A moving, romantic elopement at Roulotte Retreat where the groom planned everything

Alexandria Gillespie & Sean Traylor

22nd October 2020

Venue | Roulotte Retreat, near Melrose
Photography | Francis J. Smith Photography

bride and groom walking hand in hand along road in Scotland

“Sean and I were together for about a year before he popped the question, although we’ve known each other since high school. He proposed on the pier in Amalfi on a surprise trip to Italy in November 2019. When he got down on one knee, I actually thought he had fallen and, as a result, was giggling uncontrollably.

We knew from the outset that we wanted to elope. The first thing we did was book Roulotte Retreat, near Melrose in the Borders. The intricately carved and painted caravans are surrounded by a beautiful meadow and the laid-back vibe of the entire place really appealed to our style.

Ours was a true elopement: we did not tell any friends or family that we were getting married. Although we had always planned it would just be us, our four-month-old daughter Delilah, and two witnesses at our wedding, the fluctuating Covid restrictions at the time meant that we actually didn’t know if we were able to get married until the night before. The whole point of eloping was to have a stress-free wedding, so we just tried to take the period of uncertainty in our stride.

I was so lucky that Sean planned everything! I basically just had to find a wedding dress and turn up. He is super-organised, so made a list and ticked off the tasks as he went along.

Bridal boutiques were closed because of lockdown, so I couldn’t go wedding-dress shopping. I lucked out though: the vintage Mango dress I found online for £100 was the first one I tried on and I loved it.

Francis J. Smith was our wedding photographer. We found his previous wedding work to be beautiful, natural and unique – exactly what we were after. He allowed us to fully enjoy the moment and went around simply capturing our joy. He also acted as one of our two witnesses; Avril Berry (owner of Roulotte Retreat) was the other.

We worked with registrar Pamela Douglas to personalise our ceremony. We wrote our vows and marriage promises in secret and Pamela read these aloud on the day. Unbeknown to us, they ended up being very similar and highlighted events and experiences that had been important to us both.

Sean hand-wrote his vows in a personalised notebook that he surprised me with after the ceremony. It makes such a beautiful keepsake along with our dried flower bouquet, buttonhole and all the ribbon decorations we made for the wedding.

I treasure my wedding ring. It previously belonged to my Nana, but we decided to get it engraved inside with our initials. We did the same with Sean’s wedding ring. Our handfasting was sealed using my Nana’s maiden-name tartan, Stewart, so that added a poignant touch too.

Sean and I enjoyed a delicious Mediterranean picnic laid on by Avril after the ceremony. We also munched on our lemon, raspberry and rose wedding cake and drank champagne in the eco hot-tub back at our roulotte, while Delilah slept.

Looking back, the entire day was genuinely filled with love and positive emotions. Getting to marry your soulmate in front of our sleeping (bored?!) baby daughter in a magical setting – it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Top tip: “Remember why you are getting married. It’s only about/for the two of you. You should enjoy the process of planning – don’t make it stressful.”

Registrar Pamela Douglas, Scottish Borders Council
Bride’s dress Vintage Mango, purchased from a second-hand seller online
Baby’s dress Next
Groomswear Slanj Kilts
Groom’s ring Chisholm Hunter
Bride’s wedding ring Heirloom from grandmother
Bouquet and buttonhole Dried flowers from Etsy
Cake Waitrose

dried lavender bouquet, wedding rings and candles on a wooden topwoman sitting on floor getting baby changed into dressman tying a tiebaby wearing floral dress in a black baby carrier seatRoulotte Retreat decorated for a wedding with macrame hangingbride and groom listening to registrar during wedding ceremony at Roulotte Retreatwedding ceremony at Roulotte Retreatbride and groom performing handfasting ceremonywedding ceremony between bride and groom at Roulotte Retreatbride dabbing eye with hanky during wedding ceremony Roulotte Retreatbride and groom kissing with baby on knee at signing table during wedding ceremony with macrame in backgroundbride wearing black leather jacket holding baby under a tree next to a fieldbride standing in front of a roulotte at Roulotte Retreatbride, groom and baby at Roulotte Retreatbride and groom with baby at Roulotte Retreatbride and groom with baby next to a field and treesportrait of bride wearing leather jacket with groom and baby with bow on headbride and groom walking with russet autumnal bush in backgroundbride and groom hugging at Roulotte Retreatbride and groom walking in countrysidebride leading groom on walk in countrysidebride and groom posing by loch in Scottish bordersbride and groom kissing by loch in Scottish bordersbride and groom cutting wedding cake in Roulotte Retreat

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