Many of our clients ask us “what will we do if it rains on our wedding day”and with this in mind, I’d like to show you Part I of the lovely Susie and Paul’s wedding photography from Mavis Hall Park. These images answer that question completely – if it rains, it’s all still part of the story and you’ll have just as much fun. Susie and Paul’s wedding guests donned their wellies and brollies and trekked through fields down to a marquee at the lochside through a torrential downpour – and were still smiling and laughing! You can read Part II of Susie and Paul’s wedding story here
The wedding proposal
Susie and Paul originally met through Susie’s brother Matt, who was Paul’s boss at the time. They had met a few times at the pub and always got on really well, talking mostly about snowboarding! They got together over seven years ago after Susie had gone with Matt to a paintballing day organised by his work. Paul came to the pub after to meet his colleagues and when Susie headed off to a club Paul quickly followed. They spent the rest of the night in this club laughing.
Paul proposed to Susie in New York in December two and a half years ago. He had whisked her away for her 30th birthday and had already bought the ring, so it was just a case of deciding when to propose. He thought about doing it on the plane but was a little nervous that if she said no it would be an awkward 9 hours and 3 day trip. They got to New York and Paul thought about proposing at so many different points and bottled it each time, it got to day 2 and time was running out and the plan was to do a spot of shopping and then head to Central Park, so Paul thought – perfect I’ll propose in Central Park – ideally romantic albeit a little unplanned. As they walked down Susie thought he was acting strange, squeezing her hand really tight and not saying much but just thought he was distracted by how much he’d just spent on a new watch! They went and sat on the grass by the lake in Central Park and within 5 minutes Susie got restless and became a bit grumpy that they weren’t ‘achieving’ much. So she suggested they went for a wander and a coffee, but Paul was reluctant, he was determined that this was the place and was building himself up to it. And as his behavior got stranger Susie says she started to realise what was going on and thought ‘oh wow’. And then he rolled over onto both knees in the mud and said ‘you know I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me’ and produced the beautiful ring. Through her sobs Susie said yes.
Planning and preparing for the wedding
The couple chose Scotland for their wedding because Paul was born and spent his childhood in Selkirk and Susie was born in Dumfries and, although her family moved south when she was still very young she spent all her holidays in Powfoot, where her grandparents lived, until she was in her twenties. Scotland is very close to both of their hearts. They wanted a venue which felt relaxed and informal and could offer a real Scottish feel – they only looked at one venue and totally fell in love with it. Mavis Hall Park is a family run farm that has been converted for events. The couple first saw the barns and loved their character (especially the hens that greet you as you arrive) and inside they thought they were such a perfect blank canvas. Then Fiona, the owner, took them down to the loch to show them where we could get married and they were totally blown away. It was so beautiful and Susie and Paul just remember standing there in awe and all they could hear were birds.
The wedding party (family and close friends) stayed at Dalhousie Castle the day before and the night of the wedding. Dalhousie gave them the Orangery Restaurant for exclusive use for the night before the wedding, which is in a lovely conservatory overlooking the grounds. Nearly 30 of their family and friends took over the restaurant and had a lovely meal to kick start the celebrations, and according to Susie “it felt amazing having all our family and closest friends with us”.
The wedding dress
Susie’s dress was called Paris and was designed by Forget Me Not, a British design team based on the Isle of Wight. Susie said “I knew I didn’t want anything too ‘traditional’ and I tended to be drawn to material rather than shape – anything vintage looking and lacey. I had been to a few shops with my bridesmaids, including vintage wedding dress shops in London where I had tried a wide range of styles on. Then I went shopping at home with my Mum and sister and my nieces. Sophia, who was about a year old at the time came for the morning and in the afternoon my older niece, Anneliese (who was four at the time) came. Lynn, my sister and I, were looking through the dresses on a rail and pulled out this dress which was just the most beautiful material – it was a creamy, champagne gold colour and lacey. Because Lynn is almost 6 foot and I am about 5 foot 5 we couldn’t work out how long the dress was – it looked long for me but super short for Lynn. Anyway, before I tried anything on I said to Anneliese ‘just tell me if you think I look pretty, if you don’t think I do it doesn’t matter just say so but if you think I do look pretty say Auntie Susie I like this one’. So I tried three or four other dresses on and walked out the dressing room to show my Mum, Lynn and Anneliese who were sat at the end of the mirrors and Anneliese said ‘no, no, no’ to each one. Then I walked out in the dress I ended up getting and she just said ‘yes, that’s the one’ and punched the air! Then she fell asleep for the afternoon. Job done!
There is a lot of pressure to find ‘the one’ all I knew is that I loved the dress because I couldn’t stop smiling when I was wearing it. There were other dresses that I thought were gorgeous but I just felt really special in Paris. The style of the dress ‘fitted’ our venue and our plans for a day that would be fun, relaxed and informal. I loved the full skirt and the length was perfect for our day which was going to be spent on grass and walking through woods! I absolutely loved the detail too – the belt was unusual and the whole look made the dress have a vintage feel, which is what I wanted. I kept coming back to Paris and when I took my bridesmaids, Annie (my sister) and Kate (my friend), and my mother in law June they all loved it. Everywhere I tried on the dress it was almost a perfect fit, so I decided to see if I could get hold of a sample. I looked online for suppliers and phoned around shops that were within an hour of my parents house in Birmingham and my flat in London. I eventually got it from a shop in Ironbridge, near Telford, called ‘She’. Angie, the owner offered me a great deal and was just so lovely and a total perfectionist.”
Other wedding details
Susie decided against a veil, as “it just didn’t feel very me. I wanted something again that was informal and relaxed so I found a gold flower in a haberdashery shop in London, I just used grips to put it in my hair.” Susie made her bracelet from two small pearl bracelets that she had bought when she was a bridesmaid for her best friend. She told us “I bought some small ribbon bows from a craft shop, sewed one onto the bracelets and then attached a locket that my best friend had bought for me before the wedding. I put a picture of my mum and my dad in. My parents died when I was younger so it was important to have them near to me on the day. I also wore my Mum’s engagement ring. It upset me putting it on on the day, as it was a reminder that she couldn’t be with me, but I loved having it on too knowing that my mum was wearing the same ring on her special day.”
Susie borrowed her earrings from her sister Annie. Susie’s sister had bought them in New York for her wedding. Susie said “I was blown away when I saw them, they were so beautiful and looked amazing in her photos. I was a little nervous asking but Annie was so happy to let me borrow them.”
Susie knew she would prefer smaller heels, as she said she is “not brilliant at walking in sky scrapers, and given I would be walking on grass and cobbles I thought I had to be a bit practical. Had I known that I would wear wellies for that part of the day I wouldn’t have worried! My dress shop recommended Rachel Simpson shoes so I looked online. I ended up getting them on ebay and absolutely loved them. But I had really wanted bows on the front of my shoes to go with the whole 50’s style of the dress, so I went to an amazing vintage wedding shop in London called ‘Fur Coat No Knickers’ and they sewed gorgeous little ivory bows on the shoes for me. I loved them. As I said, I ended up wearing wellies for most of the day. To cut a long story short, it was raining we wanted to keep the ceremony outside and I was told everyone was wearing wellies down at the loch so I thought ‘well if they are I probably should’. Luckily my friend works for Hunters and, as a wedding gift, bought me a gorgeous pair of pink wellies. They looked great against the cream of the dress. Lots of people since have commented on how much they liked the welly look. At least it meant my feet didn’t hurt and I could dance in my heels all night.”
Lynne Deherdt did Susie’s make up and her and a lovely lady called Agneshka did the make up for the bridesmaids, the mothers and my sister. Agneshka also did our nails. Susie did her own hair. She told us “I was a little nervous about it as I hadn’t really had much time to practice. But it was fine, I just curled it with straighteners and my sister, Annie, helped me get it right.”
Susie and Paul’s adult bridesmaids wore cornflower blue dresses from Coast. As soon as Susie saw the colour, she knew it would be perfect. They chose their own gold shoes and jewellery and both looked gorgeous. The couple also had 3 flowergirls – Susie’s niece, Anneliese, and Paul’s niece Amelia both wore cream and Susie’s little niece Sophia wore pink. They were all brilliant and very cute.
Susie had a meeting with her florist, Fiona Cumming at her home in Edinburgh and they talked about what she wanted. They settled on blue hydrangeas and large cream roses for Susie and bright pink peonies and cream roses for the older bridesmaids. Susie then wanted lots of petals to put into little baskets she had bought for the little bridesmaids. Susie told us “The table centres were jugs, that I had bought from a market local to me, with jam jars dotted around. I asked Fiona to use any flowers that looked relaxed, bright and pretty. These placed in the jugs and then individual stems were put into the jam jars. It looked so pretty when they were all together on the day.”
Paul wore a grey spirit kilt, but with a relaxed approach and socks down. Black and grey kilt, black shirt, black waistcoat and grey jacket. Susie gave Paul some cufflinks on the morning of the wedding, which were steering wheels – he loves cars. Paul’s best man and the ushers all wore the same as Paul – even Paul’s English friends were made to wear a kilt and no pants were allowed.
The couple chose not to have a cake as there wasn’t anything they wanted. Similarly, they chose not to have favours as Susie said “we didn’t want to do them for the sake of it when we couldn’t think of anything interesting or relevant to do for them.” Susie and Paul hired a Bentley GTC for 5 days and drove it from London to their venue and back again which they summed up as an “amazing experience”. A friend had recommended Premier Velocity in Ware, England.
Susie and Paul bought the rings from Dominic Carr of London, again recommended by a friend. They would recommend him to anyone buying rings in London as he provided “a very individual personal experience”.