Aoife & Alex
6th November 2020
“I’m from the little town of Ballaghaderreen in Ireland, while Alex is from Sheffield. Our love story started back in 2017 when we were both working in London and had signed up to an invite-only dating app. Alex suggested a pub in Clapham called The Four Thieves for our first date.
I looked the pub up online and wasn’t 100% sure it was my scene with its vintage arcade games, car racing and crazy golf! Needless to say, it turned out to be a phenomenal evening and we had such a laugh. So much so that as we approached the last round of mini golf, I suggested that whoever lost should buy the first round on our next date (date two ended up being ten-pin bowling).
In the weeks and months that followed, we found ourselves together at every single opportunity, whether in London or hiking in the countryside. I think we realised how much we meant to one another on a trip wild camping and glacier climbing in Norway. Alex popped the question 12 weeks later during a hiking trip to the Peak District. We were standing on a high bluff overlooking the beautiful valleys and he dropped to one knee and proposed. I didn’t know that he’d also hired a photographer who recorded the entire proposal! The answer was, of course, YES.
We always wanted to get married in Scotland. It’s such a magical destination; we love its scenery and people. Our initial wedding date was set for 18th April 2020 at Rowallan Castle in Ayrshire (as it was approximately equidistant to Alex and I’s hometowns) – but then coronavirus struck and impacted our plans big time.
We pushed our date back to August 2020, then March 2021 – but when even that date looked in doubt, we cancelled our big wedding altogether. We got through those stressful times with tears, laughter and talking with each other. Ultimately, we boiled it down to the one thing that mattered to us most: that we marry each other – and all that took was us each turning up on our wedding day. Subsequently, we decided to elope to Glasgow!
Glasgow is almost halfway from both our homes: it’s 282 miles from Ballaghaderreen and 252 miles from Sheffield. We didn’t visit any of our shortlisted venues initially, relying instead on Google Maps, venues’ websites and online reviews. Honestly, the main factor in deciding our venue was availability with a few weeks’ notice to make it happen.
We liked the pictures we spotted online for the Trades Hall of Glasgow and after speaking to Elaine Gilhurst at the venue, we booked our date: 6th November 2020. Elaine was absolutely superb; we quite literally couldn’t have got married without her help. She did everything she could to accommodate us, even bringing our wedding forward by a week with three days’ notice before stricter lockdown measures came in. She was kind, patient and always had a sense of humour. (Elaine and the finance officer at the venue even acted as our witnesses.)
The main thing we wanted from our wedding was for it to represent us as a couple. Even though we eloped, we didn’t compromise on that – with just the two of us and our celebrant, the ceremony was intimate and a true reflection of our love for each other.
It was important for us to have a humanist ceremony. We feel that its rational and caring philosophy reflects our belief in loving and respecting one another, our fellow humans and the world in which we live. Our celebrant, George McLean from Fuze Ceremonies, was exceptionally helpful. He took time to get to know us, our story and helped us create a unique ceremony.
We wrote our vows in secret from one another, so they were a complete surprise on the day. Saying those to each other was more than enough for us. The moment was incredibly emotional and intimate – it really felt to us that the whole room was full.
After the ceremony, we hiked to Balmaha with our incredibly talented photographer, Paul Budzinski. We climbed up Conic Hill in our wedding attire for a photo shoot which was a real highlight. We stayed at Loch Lomond Arms Hotel afterwards and had fish and chips for dinner (eaten at the dresser in our bedroom as we’d left it too late to order food in the restaurant bar due to Tier 2 restrictions in the area).
Top tip: “When we planned our original wedding for April 2020, we used a Kanban to plan what needed to be done and who was taking each task. I think our saving grace was that Alex has worked in the events industry in the past and catered at many weddings so he really knew what he was doing and saved us a lot of time when planning.”
Celebrant George McLean, Fuze Ceremonies
Bride’s shoes Rainbow Club
Flowers Betty Bluebell
Hair Pin Up Hair Glasgow
Makeup Cat Robertson Makeup
Accommodation Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel and The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel