After the pandemic forced them to cancel a big family wedding abroad, this Portuguese-Latvian couple found that Friday 13th was lucky for them as they eloped in their adopted home country of Scotland

Marta Rituma & João Palhais

13th November 2020

Venues | Livingston Registration Office and Glencoe
Photography | Lewis Cannon Photography

“Marta and I met in Portugal in summer 2015. Our first date was casual: kebabs while watching the sunset in Lisbon. September came and Marta couldn’t find a job in Portugal, so she moved to Scotland where her brother was working.

We sent postcards and letters back and forth and kept in touch over video call, but in November 2015, I made the decision to quit my job and get a one-way ticket to Scotland because I knew that she was the one!

I decided to make the engagement ring from scratch in Dundee with the help of jeweller Scarlett Erskine. (She hosts workshops for people to make their engagement and wedding rings which we did before the wedding.) I proposed at home in March 2019 after we’d had a nice dinner. I said: “I made you something, but it comes with a question.” As I opened the box, I asked her to marry me – she said yes!

We originally decided to get married in Latvia where Marta is from. Her family is much bigger, so it made sense to have my friends and family in Portugal fly there for the wedding. The wedding was going to be 25th July 2020. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic meant we had to cancel everything. It was heartbreaking telling our relatives and friends that it was off.

With flights cancelled and no way of getting to Latvia, we eventually started to think about alternative options. We wanted to make most of what we have here in Scotland and set our hearts on an unforgettable photoshoot in the Scottish Highlands. However, it was November and days were short.

After numerous phone calls and emails, we found that the Livingston registry office had availability on Friday 13th November, so we booked it. Our registrar Debbie was amazing and helped us make the day memorable. We asked our brothers to be our witnesses. There were just 5 of us at our wedding. (However, we live-streamed the ceremony on Facebook to over 100 people.) I got emotional when reading my vows as I meant every single word!

After the ceremony, we had two nights away in an Airbnb, then dressed up in our wedding attire again to fulfil our dream of photos in the Highlands with a full day with photographer Lewis Cannon in Glencoe. We picked him as his work really spoke to us: it was raw and real – no Photoshop or unnatural-looking photos.

Before the shoot, Lewis was always quick to respond and had great ideas. It turned out that he had already scouted many locations in Glencoe. Climbing up to the waterfall was particularly fun and I love how most of the photos show how silly we are and how we complement each other as a couple.

I got my three-piece suit from Slater Menswear (paired with one Latvian and one Portuguese cufflink), while Marta got her long-sleeved dress from the very helpful Wedding Wise in Barrhead. She wore a set of my grandmother’s earrings from the 1970s as her ‘something old’. It was a poignant touch as she sadly passed away earlier in 2020.

The night of the wedding, we stayed at a hotel in Edinburgh and they offered us the dining area for us to enjoy our wedding meal: a Chinese takeaway (Covid meant their kitchen was shut)! We went for a walk and danced to Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra in the empty car park in front of the Edinburgh Castle.”

Venues Livingston Registration Office and Glencoe
Photography Lewis Cannon Photography
Bride’s dress Wedding Wise
Groomswear Slater Menswear
Cake L&E Sweets and Cake
Flowers Oops A Daisy Florist
Wedding and engagement rings Scarlett Erskine

Share this article:

Previous article

Creative family members worked magic at this sunny DIY wedding in Fife

Next article

Bohemian macramé wedding outdoors in Glen Clova with DIY gin and whisky bar