The bride wore black, there were ‘Maids of Dishonour’ and ‘Doomsmen’, and family and friends were involved every step of the way as Cara and Chris married in a totally DIY big day at the bride’s shed company HQ

Cara-Anne Brodie Mackay and Chris Marr

24th September 2022

Venue | Gillies and Mackay, the bride’s business HQ in Perthshire
Photography | Claire Millar Photography

"Chris and I met through business connections in 2015. However, it wasn’t until late 2016 that we became a ‘thing’. The start of our relationship met with challenges, seeing as we were both recently separated from our first marriages and had kids on both sides: Sophie, Paddy and Spencer.

We fell madly in love and baby Luna-Rose soon arrived. After a couple of years of absolute refusal to even consider the prospect of marriage, given our earlier endeavours, I decided to propose to Chris on his birthday at our family cottage in Errol (where we’d had our official first date). Thankfully, he said yes!

When setting the date for our wedding, there was only one that stood out – 24th September 2022 – exactly a year later and Chris’s 41st birthday. We knew it had to be on my family farm, also my place of work: Gillies and Mackay, who make the best sheds in the world!

I remember seeing Joe Wicks’ wedding on Instagram. Him and his wife Rosie had a carnival theme and the idea of kids being the centre of our plans really meant something to Chris and I. We both have fond memories of the fun we had at our own parents’ second weddings.

We’re not quite sure how many attended our wedding. There was 250-ish on the guest list and another 40 or so kids. It was very much a ‘come as you please’ set-up that ran from noon to midnight. The kids had a whole area to themselves, complete with bouncy castles, soft play, a pool table and tattie-throwing competition for the older ones.

We wanted everything at our wedding to be a true representation of us and our familes. We had ‘Maids of Dishonour’ and ‘Doomsmen’, for instance. The Maids comprised my workforce, close friends, female family members and Chris’s mum, while the ‘Doomsmen’ were Chris and I’s brothers, my dad, Chris’s stepdad and Chris’s close friends.

All of my maids wore white, and I wanted to wear the opposite – but it was so hard to find a black wedding dress. I eventually got one at Innate Bridals in Dundee. I tried it on and instantly knew it was the one.

I think you could call our wedding style ‘barn-dance farm-chic’.  Everything was totally DIY, from our handmade signage and festoon lighting, to haybale ‘pews’ and handpicked foliage and flowers from my dad’s garden. My uncle David is a stage director and he was able to loan a bunch of props, lighting and decor. Other friends and family helped out too.

My stepmum Caroline was our celebrant. She wasn’t one when we asked her to take on the role, but she set about becoming one quick-smart. She did an amazing job of constructing our story, leading our ceremony and was full of stage-presence and charm. Chris and I wrote our own vows, had a handfasting and involved our families every step of the way.

Music was a huge part of the day. We had a ceremony procession that featured our families, children, Maids of Dishonour and Doomsmen dancing down the aisle to some of our favourite songs.

The maids and men also formed a choir to sing 5ive’s ‘Keep on Moving’ during the ceremony which was one of my favourite points of the day. Chris and I have matching Alkaline Trio tattoos, and our first dance was one of their songs that means a lot to us, ‘Every Thug Needs a Lady’. Chris says it was his favourite part of the wedding.

Our reception was incredible. The barn was alive and everyone was dancing and singing. We had a BYOB bar set up on the back of a work van and an array of local food trucks. Our close friend Col’s sister Andrea supplied the outstanding band and we ended the night with a ’90s disco rave.

The day was captured brilliantly by photographer Claire Millar. She was an absolute dream to work with and totally got our ‘candid’ remit from our very first conversation.

She understood our need to have freedom and not to be tied down to a ‘photoshoot’ – though in hindsight, we might suggest that a wee bit of quiet for ourselves in such a fast-paced day would’ve been a good thing! Our resulting pictures are unbelievably perfect: a clear depiction of sheer joy and happiness.

Top tip: “If you’re doing it all yourself like we did, be prepared to double your budget (we spent around £15k) – and take three weeks off before and after it. Seriously though, if you can stay focused on why you’re getting married, the people in your life who love you should be happy no matter what you decide. It’s important to remind them of that throughout the planning process though, because sometimes they forget...”

Venue Marquees and gazebos at Gillies and Mackay, the bride’s business HQ
Photography Claire Millar Photography
Celebrant Caroline Mackay, Saorsa Ceremonies (the bride’s stepmum)
Bride’s dress Allure Bridals from Innate Bridals
Bridesmaid dresses Sorted own, with £50 contribution from couple
Flower girl dresses LBD and Monsoon
Bride’s nails Lillie Beau Nails
Groomswear McCalls
Bride’s rings Heirlooms from both her grandmothers
Groom’s rings Matthew Flower Design
Catering Cairn o’ Mohr Winery, MacLove, StickMan Food Co, The Dough Dough Pizza Co, and Spitting Pig Scotland
Flowers DIY using homegrown blooms
Cake Cakes that Lan Did
Caricaturist Pedro Brock Art
Ceremony entertainment Ross from Funk & Disorderly
Drinks reception/evening entertainment Andrea O’Reilly, The Broon Troot Orchestra
PA system Vision Sound and Light
Venue decor DIY with bales from Murrayfield Hay and picnic tables from 360 Event Hire
Toilets CLC Events
Soft play Tots Toun Soft Play

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