Fiona McCubbin runs Perthshire-based wedding and event florist Verbena Flowers which specialises in sustainable, wild and organic florals. She was in her element styling her own big day...

Fiona McCubbin and Fraser Michie

29th October 2022

Venue | Molteno Hall in Fortingall, Perthshire 
Photography | The Kitcheners

Florist Fiona earmarked her favourite suppliers soon after she and Fraser got engaged, but it was her clear vision and decisiveness that propelled them through wedding planning. “I had a good idea of how much different elements of a wedding cost, so we decided at the outset that our focus would be flowers, food and photography,” she explains.

“We both knew that we wanted a day full of soul and magic in a relaxed village hall setting. As soon as I saw Molteno Hall’s ornate scissor beam rafters, I was already planning suspended florals!”

The village of Fortingall is famed for its ancient yew, believed to be one of the oldest trees in the country, which really appealed to the green-fingered bride’s creative sensibilities. “In my floristry, I am inspired by the changing seasons and the circular calendar wheel, and our ceremony was full of ritual and poetry that referenced harvest, growth and renewal,” says Fiona, who admits she was in her element styling the space.

“I had the idea of creating a semi-circular meadow for the ceremony space with suspended dried-flower clouds above. We mirrored this by arranging the chairs for our guests in a semi-circle, creating the most magical, intimate ceremony space where we felt held and supported by our friends and family during our vows.”

Using a palette of burgundy and terracotta with pops of pale blue (from the silky Ghost bridesmaid dresses), all very appropriate for late autumn, Fiona created most of the flower arrangements herself, including a ceremony floral installation, the suspended dried-flower clouds and her own bouquet. “The work was a welcome distraction to my nerves in the days leading up to the wedding,” she laughs.

Even this self-confessed ‘petal-head’ realised that she couldn’t do every bloom and stem justice by herself. “Creating wedding flowers for a living doesn’t leave a lot of time to plan your own wedding,” she muses.

“So, a couple of months before our day, I enlisted the services of Gloam wedding stylists and floral designers to take on some of the work, leaving me to focus on the big installations. They looked after the table flowers, buttonholes, corsages, bridesmaid bouquets and a few meadow arrangements. I had freelanced for them previously, so I knew I was in safe hands. Even so, I don’t think I took off my ‘work hat’ until the day we married!”

When it came to wedding-dress shopping, Fiona had a definite idea of what she wanted to wear: “My ornate Malcolm Appleby-designed engagement ring looks medieval, which fired my obsession with finding a minimal silk dress with bell sleeves.” Then, at Rachel Scott Couture in Edinburgh, she happened upon two Andrea Hawkes gowns with elements she loved: what to do? “Rachel skilfully combined the two dresses. I was so pleased with the result – it was ethereal, elegant and comfortable.”

As their wedding date was close to the Día de Muertos celebration (aka the Day of the Dead) on 1st November, Fraser and Fiona decided to treat their guests (80 day, 130 evening) to a Mexican feast from Cornwall food truck El Huichol.

“I know what you’re thinking – booking a caterer from the other end of the country is not the most sustainable, eco-conscious choice, but there is a reason behind it,” says Fiona. “Fraser and I were on a campervan trip around Cornwall a few years back and got chatting to owners Carla and John after sampling El Huichol’s awesome food. Once we set our date, Fraser suggested we contact them to see if they’d like to make a holiday out of it with their food truck. They stopped off at various breweries and distilleries all the way from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, breaking their road trip for a day or two to make our wedding feast.”

Tasty tacos and tostadas aside, what were the couple’s big-day highlights? “Undoubtedly the ceremony and the speeches – there was just so much love in the room,” beams Fiona. “We also decided to take a five-minute breather together after the ceremony, just the two of us, before we rejoined our guests – something I’d encourage other newlyweds to do. Those moments of pause and stillness were so important and remain clear in our minds even now, months later.”

Top tip: “I would recommend you think about choosing flower arrangements that can be repurposed throughout your venue and wedding day. For us, it was important that the ceremony floral decor had impact, but we managed to repurpose it all for the evening reception in the hall. It is also worth trying to be a bit 
flexible with your budget if you can, as last-minute expenses are likely to crop up.”

Flowers Verbena Flowers
Venue Molteno Hall
Yurt Dragonfly Yurts
Photography The Kitcheners
Celebrant Andrea Taylor, The Soulful Celebrant
Bride’s dress Andrea Hawkes at Rachel Scott Couture
Bridesmaid dresses Ghost London
Hair Samantha Farrow Hairstylist
Makeup Heather Snowie MUA
Groomswear Janet Eagleton Kilts
Catering El Huichol
Additional flowers and decor Gloam
Additional venue decor Fiftysix Events; Gordon’s Cater Hire
Stationery Designed by friend and graphic designer Cathy Crocker; printed by Lunar Print
Cake Made by the bride’s mother
Favours Chardon Macarons
Engagement ring Malcolm Appleby
Wedding bands Cecilia Stamp
Ceremony music Clarsach by Cairistiona MacKinnon
Reception DJ Mol and Danny Morrow

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