Planning diaries: two Scottish brides fill us in on their wedding plans so far

Natalie and Ellen, our columnist brides-to-be, are loving life at the moment – one has found the dress of her dreams and the other is just back from a fab, fun-filled hen do

Four months to go…Graphic designer Ellen and environmental consultant Callum got engaged at Christmas 2021 and are marrying on 30th March 2023 at Verdant Works in Dundee

Left image is of a man and a woman showing off an engagement ring; right image is of women posing on a hen do in Amsterdam wearing glitter ball head bands
Left: Ellen and Callum got engaged at the end of 2021; Right: Ellen and her hens wearing disco-ball head bands

I am happy to report that I made it back from my hen do in Amsterdam alive, and that I had the best time ever! This was all thanks to my amazing maids of honour Araminta and Antonia, and my bridesmaids Barbara, Hannah and Natasha. They planned, booked and organised the entire trip, taking all the stress away from me. I knew I had nothing to worry about – they know me so well and I trust them entirely. All they told me beforehand was the city and the flight details, and to bring something sparkly for one of the events… I couldn’t wait!

We set off early one Wednesday morning from Edinburgh and arrived in Amsterdam, where I was presented with my ‘Bride’s Last Ride’ goodie bag and the itinerary for the trip. It was perfect! I couldn’t have planned it better myself and I was so excited. We were based in the De Pijp neigh­bourhood – it’s my favourite part of the city and is filled with markets and fantastic cafes and vegan food.

We stayed in the Arcade Hotel, where every room has two random consoles in it and you can borrow games from the reception downstairs – Callum was extremely jealous! For the rest of the day, we got some lunch, chilled, then went for dinner and some spicy pineapple margaritas. On our first full day, we wandered our way into the beautiful Jordaan district where we went vintage shopping and had lunch at an amazing Lebanese restaurant.

Amsterdam hen party
From left: Ellen’s trip to Amsterdam included an unforgettable, sparkle-filled whizz round the rink at Roller Dreams; Ellen’s friends made her carry a blow-up doll with Callum’s face on it – and her expression says it all; Brunching at Coffee & Coconuts with some obligatory hen paraphernalia

We had then heard that there was a secret spot in the Hoxton Hotel that had a vintage photobooth, so we had to get some pics together. That evening I was taken to Madre, a fully vegan Mexican restaurant with a stunning interior, and had the best tacos I’ve ever eaten in my life. They make fresh guacamole for you at the table, and we got a free round of tequila shots, because I was forced to wear my tiara to dinner! We kicked off the next day with brunch at Coffee & Coconuts, where I had been once before with Callum and remembered it was such a cool place.

After more vintage shopping and a wander round the Albert Cuyp market, we started getting our sparkles on for the big night. Unfortunately (but hilariously), there was a blow-up doll with Callum’s face on it, waiting for me to trek it across town with us! We soon arrived at our location, the Roller Dreams roller disco, which was incredible. Disco balls everywhere, a full baby-pink room, DJ, neon sign wall, prosecco bar and retro American signs. I was in heaven! After that, we were all exhausted, so we made our way to dinner at the Vegan Junk Food Bar in Rembrandtplein where we ate incredible burgers, then hit up some of the bars.

Our final day involved brunch and a bit more exploring before our flight home in the evening. Amsterdam is such an incredible city and there couldn’t have been a better location to find all of my favourite things. My friends did such an amazing job planning everything and showing how well they know me – as cheesy as it sounds, my heart felt so full after the trip. I just want to thank them again for all their hard work, and I hope I can treat them to a good party at the wedding.

What’s next?

Now the hen is over, we’re going to really dig into all the bits of the wedding that are left to plan. We have booked our new venue, Verdant Works, so as soon I finish setting up the webpage I’m creating for our guests, I’ll send out the save-the-dates that I designed. I’m aiming to book our ceilidh band this week, and my bridesmaids are also ordering their dresses, now they have decided exactly which ones they want. My own dress is slightly too long – I need to get it altered so I don’t trip up as I walk down the aisle.

Nine 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

Bijoux Bridal Boutique
Left: Natalie loved dress-shopping at Bijoux Bridal in Hamilton; Right: We wonder if Natalie tried on the showstopping Steph gown by Ronald Joyce, available at Bijoux Bridal?

I said YES to the dress! I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to say those words! This, for me, has been one of the hardest parts of the wedding journey so far. I had appointments at a few different boutiques and tried on some amazing dresses, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing.

If this happens to you, the best piece of advice I can give is don’t get disheartened. There are thousands of dresses and designers out there, and you will find one you love. It took longer than I expected, but finally having the moment of looking in the mirror and knowing that this is the dress you’ll marry your soulmate in – that’s a moment that will stay with you forever!

At the beginning of October, I took my mum and sister and Chris’s mum and sister to Glasgow. The five of us visited two boutiques, Aimee Couture Bridal and Brides in the City, and, while I didn’t find The One in either store, the experience I had in both was fantastic. I honestly cannot speak highly enough of the consultants there. Later in October, I took my little bride team to Bijoux Bridal in Hamilton.

A man and woman walking hand-in-hand at Callendar Park in Falkirk
Natalie and husband-to-be Chris (photo: Jason Kenneway Photography)

From the moment I booked the appointment online, the service was incredible. The same day I booked, I had a telephone consultation with Lynn to discuss what I was looking for, and I got my own online portal to choose dresses prior to the consultation. When we arrived at Bijoux, all the staff were lovely. The shop is stunning and has a huge range of gowns and designers to choose from. My consultant, Sophie, was fab.

The first dress I tried on was the one I ended up buying. I did try on a few more, before I realised I couldn’t get that first dress out of my head! So back to gown number one we went. I added a pair of heels, popped my hair up and put a veil on… I was a bride! Tears appeared from nowhere and I knew that this was the dress I want to marry my best friend in! It’s everything I dreamed of and more.

What’s next?

It’s the bridesmaids’ turn. Danielle, my maid of honour, will be home from Singapore in December and I will take all seven of the girls along to Bridal Boutique in Falkirk to choose their dresses. Elaine, the owner, is fantastic and I can’t wait for them to have their moment too.

Unfortunately, my lovely baker, Carolyn, won’t be able to make our wedding cake after all. She recommended Jenni at Thistle Do Icely, and, after tasting her sample box (omg, yum!), we decided to go ahead. We’re still unsure if we want a sugar paste or a butter­cream cake, but that can be decided nearer the time. I might need to sample more cake, though, just to be sure which flavours I want – haha!

Missed the last instalment? You can see it here.