Tie the Knot Scotland’s columnist Hazel finally married Neil in a chic, sophisticated day at Lochside House! Here, she shares how it all panned out

Hazel Pool and Neil Moore

28th April 2023

Venue | Lochside House Hotel, Ayrshire
Photography | The Vedrines

“Neil and I were together two-and-a-half years before our engagement. We got engaged in October 2020 at Fonab Castle while on a weekend break for my birthday.

Lochside House Hotel was the second venue we viewed, but knew instantly it was the one. It was undergoing a big renovation and the plans to mix elegant glamour with the Scottish countryside were exactly to our taste.

I had a clear vision right from the beginning: ‘sophisticated glamour’. I’ve always loved neutral tones with subtle gold accents and white roses are my favourite flowers, so I incorporated these into our decor. Neil was happy with whatever I chose and loved to watch me get so passionate about our plans.

The aim was to make sure our guests had a fun time. We wanted the ceremony to be full of emotion and all about our love, but everything after that was to be focused on our guests. The best compliment we got was from a friend who doesn’t really like weddings. He said it felt like an event designed with guests in mind, not just a wedding.

My best wedding-planning tip would be to keep close track of your committed spending, what you’ve paid and what’s outstanding. That way, you’re more likely to keep on top of things and not feel overwhelmed. A planner is an absolute must (Google has a fantastic one and it’s free).

If you plan to set a budget, set it about 20-25% less than what you can realistically afford. That way, you have a contingency for all the little things that crop up that you don’t account for in the initial planning stages.

We changed photographer early on, as we perhaps rushed our original decision. We gave them plenty of notice and knew we’d lose our deposit. My advice to other couples is not to hurry any of your supplier decisions. We then booked Tina Vedrine, AKA The Vedrines. The artistry of our photographer was very important to us and we adored her editorial style of photography. She is great at capturing the finest details and making them look magical.

Our sunset photos are my favourites. It was a particularly cloudy day and just as we were wrapping up with our evening couple shots, the golden-hour sun peeked through the clouds in the distance. At that moment it felt like a movie, and the images just reflect that so well.

I did a lot of research before I went wedding-dress shopping, so I knew which boutiques carried designs I liked. I tried on about 20 dresses and I eventually decided to mix and match a dress, straps, overskirt and balloon sleeves from three different dresses to create a custom look by designer Calle Blanche from Sophia Grace Couture in Haddington.

The night before the wedding, my bridesmaids and I all stayed in a lodge on the venue’s grounds. We enjoyed the hot tub, a take-away and some bubbles before calling it a night at a very respectable hour.

Getting ready with my girls on the morning of the wedding was amazing. I was relaxed until I got into my dress; at that point, the nerves and emotion hit me at once. The dressing room had a screen where we could view the guests arriving and there was a camera that pointed to the end of the aisle.

When it was nearly time, I glanced at the TV screen and saw Neil standing there in his kilt waiting for me. I can’t put into words the emotion that came over me in that moment. It’s hard to know what you’ll feel until you’re in it; I didn’t expect to be as nervous as I was! Once I got to the bottom of the aisle and looked into Neil’s eyes, all the nerves melted away.

The speeches were great. My dad was nervous but he did fantastically well. The best man delivered a funny and heartfelt speech. Neil loves to hold a room – give him a microphone and he’s in his element. As a result, we had what someone described as ‘longest groom’s speech in history!’

Our live band Fyra were superb. They played an acoustic set during the drinks reception, before taking over after dinner. During the turnaround hour, we had a sax player who got everyone in the party spirit. We also hired a 360° video platform along with a photo wall, both of which went down a storm with our guests.

I chose to do a ‘parent dance’ instead of the traditional father/daughter one. My mum is so precious to me, so I wanted to make sure we got our moment to dance together too. Halfway through ‘My Girl’, my dad swapped placed with my mum to dance with me. It’s one of my favourite memories of the day.”

Top tip: “Book a content creator. It was one of the best decisions we made. Even if you’re not into social media, the service is absolutely worth it! You get so many raw videos and pictures of your day taken by a dedicated person, so you don’t have to rely on your guests’ sharing photos. They work alongside your photographer and videographer and are in no way intended to replace them.”

Venue Lochside House Hotel, Lodges and Spa
Photography The Vedrines
Celebrant Christopher Gray, Independent Humanist Celebrants
Bride’s dress Calla Blanche from Sophia Grace Couture
Bride’s evening dress Have Dress on Etsy
Bridesmaid dresses Stacees
Flower girl dresses Itty Bitty Boutique
Mother-of-the-bride outfit Karen Millen
Makeup Ashleigh McArthur
Hair Cameo Bridal Styling
Groomswear MacGregor and MacDuff
Rings Chisholm Hunter; Bercotts
Cake Cakes N Crafts
Flowers I Am Flowers via sister company Jam Events
Save the dates Cartalia
Invites Etsy
Venue decor and table plan Jam Events
Favours Chivas Regal whisky and Malfy pink gin miniatures
Band Fyra Band 
Saxophonist Chris Hardie Sax
360° video booth M.arte Studios
Filmmaker Candlelight Pics (see highlights below)
Content creator Social Brides Club
Pyrotechnics Midnight Storm

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