Cosy and intimate late autumn wedding with just 20 guests at country house wedding venue in Fife

Anna Ritchie & Al Forber

7th November 2020

Venue | Balbirnie House, Fife
Photography | Rachel Spence Photography

bride wearing faux fur jacket with groom in the grounds of Balbirnie House with autumn leaves

“Even though Al and I had been together for over six years when he popped the question, it was still completely unexpected. We were on a local beach walk with our beloved French bulldog, Frankie, little boy Ritchie (then one) and my expectant bump when he got down on one knee.

Although we initially dreamed of getting married in Italy, we ended up booking Balbirnie House at the end of February 2020.

We started planning a large, traditional wedding – then lockdown struck! Al was stuck in Saudi Arabia with work and didn’t get home until August. Thankfully, all of our suppliers were flexible and understanding.

We planned for over 100 people, but in the end, had just 20 attend (including our two children). Most of our plans had to change along the way due to Covid restrictions: the band decreased to just a duo; we had no ballroom access; had minimal guest numbers; cut back on flowers; and cancelled our hen and stag.

We couldn’t have a first dance either, so I used our chosen song to walk down the aisle to instead: the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

We decided that we were going to do our best to get married on the date we had booked, no matter what came our way. For us, it was always about being husband and wife – not just the wedding.

We both liked a winter wedding look with flickering candles, log fires and rich colours. Al frequently buys me flowers from a Kirkcaldy florist called The Flower Ranger and the deep pink and green colour scheme that they created for our wedding flowers was stunning. I loved my bouquet so much that I got it preserved as a keepsake.

We put our own stamp on the day – quite literally. I’ll explain: we got our initials put on a branding iron and used it to mark wooden coasters that we gave to our guests as favours, along with personalised champagne glasses for the toast.

I had to wait until lockdown lifted before I could go dress shopping. It meant I had to order a gown that was available to turn around quickly, which did limit my choice somewhat. In the end I found my dress at the very last shop I visited, Amy King Bridal and Beauty in Kirkcaldy. It was only £800 off-the-peg, though alterations bumped the cost up a bit.

Prior to our wedding, neither Al nor I was fussed about a big, fancy cake. However when we discovered the amazing cake artist Lynne’s Cake Emporium, we couldn’t resist one – despite there being only 20 guests.

We had a humanist ceremony performed by David Smith from Humanist Society Scotland. He was the perfect fit for us and helped us put together a ceremony that was personal and heartfelt, with some laughs for good measure. Al ended up being quite emotional which took me by surprise – I am usually the emotional one in the couple.

Choosing our photographer was one of the most important decisions we made. We wanted our pics to be a genuine reflection of our day and us as a couple – candid moments captured without them being overly orchestrated or too arty – and this is what Rachel Spence does impeccably.

Having such an intimate wedding had its benefits. We could actually see all of our guests having a great time and got to hear them rave about what a fantastic day they were having.”

Top tip: Try and enjoy the process. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the small stuff which, in retrospect, isn’t really that important.”

Celebrant David Smith, Humanist Society ScotlandBride’s dress Amy King Bridal and Beauty Bridesmaids’ dresses Ghost Flower girl’s dress Trotters Groomswear own kilt with additional hires from Kingdom Kilts Rings Tiffany & Co.Cake Lynne’s Cake Emporium Flowers The Flower RangerFavours homemade wooden coasters and personalised champagne flutesCeremony music The Jets Hair Copper Blossom Makeup Karen Bowen Makeup 

love is sweet brown paper bags and pink and white ripple wedding cakechiavari wedding chair with floral decoration from The Flower Rangerwooden floral wedding welcome signPale pink personalised bride pyjamas on a tablewedding flowers in a crate on the floor from The Flower Rangerivory wedding court shoes with pearl detaila bride holding up a mirror in a bed room at balbirnie housechildren at a wedding at Balbirnie Housegroom and groomsmen pictured outside Balbirnie Housea little boy wearing a kilt with two men looking ona toddler sitting on a lady wearing a blue dress's kneea wedding ceremony of a bride and groom at Balbirnie Housea bride and groom kissing after a wedding ceremony at Balbirnie Housea couple with their children after a wedding at Balbirnie Housea smiling bride and groom after a confetti shower outside balbirnie housea bride holding a baby wearing a floral dressa laughing bride and bridesmaid outside Balbirnie Housea young boy wearing a kilt at a wedding standing on a red carpetfour men wearing kilts on a red carpetthe bottom half of a bride and groom walking on a roada black and white image of a bride and groom outside Balbirnie Housea bride and groom standing in autumn woodlanda bride and groom standing in autumn woodland with bride wearing faux fur jacketa smiling bride and groom in woodland at Balbirnie Housea bride smiling looking at a grooma bride and groom standing under a evergreen tree arch at Balbirnie Housea black and white image of a smiling bride and grooma bride and groom cutting a wedding cake at Balbirnie Housea man making a wedding speech looking at a toddler in a high chaira female wedding guest smiling at a person making a wedding speecha groom making a toast during a wedding meal at Balbirnie Housea laughing man holding notes and making a wedding speech