Here’s a tale of serendipity – five strangers moved into a house at the bottom of Broughton Street, Edinburgh in 1999. Matt and Claire were two of them. They were both just out of relationships and had rooms in the hallway opposite each other, Claire was at Napier Uni and working in a bar part time and Matt was working full time managing a bar in the city centre. They found themselves finishing late shifts and sitting up well into the early hours talking and playing cards. After several months, he kissed her on the dance floor in a club when the lights went up and the rest is history…
Claire told us that Matt proposed to her at The Big Chill Festival in 2009 – a mere ten years later!! As she said “we’re big festival goers and The Big Chill is our favourite. After a gruelling 8 hour drive down to Hereford, we were pitching our massive tent while our friends had all dispersed to the car, the bar, the toilet, wherever. I thought Matt was taking an eternity to hammer in the last of the tent pegs; so I turned round to see what was holding him up and he was on one knee with ring in hand. I’m told I forgot to say yes, so he had to ask me again, but it was always going to be ‘yes’.”
The couple chose the stunning Oxenfood Castle for their wedding as Claire had been to a wedding there some years before and loved the grounds outside with it’s tree lined avenues and wide expansive fields. As she told us “the staff at Oxenfoord were incredible, we can’t praise them highly enough, the venue manager Shona actually went above and beyond the call of duty and sewed my dress into a bustle late in the evening after my sister had given up trying to pin it up for the third time.”
Claire wore the Helena dress by Pronovias which she bought it in Northern Ireland when she went dress shopping with her sister and mum. Claire told us “I had tried on lots of dresses, but when I stepped out in this one my sister started to cry, (possibly because she was pregnant at the time and fed up dress shopping) but I loved the detailing on the bodice and straps, it made me feel like I was in a Jane Austin novel. I had originally thought I’d go for something medieval in style, very plain and floaty but once I’d found ‘The One’ there was no turning back, I then realised it didn’t really suit the venue we originally had our eyes on (Forest Hills) so I started shopping for Castles!”
Claire’s sister, Emma, was her bridesmaid but as Emma lives around 400 miles away from Claire and had recently given birth to her first baby (the beautiful Elizabeth Pearl), co-ordinatoed dress shopping was a bit tricky. So when Claire found a fabric she loved for Emma’s dress, the cravats, cake ribbon and kilt sock flashes, she simply sent Emma a bolt of material to do with what she wanted. Emma found a local dressmaker and had a design in mind. Claire only saw Emma’s dress on the morning of the wedding but thought she looked “absolutely beautiful”.
Claire wore her Granny’s antique pearls as her something borrowed but kept accessories down to a minimum because her dress was quite detailed. She commented “I find veils really fussy and never intended on having a tiara, the hippy in me always fancied flowers in my hair – so I went with 5 individually wired white rosebuds dotted through it.” Claire also told us that “Sharon and Monica from Made-Up were amazing. They managed to turn my sister, mum and I into models for the day. On the morning of the wedding they had a vehicle breakdown on the way to the Castle, abandoned their car by the roadside and hailed a taxi to get to us on time. Legends.”
Flowers for the day were provided by Lilium whom Claire chose as when she gave Sharon a swatch of her bridesmaid dress material, she sourced a rose relatively new to the UK called “Dark Hypnose” which toned in beautifully with it. And according to Claire, “she also shares my love of peonies”. Claire and Matt’s wedding cake was provided by 3 D Cakes.
Matt had a kilt made for him by Howie Nicolsby at 21st Century Kilts on Thistle Street, Edinburgh. According to Claire “Howie is a fantastic tailor and his banter is top drawer!”
You can read Part II of their wedding story here