Laid-back wedding ceremony in an Edinburgh back garden with DIY decor and bride wearing lace boohoo dress

Rebecca Hymers & Chris McAvoy

19th September 2020

Venues | bride’s parents’ house and Jacob’s Place, Edinburgh
Photography | David Louden Wedding Photography

bride wearing white boohoo dress and groom wearing ASOS suit kissing at their Edinburgh garden wedding surrounded by bubbles

“Chris and I had been together for around five years when he asked me to marry him on the rooftop of our boutique hotel in Crete at sunset in September 2017.

We booked the Cow Shed Crail pretty much instantly on our return to Scotland for September 2020. It’s a relaxed, spacious venue that we could decorate however we liked, and it offers great accommodation. We also have family connections to that part of Fife.

We left ourselves three years to arrange the rest. Plenty of time ­– or so we thought… until the Covid-19 pandemic arrived to thwart our plans. We waited nervously through the first few months of lockdown, but come mid-July 2020, we knew we would not be able to have the wedding we wanted.

Instead, we decided to get married on the date we’d originally planned – 19th September 2020 – in a small ceremony in my parents’ back garden and push the reception back to March 2021.

In the run-up to the wedding, the restrictions kept chopping and changing. In the end, we were permitted only 20 people and tightened restrictions meant that we had to cancel our plans for a BBQ garden party.

We had to book the wedding party into a local restaurant at the last minute instead. The newly opened Jacob’s Place in Davidson’s Mains thankfully managed to take us.

My family worked hard sprucing up their garden for weeks before, so it looked stunning in the sunshine on the day. Getting married at home also meant that I got to get ready in the bedroom I grew up in!

Our ceremony took place in front of a floral archway filled with pretty flowers from my mum’s friends’ gardens who kindly grew them for us. We’ve since dried them out and have them as keepsakes.

Stewart Struthers from Humanist Society Scotland was our celebrant. He was fantastic from the moment we met him and has a good sense of humour which helped everyone feel completely at ease. We found out subsequently that it was his anniversary on our wedding date too.

My parents’ house is right under the flight path for Edinburgh Airport, so as Stewart began the ceremony, a plane flew overhead. No-one could hear, so we had to stop immediately for a few minutes until it passed. Everyone just looked at each other and laughed.

The incredibly down-to-earth David Louden Wedding Photography was on hand to capture it all. He was a star. He more than lived up to our expectations with amazing photos that really captured the fun of the day in a natural way.

I bought a wedding dress from Emma Roy of Edinburgh. They were amazing and ensured my gown arrived in plenty of time, despite the pandemic. However, I decided not to wear it on the day as it just didn’t feel right with the complete change in setting. The lacy dress I ended up wearing was from boohoo. It cost £26 (bargain!) and arrived two days before the wedding.

Seeing as things were so relaxed, we told everyone to wear whatever they wanted, but –weirdly – the bridesmaids all wore purple without knowing the others were!

All in all, we still had the laid-back, fun-filled day we planned from the outset – just with a lot less people!

Of course, a further lockdown meant our postponed wedding reception didn’t happen in March 2021, but we still have the Cow Shed Crail booked for 2023. By then, hopefully the Covid pandemic will have calmed down. We are aiming for our ‘sequel’ to be one massive party to thank all our friends and family for their help and support.”

Top tip: “Break your planning tasks down into the most important things to sort first and smaller things to do nearer the time and it won’t seem so daunting. Some things are out of your control (as we found out). Don’t let the issues drag you down; you will end up having an amazing, unforgettable day no matter what.”

Celebrant Stewart Struthers, Humanist Society Scotland
Bride’s dresses Emma Roy of Edinburgh and boohoo
Groomswear Black Watch tartan suit from ASOS
Post-wedding meal Jacob’s Place
Bouquet and flower crown Vintage Gathering
Other flowers homegrown and arranged by bride’s mum
Cake Sweet Little Things
Favours candles for the ladies; wee bottles of Old Fashioned cocktails for the men
Bride’s engagement and wedding rings Laings
Groom’s wedding band Goldsmiths
Makeup bride did her own
Hair Dream Hairdressing
Reception venue Cow Shed Crail (for 2023 reception)
Photo booth Odd Box Photo Booth (for 2023 reception)
Wedding band Bleeker (for 2023 reception)
Wedding film Next Scene Films (for 2023 reception)

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