Planning diaries: three Scottish brides tell us where they are at with their wedding plans

W-day is fast approaching for our brides-to-be, blogger Hazel, industry insider Natalie and graphic designer Ellen – and one of them is not sure about her venue…

Seven months to go…. Performance manager Hazel Pool is set to marry project manager Neil Moore on 28th April 2023 at Ayrshire’s Lochside House Hotel

Hazel and her fiancé Neil; Hazel and her pals pose on the beach on her hen party in Spain
Left: Hazel left fiancé Neil behind when she jetted off to sunny Spain for a weekend with her best girls; Right: Hazel and her squad posing up a storm on her Marbella hen do

It’s more than two weeks since I got home from my hen weekend and I’m still not over it! What a time we had! There’s not a lot else happening on the planning front so I’ll just use this update to share all the details of the most brilliant weekend.

Right from the beginning, my bridal party and I knew we wanted to go abroad for my hen. The only problem was that Neil and I are having a spring wedding so the timing was a bit awkward if we were going to catch some good weather in Europe. After chatting it through, we just thought, “Why do we need to follow the norm?” There’s nothing wrong with having your celebrations at a time that’s good for you.

So, we decided to book Marbella for August this year, despite the wedding being April next year. Marbella was the obvious choice as my sister lives about 35 minutes from there – she’d be able to do all the organising from Spain, which would be a lot more straightforward than trying to sort things out from this end. It worked out perfectly.

We found somewhere a little bit outside of Marbella, which meant we got a stunning villa at a much better rate than we’d have paid if we’d stayed right in the centre of town. The place was beautiful. We didn’t arrive until late at night but my sister had been in the villa all day with her friend, decorating the place for our arrival.

Left: Bride to be Hazel poses in an all-white outfit with embellished 'bride' hat; the full bridal party poses in the villa's backgarden before heading out for a night on the town
Left: Hazel looking gorgeous in an embellished hat; Hazel’s sister spent ages decorating the apartment and organising goodie bags; Right: While the girls got colourful for a night on the town, Hazel kept it classic in bridal white

When I walked in I was so happy and overwhelmed with all the thought and effort that had gone into it, I just burst into tears. There was a big balloon arch, goodie bags for everyone, cupcakes and so much more. I couldn’t believe it. My sister then showed me my bedroom and it was filled with balloons with pictures of me and Neil and all my bridal party on them. At this point, I’m crying like baby!

After a good night’s sleep, everyone was in the mood for a party. We spent the day at the pool, laughing, dancing and enjoying the sunshine. I’m fairly sure there was even karaoke going on too, but it’s a bit of a blur!

That night, we went for a meal and dinner show at a great place in town and danced the night away. The following evening, as a surprise, the girls had arranged for a chef to come to the villa and cook us a barbecue. It was a nice laid-back night, playing games and glow-stick dancing.

We also played ‘Mr & Mrs’ using video footage the girls had recorded of Neil earlier in the week. It was a great laugh, but I’m sure my mum wanted to put her fingers in her ears for some of it! The last day of the trip was spent at a beach club. My sister organised a girl to come to the villa and put jewels and glitter on us, ready for a day of partying. It was a lovely touch and everyone looked so glam. The day was just amazing with lots of laughs, singing and dancing.

All in all, it was one of the best weekends of my life. The effort everyone made to make it special and memorable was so humbling. I’ll be forever grateful to them all. If I had any advice for other brides-to-be, it would be to take a few minutes to yourself if you start to feel overwhelmed at any point during your hen. It can be a lot to take in if you’re not used to being the centre of attention – everyone is there to celebrate you.

What’s next?

Neil and I are having a few pictures taken by a local photographer to get us used to being in front of the camera and to get some snaps to use on our wedding website. Then, formal invites will go out!

11 months to go… Natalie Godfrey, office manager at Frox of Falkirk, is set to marry national account manager Chris Rock at Glenbervie House Hotel on 9th September 2023

Natalie and Chris pose for a picture in front of a wall; a bouquet of white flowers and an inset image of a man wearing a kilt outfit, jacket over his shoulder
Left: With less than a year to go, Natalie and Chris are storming through their to-do lists; Right: A bouquet by Trudi Todd Flowers, Natalie’s florist; We wonder if Chris will go for something like this from JH Kilt Hire?

I can’t believe it’s less than a year until we get married! I am soooo excited and can’t wait to become Mrs Rock! Hopefully, the next time I write my wedding diary I will be able to tell you I’ve found my dress.

I have appointments booked at a few bridal shops and am looking forward to beginning my search. I have to confess, though, that I’m slightly apprehensive about shopping for a wedding dress. I have actually tried on loads before, for wedding shows or modelling, but that has left me really unsure of what I want. At least I know the consultants in the shops will be fabulous and I just need to relax and enjoy the whole process.

The exterior of the Coach House at Glenbervie, with a Rolls Royce in the foreground
Natalie has booked the Coach House at Glenbervie for the weekend of the wedding

We have finally decided on our colour scheme. It happened at JH Kilt Hire in Grange­mouth, where we went to look at options for Chris. He liked quite a few of the kilts there and it was a struggle to decide. We chatted to the owner, Jim, and eventually opted for one of his own designs. It has gorgeous autumnal colour tones and will fit in so well with our September wedding. We will go back to JH Kilt Hire around six months before the wedding to book the kilts and then a couple of months after that to get the groomsmen measured up.

I have also now lined up our florist. I went to see Trudi Todd Flowers in Blairlogie. Trudi had been recommended by a couple of friends and, after checking out her Instagram, I decided to make an appointment. I love her rustic hand-tied bouquets, which is what I’m going to go for. The bridesmaids will carry similar flowers. I have kept the colours quite neutral, with ivory roses and dried bunnytails. We’ll have flowers with greenery and ribbons on the pews in the chapel, plus a larger floral arrangement for the altar which will be transferred to the top table at Glenbervie House Hotel.

AAn interior view of the Coach House at Glenbervie, showing a lounge area, dining space and kitchen
The spacious interiors of the Coach House at Glenbervie, perfect for hosting a larger bridal party

Talking of Glenbervie, we are renting a stunning house in the grounds for the full weekend of our wedding. The Coach House sleeps up to 14, so is ideal for me, my bridesmaids and the mums to get glammed up. I booked our makeup artists a few months ago and now have our hairdressers sorted out too – Kerrie and Nicola from Sorella Hair will be coming over on the morning of the wedding. I’ve been going to Kerrie for years and I know that she will have my hair looking absolutely amazing.

What’s next?

Book cars, find a stationery supplier, and spend some time in the Lights Candy Action showroom to begin choosing the decor.

Six months to go… Graphic designer Ellen and environmental consultant Callum got engaged at Christmas and have set a date of 30th March 2023 – but are changing their venue

Ellen and Callum pose together; A formal meal set-up in Dundee venue Verdant Works
Left: It’s been a tumultuous few months of wedding planning for Ellen and Callum; Right: Verdant Works is a world-class visitor attraction which tells the story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage in the atmospheric setting of a beautifully refurbished mill building

Since our last update, things have been a little up in the air, as the reality of just how much it costs to put a full wedding together has sunk in. We are still so excited about our day, but we’ve realised that we don’t need or want an extremely extravagant wedding; we’d rather put that money towards a honeymoon (which we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise), doing up our flat, and other things that matter more to us as a couple.

We have an Excel spread­sheet that Callum’s mum kindly put together for us, and we started to chip away at it, entering in all of our plans, deposits and details. Things were quickly adding up, and we realised a lot of this was due to the ‘blank canvas’ nature of the venue and accounting for things we hadn’t been aware of when we put down the deposit (e.g. only using venue-approved caterers, corkage charge for drinks per guest, late fees etc).

The casual and relaxed wedding we’d hoped for was turning into a much more formal affair as a result of these constraints, and we were starting to have real doubts if this was actually the best idea for us. So, we weighed up the cost of losing our deposit if we cancelled, and began looking at more budget-friendly alternatives, and wrote a lot of lists!

A female model wears a dark green dress with cap shoulder detailing; A male model wears a formal kilt outfit
Left: Ellen has been looking at Duntery for bridesmaids’ dresses. Katelyn off-shoulder maxi-dress, £79; Right: Callum is heading to Slater Menswear. Modern Douglas kilt outfit, from £118.50 to hire

As the days have gone on, we now feel that changing the venue to somewhere more reasonable is the best decision for us. After a lot of hunting and phone calls, we managed to view two possible options in and around our hometown, Dundee. Both are beautiful, would still give us the type of day we’re after, and are much more flexible in terms of price.

The first one we visited was called Verdant Works. It was an unexpected gem and not at all what you would normally think of as a wedding venue – but it has hosted several already and the building is unbelievable, with a huge open space, gorgeous restored ceiling and amazing old machinery on display that’s still in working order. We are currently in talks with the venue to host our day. We’re really hopeful, as it ticks every box for us.

We also checked out the Larick Centre in Tayport near Tentsmuir beach, a sustainable activity and meeting community hub. You can have use of the whole building and it can be closed off to the public for your day. You pay hourly for the rooms you wish to use, and it’s all extremely reasonable. The space is gorgeous, with lots of light, and is very flexible. We will hopefully see what happens regarding a new venue in the next week or so. That will give us peace of mind and we can start to get excited again about all the smaller details.

In other news, Callum and his groomsmen will shortly be choosing their new suits and kilts from Slater Menswear, and my bridesmaids have picked their dresses from Duntery. We have decided that we like the olive-green colour and everyone was happy with that after we ordered some swatches to check. The nice thing about this site is that you can have different styles of dress made in the same fabric. My bridesmaids are each choosing the style that suits them best, so they all feel comfortable and confident on the day.

What’s next?

The hen do is booked – in Amsterdam! We’re going at the end of October, and that’s all I know so far. I can’t wait to see what they have planned!