This American bride and Scottish groom chose to marry in the groom's homeland. They wed in a small civil ceremony, then had a fun-filled reception party on family land at a later date

Brittney Bauer & Matthew Kirkwood

20th July 2019

Venue | The Barn at Easter Coulnakyle, near Nethybridge, Speyside
Photography | Chloe Burns Photography

“Unlike most couples, we had the small issue of the Atlantic Ocean to contend with: namely, what side of it to get married on. I’m based in Florida, while Matthew hails from the Highlands. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided that, ultimately, Scotland was the better choice for us.

In a bit of a twist on the norm, we had, in fact, already married at a very small civil ceremony in Edinburgh City Chambers the previous November. It was easier that way because of all the paperwork we needed to submit for Matthew’s US visa application.

It meant that on the ‘wedding day’ the groom’s father, Colin (who is a fantastic orator), conducted the ‘ceremony’ and informally blessed our marriage in front of our friends and family.

We dropped the vows altogether. I get weepy at weddings, so I didn’t think I would have the ability to choke out my commitments between sobs! We also felt that it was more personal to read our vows in private, to share them as husband and wife.

Finding the right venue was a challenge. I scoured the web initially, then Matthew and I toured around ten locations – all before deciding that the barn at his family home, Easter Coulnakyle, was the perfect fit. The ease with which we could alter things as we saw necessary made me much more comfortable while planning a wedding from across the pond.

Even though we hosted the wedding at Matthew’s home, I’ll admit it was more expensive than we first anticipated. We kept costs down where we could – from painting and clearing the barn ourselves, to making our own wedding arch. I even hand-wrapped faux vines around all the strings of fairylights myself.

We held true to my original vision throughout – a green and natural colour palette with lots of rustic and handmade details. I was especially fond of our personalised wedding beer (bespoke Hairy Coo IPA from Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh) and the handwritten place settings.

We accidentally booked our photographer, Chloe Burns, for the wrong date! Luckily, she was understanding. I wanted a skilled, romantic-cum-whimsical-style shutterbug who was down to earth and communicative. She fitted the brief perfectly and exceeded our expectations.

We made a promise ahead of the wedding to sneak away and get moments to ourselves. I was grateful to have these special little interludes alone – a kiss here, or a quick chat there – it was incredible to soak those up with my best friend, my new husband.”

Top tip: “There will be bumps in the road and unforeseen logistical issues. Expect the unexpected and everything will be fine.”

Venue The Barn at Easter Coulnakyle, near Nethybridge, Speyside
Photography Chloe Burns Photography
Brides’ dress Palm Bridal, Florida
Bridesmaids’ dresses Azazie
Rings James Allen
Flowers Amanda Call Wedding Flowers
Cake Mimi’s Bakehouse
Marquee hire and barn wooden flooring Grant Tent Hire
Decor and catering suppliers Gordon’s Cater Hire
Reception music Jim Jam Ceilidh Band
Stationery Paperless Post
Accommodation The Dell of Abernethy
Hair and makeup AMM Hair and Makeup Team

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