From having two unique ceremonies in the same day to dress-shopping over Zoom, Rachael and Tash got hitched on their own terms

Rachael & Natasha

31st July 2021

Venue | family properties and Newtonmore Golf Club, Cairngorms National Park
Photography | Alison White Photography

“Tash and I got engaged on the Millennium Bridge in London on our seven-year anniversary. Tash had commissioned a chewing-gum street-artist called Ben Wilson to create a proposal mini-painting on an old piece of chewing gum! From the bridge, we could see the parts of the city where we had lived previously, so the proposal spot had significance for us.

The first wedding planning decision we made was to have the wedding close to Tash’s family home in Newtonmore. The views are amazing, with mountains and fields all around. We kept the whole look of our wedding quite rustic in homage to the rugged scenery of the Cairngorms and the majority our suppliers were local.

Highland catering company The Lunch Box Boys, for example, was brilliant from start to finish. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food. The Flower Company (Inverness) was also incredibly helpful in realising our vision and gave us lots of floral options to choose from using our colour scheme.

My sister Amy (also one of our bridesmaids) helped us shape the aesthetic of the whole wedding. We couldn’t have done it without her and her husband’s help. Big shout-out to them!

Our original plan was to have our wedding in a marquee on a neighbour’s land. However, due to Covid restrictions, it would’ve been illegal. So, we had to change venues almost exactly three months before the wedding was due to take place.

Covid was an ongoing plight on our plans. It meant that we had a lot of last-minute organisation to contend with, including important elements such as guestlist, music and shopping for the wedding dresses. It made us realise which details were important and which weren’t; for us, the wedding was about our family and celebrating our relationship.

We shopped for our wedding dresses over Zoom. Founder of Brides Dress Revisited, Sarah Wood, put dresses we liked on mannequins with our measurements for us to see online, then delivered them to our house to try on. We both chose our looks separately, and Sarah kept them secret so we didn’t see each other’s dress until the big day.

We had two ceremonies: one symbolic and one legal. For our symbolic ceremony, we forced the entire wedding party to walk up a hill to Tash’s parents’ garden, led by Dougie Watson, aka Piper On Parade. Our 60 guests were pre-warned to wear comfortable shoes!

Our symbolic ceremony was delivered by two close friends and we wrote our own vows. Having our friends standing at the altar beside us made us feel a lot more comfortable and at ease. We knew that they would be able to incorporate humour and sentiment in a genuine way.

We also included our own ‘take’ on a Chinese tea ceremony. Many of Tash’s family members from Malaysia could not attend the wedding, so we saw the tea ceremony as a way to honour their importance. Traditionally, this ceremony takes place the night before the wedding, and consists of serving tea to, and receiving gifts/jewellery from, parents/grandparents. Instead, we served tea to our parents as a symbol of families coming together.

After that, we had our legal ceremony, officiated by registrar Lorna McGregor. It took place down the road at a family holiday home with just our mums in attendance. Once that was over, we jumped on a borrowed golf cart to drive to Newtonmore Golf Club where our reception was taking place.

The golf club was only £50 to hire. When our marquee plans fell through, its staff pulled out the stops to set the place up. They made things extra-special on the night with thoughtful service too.

After a lot of online research, we booked photographer Alison White. We loved the variety of natural locations apparent in her work and her candid shots of people. After the wedding, we heard so many compliments about her manner, professionalism and how she made people feel at ease. We were a bit apprehensive about our couple shoot because we’re a bit camera shy, but Alison made it enjoyable and easy.

Top tip: “Prioritise important personal aspects. The things that represent you and your partner will be what people love about the day and will be what you and your partner will cherish the most.”

Venue Family properties and Newtonmore Golf Club, Cairngorms National Park
Photography Alison White Photography
Guest accommodation The Balavil Hotel
Registrar Lorna McGregor, Kingussie Registry Office
Brides’ dresses Brides Dress Revisited
Hair Hair by Chanise
Makeup Abbie’s Hair and Makeup
Bridesmaids’ dresses ASOS 
Catering and favours The Lunch Box Boys
Flowers The Flower Company (Inverness)
Venue decor Highland Castle Entertainment Services
Ceremony and drinks reception music McOpera Weddings 
Reception entertainment Borrowed Blues
Piper Dougie Watson, Piper on Parade

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