Bride Gillian is a celebrant, so it’s safe to say the ceremony was on point at this artistic, beach-inspired day

Imogen Reiter and Gillian Goupillot – now Mrs and Mrs Goupillot!

23rd September 2023

Venues | Fern Hill Hotel and Portpatrick Village Hall, Dumfries and Galloway
Photography | Wildling Weddings

“Imogen and I were together for three years when we got engaged. After getting her parents’ blessing, I proposed on 25th July 2020 at Rogie Falls in the Highlands, a place that’s special to her. Thankfully, she said yes! It was around three more years til our wedding.

We are both freelancers, so our budget for our wedding was tight. We were hoping to spend around £10k-£15k and we managed everything (including our dresses) for just over £12k. After deciding the Saturday of the September weekend would suit our finances and our guests best, we set about thinking where we might marry.

My hometown is Stranraer, so we settled upon Portpatrick, a picturesque, charming village that I adore. It’s a popular holiday destination, so there were lots of hotels and holiday homes for guests travelling from further afield to make a trip out of it.

We decided to have our ceremony at Fern Hill Hotel. The ceremony space is a large conservatory on top of a hill that offers a full view of the village and harbour – I can’t imagine a better backdrop to say I do.

Portpatrick Village Hall was the perfect blank canvas for our reception and, incredibly, only cost us £180 to hire. It is run by the community, and local man Tommy and his wife were the saviours of the weekend: they were supportive, flexible and even locked up at 1am and tidied up the next day for us!

Decorating the place on the Friday was a total DIY job. We rallied our friends and family, and everyone got stuck in sorting out the furniture and hanging lighting and bunting. We’d kicked the day off at the flower market in Glasgow at 5am, so that Imogen and her bridesmaid could create all the bouquets and floral decor. It was manic, but such a fun day! We were so impressed when it all came together, and our vision was realised.

Imogen has an artistic eye and already had a Pinterest board underway when I proposed. We both grew up on the west coast of Scotland and love being on a windswept beach, so that ended up filtering through into the ‘sea glass and sand’ aesthetic that became our wedding style.

We named all our tables after beaches we’d grown up nearby. Imogen’s parents collected and scrubbed mussel shells to paint every guest’s name (we had 96 of them!) onto for the place settings. Her mum, Cindie, is an artist and painted stunning beach canvases for each table, too. It felt so special to have items that took so much talent and skill to create being made just for us.

Instead of a guest book, we had a ‘message in a bottle’. We encouraged our guests to write on scrolls and leave us notes that we plan to read on our fifth anniversary.

I am a professional celebrant, working under the name GGCelebrant, so I wrote our ceremony with input from Imogen. We asked a good friend of ours, James, an actor with the most gorgeous voice, to deliver it on the day. He’s not a legal celebrant, so we did the formal part with just two witnesses (my best man and Imogen’s bridesmaid) the month before in Glasgow.

I was so pleased with how the ceremony turned out; it was funny, personal and moving. Our guests learned more about us as a couple and while there were tears shed, we had plenty of laughs, too. We got so many lovely comments about how it was just ‘us’ afterwards.

My favourite part of the ceremony, – and in fact the whole day – was turning around and seeing Imogen walk down the aisle to ‘Time After Time’ by Cyndi Lauper. That is a moment that will live with me forever – I have never experienced anything like it.

I was a chef for 10 years before I retrained as a celebrant, so food was an important part of the day. We had a hot buffet featuring some of our favourite dishes including mac and cheese, mini burgers and three-bean chilli. We got so many compliments on how tasty it all was, so hats off to Sheena Cartner of Cartner Catering for that.

The speeches were phenomenal. Imogen’s dad and brother gave such moving and sentimental speeches that had the room in bits – they were beautiful. My dad and best man Jack went for another approach entirely: laughter. My best man roasted me and had the whole room in stitches. Him and my dad really got me good! We felt genuinely lucky to have such hilarious and thoughtful people in our lives.

We wanted our photos to feel natural and candid. Imogen loves a moody, folky style and when she discovered Wildling Weddings’ work online, the pictures took her breath away. Photographer Alysa was calm, positive and made us feel so at ease. She was always available when we needed her and gave us truly incredible shots that we will love forever.”

Top tip: “Everyone has an opinion, so be wise about who you let influence you. It’s great to get inspiration from others, but remember, you will only get married once (in a perfect world) – so make it about you as a couple. Also, when it comes to selecting your bridal party, surround yourself with cheerleaders and those who love you. It’ll make a world of difference.”

Ceremony venue Fern Hill Hotel
Reception venue Portpatrick Village Hall
Photography Wildling Weddings
Ceremony Written by GGCelebrant – one of the brides – and led by friend James
Gillian’s dress Bespoke by Holly Campbell, Totty Rocks
Imogen’s dress RawRagsbyPK on Etsy
Bridesmaid dresses ASOS, Vinted and Cicinia
Cake Made by Imogen’s bridesmaid, Laura
Catering Cartner Catering
Flowers DIY
Favours MND Scotland charity pin badges and tablet from Confectionery by Jane
Table names and place settings Cindie Reiter Fine Art, bride Imogen’s mum
Hair and makeup Makeup by Hania; Michelle’s Beauty Corner and Jill Finningham from Liv & Beth’s Stranraer

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