All Julia ever dreamed of was a BIG Scottish wedding, then along came Covid. Her postponed wee wedding to Callum ended up being all she ever wanted and more

Julia McMurdo & Callum Tait

2nd August 2020

Venue | Dalswinton Estate, Dumfries and Galloway
Photography | Hemera Visuals

"We got married on 2nd August 2020, our six-year anniversary of being a couple. That wasn’t always the plan though: the coronavirus lockdown forced us to change it from our original date of 27th June.

When it became clear that we would be unable to have the wedding we wanted anytime soon, we looked at changing our date with our original venue. After not being able to secure an agreeable date, we were thankfully able to get most of our money back.  Initially, we didn’t make any moves to set another date as the thought of planning and potentially cancelling again was just too daunting.

Weeks went by and in discussions, Callum and I remembered the real reason we wanted to get married: to be husband and wife. It was also important for me to have my grandmother sign the register as one of my witnesses. She is the matriarch of our family and the last of her generation for both families. It was then we hatched the plan for our mini lockdown wedding. Our original budget was £20,000. Our mini lockdown wedding rung in at under £3,000.

Getting the call from our photographer to discuss socially distancing in our bubbles and how this impacted family photos did prompt a few tears. I do feel sad that I didn’t get a photograph next to my granny on the day. This was a compromise we had to make for her safety, and ultimately, the most important thing was that she was there and able to sign as my witness.

Dalswinton Estate has a beautiful Journey Garden for ceremonies and is just down the road from where we live, so it fitted perfectly with our plans for an intimate, outdoor wedding. As we needed to be outdoors for the ‘reception’ too due to Covid restrictions, we threw a wee garden party. Despite a few spits of rain, we were incredibly lucky as the sun shone most of the day.

One tradition that I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to have because of social distancing was my dad walk me down the aisle. Luckily at the time, we were bubbled together and I was able to have that experience. I even decided to do a first look ‘reveal’ photo with my dad (I prefer the idea of the groom seeing the bride for the first time walking down the aisle).

Humanist celebrant Chris Gray was recommended to us by a friend. We were looking for someone who was natural and gave us a ceremony which reflected us as a couple and that’s exactly what we got.

During the ceremony, Callum’s brother had a difficult time setting up the ribbons for the hand fasting. Because of social distancing, the celebrant could only talk them through the process, not actually touch and show. I was chuckling throughout as he almost tied himself in knots. After a few minutes (and a few swear words!), he got it sussed.

It definitely felt like a unique wedding to us given the circumstances. I wore my great grandmother’s pearls and my mum stitched a charm from my dad onto my garter so I could keep it with me. Our dog, Rosa, was able to join us and wore a cute flower collar.

I’ve always hated those posed ‘smile at the camera’ pictures you sometimes see from weddings. I love the action shots; the pictures that capture the real moments. Cameron Pagan from Hemera Visuals made everything so easy. He knew exactly what he needed from us and was adaptable when we asked anything specific. With social distancing, he was prepared with example pictures of poses and knew exactly where to stand to capture the ceremony perfectly.

We recently received our wedding video from Wooden Cinema Films and we are so pleased with how it’s turned out. Dan really captured the essence of our day, but we really didn’t notice he was there! Dan (Wooden Cinema Films) and Cameron (Hemera Visuals) both scoped out the venue together ahead of the wedding. It was important to plan where everyone was to ensure we were socially distanced meaning they could capture some great angles without breaking any guidelines. They both did an amazing job even under tight restrictions.

My dream wedding was a massive day with all the bells and whistles. Lockdown quickly shattered those dreams, but it turned out to be for the best. It went from big and glamorous to small and intimate in the most perfect way. We are both so glad we went ahead with it and although there are people who couldn’t attend, we got to have our closest family and friends there as we became husband and wife."

Top tip: I’m not one for relinquishing control, but I would suggest delegating jobs as it really did relieve some pressure. My mum and bridesmaids were so helpful with the annoying, time-consuming tasks. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of our family and friends."

Venue Dalswinton Estate, Dumfries and Galloway
Photography Hemera Visuals
Wedding film Wooden Cinema Films
Celebrant Chris Gray
Wedding dress Wed2B
Bridesmaids’ dresses ASOS
Groomswear Anderson Kilts
Catering Takeaway pizza and pasta from Benvenuto
Flowers Eden of Dumfries
Piper Craig Irving

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