When childhood sweethearts Emma and Callum got engaged after 12 years together, they knew they wanted to say ‘I do’ within the year.
With plenty of personal touches, including some Easter-themed surprises, the happy couple opted for a spring wedding at award-winning venue, Balbirnie House Hotel, all captured beautifully by Suzanne Black Photography.
Here, bride Emma shares more of their eggscellent big day…
“We met at school and were in the same class on the first day. We were both quite shy in those awkward first years and didn’t actually become friends until fourth year at school.
Callum is one of the kindest people I have ever met and goes above and beyond to help anyone.
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and Callum proposed on a surprise break to Glencoe. We had a trip on The Jacobite steam train, which is basically the Hogwarts Express and it travels over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct.
We then went a walk into the hills to see the view and I turned around to see Callum down on one knee, surrounded by midges. It was the west coast of Scotland in June: prime midge season!
Finding an available venue which ticked all the boxes was first on the list. The most important things for us was a venue with character, lots of space inside and out and availability as we wanted to get married to as close to a year from our engagement.
When we found Balbirnie House Hotel, we knew it was the venue for us.
We loved the character of the old building with its high ceilings, period features and large drawing rooms with lovely decor. The grounds are beautiful and had ample space for all our guests to mingle during the canapés and drinks reception.
The winning factor for us was the ballroom downstairs which has beautiful arched windows on every side adorned with fairy lights and a huge twinkling dance floor.
We got so much help from our friends and family and Callum was so involved with every aspect of the day. We discussed together how our wedding should look and our ideas for the day, right down to small details.
My bridesmaids were fantastic throughout and understood how much goes into planning a wedding, whilst our families were also so helpful, from accompanying us venue hunting to late night arts and craft around the table.
We embraced a lot of DIY touches. We bought our wedding invitation design from a small stationery business on Etsy for £15, which we then tailored to suit us and got them printed at a local print shop and the envelopes were hand sealed with a wax stamp.
My ridiculously talented sister-in-law Corinne owns Dazed Dorothy and she hand drew and decorated our wedding chalkboards and handmade all four bridesmaids handbags, plus a bridal bag for myself which she lined with cloth that once belonged to her grandmother.
We made our favours from recycled mini glass bottles with corks, filled with pink gin for the ladies and rum for the gents. My sister then hand wrote and attached a mini tag with ‘drink me’ on each one. For our pregnant guests, we gave them Lindt chocolate bunnies.
As our wedding took place over Easter weekend, we had decorated jars full of Mini Eggs on each table to enjoy during the speeches before dinner arrived. Callum also painstakingly hand blew and decorated real eggs with gold leaves to hang from tree branches.
We also decorated lots of little recycled glass bottles with lace and twine which our florist filled with gypsophila and hung them on the aisle chairs during our ceremony.
The in-house wedding planning team at Balbirnie were absolutely fantastic. Christine, our main wedding coordinator, was so organised and helped us massively keep on track of every aspect of planning the day. Kerrie and David, our masters of ceremony, couldn’t have done more for us, even helping me across the grass in my welly boots in the rain to achieve the perfect picture!
I went dress shopping with my mum, sister and bridesmaids. I was pretty much decided that I wanted a lace fitted dress with a V shaped back which wasn’t too ‘blingy’. I tried on every style there was it feels before I found the style that I loved.
We figured out very quickly that lace was not my friend and that a more simplistic style suited me best.
I bought my Pronovias dress from Kavelle Bridal Couture in Edinburgh. It was a combination of crepe, tulle and lace ivory; a fitted mermaid style dress with a lace back, bateau neckline and lace cap sleeve.
My Swarovski earrings were a gift from my parents, a halo drop style to compliment my engagement ring. My vintage style bridal cuff was borrowed from my friend as my something borrowed and my shoes were silver t-bar peep toes which I owned already and were my something old.
Callum had a custom kilt made and opted to wear matching green woolen socks and brown brogues, complementing his brown leather sporran which belonged to my late grandad.
The night before, I stayed with my four bridesmaids in the Pearl suite at Balbirnie and the bridal party and close friends met up at the local pub for dinner and drinks.
I felt really excited the morning of the wedding. I woke really early and couldn’t get back to sleep.
We had breakfast in the room then hair and makeup started at 8am. I spent the whole morning with my bridesmaids and mum.
I was so calm walking down the aisle as my sister had just made me laugh before it started. We were all lined up in a row ready to walk in and she turned round and whispered to us ‘Feel the rhythm! Feel the ride!’ from Cool Runnings! We all burst into giggles.
Our brilliant pianist played Elton John’s Tiny Dancer as I walked down the aisle.
We wanted a humanist ceremony as we both loved how personal the service is and all about the couple. We wrote our own vows with lots of help from our celebrant, Jane. It was so special to us to write our own and ranged from heartfelt moments to some funny ones too.
As the ceremony was at the venue, we didn’t require transport but it didn’t stop Callum’s vintage 1970’s VW Beetle from making an appearance which he restored himself!
We had a drinks reception with canapés which I didn’t even eat as I was too excited! We also has a popcorn station for everyone as I wanted something that was fun, but also gluten free for my coeliac guests.
The speeches were all fantastic my dad told funny stories of me growing up, Callum was brilliant and mentioned my grampa in his speech as sadly he passed away the year before.
The only band we wanted was Corra after seeing them at two other weddings. They played a version of Zac Brown Band’s Loving You Easy for our first dance. We love that song and the words are so fitting for us.
The dance floor was full all night and Corra kept us all going and incorporated some ceilidh tunes too which we all loved. It was such a great party.
After the wedding, we went on a mini moon for four nights to a cottage in Killin in Scotland then headed to Italy the next month at the start of May.
When you have been together for this long, being married doesn’t really feel too different. It was just a beautiful day to celebrate with all our loved ones.
Walking into the room and realising that every single person whom we love and care about was there especially for us was quite a phenomenal experience.”
Bridesmaid dresses: Polly Rose Boutique
Florist: Save the Date Collective | Cake: Mark Beedie
Humanist celebrant: Jane Bechtel from Humanist Society Scotland