Iona and David married at Sacred Heart Church in Edinburgh before heading to this luxury castle venue for a chic and magical festive reception

Iona White and David Larkin

4th December 2021

Venue | Sacred Heart Church and Barnbougle Castle, Edinburgh
Photography | Craig & Eva Sanders Photography

“David and I met at work in London and were together for around 3.5 years before getting engaged over lockdown. He planned a walk and a picnic in the Hundred Acre Wood one sunny autumn day. It was low-key, and exactly what I would have wanted if I’d planned it myself.

We knew only too well the troubles people had experienced planning and re-planning dates because of Covid. For this reason, we took a while to decide on our date and approach. When we did eventually book a date – 4th December 2021 – we decided that we’d go forward with it no matter what, no matter how restricted ­– and that’s exactly what we did!

David’s family were in New Zealand, with all borders shut, so we knew there was risk involved in our date. Unfortunately they couldn’t make it, but we streamed the service, and they sent over video messages which were played on the day.

We kept our guest list on the smaller side accordingly and invited 70 to both ceremony and reception. It was big enough to have a great atmosphere on the dance floor, but intimate enough to let us catch up with everyone.

I had known I wanted a winter wedding for a couple of years. I went to a wedding on Hogmanay in Scotland a few years ago and thought it was so special – a bright winter’s day in Scotland is beautiful – and we had the all the elements from sunshine through to snow!

We got married in a catholic ceremony at the Sacred Heart Church on Laurieston Street in Edinburgh where I’d been going with my family since I was a child. It was the church my grandmother went to, so it seemed the perfect choice to get married somewhere I associated with happy memories of her.

We threw our reception at the romantic and beautiful Barnbougle Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I was aware of it opening back in 2019, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was the place I wanted to get married. In keeping with the setting, we decorated the place with darker, more wild-looking flowers, opulent, glimmering table settings and lots of candles.

We tapped into the castle’s preferred suppliers and everything fell into place quite easily. They were all so experienced and talented that I relied on them (and my mum, who contributed a lot to the plans) for inspiration.

Ian D’Annunzio-Green from Edinburgh event caterer Honeycomb & Co. was outstanding. He was a large part of why I knew about and chose Barnbougle. He went so far above our expectations, gave endless advice and worked tirelessly in the lead-up and on the day to ensure everything was perfect. We got so many compliments about how amazing the venue was and how delicious the food was.

I found my Jesus Peiro dress at Miss Bush in Surrey. The store felt much more current than other options I’d looked at, and as soon as I began trying on, I knew it was where I would find my dress. I chose a feathery top that could be layered over the dress and had a removable bow added at the back, so I could switch looks up between daytime and evening.

We’re heading across to New Zealand this Christmas to celebrate our wedding there with the friends and family that missed it. Double the celebrations, haha! I’m planning to wear the feather top with some trousers. I’m delighted to be able to give it a second spin.

I accessoried with Gucci sandals I already had as I wanted to wear something I knew was going to be comfortable in all night. My veil was borrowed from my cousin, while my mum loaned me her diamond bracelets. I wore a traditional drop pearl earring for the church service that had been my great-grandmothers, before changing into a more statement Aleghiri earring for the evening do.

We discovered photographers Craig and Eva Sanders through a recommendation from a friend. I looked through their Instagram and albums and loved their style. They were great on the day, offered lots of direction and we were thrilled with the resulting photos.

December is a great time for a wedding. Everyone is beginning to get excited for Christmas, and is over the wedding fatigue of summer. With ours particularly, I think everyone was so excited to get together again and celebrate post-Covid.”

Top tip: “Have a bridal speech! We didn’t break with tradition too much, but it seems crazy to have so many of your favourite people in a room and not say something.”

Venue Sacred Heart Church and Barnbougle Castle, Edinburgh
Photography Craig & Eva Sanders Photography
Bride’s dress Jesus Peiro from Miss Bush
Bride’s hair AMM Hair and Makeup Team
Bride’s makeup Stephanie McDowell Makeup Artist
Bride’s nails NAF! Salon
Bridesmaids’ dress RACIL
Mother of the bride’s outfit Talbot Runhof dress with a William Chambers Millinery veil

Groomswear suit from Favourbrook and shirt from Turnbull and Asser
Cake Liggy’s Cake Co.
Catering Honeycomb & Co.
Flowers Planet Flowers
Stationery Papier
Reception music DJ and live saxophonist booked via Entertainers Agency

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