There’s no feeling quite like having all of your nearest and dearest under the same roof for the weekend, as Jennifer discovered when she married Grant at a beautiful Renfrewshire country house

Jennifer Cunningham & Grant Bowie

21st May 2022

Venue | Ardgowan House, Renfrewshire
Photography | Kalisterscope Photography

“Grant and I were together for 10 years before we got engaged in October 2020. We were going to Arisaig for the weekend and on the drive there, we stopped for a walk at Camusdarach Beach where he popped the question at a quiet spot.

I must admit I was surprised at how much work it takes to organise a wedding. I’d suggest to other couples that it’s never too early to start planning. We were taken aback by how far in advance some suppliers and venues were booked.

Our wedding venue was Ardgowan House. We knew we wanted somewhere exclusive use and as soon as we visited, we knew we wanted to get married there. We loved the history of the place and the countless rooms and options it offered. It was amazing to have the whole building, inside and out, to ourselves. Being able to stay over with our friends and relatives the night of the wedding is something I’ll treasure forever.

We had our ceremony and drinks reception inside the house, but we hired a sailcloth marquee for the dinner and evening reception. We hadn’t envisaged using a tent, but we are so glad we did – it looked beautiful pitched in the back gardens at night illuminated with fairylights everywhere.

One of my favourite wedding details was the wooden ladder we had suspended above the middle of the dancefloor in the tent. Our florist covered it in foliage and then we suspended a disco ball from it that sparkled amazingly when the lights hit it. The photo that we have of us doing our first dance (to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) below it, surrounded by the faces of friends and family in the background, is one of my favourites.

We didn’t want lots of posed photos as we prefer the more natural ‘caught-off-guard’-style of photo. And that is what Suzanne at Kalisterscope Photography excels at. Aside from the 10 group ‘must-have’ shots that she’d asked us to specify, most of the day we didn’t even see her; she blended into the background. We can safely say that we love every single resulting photo.

I adored going shopping for my dress – it was definitely one of my favourite parts of organising the wedding. I took my mum and my sister along with me and in the end, I picked a dress from The Bridal Courtyard in Glasgow. I had such a positive experience shopping there. The shop is beautiful with lots of gorgeous dresses and its owners, Simone and Lindsay, made me feel so relaxed and welcome.

We shared the entire story of our relationship with our family and friends during our ceremony. With help from our celebrant, Pamela Clocherty at Humanist Society Scotland, we wrote our own vows to each other too. We also incorporated a ring warming (featuring a ring cushion handmade by a family friend) and a handfasting with our family tartans that both our mums passed to us.

Many of our 98 guests have since commented they loved how personal our ceremony was and how good the ceilidh was! I must say I agree: our band, Drams, were fantastic and created an amazing party atmosphere. The dancefloor was full all evening.

We really did have the best day ever. It was just so nice to have all our family and friends together for a big celebration after how hard the previous two years of the pandemic had been. Obviously actually getting married was a highlight too, haha!”

Top tip: “Keep a spreadsheet of all your wedding costs and make sure you have a firm grasp of what needs to be paid and when. Costs can easily begin to spiral if you aren’t keeping a track of everything,” cautions Jennifer.

Venue Ardgowan House
Photography Kalisterscope Photography
Celebrant Pamela Clocherty, Humanist Society Scotland
Bride’s dress The Bridal Courtyard
Bridesmaid dresses TFNC London
Hair Lisa Ivone Hair
Makeup Ailsa Doc Makeup & Skincare
Groomswear MacGregor and MacDuff
Mother-of-the-bride outfit David’s Bridal
Mother-of-the-groom outfit Frox of Falkirk
Catering Regis Banqueting 
Cake Three Sisters Bake
Flowers Studio Flowers Gourock
Stationery Etsy
Favours Homemade tablet
Ceremony and drinks reception music Spotify
Reception band Drams Ceilidh Band
Filmmaker Pindrop Wedding Films (scroll on to see)
Tipi Dreams Under Canvas

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