Aside from the wedding cog, these two brides didn’t feel constrained by traditions. They dress-shopped, got ready and made a speech together – truly setting off married life on the right foot

Gemma Bruce & Heather Leighton (now the Leighton-Bruces)

7th May 2022

Venue | Raemoir House, Aberdeenshire
Photography | Simone Smith Photography

“We bought our engagement rings together about 14 months after our first date, before we’d figured out the logistics of any proposal. I (Heather) proposed to Gemma in May 2021 in Sutherland’s Grove, near Oban, during a picnic. Gemma then proposed to me at Meldrum House, Aberdeenshire in February 2022. We had never discussed ‘a double proposal’ so Gemma popping the question was definitely a surprise!

Neither of us is the type who dreamed of our would-be weddings when we were small. Furthermore, there’s less coverage of same-sex weddings, so we had no real vision and many questions.

It meant we felt less bound to tradition, but also left us with way too much choice. We just picked things/suppliers we liked, and thankfully it all fell into place. Our mums and bridesmaids treated us to copies of Tie the Knot Scotland which helped us find inspiration and suppliers, alongside the usual social media haunts.

Don’t be afraid to ask your suppliers’ opinions and advice. If you’re unsure about anything, they are a great source of ideas and reassurance. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, so their input could be invaluable.

It was important to us to have an exclusive-use venue so we could completely relax with our nearest and dearest (56 daytime guests with 12 more in the evening). We loved Raemoir House from our first visit.

The venue was beautiful with plenty of detail, so we didn’t feel we needed to add much in terms of decor. We included photos from our first proposal that sat beside two toy  bridal penguins. They were given to us during engagement celebrations and were there on dress viewing appointments and the hen party, so they’ve been along for the whole ride to the top of the aisle!

We were terrible at tracking budget, but we reckon we spent somewhere between £15-20k.

We decided to get wedding dresses together so they could complement each other. We booked an appointment at La Beck Bridal in Perth with our mums and bridesmaids. Gemma picked the very first dress she tried on – an A-line gown with detailed lace and beading. Mine was also A-line.

We bought both of them there and then, so it was a successful day out. They also took care of the alterations too, which saved stress knowing it was all sorted in one place.

Our bouquets were also alike. They contained similar blooms, but were different tones: one was more vibrant (Gemma) and the other pastel (Heather). Our florist Ginger & Blossom was brilliant at helping us achieve that.

We wanted someone local to conduct our civil ceremony who would let us tailor it to suit. Lynne Driver from Aberdeenshire Registrars allowed us do that. We had personalised vows and readings which made it all the more meaningful.

Gemma’s family are from Orkney, so we had a bridal cog. The cog mixture was made at the venue by Gemma’s dad using a secret recipe. The resulting photos of it being passed round are priceless.

That was one of the few ‘traditions’ we got on board with. Everything else, we did our own way: we ditched having a wedding cake and instead had empire biscuits baked by Gemma’s mum; we got ready together on the morning of the wedding and made a joint speech at the reception. There was no ‘wedding rulebook’ as far as we were concerned.

Our hairstylist Simone Saint was fantastic. I ended up doing something that you’re not advised to: changing my hairstyle on the morning of the wedding! I absolutely loved it though. It was exactly what I wanted; I just hadn’t been able to articulate it before.

Our photographer Simone Smith was brilliant to work with. When we came across her work, we really liked her understated finish and edit on her images. We also took her up on the pre-wedding shoot that she offers; it gave us a chance to see how we reacted in front of the camera.
Overall, our big day was relaxed, but emotional. Having everyone close to us together in one room was magical.”

Top tip: “We were gifted a wedding to-do list in the form of a scratch-off poster and it was excellent! We’d recommend it to everyone. Keep it in a room you see everyday so you can track progress. We tried to organise a little but often, so as not to feel overwhelmed.”

Registrar Lynne Driver
Brides’ dresses La Beck Bridal 
Brides’ shoes Irregular Choice 
Hair Simone Saint
Makeup KayV Makeup Artist
Dentistry Cherrybank Dental Spa
Mother of the bride outfits Frox of Falkirk and Loretta’s Collections
Flowers Ginger & Blossom 
Cake Empire biscuits baked by Gemma’s mum
Favours Tablet made by Heather’s mum
Stationery Zazzle
Confetti Proper Confetti 
Rings MacIntyres
Reception band Diamond Skies Wedding Band 

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