Amy Whem and John Maitland
11th November 2017
“We got engaged in November 2016. John took me to Edinburgh – a city we both love – to see my native South Africa play rugby against Scotland at Murrayfield. We then went to a lovely South African restaurant for dinner and on the way back to our hotel in Stockbridge, John proposed. A perfect weekend!
We married at The Balmoral exactly one year later, and held both ceremony and reception there. Its winter wedding package was our biggest bargain actually: we probably wouldn’t have got married there otherwise.
The food at The Balmoral was glorious. Haggis, neeps and tatties to start, roast chicken with vegetables for the main and the best crème brûlée I have ever had to finish.
Our aim was for a low key, low maintenance day. We didn’t buy into any fads or novelties – mostly because we wanted to stick to a budget – but we did personalise a few elements. The table names were Doric and Afrikaans/South African translations, and John and I both spoke during the meal. I also had protea (South Africa’s national flower) and thistle incorporated into my bouquet.
Talking of which, the ladies at family-run Garlands Florist are amazing. I was fairly relaxed about the style. I didn’t want anything too manicured and my only requests were to include soft pink and a king protea in the bouquet. Boy, did they deliver: the table arrangements, buttonholes and bouquets were all exquisite.
The walk down the aisle with my mum was magical. Seeing (and hearing) John cry as I walked down was mind blowing and laying eyes on my school friends from South Africa for the first time after 11 years was a real highlight too! It was so hard not to stop and hug all the people there.”
Top tip: “I definitely feel I didn’t take enough photos with my two amazing bridesmaids and my mum. Also, we both went straight back to work – do NOT do that!”