After the pandemic caused an anxious summer wait, Martin and Jamie’s slimmed-down shindig happened safely outside at The Gathering on their original date

Martin Rennie & Jamie Sroka

15th August 2020

Venue | The Gathering, near Glasgow
Photography | Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

“Jamie and I met on a dating site, chatted for a few weeks, then decided to have our first date. The day coincided with The Scottish Wedding Show (I work for grooms’ outfitter Remus Uomo which had a stand at the event) and my late gran’s 90th birthday bash. It had been a long day and I was a teeny bit drunk by the time the evening came! Clearly not enough to affect things, because everything worked out and February 2021 marked five years as a couple.

We were together for 2.5 years before we got engaged. It was Jamie’s birthday, so we decided to go on a camping trip to Mull, despite us not owning a tent or having a clue about camping! While he made square sausage on the camping stove, beside this beautiful wee burn and bridge, I got down on one knee (in the rain) and asked him to marry me.

We knew we wanted to get married close to Glasgow and do it outside – regardless of the weather. When we discovered The Gathering on the outskirts of the city, we were sold. The venue has a big hall set up like a Scottish medieval banquet which chimed perfectly with our vision.

The pandemic gave us (like the rest of the world) plenty of stress and anxiety! 15th August marked two years since we got engaged, so we were keen to go ahead on that date if we could. After an anxious summer waiting to see if restrictions would ease, we hoped that we might be able to have at least half our guests, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. In the end, we had 20 people, all outside at our original venue.

All our suppliers were amazing. I couldn’t have asked for more from them during such a difficult time. In particular, our venue did everything possible to accommodate us – they even built a bar outside. Fingers crossed we can return to The Gathering for our reception in May when we are hoping to have 120 guests…

I’m lucky that my store showcases at The Scottish Wedding Show. It helped us find our venue, celebrant and kilts. I picked the tartan for the latter from MacGregor and MacDuff while working there one weekend. Jamie bought me beautiful brogues from Grenson to finish our outfits off, and, in turn, I bought him Doc Martens brogues. We both had my late father’s pocket watches to wear on the day as well.

Our celebrant Barbara Campbell really made the ceremony about us. She talked about our relationship and described us as two whiskies which she joined together in the quaich. It was personal, funny and many guests commented it was the best they’ve heard. We streamed the ceremony live on Facebook to around 100 guests that should have been there, meaning they didn’t miss out entirely. We also incorporated a handfasting. The two tartan ribbons we have are one of my favourite keepsakes from the wedding.

We are extremely lucky to count photographer Tommy Ga-Ken Wan as one of our best friends. He truly is an amazing talent and we love every frame he took. We laugh every time we look at the photo of us all lined up, trying to smoke or light a cigar! It’s staged and candid at the same time.

Venue The Gathering, near Glasgow
Photography Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Celebrant Barbara Campbell, Marriage Scotland
Groomswear MacGregor and MacDuff
Bridesmaids’ dresses River Island
Cake Homemade by a friend
Stationery Love Weddings (no longer in business)
Wedding rings Chisholm Hunter
Piper Pipers4Weddings
Entertainment Drams Ceilidh Band
Catering Nosh

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