Where do I even start with Andrew and Ashley? The castle, the dress, the tartan ... the CASTLE! Get ready for some serious wedding goals and a lot of swooning, because this wedding really had it all.
I always get swept up in the wedding planning with my couples, it's hard not to when everything is so exciting. When Ashley told me where the wedding was to take place, my breath was immediately taken away. They had booked the exquisite Carlowrie Castle in Kirkliston, Edinburgh - a fairytale venue nestled in the most stunning setting, boasting an idyllic walled garden and 32 acres of perfectly manicured grounds, Very quickly, my mood board was overflowing with a sea of ideas - there were just so many opportunities available to us.
I have to tell you, Andrew & Ashley were the most chilled out soon-to-be-married couple, EVER! I know they have an incredibly involved family, and there were serious meticulous planning skills involved in organising their big day but I loved how relaxed they both were in the lead up to it. Not even the threat of a severe storm could waiver their calm. The forecast was supposed to be horrendous, we had all the contingency plans in place to move everything inside should the weather be as bad as suggested. I spent the early morning praying to the sun gods to bestow a 30 minute window, just enough time to allow us to get some images in front of the Castle. It turned out that the sun gods fancied being on our side.
The rain never arrived. The sun began to crack through the clouds a little before midday, just as we left Gate Lodge to head up to the Castle and get Ashley ready to meet her groom in The Orangery. We took advantage of a nice glass of bubbly in the Castle's private suite, The Isobel; named after Isobel Wylie Hutchison the Scottish female Arctic explorer, botanist, writer, poet, artist and polyglot who lived her whole life at Carlowrie. The minutes then seemed to hasten so up to the designated Bridal Suite for final preparations. Adorned on the Atelier 1852 closet was THE dress. A Justin Alexander creation, a satin mermaid style accented with apron tulle and organza skirt - a truly stunning gown!
Whilst planning for the rain, we had not anticipated the glorious sun that was now beating down. Fortunately, beautiful hand fans had been made available to the guests and groomsmen, heavily adorned in their striking Crawford family tartan. The ceremony was enriched in heritage and tradition, with a modern twist that began with a "hug " between Ashley and Andrew then moved like a wave from guest to guest. It was such an inclusive act to witness and I am sure more people may adopt this as a tradition. Vows invoked laughter, tears and personal heartfelt declarations.
Confetti rained down on the front steps as the newlyweds made their way to the gardens for an outdoor drinks reception, a welcome breath of fresh air in the soaring temperature (I was beginning to regret the all black attire!). Drinks and laughter flowed freely, as did endless opportunities for photographs. We returned to The Orangery for speeches, trailblazed by Father of The Bride, Laurence; then followed by a rousing speech from Andrew (encouraging a raucous celebration every time he used the phrase "My WIFE and I!) and a poignant and heartfelt tribute to his Mother, which brought a tear to every eye. A funny and fond speech from brother Ewan (involving a "Deliveroo" delivery) wrapped up proceedings perfectly.
The doors swung open to a lavish garden tea party on the private lawn, it would not have looked out of place in Vanity Fair or High Society (without a hint of the pretentious!) SURPRISE! Singing Waiters by SOS appeared to serenade us with Andy Williams, Pavarotti and The Proclaimers. Rolly's Ice Cream wowed us with their delicious ice cream rolls - the Reeces Peanut Butter Cups mix was to die for! and a saxophonist seductively serenaded a happy bunch.
The Castle came to life as the sun set and the purple hue of house lights lit up. The band struck up the music and a mini festival vibe filled the venue. Face painting, a pop up photo booth and tables adorned with drinks favours and sweet treats galore. The day had such a magical flow to it. Nothing out of place and the weather had really made so much of it possible. So much thought had gone in to each aspect and it made it all so memorable.
I only wish we could do it all again .. and again ...