Wendy’s daughters supported their mum by baking and giving her away when she married Neil at this gorgeous Dalkeith venue

Wendy Shearer and Neil Airey

22nd July 2022

Venue | Restoration Yard, Midlothian
Photography | Justyna Maria 

Having a talented family is such a bonus. Staying friendly with that cousin who’s a mechanic or auntie who is a hairdresser is always in your best interests, as you never know when you’ll need a discount on a car repair or a cut and colour.

In Wendy and Neil’s case, they had the bride’s daughters lending a hand on their big day at Restoration Yard, the beautiful stables in the middle of Dalkeith Country Park, just outside Edinburgh.

“We weren’t going to bother with a cake, but my daughter Ellie (who returned specially from her studies in LA) decided to bake one. It was really special, and everyone commented on how lovely it was,” says Wendy with a smile. “My other daughter, Maddy, gave me away, which was also lovely. It was so nice to have both girls playing a big part in what was such an amazing and relaxed day.”

The couple got together just before the pandemic, with Wendy joking that she knew Neil was the one “well before he did”. They had originally set their date for 2020 before it was moved to 2021 and then to last July. But they kept their first-choice venue as it ticked all their boxes. “We really fancied something that felt more like a garden party than a wedding, so we’d set our hearts on hosting part of the day outdoors,” Wendy says.

“We also liked the idea of having barbecue-style food and a venue that would welcome our dog, and as soon as we went to see Restoration Yard, we knew it was the one. I have this thing we jokingly call ‘an emotional reaction’, and, true to form, I started to well up! Neil said he knew instantly that we’d be cancelling our visit to a second venue that afternoon!”

The couple wed in front of 80 loved ones (including Neil’s siblings, who made the journey from Spain and Thailand) at an open-air ceremony at the venue’s stunning 18th-century Orangerie. After the heartfelt and personal service, guests remained in the Orangerie for the drinks reception, tucking into summery canapés and G&Ts.

“Standing on the steps saying our vows was such an amazing feeling – we just did not stop grinning the whole time,” remembers the bride. “I’ll never forget the joy of looking around and seeing all of our friends and family in the one place."

Their beloved golden retriever made a guest appearance on the day, much to their delight: “Neil and I really dreamt of having Bonnie there with us for photographs, but we didn’t know how it would work,” recalls the bride. “We couldn’t believe that my makeup artist Rachel went above and beyond and offered to bring her along and then take her home. It meant so much to us that she would do that.”

Later in the day, the couple and their guests tucked into a delicious BBQ feast, before Pizza Paddock, a local artisan food truck serving up wood-fired pizzas, arrived to keep the evening hunger pangs at bay.

“We didn’t stop dancing for the whole night – we had everything: our first dance to Coldplay’s ‘Amazing Day’, a dance-off between Neil and me, and even a conga line around the courtyard. That was the last thing I expected to happen!”

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