Venue events manager Sarah Sinclair and hubby Anthony Neasham didn’t let Storm Babet rain on their wedding plans

Sarah Sinclair and Anthony Neasham

19th October 2023

Venue | Thainstone House
Photography | Christie Johnston Photography

When a bride tells you that her wedding shoes were white Doc Martens and Converse hi-tops, you know you’re speaking to someone who likes to do things a little differently. In her role as events manager at Banff Springs Hotel in Aberdeenshire, Sarah Neasham (formerly Sinclair) encourages her couples to rip up the rule book and focus on what they really want, rather than be sidetracked by what friends and family (or tradition) might suggest.

“I know that’s often easier said than done,” she laughs, “but after getting married myself, I’m sticking to my guns; it’s an approach that worked so well for Anth and me.

“We wanted to break the mould with our wedding plans – we didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen, for instance – and tried to have fun in every possible way. We love to socialise with our friends, so we really wanted to create a party vibe.”

And that’s exactly what they did, with loads of cool entertainment that Sarah had previously been impressed by in her day job, including a saxophone and DJ set from Rich Gordon and Paul T, guitarist friend Daniel from JOYFUL, a video booth, and magician Phoenix Magic all wowing guests.

And there was another idea Sarah ‘borrowed’ from one of the weddings she’d previously helped put together. “That couple had 7ft-tall sailboards welcoming guests, and as soon as I saw them I knew I needed them in my life! The were created by Chloe and Amy-Jo of From Forty Five in Fraserburgh, who did all our stationery.”

The new Mrs Neasham was delighted when she discovered she could have a glitter bar, something she says she hadn’t seen done at weddings in the area before. “I found Eventsize Ltd online and booked them to glitter-up our guests. By the end of the night, everyone’s cheeks or beards were sparkling!” she laughs. Sarah upped the glitz herself by changing into a sequin-and-feather dress from ASOS as night fell.

There was one spanner in the works: Storm Babet, which battered the north-east that day. “We’d invited 30 guests to join us in the evening – but a red weather warning was put out, and only six of them made it. We partied on regardless! At any wedding, things might not go to plan, but it’s reassuring to know that everyone around you will make the best of the situation.”

As much as she adores her own venue (“Banff Springs is smart and modern and boasts a gorgeous recently refurbished ballroom,” she says), Sarah and Anth sought out a more traditional-looking Scottish country house to charm the groom’s English family: Thainstone House in Inverurie. “Jess, our coordinator, helped me relax into planning. She answered every question and noted everything in detail so that it would be executed impeccably on the day – right down to seating arrangements, table placement and atmospheric lighting.”

Anth wanted to be surprised by the decor, so Sarah took their favourite colours and motifs – navy, gold, crystals and stars – as starting points and collabo­rated with Gail from Keith-based Seating Styles to bring their concept to life. “We had a fairy­light roof canopy made in navy fabric, rather than the trad white, and an amazing moongate with navy feathers. I was obses­sed with it! The centrepieces were gold candlesticks with navy candles, surrounded by crystals and geometric lanterns with flowers and yet more fairylights.”

The couple also chose to set up their ceremony seating differently. “We didn’t lay out the chairs in rows as most people do, but had two rows facing inwards in what might be considered a ‘catwalk’ or ‘fashion show’ arrangement,” explains Sarah. “I debated this layout for months and reached out for reassurance to some of our suppliers, many of whom I’m grateful to call friends. I chatted to our celebrant Neil Mellis, photographer Christie Johnston and videographer Ross from Signature Videography to make sure it would work for all of us, and spoke about camera angles to ensure we didn’t create any problems for one another.”

Sarah’s insider tip: “Break away from tradition if that’s what you want! You write the rules on your special day, after all. Thankfully, we live in a time where anything goes when it comes to weddings”

Venue Thainstone House
Photography Christie Johnston Photography
Filmmaker Signature Videography (see below)
Celebrant Neil Mellis, Independent Humanist Ceremonies
Bride’s main dress Adore by Justin Alexander from With This Dress Bridal Boutique
Bride’s headpiece Alexandra Bespoke
Bride’s party dress ASOS
Bride’s earrings and necklace The Celestial Heaven
Hair colour and extensions Naomi at Tony Wright Hair and Beauty Banff
On-the-day hair styling Zoe Gordon Special Occasion Hair
Makeup Samantha Cardno Makeup
Nails Laura at The Beauty Coven Turriff
Groomswear Slater Menswear
Engagement ring Emmy London Collection at H. Samuel
Wedding rings Etsy
Cake Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio
Flowers AngelK Silk Flowers
Stationery From Forty Five
Favours Personalised geode slices, made by the bride
Venue decor Seating Styles
Magician Phoenix Magic
Glitter bar Eventsize Ltd
360° video booth PB360
Ceremony and drinks reception music Daniel Ferguson, aka JOYFUL
Saxophonist Rich Gordon Music Company
DJ Paul T Mobile Disco

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