Planning diaries: two Scottish brides-to-be update us on their wedding plans so far

Our resident diarists and brides-to-be, blogger Hazel and graphic designer Ellen, each have less than a year to go. How are they getting on with all the many big (and small) decisions? Pretty good, by the sounds of it…

Nine 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

A couple posing for a selfie against a blue wall and wedding invites from Cartalia
Left: Hazel and Neil are powering through the to-do list; Right: The couple’s chic gold save-the-dates from Cartalia on Etsy have been sent out

Let me start with some big news… I said YES to the dress! I can’t believe it’s my turn to say those words. In my last update I mentioned I had visited two bridal boutiques but hadn’t quite committed to anything yet. I booked to go back to the first store, Sophia Grace Couture in Haddington, to try on a dress I’d loved there as I was almost certain it was The One.

As I waited for the appointment to come round, I kept browsing the store’s website. I spotted a dress very similar to the one I loved, but with a few different elements. It gave me an idea: could I mix and match elements from multiple dresses to make the gown of my dreams? I asked the consultant at Sophia Grace Couture and she confirmed that it was absolutely possible!

I returned to the store full of excitement. I decided to try on a few other dresses first so I could be sure I was making the right decision. I took along my other sister (she hadn’t seen the original dress I’d tried on, so was completely in the dark about which was which).

Left image shows two people at MacGregor and MacDuff in Glasgow; right image shows a model wearing a wedding dress by Enzoani
Left: Neil (not pictured) had an easy time selecting his outfit at MacGregor and MacDuff; Right: Hazel sealed the dress deal at Sophia Grace Couture. Could it be Enzoani’s Pearl gown that won her over?

After trying a few gorgeous gowns, I finally put on my dress. To my delight, as soon as the curtain was pulled back, my sister said, ‘Oh my god, Sis, that’s the one!’ It was an amazing feeling. Not only did I love it, but my sister knew instantly too. In the end, I combined elements from three different gowns to get a completely unique dress.

Neil has also chosen what he’ll be wearing. We visited MacGregor and MacDuff in Glasgow and the staff were knowledgeable and super-helpful. We were immediately drawn to a tartan we’d spotted as we walked through the door, so the selection process for Neil was far more straightforward than it was for me! When he put on all the different parts of his outfit, it suddenly all started to feel so real.

One final piece of news for this update: we sent out our save-the-dates. I’ve had them for almost a year, so it was exciting to finally give them to our guests. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about when you should send these – anything from four months before to immediately after setting the date.

My advice is to do what feels right for you – we sent ours 12 months in advance. They are gold mirrored plexi magnets by Cartalia Wedding Stationery which I found on Etsy soon after we got engaged. I added wax seals and dried florals to the envelopes to give them an elegant finish.

What’s next?

My hen do is coming up next. It’s eight months before the wedding but I’ll talk more about that in the next update.

Eight months to go… Graphic designer Ellen got engaged to Callum, an environmental consultant, at Christmas. They’ve set the date for 30th March 2023 at The Byre at Inchyra

Left image shows a female wearing a cream dress in front of a christmas tree showing off an engagement ring with a man with his hand round her waist; right image is of vegan food from Loco Rita's in Dundee
Left: Ellen, showing off her gorgeous Sarah Brown Jewellery engagement ring, and Calum; Right: Vegan tacos from Loco Rita’s? Don’t mind if we do, thanks very much…

Another few weeks have flown by, but luckily we have made good progress with a lot of the major parts of our wedding. It has felt great to get some of the larger elements booked and organised so we can relax a bit and start to think about all the fun, small details.

First off, we’ve got the catering sorted, which is a huge weight off our minds. When I was at uni, I used to work at a local restaurant in Dundee called Avery and Co. Unfortunately this has now closed, but the owner Grant runs two other restaurants in the city – Mas and Loco Rita’s. When I worked there, we catered a few weddings and I was always lucky enough to bag some of the delicious leftovers. So, I knew it was good food and a great company.

Exterior image of Loco Rita's in Dundee
The colourful exterior of Loco Rita’s where Ellen used to work

I got in touch with Grant and he was happy to help – he sent over a full vegan Mexican-inspired menu for our buffet, and we are just finishing off sorting that with him just now. We’re excited for all of our guests to enjoy Loco Rita’s amazing food!

The next thing we ticked off the list was a photographer. I had researched a few who had brilliant portfolios, but we are still trying to keep costs low and some we just could not afford for the day. However, my friend Peter Clark is a wonderful photographer, and I have always loved his work. He has just graduated from Glasgow School of Art but has been working freelance for a while now.

We met up for a chat about the wedding and set out a plan. We discussed the look and feel, and I showed him my Pinterest board of photo inspiration. We trust his work and talent and are so excited to have him on board as our photographer! It’s also nice that he is a friend who can enjoy the day and know other people there.

The next (and perhaps the biggest) thing that has been sorted is my wedding dress.I spent a day in Glasgow with my maid of honour and one of my bridesmaids trying on dresses for the first time.

I chose Wed2B as the shop to test these out, as it is a free appointment and you don’t need to book. The staff were so helpful, and picked out four or five dresses for me to try on. We got the rest of the wedding party set up on FaceTime so everyone could be part of the experience.

Left image shows a person posing in an image by photographer Peter Clark; right image shows a model wearing a wedding dress from Wed2B
Left: Ellen and Callum have lined up their photographer pal Peter Clark to capture their wedding; Right: Wed2B’s Natalie was one of the gowns that caught Ellen’s eye

The first dress was lovely, but not really my style – the big princess shape made me feel like a cake topper! The others were a lot more me, and I realised that dresses fitted at the hips suit me best. There was one that stood out, with a very unique lace and a lovely low back. I put on all the accessories including the veil to see it in full, and everything felt very real in that moment. It was so sweet to have my friends there being far too complimentary! It was a lovely dress, but I didn’t buy it.

I had ordered a gown online and it was waiting back at the flat, so I brought the girls home to see me in it as the last try-on of the day. I was already pretty sure that this was the one, and trying on the dresses in the shop confirmed that. But I’m so glad I had the boutique experience (as it’ll hopefully be a once-in-a-lifetime thing).

I locked Callum in the kitchen, and did a final try-on with my heels and earrings on and came through to my friends in the living room. We all knew that this was The One for me, and that they had pictured me in it all along.

I’m so happy with my dress and I’d love to say more about it, but I won’t reveal what it looks like in case any of my family are reading this. But it is completely different to all the dresses I tried on in the shop, with not a drop of lace in sight. I just need to get a veil to complete the look. I’m considering some pearl-scattered ones I’ve seen on Etsy.

What’s next?

We are chatting to a couple of ceilidh bands at the moment so I believe that will be the next thing sorted, and then we’ll start to look at cakes, flowers and decor.