After Covid ruined their plans to marry abroad, Fifi and Chris decided to elope to Inverness. They tell us how they made it happen – despite the hire car cancelling

Fifi Sumali & Christopher Megahy

13th September 2021

Venues | Inverness Botanic Gardens and Inverness Mosque
Photography | Tower Photography

“Chris and I met at a Noel Gallagher concert at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. We got together in 2018 and were engaged just over a year later.

We initially planned to get married abroad. We booked a wedding planner in Iceland thinking that we could kill two birds with one stone and go for a nice honeymoon afterwards.

Both our families are from different countries, so we always wanted a low-key wedding, with subsequent small receptions in Malaysia and Scotland (where mine and Chris’s families are from respectively). However, Covid travel restrictions meant we had to cancel our Iceland trip and the receptions.

Because of all the Covid-related uncertainties (at the time, we couldn’t even travel to a neighbouring council area), we considered just getting married at the Glasgow City Council registry office. We bided our time and when restrictions relaxed a bit, we started researching other possible venues.

We set our sights on the Highlands. Because it was just going to be the two of us, it was important to find a venue that wasn’t too spacious. We both like the outdoors, so we were hoping to get married in a natural setting.

We discovered that Inverness Botanic Gardens could be hired as a wedding venue. After visiting, we were taken aback by how beautiful the tropical house was. It also ticked the nature box without us being exposed to any unpredictable Scottish weather! We couldn’t think of anywhere better for an intimate ceremony.

We are both Muslims, so it was important for us to have both a formal civil ceremony and a religious one. Our civil ceremony at the Gardens was led by assistant registrar, Margaret Anderson.

Our family members attended the wedding via Google Meet and commented on how beautiful the setting was. The tropical house was closed to the public when we married, so it felt pretty special to spend some alone time together walking around before we went to Inverness Mosque.

Sam Mosca of Tower Photography captured beautiful, candid photos of our wedding. She has a light-hearted, relaxed, yet still professional approach. She was also very flexible with our requests.

I had originally planned to wear a navy blue wedding dress I got in Malaysia, but I changed my mind last minute. Instead, I bought a minimal wedding dress from Etsy that I was thrilled with. Chris found his Ramsay Blue tartan kilt outfit with grey jacket at MacGregor and MacDuff in Glasgow.

We had a bit of stress before the wedding, thanks to a car hire company that cancelled our booking at the 11th hour! João at Budget Car Hire at Glasgow Airport patiently helped us book another car at the last minute.”

Top tip: “We managed our planning workload by being as organised as possible,” says Fifi. “We had our contacts and correspondents in Excel spreadsheets. We also had a checklist and a budget sheet.”

Venues Inverness Botanic Gardens and Inverness Mosque
Photography Tower Photography
Registrar Margaret Anderson, Highland Council
Bride’s dress Etsy 
Groomswear MacGregor and MacDuff 
Wedding rings H. Samuel
Entertainment “Do wild rabbits count?” laughs Fifi. “We saw them back at the Airbnb we were staying at in Beauly.”
Transport Budget Car Hire

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