Small guest list, big smiles at this Covid-affected Fife barn wedding

Rae Morrison & Kyle Stewart

8th August 2020

Venue | Kinkell Byre and Fairmont St Andrews, Fife
Photography | Victoria Photography

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Kyle proposed to me on Diagon Alley at Universal Studies in Florida, just outside Olivander’s Wand Shop. We’re both big Harry Potter fans, so it couldn’t have been more perfect. We got a massive cheer from everyone else on the street and a Universal cast member gave us ‘Just Engaged’ badges and queue-jumping passes for the rest of the day.

We originally thought a manor house might be the best place to host our wedding, but the more we began researching venues, the more we liked the idea of a blank-canvas, barn setting. We only viewed three venues and Kinkell Byre was the second – we knew it was the one for us the moment we stepped through the door.

We loved how rustic the place is and that the surroundings are completely different every way you look: there’s water, a garden, trees, a barn – it’s just beautiful. There’s so many different spaces to play with, which means there’s no real waiting around while things get set up as the day progresses.

8th August 2020 was in the diary, but then the coronavirus pandemic reared its head. We spent so long not knowing if the wedding would happen at all. At that point, there was lots of crying and stress! However, when we got the go-ahead for a smaller wedding, we knew we needed to get married on our original date. We’d been counting down for three years and didn’t want to have to wait any longer. We knew the most important part was being with our closest friends and family, so we did the best we could to try to incorporate the most important and practical elements of our day.

We originally planned to have 80 guests during the day and a further 70 at night. We were luckily able to keep our original date, venue, cake designer, celebrant, photographer and florist. We had 16 of our closest family members there, held the ceremony outside and had it later in the day. We moved the wedding breakfast to the nearby Fairmont St Andrews hotel where most of our guests were staying.

We even managed to have a first dance later in the evening with my gran playing our song on her phone! We’ve still got a reception booked for 2022, and we certainly hope this will look more like the wedding we originally planned – but as with everything right now, it’s very much ‘to be confirmed’. (We are hoping to have Gloam decorate Kinkell Byre for us, Regis Banqueting providing the food and a ‘Selfie Wizard’ from Boothy and the Geek Photobooths.)

It was important for us to have a ceremony which was meaningful. We’d seen humanist ceremonies before and they’re the only ones that have ever made me cry! We loved the freedom of being able to make the ceremony completely ours and – even better – it was one of Kyle’s best friends’ dads who led that part of the day. Celebrant Gary J. Smith has known Kyle most of his life and is such a funny, caring person who loves love.

After so much uncertainty and stress leading up to the wedding, I hit an amazing calm when we got to the venue. I was also surprised how emotional Kyle got during his vows. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I’ve never seen that side of him before – I guess we’re still learning about each other!

Even with a smaller day planned, it was important we did a cake cutting, had speeches and a first dance. We managed all of these – and the intimate, relaxed atmosphere meant that even the more traditionally shy members of our family were able to feel completely involved.

Since we weren’t able to have bridesmaids or groomsmen, we asked them all to pre-record our readings for the ceremony and played them on a TV. It meant so much to still have them as part of the ceremony.

I really missed not having my bridesmaids, but photographer Vicki Litster, the lady behind Victoria Photography, was basically a stand-in for them, keeping me calm and on time! We met her at a wedding exhibition and instantly clicked. We got on so well with her – the deciding factor for us choosing her to shoot our wedding. Her photos were stunning but we really just loved her! We know that all the smiles in our incredible set of wedding photos are genuine as she really made us laugh.

Our other suppliers were helpful too, despite the downsizing. Our cake designer, Pippa’s Kitchen, made us a smaller version of our original cake and it was sensational. Everyone complimented how striking it was.

Top tip: Go with your gut and select vendors you like and trust. It’s been an awful time for those working in the wedding industry, and yet all of our suppliers have been absolutely amazing – I can’t fault any of them. They’ve been so accommodating and sympathetic, despite the fact that they too have been seriously impacted by everything that’s happened (or not happened).

Bride’s dress Ivory Pinks
Bride’s shoes Rainbow Club at Arabesque
Groomswear Eight Yards
Celebrant Gary J. Smith Humanist Celebrant
Small reception and wedding meal Fairmont St Andrews
Flowers Blue Poppy Florist
Cake Pippa’s Kitchen
Sound system and video tech support i-light
Hair Terri Hunt at Derek Smith Hairdressing

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