This couple live on an estate that already hosts weddings, so there was no place like home to host their relaxed family-centred barn ceremony and marquee party

Charlotte Ann Gonella and Rory James Douglas Boswell

29th July 2023

Venue | Boswell’s Estate Weddings, Ayrshire
Photography | Esther Morgan Photography

"Rory and I’s paths crossed as children, but we didn’t formally meet until many years later when I went for a walk on his farm one day over lockdown. We were together for about a year when he proposed under the stars one beautiful night in Ibiza.

We couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere other than Boswell’s Estate in Cumnock, Ayrshire. This picture-perfect setting is Rory’s family home (the Boswells can trace back their lineage here a remarkable 900 years) and it already operates as wedding venue, among other things.

There were occasional hiccups in the run-up to the wedding, like Rory forgetting to order his waistcoat! Thankfully our families were on hand to help with any meltdowns. When we host weddings on the estate, we are there to help couples take care of any last-minute issues that arise, so realised first-hand how important it is to have people to rely on when things get stressful.

The barn we set the ceremony against was built by Rory’s father, so has great sentimental value. My best friend and maid of honour, Emily, runs an event and floral design firm called June in March. She was instrumental in realising our vision for the wedding and worked tirelessly in the run-up. Her and the groomsmen emptied the barn (there were still cows and equipment in it a few days before the wedding!) and decorated it beautifully.

We wanted the setting to ‘live and breathe’ the beauty of the woodland and farmland that surrounds the barn. Almost all of our decorations were foraged from the estate. We had birch trees brought in, and even had tractor loaders form an ‘arch’ at the top of the aisle for our ceremony backdrop.

During the humanist ceremony, our twin boys Ludovico and Hector made a beeline for the tractors. They spent most of the ceremony in the cab ‘driving’ them! Our other children had roles in the day: daughter and flower girl Ella got ready with me, and walked down the aisle with the other bridesmaids, then ten-year-old Hugo charmed us all with the reading he did in front of the 150 guests. The emotions we felt were incredible during the ceremony, like nothing we’ve experienced before.

Rory is a big fan of pipe music, so we lined up Harry Richards, aka the Perthshire Piper, to perform. He played some of Rory’s favourites as everyone arrived at the ceremony and as we headed back up the aisle as Mr and Mrs.

MoH Emily kindly offered to take care of the catering for our wedding. She’s worked in the hospitality industry for years and brought an amazing team from London. I have Italian heritage so wanted the meal to be served family-style, like one big supper club. The food was incredible and featured produce from lots of local Ayrshire suppliers.

My talented sister, Francesca, is not only the wedding coordinator at Boswell’s Estate Weddings, she also has her own cake company called Pretty Baked. She made us the most delicious and beautiful wedding cake as a gift.

My dress was custom-made by Flossy and Dossy. Designer Wendy and I spent a year collaborating on the dress that was crafted from 20 meters of silk. (I’ve decided that I’m going have it dyed black so I can wear it forever.) I finished my look with gorgeous gold and white cowboy boots that had ‘R&C 29/07/23’ imprinted on the sole.

Our photographer was Gemma from Esther Morgan Photography. I’ve known Gemma for years and she’s captured other key life events for us, so she was the natural choice for our wedding. She blended into the background and photographed the events as they unfolded; we couldn’t be happier with how our images have turned out.

The speeches were brilliant. Rory and his best man both did lovely speeches, and my dad’s moving speech had everyone in floods of tears!

We gave wooden spoons as favours. It’s a Gonella family tradition to sit around the table drinking wine and listening to music after dinner. We use wooden spoons as mini guitars or microphones, so it seemed like a funny homage to our antics.

There was no formality at our evening marquee reception. It all flowed wonderfully. Everyone danced till late as Compact Disco Defender, a mobile DJ in a Land Rover Defender, played Motown classics and house hits. Our first dance was ‘Whole of the Moon’ by The Waterboys

Everyone said it was such a personal, relaxed wedding with an incredible atmosphere. We had guests from all walks of life; everyone got on so well.

Top tip: "Aside from writing lists, consider using a wedding website like we did, so guests can gather information about your big day. It also helps with keeping a tab on numbers for catering and collecting RSVPs."

Venue and marquee Boswell’s Estate Weddings
Photography Esther Morgan Photography
Celebrant Karen McLaughlin, Humanist Society Scotland
Bride’s dress Flossy and Dossy
Bride’s cowboy boots The Tui Collection
Flower girl’s dress Etsy
Makeup Bride did her own
Hair Hair by Jasmine
Groomswear Own tartan and tails
Wedding cake Pretty Baked (the bride’s sister)
Catering, decor and bridal bouquet June in March (the bride’s best friend, Emily) Decorative flowers JG Flowers
Favours Wooden spoons
Drinks reception music Meredith McCrindle Harpist
Piper Harry Richards, The Perthshire Piper
Reception music Compact Disco Defender
Horse and carriage Blackstone Clydesdales
Bridal party accommodation Auchinleck House

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