This Lewis couple initially planned a big bash on the island, but changed their minds and headed to the Bonnie Banks with 30 of their loved ones for a laidback day

Eilidh Ryan and Steven Morrison

23rd June 2023

Venue | Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, West Dunbartonshire
Photography | Esther Chlad Photography

“After 18 months together, Steven and I got engaged at Bosta Beach on the Isle of Lewis with our dogs by our side. Originally, we planned a big traditional wedding on the island, but about nine months into planning, we put the brakes on it and re-aligned our values.

We decided we didn’t want the stress of a big day. We simply wanted to celebrate our commitment to each other with our nearest and dearest. At that point, we cancelled our bookings, downsized our guest list to just 30 and hired wedding planner Coorie With Us. I’m studying for a post-graduate, as well as working full time, so her guidance was invaluable.

I was charmed by the idea that we could charter a boat and have a drinks reception aboard, so we set our sights on Loch Lomond. Kellee at Coorie With Us narrowed the venue options down to three and we decided to book the Loch Lomond Arms. It was in close proximity to a pier; we could have the ceremony and reception there and there was plenty of accommodation close-by for guests travelling from Lewis.

Myself, my mum and my maid of honour came down from Lewis to the Central Belt for a weekend of dress shopping. We had three shops booked and at the first appointment, I ruled out anything A-line or ‘princessy’ and thought the last dress there may have been contender. As soon as we got to our second stop, Unbridaled Boutique in Ayr, I quickly realised these dresses were more ‘me’ and fell in love with the second gown there.

I accessorised with a bow from 1940 Bridal Accessories (on Instagram and Etsy). I love it so much that I intend to frame it!

We wanted a Christian wedding as it was in keeping with the tradition of the Hebrides. We had Free Church of Scotland minister Rev. Paul Murray conduct the ceremony. He is one of Steven’s oldest friends and serves the church my grandparents were married in. We were delighted he agreed to travel down for it.

It was a lovely, personal service which is exactly what we’d hoped for. The minister made the declaration of marriage in English and then in Gaelic which was a nice touch as there was a large proportion of native speakers in the room. Steven tripped over his vows a little and I tried to hold back the giggles – but I didn’t quite manage it! Us having a giggle at the altar made for some lovely candid photos.

Photographer Esther Chlad had been at the beach with us the moment we got engaged. We were so impressed with these photos – taken in a force-eight gale no less – we knew we wanted the journey with Esther to go full circle. We love how our wedding photos turned out – full of candid moments and fun!

We chartered Cruise Loch Lomond for a prosecco reception on the loch. Steven is a sailor and I knew that including it in our plans would make him feel relaxed. There were a few experienced sailors on our guest list and those that weren’t enjoyed the novelty of it. I even had a shot steering the boat in my wedding dress thanks to the crew who were great sports.

We didn’t have any speeches or table plan and we haven’t regretted those decisions once! It was an informal transition from meal to dance, and there was lots of mingling and chatting. It was very much a case of get up for a wee boogie if you want, or sit and chat. Easy-osey!

There was a lovely little patio area outside of the function room, so we provided throws and blankets for people to chatter outside and not get cold.

What surprised us most about getting married? The kindness and excitement people feel for you really is so lovely. We had strangers in the hotel and down at Luss Pier are congratulating us. We felt so special!

Top tip: “If you can afford a wedding planner, I would highly recommend it, even if it means cutting costs elsewhere,” says Eilidh. “Also try not to get too caught up in what other engaged couples are doing for their wedding on social media. Instead, focus on what works for both of you.”

Bride’s dress Mia Lavi from Unbridaled Boutique
Minister Rev. Paul Murray, Kinloch Free Church of Scotland
Wedding planner Coorie With Us
Bride’s hair accessory 1940 Bridal Accessories
Bridesmaid dresses Cicinia
Hair Claire Montgomery Bridal Hair
Makeup Colette Murphy Makeup
Nails Carrie Brown
Groomswear Celtic Clothing
Venue decor All Dressed Up Loch Lomond
Cake M&S
Flowers Wild Flower Workshop
Favours Charity pins supporting the Brain Tumour Charity and wildflower seeds from MacMillan Cancer Support
Ceremony music Munro Bagpiper
Reception music Maria McAveety
Transport Marbill Coaches
Loch cruise Cruise Loch Lomond
First dance “We had a fantastic acoustic musician called Maria McAveety who played Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’”

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