This couple initially planned to elope to Scotland, but fell in love with their Glencoe plans so much that, in the end, they couldn’t resist inviting their closest family

Emma Taylor and Chris Rothwell, now Mr and Mrs Rothwell 

29th August 2023 

Venue | Glencoe National Nature Reserve, the Highlands, part of the National Trust for Scotland
Photography | Holeyn Heritage Photography

"Chris and I met through work back in 2016. We bought our first home together in 2018 and then got engaged in spring 2020 in our beautiful back garden during lockdown. 

It ended up being three years between the engagement and wedding. Setting a date for our wedding wasn’t a high priority as Chris had some ongoing health issues. The other problem was that neither of us really knew what we wanted our wedding day to look like. 

It came to a point that I was desperate to get something organised. I first put the idea of eloping to Chris as a bit of a joke, but he loved it! We figured Scotland was the best place to do it, so Chris ended up contacting the National Trust for Scotland the next day to enquire... 

We used one of the organisation’s elopement packages and they helped us bring everything together. It included various locations for the ceremony; transport in a Land Rover; whisky; quaich; flowers and buttonholes from a local florist, and much more. 

The NTS team were fantastic to work with and made the day so easy and enjoyable. They also provided food for a picnic during the day that was all local produce. The smoked venison and smoked brie from Ardshealach Smokehouse & Fine Foods were amazing!  

At first, we were going to have a genuine elopement with just the two of us and our dog Bracken. However, after our first meeting with our celebrant, Beverley Bryant, we got so excited about the day we’d planned, we decided we couldn’t go through with it without inviting our closest family (parents, siblings and their partners).

We ended up with 13 guests, including a baby and two dogs. We didn’t have a set budget in mind, but tried to keep it as low as possible. We ended up spending about £5,000 in the end. 

In terms of photography, we wanted someone that would capture the day in a natural, fuss-free sort of way. Becky Atack at Holeyn Heritage did that amazingly, with a mixture of posed and natural shots that told the story of the day, and captured the beautiful surroundings so well. The shots where Chris and I are skipping and twirling over a bridge really showcase the pure happiness that we shared that day. 

The morning of the wedding was beautifully sunny, so Chris decided to go swimming in the loch with some of my family. I decided to stay back and have some time to myself and get ready slowly. I felt nervous. Emotional. Excited. Chris did a little too, and neither of us could eat a proper breakfast.   

The ceremony was personal and emotional. We had no aisle, no music. I walked (on my own) down a small hill to a river where Chris and our families were waiting. I was very emotional by this point.

My favourite moment was hearing the vows we’d written and sharing them with our loved ones. We both wrote our vows by hand and I love reading them back every now and again. I think Chris’ highlight was the whisky drinking at the end!  

After the ceremony, we had drinks at our families’ accommodation, before heading to the Loch Leven Hotel for an evening meal.

There was no table plan. We all sat at one long table; Chris and I sat in the middle and then everyone else sat around us, with a conscious effort to mix up the families slightly. We didn’t have any speeches. 

After the meal, we all sat in the hotel bar. The men made their way through the top shelf of whiskies and the ladies sampled the gins distilled locally. It was a really happy evening and was so lovely to see our two families together as one. 

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Ceremony venue Glencoe National Nature Reserve, part of the National Trust for Scotland 
Photography Holeyn Heritage Photography 
Celebrant Beverley Bryant Humanist Celebrant 
Meal and drinks Loch Leven Hotel
Bride’s dress Nobody’s Child, worn with a fleece from The North Face 
Hair and makeup Bride did own 
Groomswear Jacket from Edinburgh Woollen Mill 
Wedding rings Goldsmiths 
Transport Land Rover provided by the National Trust for Scotland 

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