21 April 2012- A Humanist Wedding in Scotland- A Report of our amazing day with pictures

We got married on 21st April 2012 and it really was the best day of our lives! My husband (I love saying that) is out on his bike, I have a cup of tea in my hand, the perfect time to start a report I think!

How we met

We met in April 2009, on a night out in Leeds, in Sandinistas if anyone knows it, we were both a bit (lot) worse for wear. We had briefly met before through work although Mr P didn't remember me, what an impact I must have made! We had our first official date on the 1st May, our 2nd on the 2nd May, and that is how it continued! We both realised early on that we had something special, we never had to have that awkward conversation -so are we a couple?' we just knew.

I spent loads of time at Mr P's house from the start but officially moved in in Sept 2010.



  • The Proposal

    In April/May 2011 we went on a 3 week holiday to Austrailia, travelling from Syndney to Cairns, it was amazing! Mr P had planned to propose on our Whitsundays cruise on Whitehaven beach, unfortunately it was pouring with rain and we were surrounded by foreign teenage backpackers!

    The proposal came at the end of our holiday, in a cable car above the rainforest in Kuranda, near Cairns. Mr P presented me with a pebble and asked if I would be his penguin! I didn't understand straight away, then he gave me a ring and asked if I would marry him, lol now I understood! I burst into tears and finally said yes!

    (This blue ring features again on the wedding day)

    When we got home we went shopping together for my proper ring, Here it is:

  • Chloe_B2013Chloe_B2013 Posts: 512
    I love your proposal story! It's so lovely, especially the pebble and penguin bit image

    Looking forward to reading more.x
  • The Venue

    I always knew I didn't want a church wedding as I am not religious at all, but I did want a ceremony that was personal and meaningful, without the constraints of a civil ceremony, and with the option to be married outdoors. For that reason we chose to have a Humanist ceremony, the only problem being that they are only legally recognised in Scotland! I'm originally from N Wales, my husband is from N Ireland and we live in Leeds, so not exactly convenient! We started looking at Gretna Green as it is just over the border but ruled this out as it felt a bit too commercialised, not the romantic vision I had in my head of run away lovers!

    We extended the search to south west Scotland, mainly Dumfries and Galloway, using the internet to find suitable venues. We narrowed our list down to 4 -5 places to go and visit. I made a checklist which I took to each venue so that we could compare them easily after the visits. However one stood out head and shoulders above the rest, I totally fell in love with it, it felt really comfortable and homely, had lovely outdoor space and was within our budget. We booked it the same day!

    The Venue we chose was Mabie House Hotel, a country house hotel on the edge of the Mabie forest near Dumfries. Here are some pictures:

    Other venues we looked at were Caerlaverock Castle, Sweetheart Abbey, Marthrown of Mabie, Auldgirth Inn and Moffat House Hotel.
  • Thanks Chloe,

    I'm feeling all soppy writing about it! I'm sure I never used to be this soft! x
  • bellingtonbellington Posts: 1,662
    I love your hubby's proposal. And your rings too. image What a lovely venue, love all the grounds. Look forward to more. x image
  • Ah what a lovely proposal! Love the pebble and penguin remark he made. too cute
  • Thank you Bellington & Clare! It was very cute!

    The Theme

    When we went to see the venue we noticed the lovely daffodils in the grounds of the venue and the bluebells in the woods, this gave us our colour scheme as easy as that. I did get some paint colour charts from B&Q to choose the shades of blue and yellow that we wanted, not that we stuck to them! So the loose theme was kind of natural, outdoors, forest with blue and yellow, plus some birds, flowers and a bit of vintage! Would that be called eclectic? Or maybe just a mish mash!

    Here are some inspiration pics:

  • Stationary

    We decided early on that we would like to make our stationary. Mr P had the idea that we could do a lino print, something he did at school many, many years ago! So we bought all the equipment from Ebay & Hobbycraft and got to work.

    Save the dates- these were plain postcards with the print on one side and the info on the other.

    Invites- square folded cards, with the print on the front, a folded insert and ribbon around the middle.

    TIP! If you buy cards, buy a standard size so that you can also get ready made inserts, we didn't and it took ages trimming down the paper with a guillotine.

    We also included the extra info such as directions, accommodation, taxi's etc on 3 square pieces of card and attached them together with ribbon. With hindsight I would have spent a bit more on pocketfolds and saved myself (and my mum) some time.

    Order of Ceremony- I found a free template for a basic order of service, to which I added a scan of the print used on the invites. It was basically a piece of A4 card folded in half, with a folded paper insert, held together with a thin piece of blue elastic.

    Place cards- I bought some plain yellow place cards really cheaply on ebay, and used the scan image again to make individual place cards.

    Table plan- We bought a framed picture of a field of flowers with a wide border from Ikea, then stuck 11 squares of pale blue card around it, with smaller paper squares with our tables on. Because we used our own computer, printer, paper etc, it meant that it would be easy to change if necessary. Here it is:

  • i'm really enjoying your report and cant wait to see when the blue ring comes back! x
  • Thanks Melissa,good to know you are enjoying it!

    The Dress

    I was initially hoping to get a dress for around £200, probably from the high street. I thought it was ridiculous that people spent thousands of £££s on a dress for one day. I changed my mind!

    My first trip dress shopping was on the high street, BHS, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Coast etc, although there were some nice dresses, there was nothing that I wanted to wear on the most important day of my life!

    I had started buying wedding magazines by this point and one dress jumped out at me, Justin Alexander 8530, I loved it! I found a local stockist, Ava Marie Hamilton in Silsden, and made an appointment to go and see it with my mum. I tried on about 6 dresses while I was there, including a meringue just to rule it out. I knew that the JA was going to be my wedding dress! Unfortunately the dress was £1100, more than I had hoped to pay. I have to say the service there was fantastic, I would recommend it although I didn't buy from there in the end.

    It was still about 11 months before the wedding so I decided to keep an eye on the 2nd hand dress websites to see if anyone was selling my dress. About 2 weeks later, I found it, the right height and almost the right size. It was on Sell my wedding dress, and the girl selling it lived in Kent. I didn't want to risk paying for it and having it couriered in case it didn't fit, luckily my H2B drove me there to try it, then buy it! For £500, I couldn't believe my luck!

    Here is the dress on a model:

    And on me:

    I also loved these dresses but didn't try them as they were way over my budget (Stephanie Allin and Vintage Wedding Dress Company):

  • charlieleyacharlieleya Posts: 614
    Oh wow what a gorgeous dress! You look stunning in it image congratulations!
  • Thanks so much Charlieleya!
  • Thanks Francesca! I will keep going ....


    I initially bought flat shoes and diamante earrings and hairband to go with my dress, luckily all cheap!

    I didn't end up wearing any of these!

    Then I saw this tulle birdcage veil on etsy and had to have it.

    Because it had pearls on it, I thought pearl earrings would go better. Luckily my mum had some in her jewellery box so that was my something borrowed. I bought a bracelet from Debenhams and my boss lent me an antique ring which I wore on my little finger.

    Because my husband is only an inch taller than me I was going to wear flats, but I thought my dress looked better with a small heel, and I stood better in them too. I got these from BHS, wide fit too so they were comfortable all day.

  • thirdthingthirdthing Posts: 582
    You look fantastic in your dress!
  • Pick1ePick1e Posts: 107
    Beautiful dress, you look stunning. And absolutely love the birdcage veil.
  • Banner85Banner85 Posts: 25
    You look stunning! I ordered this dress 3 weeks ago! My wedding isnt till next year but i fell in love with the dress in September when I found it on the internet and I knew I just had to have it!

    Your wedding really does look beautiful!
  • Aprildumfriesbride you look stunning in your wedding dress.

    I just adore the back of it. Would it be ok to add your front and back pics to my Justin Alexander page on my real brides blog?

    On the other post you send you'd send me some pics, but as long as it's ok with you I could just add these two from here and save you the bother of emailing them over.

    Your veil is beautiful too.

    What a gorgeous bride.

  • bellingtonbellington Posts: 1,662
    You look gorgeous. And your birdcage veil goes so well. Looking forward to more.x image
  • Thanks for all your comments.

    Great choice Banner!

    Findthatdress help yourself to my pictures x
  • SP2013SP2013 Posts: 857
    What a dress! Wow! You look amazing!
  • EmsBuddyEmsBuddy Posts: 280
    Absolutely stunning!!

    Can't wait to read more!! X
  • mrshardie2bmrshardie2b Posts: 253
    Looking forward to reading more! Great report so far. Your dress is stunning, I love it! You look very elegant. xx
  • Thanks SP, Ems and Mrs Hardie! Lovely of you to comment.

    The Wedding Party

    I chose my oldest and bestest friend to be my Best Lady, and Mr P chose his best friend to be his Best Man. We had our little neice and nephew as flower girl and page boy.

    I am very lucky that my best lady is super talented! We went shopping for fabric together then she made her own dress, blue waistcoats & cravats for the best man, page boy and dads, and an ivory waistcoat and cravat for Mr P.

    My best lady wore some cool brogues from Clarks to go with her dress. The flowergirl wore a dress from Monsoon.

    Mr P wore a grey suit from Ted baker which had a pale blue pinstripe, with his ivory waist coast and cravat, with grey suede shoes from john rocha. He looked lovely!

  • MrsCocoRibMrsCocoRib Posts: 87
    More! I'm loving this xxx
  • your dress is amazing!!

    Loving the story...tell us more haha!
  • Thanks Cocorib and curlysue. Just a quick post today but hopefully i'll get more done at the weekend as Mr P is away on a stag do.

    The Cakes

    I love cake! My step mum and sister in law made some amazing cupcakes to match our colour scheme, they were gorgeous! We displayed them on a couple of cakestands from BHS.

    The main cake was from M&S, a large fruit cake, with a medium and small sponge. Everyone commented on how tasty the cake was so I'm glad we made a bit of a saving there! We wrapped each layer with a length of tartan ribbon, and had some very cute owl cake toppers. These were made by jules little gems from etsy.

  • The Flowers

    For my bouquet I had large ivory roses, small yellow roses and blue thistles.

    Our flower girl has a small version of my bouquet, my best lady and our mums had corsages and the best man, dads and page boy had button holes

    They were all done by tulip mobile florist based in Dumfries, his prices are really reasonable and he did exactly what we had asked for, I would definitely recommend him.

    A friend of mine did 2 vases of mixed colourful flowers, they looked and smelled beautiful!

    We also had tin cans with gyposilia on the windowsills.


  • The Tables

    I must have changed my mind about 20 times about what to have on the tables! In the end we had- A small round table cloth, in a blue/yellow floral material, lovingly made by my mum

    A cast iron bird

    A small vase of ivory roses

    Table name- a wildflower postcard, sat in a wooden branch holder made by Mr P

    Favours- mini eggs in an organza bag, these all got eaten.

    Place names

    We decided to have chair covers with an ivory bow as the chairs were red and just didn't go. The cheapest supplier we found was NNE based in Dumfries, they were great.

    We made little activity packs for all of the children with colouring books, bubbles, little toys etc, they were left on the chairs.
  • The week before

    We got married on the Saturday and my last day at work was on the Tuesday, I'm so glad I took some time off to get last minute things sorted out!

    I did have a last minute dress drama, my dress had been altered and I thought it was fine, but when I tried it on the week before it was too big on my hips! Panic! I thought about leaving it as it was but I really wanted it to be perfect, so I found another seamstress, she was busy and couldn't finish it until Thursday, the day before we travelled up to Scotland! I kept having nightmares that my dress wouldn't fit, or be wonky or ruined (very irrational I know, this was my only near bridezilla moment so not too bad!); I decided to buy a dress from BHS so that I knew I would at least have something to wear if my beautiful dress was ruined. Of course when I collected my dress on the Thursday it was absolutely perfect, I could have kissed the seamstress, and I got my money back on the back up BHS dress. Mr P thought I was bonkers!

    I went to Adelena in Rodley, Leeds for a spray tan, shellac nails, eye brow and lash tint on the Thursday evening. I would definitely recommend Shellac, they dry straight away and are almost impossible to chip, they looked really shiny too. I had a practise spray tan for my Hen Do so I knew they would do a natural look. I know a lot of people worry about the tan rubbing off on their dress, mine didn't although there was some orange on the inside of my bra.

    On the Friday morning we packed up the car and drove up to Scotland, we arrived by lunchtime and checked into our rooms. There was a steady stream of our families arriving through the afternoon so we were kept busy meeting and greeting.

    The night before

    We didn't stick to tradition the night before the wedding and decided to go out for a meal, just the two of us. We just thought we would like a relaxed evening rather than organising a big family meal. We went back to the hotel bar for about 9 and told people we would be around for a drink.

    At about 11, my friends said we had to all go up to my room (the Penthouse Suite!), so I said goodbye to Mr P and left him in the bar with all the boys. When we got there they presented me with a book of photo's and messages from everyone who had been at the Hen Do, it was lovely and I nearly cried. We also had champagne to celebrate my last few hours as a single lady.
  • ceilidhmceilidhm Posts: 2
    Amazing story, your dress and all the small details are fabulous! you looked gorgeous in your dress! xx
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