Avalana Carruthers & Derek Simpson
27th June 2021 and 1st October 2021
“Derek and I met back in 2005 and started dating in 2007. I had always said I didn’t want to get married, but after 14 years together, I decided I would ask him.
I surprised him at his birthday party in February 2019, with all our friends around us. After he blew out the candles on his birthday cake, I got down on one knee in the middle of the restaurant and popped the question – luckily he said yes!
We set our hearts on getting married abroad. We had a magical trip to Mallorca in October 2019 to scout out venues. When we costed up Balearic hotels and compared them to the UK, they seemed to be a lot more cost-effective. There was more included as part of the venue-hire fee, for example.
A relaxed beach-club vibe was what we were after, so we visited a few across the island. We fell in love with Mhares Sea Club, set on a clifftop about 20 minutes outside Palma. The views across the sea were breathtaking, the staff were so attentive and the food was absolutely divine.
We originally planned to get married in Mallorca around May or June 2021. However, with Covid still looming large, we ended up moving our date to October. The very knowledgeable Miguel at Pasión Events was our Spanish wedding planner. He made it all very easy.
We didn’t really set out to have a double wedding. Some of our family thought our Mallorcan plans might not be realised because of the pandemic, so they made sure the Scottish leg was a bit more of a party.
The June date in Glasgow was meant to be just a small registry office visit to sort out the formalities, followed by a family dinner at The Busby Hotel. The place has hosted many of the Simpson family’s milestone events – Derek’s dad even had his 21st there!
We had our three wee dogs at our Scottish wedding. We got them gold collars specially made and had a designer in the USA colour-match their bow ties to Derek’s suit.
As soon as I spotted Rue de Seine’s Avril dress on Pinterest I knew it was the one. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found a stockist in Manchester’s Northern Quarter called Jean Jackson Couture (we are based in Manchester). I walked into the appointment and said, ‘the Avril please’. They laughed and made me try on a few more, but I knew it was always going to be The One.
I personalised things by opting for a cape instead of a veil. I also ended up wearing a bodysuit under the dress, rather than a slip – I wanted to show off its detailed translucent fabric to its best effect. To top it off, I ordered bespoke handmade crowns from Etsy for both dates. I truly felt like a goddess!
The dress wasn’t ready for the Scottish wedding. Instead, I wore a pair of white trousers and a top. I fastened tulle ‘wings’ to the shoulders of the top which wafted behind me.The Scottish ceremony was the bit I was dreading if I am honest. The thought of standing up in front of everyone and showing emotion daunted me.
However, we had the best celebrant we could have wished for in the shape of Andy McSorley. He is a bit of a celebrity in his field thanks to his incredible knack for telling a couple’s story and making it feel so personal.
The ceremony ended up being the most fun part. Even our guests were raving about it.My wedding ring was a total surprise. I was given one of the three Simpson family sapphires re-set into the most stunning, bespoke ring – I am smitten with it.
Travel and flight restrictions at the time made getting to Mallorca a bit trickier, but I didn’t want to postpone. I was adamant we were going – even if it ended up being just Derek and I! We ended up having 36 people at both weddings.
Sadly, we couldn’t get our celebrant, Andy, to Mallorca because of Covid. Derek’s uncle Brian ended up leading the ceremony there.
For our Mallorcan wedding, I didn’t want anything fussy: no flowers, just green foliage and lots of fairylights and candles. I didn’t even bother with a bouquet; I carried one large King Protea instead.
The saxophonist put on by Mhares Beach Club was such a lovely touch. He played after the ceremony while the sun set across the Med. It created such ambience.
Our first dance was Josef’s cover of the Sister Sledge song I’m Thinking About You. We wanted to have a proper boogie; slow dancing is definitely not our vibe.
What surprised me most about getting married? How proud and excited I was knowing I was becoming a wife. I was always one that wasn’t really bothered, but it just felt so right!”
Top tip: “I run an interiors company called Avalana Design, so organising multiple things at once was straightforward for me. I ran it as I would a business project: set budget; choose colours, products, layouts etc; team management – stuff that I am used to doing on a daily basis. If you’re planning on getting married abroad, I would suggest getting yourself a wedding planner that you really get on with – from there, the whole process should run easily.”
Celebrant Andy McSorley, Caledonian Humanist Association Wedding planner (Mallorca) Pasión Eventos Venue decor (Mallorca) Flores y Mas
Bride’s dress Rue de Seine at Jean Jackson Couture Bride’s crowns Etsy Bridesmaids’ dresses SilkFred Cake (Scotland) Made by bridesmaid, Jennie Cake (Mallorca) Organised by the venue Stationery Designed by the bride avalanadesign.co.uk Reception entertainment Ibizan DJ Hair and makeup “We did our own hair and make up in Scotland, but in Mallorca we had the super-talented Rebecca Spendlove and team. They were fantastic.”