Our Simple Scottish Wedding

I've read quite a few of these planning threads and have decided to start my own, with the aid of a bottle of wine to help me believe that someone will actually want to read this!


My fiance and myself have been engaged since Christmas day 2017 and have already been through the absolute works when it comes to wedding planning. At first we had planned for February 2020, our 5 year anniversary. However with R wanting to go back to college it meant that we didn't even know if he'd be in the country come then. Then we tried to plan a small wedding and became so caught up in 'keeping up with the Jones's' that it all became so overwhelming that we almost gave up. We then looked at finances and realised that, if we were self funding, we would not be able to afford a simple wedding for at least 6 or 7 years and decided to postpone planning.


This brings us to now. My parents have graciously offered a large sum of money towards the wedding and are perfectly happy with our ideas for a small and intimate ceremony followed by a larger reception. We only want our immediate families in attendance for our vows and then we will celebrate with everyone else later in the day. Ideally, we are looking at less than forty during the day, including children, and then over 120 at night. 


Sometimes it feels as if weddings must be this huge, extravagant affair with everyone and their auntie's dog in attendance. We have never wanted that and this feels just 'us'. 


  • How We Met

    I've followed enough of these threads to know that a 'how we met' portion is almost like a prerequisite. R and I have been together for almost three years, after meeting online. I had left a long term relationship, after moving 50 miles away from my home and job, to live with someone completely unsuitable; young 'love'!. R had just left a long term relationship, after being with someone for over five years but never envisioning a future.

    We both signed up for 'match.com' and had not imagined meeting anyone but the lure of online dating seemed too strong. I signed up because as a single parent and student it was too much to throw in a love life and R signed up because, quite frankly, he hates meeting people and socialising. We were a match made in heaven!


    We must have spoken online for two or so weeks before deciding to meet. He had originally asked to take me out on the Saturday but decided he'd rather see me on the Friday night for dinner (I later discovered this was because he didn't want to spend a day with me if he wasn't sure). We met that night and the rest, as they say, is history. We have spent every moment together since; moved in together after 10 months; bought a house together after a year and a half and promptly fell pregnant. 


    I couldn't ask for a more perfect man. He completely understands me, is always there to encourage me and pick me up when I am down. I never thought I'd find someone who could accept and love my son as much as I do, or someone to help me keep another tiny human alive. 

  • Kelly224Kelly224 Posts: 960 New bride

    Oh so pleased your able to go ahead with your wedding sooner than originally thought!

    look forward to reading more about your plans! 

  • Thank you, we have 4 venues we are going to look at which cater for smaller weddings with scope to increase evening numbers. 

    We could go see more but they are slighlty too far away to ask as many people to attend evening only.


    Unfortunately we are positioned between all major Central belt cities which means a good 20-30 minute travel before you even come across many places.

  • Great news about being able to bring things forward.  Look forward to hearing about your venue viewings.  

  • Out of interest, did you consider Fingask Castle?  It has a smaller space in the castle but a massive space for the evening.  It's in the central belt in between Perth and Dundee and exclusive use just like Dundas Castle but without the price tag.  £1-£3K depending on date but you can bring external caterers in like Hog Roast etc.

    Anyhoo, looking forward to your thread!  

  • Thank you. We did consider Fingask and it is beautiful! However it's about 45-50 minutes drive from us and would require all guests to either stay over (and we'd feel obligated to provide buses) or they'd leave early to get home. 


    We live right on the m80 so, thankfully, transport links are good but there are only 2 wedding venues in our town and we then need to look at Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh.


    I also considered Norton House, Dalhousie Castle, Cornhill Castle but with an hours drive for an evening reception we didn't pursue it any further. If we had everyone all day and night it wouldn't be as much of an issue.

  • Going round in circles


    We haven't even got round to looking at venues based on our new plan of action and my mother, who I assumed was okay with everything, is clearly not too happy.

    She started asking about other family members who live an hour - two hours away and whether they'd be all day guests as it's "too much" for an evening only invite and if it were her she'd decline. Then she made noises about just inviting everyone all day and I think FMIL will agree.


    I'm sick of the notion of family obligation. I have seen these people twice in the past 7 years. Prior to that it had been around 10 years. I don't even know them, when it comes down to it.


    I could elope with OH and the kids. Or tell me parents it's them and siblings, a dinner and bugger all else. Shove their money and ideas up their arse.

  • Jan21Jan21 Posts: 6

    Hi DreamCatcher,

    Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding and we’ll done for sticking to your guns on a more intimate ceremony.

    Just a thought: sometimes faux flowers can be a beautiful and lower-cost alternative for your big day. Please see my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HandMadeByJanDesigns

    for romantic, relaxed and realistic floral pieces for your wedding.


  • Our Vision

    Right from the off R and myself decided we wanted a smaller wedding, although we explored the option of a larger wedding as we felt as if it was the 'done' thing. We are constantly surrounded by weddings where everyone invites their second cousin twice removed and great aunt Agnes who we met once at a family party over a decade ago. 

    We were so undecided and unsure of a larger guest list that was actually explored the option of having a later ceremony followed by an immediate evening reception. It took us a long time to actually decide what we wanted and we finally agreed on an 'immediate family' only ceremony and meal followed by a larger evening reception. To us immediate family extends to the aunt and cousins we are close to, which brings our grand total under 40 guests with almost 100 more invited in the evening.


    When we first started to research venues I had my heart set on Rowallan Castle or Dundas Castle. I had seen them mentioned multiple times, stalked their social media and just fell completely and utterly in love. The first clue that they would never be in my price range should have been when they didn't have pricing information online. Still I persevered, and became bitterly disappointed. Rowallan Castle had a hire fees of over £5000 before any meals or drinks were purchased, whilst the hire fee for Dundas Castle was over £7000. Both of those alone are completely over our budget and really upset me. I had envisioned the perfect day in Rowallan; simple blush and cream tones with navy accents, floral, floaty and very spring time simple. It took a lot for me to let go of that and to stop comparing other venues to Rowallan.


    However, that brought us to another hiccup. We soon realised that in the wedding industry our budget was not going to go far at all. We could save for longer and increase the budget but I, personally, cannot stomach the thought of spending so much money on one day when I have two children and an OH who wants to go back to college. It would financially cripple us and I am not willing to do that. 


    We looked and looked and are in contact with quite a few places who will hopefully offer us what we want. So far we are definitely off to see The Drake gastro pub in Glasgow and the Castlecary House Hotel near Glasgow. I've made arrangements to see the Grange Manor near Grangemouth; The Parklands in Newton Mearns, The Busby in Clarkston and the Lynnhurst in Jonestone. We are also hoping to see the Inchyra Grange near Polmont and The Garfield Hotel near Stepps. 

    Originally both R and I wanted a wedding in Montrose Street registry office in Glasgow, followed by a meal somewhere lovely and then off to somewhere like a golf club, Castlecary or the Drake for an evening reception. We are both still leaning towards this but, logistically, having everything in the one place as opposed to three separate locations makes more sense. 


    I've also come to the conclusion that I'd possibly elope and be done with it. Crear weddings in Tarbet do 'wee weddings' which includes everything bar your notice and Celebrant. I'd jump at this chance.

  • NatFNatF Posts: 9

    Thanks so much for sharing your planning!

    We are having similar problems; we want an intimate wedding with a maximum of 60, everywhere we like either requires a minimum number of 90 for a Saturday wedding or is too far out of our budget. We would like a small castle / stately home for our reception as we hope to get married in a chapel but we don’t want our wedding breakfast to be in a marquee in the grounds - we would want it to be in the main building.  We want somewhere with character less than 40 minutes away but we have yet to find exactly what we want! 

  • TiaMariaTiaMaria Posts: 120

    Hi dream catcher, not sure if your exact budget and guest list  but a few other places to consider would be Gleddoch House (lovely and think it has been done up since I was at a wedding there), sloanes, Oran Mor (think there are smaller rooms/packages) and 29 (same as oran Mor), all within or near glasgow! X

  • Thanks TiaMaria, we've emailed Gleddoch and are just waiting on a reply. Sloans was too expensive as they wanted the full £1000 hire for both floors and then drinks, food and ceremony fees. Oran Mor wouldn't accept our wedding on a Friday in April unfortunately. Thank you though x


    NatF that was our problem too - minimum numbers and/or prices. I'm not too sure where you are placed but Dalhousie Castle do good packages for intimate weddings. If we decide to scrape the whole thing and elope it's on the list for that.

  • TiaMariaTiaMaria Posts: 120

    No problem at all, hope you find something! X

  • I feel exactly the same as you, I'd like a small intimate wedding with close family but these days everything is about going big... I just can't bear the thought of spending that much money on one day! We fell on our feet when we found our venue with the amount that's offered in the small price compared with some places. I hope you find yours soon! 

  • .

  • So a lot has changed in our plans since my last post, which included us saying "to hell with it, we're eloping" (and although that isn't on the cards just now it may still be an option if the wedding planning becomes too much).

    We've had enough of family comments and decided to invite family and close friends to the whole bloody things, which means our intimate wedding now has 70 adults and 13 children. It's bloody ridiculous and has completely put me off many of my plans. I now have two bridesmaids instead of one. We've narrowed it down to two venues based purely on location and price; we aren't getting our ideal day, I cannot afford my ideal venue and therefore we aren't overly fussed on the venue. I know that not many brides will say that but we are realistic in our expectations and are looking at other ways to make it ours, such as making the centrepieces, having a humanist ceremony and making our own wedding rings (yes, you can actually do that - and they throw in a wee lunch!).



    So, as I mentioned above, we've narrowed it down to two venues based on the prices and them not being overly awful. The first is Dullatur Golf Club and the second is Castlecary House Hotel; both are fairly local and their prices can't be argued with. We are trying to keep all of the food, drink and hire fees to around £3000 for 70 day adults, 13 children and a further 50 adults in the evening. 

    We went to see Dullatur and they seem a lot more flexible than the Castlecary in terms of menus and drinks, including allowing corkage. They also have a deal on at the moment offering 10% off the menu prices, which is a huge bonus.

    Pros - nicer grounds for pictures, ceremony and reception suite above ground level offering better views, bar prices are better, social membership included for a year, a lockable room for storage, buffet served to tables, good food, refundable deposit and cheaper.

    Cons - no accommodation, everything happens in the one room, members bar is still open for the duration and the function suite is smaller.


    We are going to a wedding fayre at the Castlecary but I've been to several functions there already. 

    Pros - accommodation for everyone who would need to stay, bar area in a separate lounge, bigger function room which is slightly more modern, area for breakout during room change around, more 'weddingy'.

    Cons - dearer, no corkage, grounds aren't the best for pictures and the view is on to a bit of sloped grass.


    We need to sit down and have a think about what we actually want and what is important to us. It sounds silly but I don't want to spend more money than I need to on a wedding meal I didn't particularly want.


  • This has been completely neglected, but WE BOOKED OUR VENUE!


    We went with Dullatur Golf Club, as both of us loved the flexibility, the view from the rooms, the food and the price was something we cannot beat. We are able to now ask our guests whether they want white/red/rose wine for the meal and if they'd prefer a bottle of beed (and their choice) or sparkling wine for toasts/drinks reception. I've been to a few weddings where there is only white/red wine on the table and a lot of the sparkling wine going untouched as male guests don't want it, so this should hopefully allow us to make our guests a little more comfortable.


    After booking it we got the ball rolling and contacted OH's friend (who he works with and his a professional wedding photographer) and she will do a full day package, with all images edited and on a usb, for £600. Fully flexible on timings and has lovely work. Thankfully OHs parents will pay for this.

    We met a woman at a wedding fayre who makes delicious cakes at reasonable prices and we're booked in for a taster with her, and to discuss provisional ideas. I'm keen on a Harry Potter cake, OH wants a batman cake. We'll see who wins, or we'll go half and half! OHs grandma kindly offered to pay for that, which is lovely of her.

    OH also wants a piper and happens to know one of them, so we're just waiting on official paperwork coming through before sending a deposit over. I never wanted a piper and instead wanted a guitarist, but it's his day too and a piper isn't terribly awful.

    I've also made appointments at 3 wedding dress shops, with a walk in at wed2b also scheduled, for the Spring break. This gives me about 8 weeks to lose some weight before I try anything on!


    It's all been a go since we booked, as I'd rather get the big things booked and then concentrate on the small details over the next year. We're going to finalise, finalise our guest list and order Save the Dates to send as guests are coming from all over and with it being a long, holiday weekend we want to give people notice. Stationery will be a Vistaprint or Optimal Print special, as really they get binned and I'm not fussed.

  • DreamCatcher_DreamCatcher_ Posts: 119

    Christ, this has been horrible neglected and we've actually ticked quite a few of the big things off of our list.


    As I mentioned before we have booked our venue and photographer. We have also asked H2B's piper friend to play for us before and after the ceremony (I do want some form of actual music though for during the ceremony but H2B is insistent on the piper as well). We also got in touch with a different cake designer and they have quoted us £600 for a bespoke cake, large enough for around 130 guests. We are having it fairly plain on the front but with some Harry Potter wording iced on, as well as sugar lace trims, and then at the back a curtain will open up to display a night time sky skyline with the Batman logo.


    H2B has decided on a kilt and is set on the Help for Hereos tartan with a tweed jacket. The plan is to have H2B, BM, our two DC, both ushers and both dads in the same outfit. We're looking at a cornflower blue coloured tie to bring out the lighter blue in the tartan and this will be the same colour as birdesmaid dresses.

    This was after much heated discussion between myself anf H2B about his dad only wanting his family to wear the kilt H2B picked, as in his entire family. H2B didn't want it to happen but didn't want to offend his dad. 


    I've started dress shopping and I've absolutely hated that but I'll write another post about that as a standalone.

  • DreamCatcher_DreamCatcher_ Posts: 119

    This is the colours we are hopefully going for.

    My bouquet will have all three and the BMs will only have the pink and cream/white.image

  • Elz2017Elz2017 Posts: 316

    Hi from another planning thread neglecter... 

    Lovely colours and flower plans - looking forward to hearing more about your dress shopping - sounds like you had VIEWS! 

  • DreamCatcher_DreamCatcher_ Posts: 119

    Tomorrow is shop 9! And dress 60 something or other.


    I'll put a detailed post about my experience so far because it isn't all fairytales and wonderful.

  • Good luck! I know how much of a drag it can be...must have tried like 40 dresses or something stupid


  • DreamCatcher_DreamCatcher_ Posts: 119

    Thank you everyone.


    My Dress Shopping Experience


    I am an avid Say Yes to the Dress watcher: UK, Kleinfelds, Atlanta, Ireland, Australia, Bridesmaids, I don't discriminate. I also watch programmes such as I Found the Gown, Something Borrowed Something New and Don't Tell the Bride. In every single one of these programmes there is always 'the moment', that magical point when the bride puts on a dress and becomes so overwhelmed that she breaks down, which then leads to her entourage crying and agreeing that she is breathtaking. She has found 'The One'.


    In my opinion, based on my own experience, that is a lot of nonsense. Watching these programmes has ultimately led to a lot of confusion and frustration on my part because I never had that moment and it made me feel as though I was doing something wrong. In the end it took me 9 shops, 9 bloody shops filled with white dresses that start to look the same, and over 80 dresses to find my dress. 


    I set out to find a dress with the best, happiest intentions I could muster. I understood that I'd be in my bra and pants in front of strangers, something I'm not overly comfortable with being very body conscious and introverted, but needs must so I powered on. I had an idea in my head but was open to suggestions, after so much research I knew that brides don't always end up as they expect. I was armed with hours of viewing every bridal shopping programme TLC could throw at me and I was good to go. 


    Shop number one was one my mum had noticed on Facebook, it had good reviews and after looking online there seemed to be a few dresses that took my fancy. I wanted a sheath dress, something not too fitted but fairly straight up and down, definitely no poof and I wanted a back. You know, a back that would make people go 'wow'. After all, your guests spend the entire ceremony looking at your back/side, why not make it worthwhile? We arrived and were greeted by our sales assistant who showed us to our 'area', a space of the shop with two couches, a pedestal, floor length mirror and large changing room. We were asked for any drinks before being let lose on the racks. I immediately went to the sheath dresses and chose a few to try on, along with picks from my mum, sister and future mother in law.

    This is when it all went down hill and I lost every single bit of enjoyment out of the whole experience. You see, I've put on weight. I'm a UK 16, sometimes a 14, I'm 11 months post partum (10 at this point) and my body was ruined with stretchmarks due to my first pregnancy (8 years later, they're still deep, angry and red). I wobble in places that shouldn't wobble.

    I went to try on dress one and looked as if someone had tried to squash sausage meat in to a skin that's too small. I looked awful and the sample was a 16. It was at this point I realised bridal sizes were not high street sizes and began to feel shit. I went out and hated what I saw. The cut wasn't flattering, the back never closed and it was all wrong yet I still persevered with more of the same style, gradually feeling more and more depressed. Eventually I gave up the hope of a sheath dress and tried on the fishtail my sister picked. It never even came up past my waist. We tried another and I hated it. It drew attention to every point of my body that I hated. Lastly there was a poofy a-line gown and the tulle was everywhere. It made me look like a fucking meringue, increased my size and just looked ridiculous. 

    I hated every single dress they put on my body and we left for shop two.



  • DreamCatcher_DreamCatcher_ Posts: 119

    Sorry, my original reply was far too long and had been cut off.


    Shop 2 was a lovely little independently owned shop which stocked a lot of brands such as Callista, Hiliary Morgan, Opulence etc. but after that initial appointment I felt slightly deflated. I didn't realise that simply fitting in to dresses would be such an issue and, having built up and idea of what I wanted myself to look like, I simply couldn't let go.

     I did pick out more dresses, some sheath styles and then a few more that were a-line. I still included lovely backs and lace in my designs along with tulle. 

    This shop made me feel a little more at ease than the last because we were the only ones there and it felt more private, no one was staring at me as I paraded in front of a big mirror. Again, there were many nice dresses but there was always something I wasn't quite happy with. I did find one gown that I liked and took the name of, it was an off the shoulder a-line style that had a corset lining in the top half and gave me good shape. However, I didn't love it and the more time I had to dwell on it the less 'in like' I fell.


    In this shop I tried on my first tea length dress - a strapless tulle monstrosity that made me resemble some form of demented Tinkerbell. Not the best look but, in the back of my mind, tea length wasn't a complete write off. I enjoyed not feeling like a young child playing dress up. I enjoyed the freedom of being able to move without feeling like I was carrying about something enormous. 

    I probably would go back to both shops again for bridesmaid shopping as they did have lovely dresses, unfortunately the wedding dresses just didn't do it for me. 

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