Simone Catley & Sibi Chandar
25th August 2019
“Sibi and I got together in June 2012. We got engaged in the Alps in January 2016 while on a skiing holiday with family. We both had our hearts set on marrying somewhere in the countryside where all our family and close friends could stay with us.
We knew we wanted a completely relaxed atmosphere and didn’t want to have any restrictions when it came to turning music off or serving alcohol – so we knew we definitely had to find a private venue. Other than that, we were keen to have a sit-down meal, speeches, dancing and a pretty traditional day.
Balinakill Country House on the Kintyre Peninsula in Argyll ticked all the boxes: enough space for the reception, accommodation for immediate family and friends to stay with us for a week and no curbs on how long we could celebrate for. The owners of the house were also really relaxed and helpful.
We didn’t have a specific type of ceremony in mind, but we fell in love with the village church – just a stone’s throw away from the house – when we went to look around. The church’s leaders were fantastic at helping us plan our ceremony and we were married by a retired minister, Alastair McLachlan.
We stuck to some traditions, but shook up others. Having my dad walk me down the aisle was important and although Sibi and I didn’t sleep in different rooms the night before the wedding, we didn’t see each other on the day until the ceremony which made it really special. We wanted to modernise the traditional speeches a bit, so we had one from the bride and one from the maid of honour.
We wanted a photographer who matched our style and made us feel relaxed. Dave Fallon was absolutely perfect in every regard. We really enjoyed our super-relaxed photoshoot with him after the ceremony (we even included our dog, Oscar). He got great shots of everyone and stayed a lot later than he needed to because our band, The Fat Cats, were late due to traffic. (They were great though – they didn’t charge any extra for travelling all the way to Kintyre and played an amazing few sets.)
Our favourite keepsake from the day is the Til Death neon sign we bought. It was part of our décor on the day and now hangs on our bedroom wall. We were in two minds about whether to get one or not, but we’re really glad we did. It’s now such a nice reminder of our wedding.
We organised every single detail ourselves so the whole wedding felt really personal. It was filled with countless highlights: from leaving the church after the ceremony to dancing with our family and friends at the end of it all.
What surprised us most about getting married? Everyone told us that it would be the best day of our lives. We didn’t believe them and thought it would be at least slightly stressful…but we were completely wrong: it really was the best day ever!”
Top tip: “I’m sure it’s been said umpteen times before, but it bears repeating: book your suppliers well in advance – sooner than you would think. Also, it’s worth getting a videographer if you can afford it. We weren’t convinced we needed a wedding film at the start, but are now so glad we got one.”
Ceremony venue Clachan Kirk, Kintyre
Bride’s dress Morgan Davies Bridal
Bridesmaids’ dresses Oasis
Groomswear Tailor Made London
Wedding rings Taylor & Hart
Catering Reagan Hallett Catering
Cake Rosewood Cakes
Flowers Flowers by Morna
Marquee and furniture hire Lowland Marquees [company now closed]
Reception band The Fat Cats
Filmmaker Orangetide Films