us it was her first Scottish wedding. She ended up staying longer than originally planned as I think the Scottish welcome and celebrations had her creativity flowing and unsure of which direction to look, nevermind film. Seeing her enjoy the wedding and not just ‘at work!’ was very special too.
Some advice we give to our friends who have yet to marry is to not underestimate a good photographer and videographer. Annette’s mum sadly lost her battle with cancer one month after the wedding. A devastating low after such an overwhelming high for us all. But having such special footage, and incredible images captured by both John and Alice, has meant that our last outing as a complete family has been documented forever and we will forever be grateful for that.
We also made a wedding website which turned out to be an absolute godsend! Annette is a Marketing Director so thankfully is no stranger to website creation and design. We did use physical invitations to send out to our guests, however, we asked all to RSVP by visiting our link on the invite. It meant that we had attendance numbers, guests addresses and any dietaries all in one place which was then easy to send on to any suppliers who needed information. We bought www.aitkendrummondwedding.com for £30 and went from there! Some of our friends said it was a great idea too as often invitations would get lost and so closer to the wedding date they knew they could check the website for directions and timings etc. Top tip for those who are comfortable with technology!
WOULD YOU HAVE ANY PIECE OF ADVICE FOR COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING?
The day really was the best day of our lives. It was so special from start to finish and having all your friends and family in the one place, being there to support us both was very special. As a gay couple, it wasn’t always an easy road, and even planning a wedding in 2019 we still sadly had a few awkward moments when scouting around for venues or potential suppliers, but don’t let that phase you. Take your time to pick the right suppliers for you and bottom line ALWAYS make sure you’re planning things that make the both of you happy and that it’s what you both want. No one else.
We certainly would say that booking a venue that comes with a ready-made package will certainly limit any added stress (Annette would scream this at you!) BUT a DIY venue does have the huge added bonus of creating your perfect wedding from start to finish, and we would both agree that it was worth it. Book your ‘big things’ early (venue, band, catering, humanist) to make sure you get your first choice and then when it comes to the ‘small stuff’ you hopefully don’t need to sweat it, but instead can enjoy it. One thing we made sure we did, was book wedding time with each other, a couple hours a week, no distractions, where we poured some wine, answered some emails and made some decisions, picking off the list bit by bit. It helped. Couples spend a lot of money and savings on weddings these days, so make sure you enjoy the lead up to it just as much as the day itself. As once its over, you’ll wish you could do it all over again.
Venue: The Cow Shed, Crail
Wedding planner: Anna Elizabeth Weddings
Celebrant: Ronit Quayle
Photography: John Elphinstone Stirling
Video: Ginger Alice
Abbi’s Dress: The Grady by Sottero & Midgely (Anna Rose Bridal)
Annette’s Dress: Eden by Modeca
Abbi’s Hair: Hair by Bethany @ 3sixty
Abbi’s Make up: Julie Diplacito
Annette’s Make up: Lauren Gollan
Flowers: Amy Annand Flowers
Decorations & Styling: The Little White Cow
Stationery: Dursley Design Co.
Tables & Chairs: Virginia’s Vintage Hire
Lighting: Steve Page Lighting, Dundee
Cake: Lored Brand Cakes
Bagpipes: Kingdom of Fife Bagpiping
Music: Something Blue
Caterers: The Pantry
Sunday Caterers: Fish n Frites
Check out other gorgeous real weddings on our blog!