Bride Eilidh always dreamt of getting married at Lews Castle, but it was only when Covid forced her and groom Neal to drastically cut their guest list that it could become a reality

Eilidh Macleod & Neal Mackay

29th August 2020

Venues | Martins Memorial Church and Lews Castle, Stornoway
Photography | Del and Jayjay Photography

“Neal and I met at a mutual friend’s wedding back in July 2016 and got engaged on 7th May 2019 in our living room during extra time watching a Liverpool v. Barcelona match. It was very relaxed.

We were all set to get married on 24th April 2020 with 180 guests travelling from all over the world. As we all know too well by now, four weeks before our original date, the UK went into national lockdown.
At first, we thought we would be out of lockdown after a few weeks and although we made a few arrangements on new dates, nothing was set in stone. All we wanted to do was get married and were happy to do so in our garden if we were allowed.

In the Western Isles, our rate of Covid infections were low, so we moved to tier 2 at the tail end of the summer. From there, we ended up booking a date in August in at Lews Castle.

From the moment we got engaged, I had dreamt of getting married at this castle in Stornoway, but our original big guest list ruled it out. When we were allowed to go ahead with 20 guests (our closest family members), we knew the stars had aligned and my dream could be realised!

Our ceremony took place in our local church that my family and I attend. I grew up going to Martins Memorial and the minister is a good family friend. Neal’s uncle is also a minister and said a prayer for us which made the service even more special.

The church organised a live stream so all our other guests who couldn’t be there in person could watch from the comfort of their own home.
One of the highlights of the day was driving to the church in my Papa’s wedding car that my dad got fixed for us to use. I’ll treasure the memory forever, as unfortunately my papa  is no longer with us.

Our photographers Del and Jay Jay travelled up from Glasgow to Stornoway especially for the wedding. Our favourite photos are taken outside the castle at the end of the night with sparklers and confetti cannons going off around us. Everyone in those photos look so happy.

I was unsure of the style of dress I wanted, so I was open-minded when it came to shopping for one. The staff at Melle Cloche in Glasgow were amazing and attentive. I tried on seven dresses and the one I chose was the third one I put on.”

Top tip: “Try on your dress the night before the wedding and get your mum or one of your bridesmaids to practice doing up the buttons on the back. I ended up being 45 minutes late due to mix-ups on buttons – we had to re-do them four times, haha!”

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