Levi Donnelly & Karen Fleming
4th August 2022
“It was four years before we managed to organise our first date. We worked together and had no clue each of us fancied the other! Karen proposed in February 2020. She took me to Edinburgh Castle and asked me to marry her after the one o’clock cannon fired.
We are very lucky to live in an area with multiple beaches. Thankfully, the one thing we could do during lockdown was go walking. As a wedding theme we had already decided we wanted a beachy, driftwood, shell idea with pastel green and cream shades.
We decided to get married at Helensburgh Civic Centre for its character and stunning views, then have our reception at La Barca, a Spanish tapas restaurant on Helensburgh’s waterfront. Originally we planned the wedding for July 2021, but this changed due to Covid.
Everything about our day was highly personal. Elaine Fleming, Karen’s sister, made us the most spectacularly unusual wedding cake. Karen and I made the centrepieces, bouquets, buttonholes, cake stand and reception entrance sign. Overall, our budget for the full wedding was around £5,000.
Deciding what to wear was the hardest part. Although we had decided on our colour theme, we had to find two bridal outfits, a coordinating suit for our son, Atticus, and dress for our sister, Monroe, whilst all complementing each other. In the end, I had two dress changes and Karen had four before being happy with the overall look.
On the wedding morning, we drank champagne, had music on and helped each other get ready for the day ahead. We had a civil ceremony and were piped down the aisle by our close friend Steven Granger. It was beautiful and intimate. We did a traditional handfasting; it was special having my dad in this part of the ceremony with us, binding our hands together with ribbons.
My favourite moment was seeing my future wife waiting for me at the end of the aisle. Karen says hers was “walking up the aisle with the woman I had waited seven years to call my wife (and getting through it without tripping on my dress!)”.
The reception was very relaxed and informal. We had just 40 guests. We had a buffet-style tapas meal to allow for plenty of mingling, and had our wedding playlist playing on the restaurant’s speakers. The open bar was by far the biggest hit of the day though!
Our photographer Heather Jayne was undoubtedly one of the best decisions we made. Heather put us at ease straight away, which made for the best photo collection we will own in this lifetime. We genuinely cannot thank her enough for the beautiful memories she captured for us both and our families.
Because we made our own decorations, we have multiple keepsakes from the day that we have managed to incorporate into our home. But our favourites were the LEGO cake toppers that Elaine added as a surprise when supplying the cake the night before the wedding.
We had a conversation on whether we needed to have a flat shoe option for later in the day. We thought this would possibly be non-essential, but thank goodness we did it; comfy shoes were much needed!
The best part of our day? Having our happily ever after surrounded by our family and friends. Our own personal highlight by far was being able to call each other ‘wife’ (finally!).
Top tip: “Time management and good organisation obviously go hand in hand. Prioritise the must haves, communicate often and please try to enjoy the experience because in the end it will all come together! Allow for mistakes and don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Ceremony venue Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre
Reception venue La Barca Helensburgh
Photography Heather Jayne Photography
Registrar Elaine Crichton, Argyll and Bute Council
Wedding dresses Hope & Ivy
Bridesmaid dresses JJ’s House
Flowers, decor, stationery, hair and makeup All done by the brides
Cake Made by sister, Elaine