A flower-filled, village fête-inspired wedding in Kintyre that lasted a week!

Simone Catley & Sibi Chandar

25th August 2019

Venue | Balinakill Country House, Kintyre
Photography | Dave Fallon Photography

groom wearing suit spinning bride wearing floral crown around

“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 

Polaroid guest book sign drawn on mirror at wedding at Balinakill Country Housewedding prosecco in basket with tags for first anniversary and first christmasprofile of groom getting ready on wedding morning with male guest pinning on buttonhole and guest tying tie in foregroundcow parsley and daisy wedding inviteTil Death neon wedding sign and pink velvet shoesbride placing flower crown on head helped by bridesmaid and mother of the bride holding trainhand-painted wooden wedding sign with colourful flowersbride entering Clachan Kirk with father of the bride and guests watching onbride smiling into eyes of groom during wedding ceremony at Clachan Kirk in Kintyrebride and groom laughing leaving Clachan Kirk in Kintyrebride and groom being showered in confetti in the sunshine at Balinakill Country House in Kintyresloth illustrated wedding table sign surrounded by flowers in small glass vasesmarquee wedding set up with tables and chiavari chairs at Balinakill Country Housenaked wedding cake by Rosewood Cake surrounded by matching flowersgroom being carried by groomsmen and laughing outside Balinakill Country House in Kintyrebride and 5 bridesmaids wearing lilac dresses holding bouquets up to face outside Balinakill Country House in Kintyreblack and gold script table plan signage hanging on wooden frame and bride and groom with Scottie terrier outside Balinakill Country Housebride and groom outside black and white building in the sun at Balinakill Country Houseblack and gold script Sea Otters table sign at weddingbride making wedding speech in marquee at Balinakill Country Housebest man touching groom on shoulder and laughing during best man's speech in marquee at Balinakill Country Housebride and groom cutting Rosewood Cakes wedding cakebride and groom walking hand in hand in the garden at Balinakill Country House at sunsetbride and groom kissing at sunset at Balinakill Country Housesilhouette of bride and groom at sunset at Balinakill Country House weddingsix male guests relaxing on chairs in garden at Balinakill Country HouseThe Fat Cats wedding band performing at Balinakill Country Housebride and groom during first dance watched on by guests at Balinakill Country Housebride and groom dancing at wedding at Balinakill Country House