Jess and Hector had to cull an original guest list of around 90 to just 15 and rode a wave of uncertainty waiting to see whether an easing of Covid restrictions would even allow them to marry

Jessica Parson & Hector Reid

1st August 2020

Venue | Glen Clova Hotel & Lodges
Photography | Natalie Holt Photography

“I first saw Hector during a health and safety talk at Manchester University halls of residence back in 2008. He was gently heckling the speaker from the back of the room, making a real show of himself. I thought: ‘Yep, he seems like someone I want to get to know.’
We went on our first date on Valentine’s Day 2009 and 12 years later, here we are.

We decided to have our reception at Glen Clova Hotel and get married in the wee Clova Kirk over the road. We visit this beautiful part of Scotland a couple of times a year as Hector’s family have a house nearby and we love to go hiking in the area. We had been in the hotel on many occasions before, stopping off for a post-hike meal or drink. It holds a very fond place in our hearts.

Hector and I are famously last-minute in our approach to most things. In this instance, it worked to our advantage. Coronavirus threw a spanner in the works halfway through our wedding planning, but by that point we still hadn’t made lots of our big decisions, such as deciding on a band. If we’d been more organised, we would have probably lost a lot of money.

Staff at Glen Clova were outstanding. Given there were so many uncertainties, they really had to be flexible, think creatively, and make a lot of last-minute decisions. It can’t have been easy, but they absolutely smashed it.

Even with all the restrictions, they provided us with the most special day and put effort into making everyone feel safe. We have to give a particular shout out to wedding co-ordinator Mhairi who was unflappably positive and productive throughout it all. We couldn’t have asked any more from her.

Our biggest bargains came from doing so many things ourselves. The table setting decorations, for example, used wood collected by Hector’s dad, sawn into discs and sanded down. Hector’s mum Elspeth and sister Davina picked flowers from Hector’s family garden and we collected pinecones to stick our place settings in. I did my own makeup, while my sister Olivia did my hair. It was all these seemingly small contributions that really added to the day.

We were both thrilled with the handmade wooden arch built by Hector’s parents using wood from his uncle’s nearby home. We decorated it with festoon lighting and macramé hangings made by my sister. The DIY whisky and gin bar I set up in an old woodshed was also a big hit with guests.

We weren’t allowed a band or dance floor, so Hector and I reeled to Donald Where’s Your Troosers after a few drinks.

We wanted a photographer who would be friendly and easy-going. It was also important that they would be able to capture the beautiful scenery and all our little details. When we saw Natalie Holt’s work online we adored her style and we are so happy that we chose her to shoot the day. She did a fantastic job.

We were keen to share with our guests what we enjoy most about our trips to Scotland: being outdoors, hiking, eating delicious food and drinking whisky. We lined up a full weekend of plans, including a whisky tasting for our guests the night before the wedding. We even took everyone on our favourite hike the day after and ended up having a wild swim in Loch Brandy with a few guests and Hector’s mum (she was the first one in!).”

Top tip: “One thing that helped keep us organised and on track was my love of spreadsheets and lists. I think otherwise one of the key pieces of advice would be to involve the strength and skills of friends and family members and delegate tasks where possible.”

Venue Glen Clova Hotel & Lodges
Photography Natalie Holt Photography
Celebrant Lesley Yule, Humanist Society of Scotland
Bride’s dress Grace Loves Lace
Bride’s shoes Charlotte Mills
Groomswear Eight Yards
Dried bouquets MUD Urban Flowers
Fresh flowers Blooming Bees
Cheese tower The Fine Cheese Co.
Favours Fettercairn whisky miniatures
Venue décor Homemade
Music Spotify playlists
Piper Colin Barr

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