Tilly and Fraser escaped to Arran, their ‘special place’, and tied the knot at Lochranza and Catacol village hall with stunning floral arrangements and a band found at the Edinburgh Fringe

Tilly Armstrong and Fraser Russell

30th July 2022

Venue | Lochranza and Catacol Village Hall, Isle of Arran
Photography | Jacek Hübner

“Fraser and I got together after meeting on Bumble when I was living on Arran, so it’s always been our special place. He proposed to me in summer 2021 when we were on holiday in the Outer Hebrides on a beach in Harris.

I was totally shocked in the moment, but did know Fraser and my mum had been chatting about it. My mum’s godmother passed away and she inherited her diamond ring, so I knew there was a plan in motion for that to be my engagement ring which made it really special.

We had originally wanted to get married at Lochranza Castle, but it wasn’t possible at the time, so we settled on the nearby village hall. It gave us the option of getting married outside which we loved.

However the weather wasn’t looking good the day before and the forecast wasn’t clear on the day. It rained all morning and our groomsmen spent the morning wiping down the seats! We got so lucky, as it broke into sunshine about 10 minutes before I arrived for the ceremony. We had 100 guests all day.

I chose to walk myself down the aisle as I am a feminist and it felt right. I must admit I was nervous about guests thinking it meant there was something wrong between my dad and I, which wasn’t the case at all! I was so anxious, but as soon as I reached the top of the aisle, it was like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I was able to begin enjoying the fact we were surrounded by our friends and family!

Neither of us were particularly precious about the day, so when one of my best friends Nathalie, who owns Aspen Florals, offered to decorate the venue we knew we could trust her entirely. She was able to turn a simple basketball court in the village hall into a natural haven which looked absolutely stunning.

Her partner Jacek was our photographer and he really helped capture photographs that felt like ‘us’. We didn’t want to be away from our guests long between the ceremony and reception, but Jacek insisted we took half an hour to shoot some photographs. It was really nice for Fraser and I to have some time together on what was a busy day.

It was great being able to support local suppliers, so we chose to have Arran Simply Thai cater our day. The meal was served buffet style and we had dishes like spring rolls, chicken satay and a variety of curries for our guests to enjoy.

We really wanted our day to reflect us as a couple and our relationship, so we were able to personalise our ceremony to suit us. We went to a wedding fair and were a bit taken aback by how many things there were you could spend money on – it almost put us off getting married! It was there, however, we met our celebrant Billy. He encouraged us to write our own vows and on the day, he shared our story wonderfully. We also had our mums involved in the ceremony.

The days before the wedding my family had booked a cottage, so I stayed with them whilst putting finishing touches on our venue with Nathalie and Jacek. It was great that so many of our guests could make the wedding into a weekend away. Arran is only a 50-minute ferry ride, but it still feels like you’re getting to go on an adventure!

The night before the wedding, we had a family dinner. Many people hadn’t met each other before, so it was a nice way to break the ice before the big day.

Not long after we were engaged, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe where I stumbled upon musicians Elsa McTaggart and Gary Lister. I took Fraser back to see them the following week and he loved them too, so we booked them then and there!

We’re very lucky in that we have lots of creative people in our lives. Alongside Nichola and Jacek working their magic, we had James Gold (my sister’s husband) singing and played guitar during the ceremony. He sang our special song, ‘Wichita Lineman’, as I walked down the aisle.

The night of our wedding we stayed in the Auchrannie Hotel along with some of our guests. We spent the Sunday packing up the hall, but decided to take some time to have a hot-stone massage at the hotel. I don’t know if it was just the stress of the day before melting away, but it was the best massage I’ve ever had in my life!

I love our photographs as I feel they really captured us and what the day was all about. They show us surrounded by our friends and family and really sum up just what a good atmosphere there was on the day.

Bride’s dress Sézane
Bride’s heels and headpiece Etsy
Bride’s jewellery Necklace, family heirloom; earrings from Wolf & Badger
Bridesmaid dresses Whistles
Groomswear Panache Kilt Hire & Sales
Celebrant Billy Ward, Thistle Ceremonies
Cake Clarks the Bakers
Flowers and venue decor Aspen Florals
Catering Arran Simply Thai
Stationery Handmade by bride and groom
Favours Handmade raspberry gin and elderflower cordial
Rings Bride’s wedding and engagement ring family heirlooms; groom’s from Hebridean Jewellery
Entertainment Elsa McTaggart and Gary Lister
Hair and makeup Natalia Hair & Style
Transport Stagecoach
First dance The Gay Gordons

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