Planning Diaries: The latest updates from our newest bride-to-be Jules

Our new couple – who are making it official after more than two decades together – are counting down the months to their big day next May…

Ten months to go! Julie-Anne McKee, who works for CalMac Ferries, is set to marry pub manager Sean Stewart at The Gathering at Woodhead Farm on 25th May 2024

Couple to be Jules and Sean
Jules and Sean are getting ready to tie the knot after 20 years together

My first planning diary! Hello! I’m Julie-Anne, Jules for short, and my hubby-to-be is Sean Stewart. We met when we were 19 when we were both working at our local bingo hall. Fast forward 20-plus years, add our 16-year-old daughter Rachel into the mix, and here we are, on our way to being married at last!

We finally got engaged on 27th July 2021. We’d travelled down to London for the weekend for a family wedding and had booked a tour of the studios where the Harry Potter films were made (my fave). As Rachel and I posed for a photograph at Platform 93⁄4, Sean got down on one knee. The rest of the tour was a write-off as I couldn’t take in anything or see anything for the tears!

Left: Jules and Sean with daughter Rachel; right: The moment after the big surprise!

By the time we marry we’ll have been engaged for just under three years. As far as planning for the wedding is concerned, we realise time is ticking on, so we have arranged a few things already, including the big one – booking the venue.

We got this sorted last year. It actually turned out to be harder than we thought it would be, and took us a while to settle on one we loved. Maybe that’s because we were looking for something different, rather than your traditional wedding venue. After lengthy internet searches and a few unsuccessful visits to wedding fairs, we fell upon a little hidden treasure – The Gathering at Woodhead Farm in Chryston, Glasgow. As soon as we went to see it in person, we knew it was the one for us. The owner, Jo, is relaxed, informal and full of passion – exactly the kind of person we hoped for to help us plan our wedding. The venue is not too far from where we live in Greenock, and is quirky, Scottish and magical. Exactly us! We will tie the knot there on 25th May next year. 

The Gathering is a traditional Scottish barn wedding experience near Glasgow

Not long after booking The Gathering, Sean and I went along to a wedding fair at the venue – and I’m so glad we did. We met so many suppliers we liked. We ended up booking our celebrant (Gordon Bond), our reception band (Kin) and our caterers (First Class Catering) all there and then! All of them were exactly what we were looking for. During that same visit to the venue, I also asked my three sisters, my daughter and my cousin if they’d be my bridesmaids. That was a lot of things ticked off in the one day! 

What else have I planned? I have booked my hair and makeup. I actually enquired far too far in advance for this, but I knew who I wanted and didn’t want to miss out! Sean has chosen kilts – the Spirit of Loch Ness tartan from Kilts 4 U. It’s a lovely light green, so the next step for us is to get a colour scheme to tie in with this. Once that’s decided, the bridesmaid dresses will follow.

What’s next?

I still have to find myself a dress, but I haven’t started looking yet. To be honest, I’ve been putting it off. Most brides-to-be are excited about the whole idea of shopping for a gown, and it is one of the first things they think about. But me… I am a little terrified. Why is it so scary? I have an idea of what I think I would like, but we’ll see how it goes…