This couple won their wedding at Dougarie Boathouse on Arran

Hazel Mirsepasi and Kevin Githwe

23rd September 2023

Venue | Dougarie Boathouse, Isle of Arran
Photography | Lilly Wilson Photography

a bride and groom being showered in confetti outside Dougarie Boathouse

“After getting engaged in December 2022, Kevin and I decided that we’d wait a few years, then get married in a vineyard in Italy close to where my dad stays. I visited the Scottish Wedding Show in February 2023 where I stopped by Dougarie Boathouse’s stand and, on a whim, entered a competition to win a wedding at the venue on the Isle of Arran.

We were flabbergasted when we won the competition! Neither of us had even been to Arran before, let alone considered having our wedding there…

The weekend after we won, we arranged a trip over to check out the renovated boathouse on the west coast of the island. We thought it was stunning. It’s a gorgeous red brick building with exposed beams that’s secluded on the shores of the Kilbrannan Sound. There was a wonderful sandy beach just a short walk away. We figured that with such an incredible place at our disposal, we’d be silly not to get married there – the only catch was we had to do it before the end of 2023…

Our plans for a relaxed Italian wedding then morphed into one that encapsulated us and embraced our respective cultures: Kenyan, Iranian and Italian. We wanted a small, intimate wedding where we both knew every person well, so invited just 60 guests. They came from all over the world, including Kenya, Dubai and Italy.

We paid homage to Scotland by having a piper play me down the aisle to kick off the ceremony. Kenya was represented in the material we used for aisle decor and the songs sung by the Kenyan ladies in attendance as we entered for dinner and cut our cake – both very special moments. Kevin also changed into a handmade printed Kenyan shirt for the evening reception, while I changed into an Iranian outfit.

Iran and Italy, meanwhile, featured in the food we served. Our caterer, Glasgow-based Fresh Global Kitchen, is a family friend, so allowed us to create our own menu.

Our canapés were brought over from Italy by my dad, a delicious mix of Italian cheeses, prosciutto, focaccia, and the best pesto! For the main meal, we had Persian-inspired dishes with a shared mezze starter. The real highlight, though, was an Iranian chicken and tomato stew called zereshk polo which was made by my dad!

We didn’t really let the pressure of trying to plan a wedding in a few months get to us. In all honesty, we weren’t that stressed until the week of the wedding itself. We both agreed that ultimately the short lead-time we had was the best thing for us, as planning for over two years would have meant we’d never make decisions and get fed up talking about it! Our budget was around £15k.

The short turnaround meant we were a bit more limited in terms of picking suppliers. I only went shopping for my wedding dress in May for a September wedding, but thankfully had a brilliant experience at Aimee Bridal Couture in Glasgow. They only showed me dresses that they knew they’d be able to turn around in time.

The first dress I tried on was The One: an elegant, backless satin slip dress that looked even more stunning with a full-length pearl veil. Everyone was gushing at how amazing it was and begged me to buy it! Needless to say, I was already sold.

One of our biggest worries was that our families might miss the ferry to Arran – only for it to happen to us! Even though we were just one minute late, we were forced to sit on standby for the next available ferry which we were told might’ve been the next morning. That would’ve thrown our plans into chaos! Thankfully, some begging worked, and we were able to leave on the next ferry that day. Phew.

a bride walking down aisle on arm of man wearing navy suitan outdoor wedding ceremony on the Isle of Arranwedding guests wearing pink dresses and navy suits laughing at Dougarie Boathouse

As we both work in creative roles, Kevin and I felt the photographer had to have a style that wasn’t traditional. We sought out someone who was driven to capture those many ‘stolen’ moments at a wedding. When we stumbled on Lilly Wilson, we both agreed she was perfect.

Local Arran celebrant Sarah Pomfret created a beautiful humanist ceremony that really captured us as a couple. In fact, Kevin almost teared up during the ceremony. I have never seen him cry, so that was a first! Nasim, one of my bridesmaids, also read a poem she had written for us. All I can say is she is one very talented poet.

We felt so loved on the day! Many of our guests said that it was one of the best weddings they’d ever been to. We’re obviously biased, but we have to say we agree!

Top tip: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. We stressed so much over little details, but at the end of the day, we realised they weren’t important. Try to make sure you do one wedding-planning thing every weekend and it should really lighten the load.”

Venue Dougarie Boathouse
Photography Lilly Wilson Photography
Celebrant Sarah Pomfret
Bride’s dress Aimee Bridal Couture
Bridesmaid dresses They bought their own
Hair Francis Hair Salon & Weave Bar (also the best man)
Makeup Ambriene MUA
Nails Soho Seven Glasgow
Groomswear Reiss
Cake Pat’s Cakes Arran
Catering Fresh Global Kitchen
Flowers Eleanor’s Flowers Arran
Stationery Designed by the bride, who is a graphic designer
Favours Homemade Italian biscuits
Rings Brilliant Earth and Anthony Alferev
Piper William Robertson
DJ Ciar McKinley
Transport Stagecoach

a person wearing bright pink pyjamas getting lipstick appliedfive men wearing navy blue suits raising glassesa wedding sign with disco balls and a bride arriving in a cara wedding party crossing the road outside Dougarie Boathouse on Arrana bride and groom embracing on a stone beach on arrana bride and groom embracing on a stone beach on arran and a wedding sign reading 'we wed we drink we dine we dance'a bride and groom embracingbride and groom walking on steps and kissingpeople sitting on stone stairs holding gypsophila bouquetsa wedding group portrait and bride and groom sitting on stairsa bride and groom looking out to sea on ArranDougarie Boathouse wedding portraits of bride and groom in a garden on Arrana bride and groom embracing and laughing with Arran countryside in backgroundinterior of Dougarie Boathouse dressed for a wedding and a bride and groom cutting a wedding cake sitting on top of a whisky barrelcolourful flower stems in glass bottles sitting on a table and a detail of a printed wedding menu on a platea wedding group portrait outside Dougarie Boathousepeople sitting at a table laughing at Dougarie Boathousea bride and groom laughing while seated at a table at Dougarie Boathousea white wedding cake with dried orange decoration on top and two people pose for a photo at Dougarie Boathouse

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