Ashley and Darren wanted a heartfelt ceremony at their celebration at Sorn Castle where they could pay tribute to their loved ones

Ashley and Darren

21st May 2022

Venue | Sorn Castle, Ayrshire
Photography | White Cherrie Photography

“Darren and I were together for two and a half years prior to our engagement. He proposed on a private boat during a trip to Dubai in 2020. While onboard he showed me images his mum had sent of our beloved dogs Alfie and Rollo back home, and when I swiped to the last picture there was one with the boys and ‘will you marry Daddy’ spelled in stones. I threw his phone away (thankfully not overboard!) and burst into tears.

We weren’t initially sure if we wanted a hotel, barn or castle venue, but once we visited Sorn Castle in Ayrshire, we were sold. We immediately loved the feel of the grounds and overall look of the castle. It was so grand and beautiful, but warm and homely at the same time. The marquee was modern with a black and white chequered dance floor and gold candelabras – I loved the mix of modern and classic.

We wanted a fairly intimate wedding and had 75 day guests (which was the maximum the ceremony room could hold) and another 30 in the evening.

The ceremony was important to us, and much more than just a formality. During one of our visits to another venue we met humanist Mary Docherty. We warmed to her straight away and it was as if she already knew us.

We wanted to write our own vows which made our wedding feel more special. Mary also suggested having our main wedding party write letters for us to open on our first anniversary (very appropriate as one-year gifts are paper!).

I had a vision of how I wanted the venue, myself and Darren to look: traditional and timeless. Darren wanted to wear a tuxedo and I wanted a classic dress. The castle didn’t need much decoration as the interiors, staircase and grounds were stunning.

We personalised the venue with our welcome sign that is now in my dressing room at home. I brought my own candles and flower petals to decorate the entrance and we hired a half flower arch.

I did get a few bargains during my planning: I got all my confetti for £5, a huge bundle of glass cylinders for £20 and my bridesmaid dresses were only £44 from Club L London (no one could believe this as they looked so expensive and suited all the girls!).

The photographer and videographer were extremely important to us to capture the day, but we found choosing overwhelming. Alps Kamely from White Cherrie Photography was recommended by Sorn Castle, and he put us in touch with Heather at Fyne Films to do our videography (scroll down to see highlights video).

I didn’t wanted too many staged photos so I was happy for Alps to take the lead, and the pictures turned out beyond my expectations. We adore every minute of our wedding video too; the footage was exactly what I’d hoped for.

On the day, I was feeling very excited and calm, however once my hair and makeup was done and I heard the piper play, it really hit home that it was our wedding day.

I was going to be walking down the aisle alone: my grandparents raised me and sadly my grandfather passed away a few years ago and if he wasn’t doing it no one was. I am unsure how I managed it, my legs were like jelly but I’m so glad I did. I had a little photo charm of my grandfather (a gift from my bridesmaids)  that I attached to my flowers.

The evening reception was brilliant. My uncle Stephen, Darren and best man Ryan’s speeches were a mix of funny and sentimental. We had a DJ who was recommend by the venue and provided our dance floor and neon lights. The dance floor was full all night and he played a variety of music genres.

The day was perfect from start to finish, the highlights were the ceremony, having both our grans there and our dogs being able to attend for photos.”

Top tip: “I’d suggest getting married at an early time to make the most of the day, and brides should try get ready and into their dress about 45 minutes to an hour before the ceremony. Also, ask a friend or bridesmaid to take photos and videos on your mobile – I didn’t have any to look at until my professional ones!”

Ceremony venue Sorn Castle
Photography White Cherries Photography
Filmmaker Fyne Films
Celebrant Mary Docherty
Bride’s dress David’s Bridal 
Bridesmaid dresses Club L London
Groom’s suit Forbes Tailoring
Makeup The Beauty Club Clarkston
Hair Style it at Southside
Cake Cupcakes by Carly
Flowers Pretty Little Petals
Decor White House Weddings
DJ The Kilted DJ
Welcome sign, table plan, guestbook signs, confetti and sparklers Mally’s Crafts
Mother of the bride outfit Frox of Falkirk
Accessories Westend Wedding Boutique
Rings Tankel Jewellers

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