The planning diaries (part 1): two recently engaged brides-to-be share their journey so far

Meet our two newly engaged brides-to-be, bridal blogger Hazel and hotel wedding planner May. They’ll be updating us on their wedding plans and sharing tips and suppliers they’ve discovered along the way

Hazel Pool, bridal blogger

After getting engaged in October 2020, Hazel Pool, performance manager, is set to marry project manager Neil Moore on 28th April 2023

Hazel Poole and Neil Moore
Hazel and Neil shared these snaps on Instagram once the date had been set

Neil and I met in May 2018 at a music festival in Glasgow. He struck up conversation while we were dancing near one another by commenting on how nice my eyes were. I thought he was really attractive, so I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I was wearing coloured contact lenses! We still laugh about that.

We quickly hit it off when we discovered we had so much in common. Being in our 30s, we were both pretty clear on what we wanted from a relationship right from the beginning, and now thank our lucky stars that the universe helped us find each other that night.

Neil proposed on 1st October 2020 in a private dining pod at a hotel in Pitlochry. It was so intimate and romantic. I said yes, of course – I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. We were supposed to be in Dubai for my birthday, but when Covid arrived he had to improvise. It was every bit as special as it would have been if we’d been abroad.

When we first got engaged, my mind just went into instant overdrive with all the different elements of the day that had to be considered. Where will it be? What’s the budget? What colour scheme should we have? Kilts or suits? Fitted or ballgown? The list goes on. It can be overwhelming at first. I decided to just let myself enjoy the blissful moments of being newly engaged and sharing the wonderful news with our friends and family.

Function room at Boclair House Hotel set for a wedding reception
Hazel loved the natural light in the ballroom at Boclair House Hotel in Bearsden

After a week or two, I went into full-throttle organisation mode. We decided we wanted to wait until spring 2023 to get married in the hope that the world will have begun to recover from the devastation of the coronavirus. We knew there would be a lot of weddings that had been postponed from 2020 and 2021, and so it made sense for us to book a venue quite a bit in advance. Doing so gives us the opportunity to save as much as possible, too.

We only went to see two venues before making our decision. We visited Boclair House Hotel first and really liked it. The building is very dramatic, and I loved the natural light in the ballroom.

We also took a look at Lochside Hotel in Ayrshire. I fell in love almost instantly. The grounds, rolling hills and loch were completely captivating. One of the wedding co-ordinators showed us round. It was just beautiful. The venue is currently being refurbished and the new wedding reception room isn’t even finished. We only got to see the shell of the room, but I was instantly sold on the panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the loch. I know it will be just stunning when it’s finished. A few days later, we cancelled all our other viewings and secured our date at Lochside.

Exterior of Lochside House Hotel, Lodges and Spa in Ayrshire
Hazel and Neil were both completely smitten when they laid eyes on Ayrshire’s Lochside Hotel, Lodges and Spa

This is all we’ve done so far in terms of planning. It’s still very early in our journey and we have plenty of time. One thing I’ve loved doing over the last few months is browsing Pinterest, Instagram and Etsy for inspiration. I’ve had to buy a storage box to keep all the samples I’ve ordered! I like the idea of shopping with small businesses, so I’ll try to do that as much as possible.

Over the next few months (restrictions permitting), we hope to start visiting event design showrooms to start getting an idea of colour schemes and decor. I also hope to be able to formally propose to my bridal party. Fingers crossed! 

May Hunter, wedding planner at Dunkeld House Hotel

Wedding planner May Hunter and executive head chef Stuart Michael got engaged in October and have set the date for 27th May 2022

May Hunter and Stuart Michael and wedding cake by Lightly Whipped
Left: Stuart and May after he proposed on a trip to their favourite hotel in the Lake District; Right: A yummy creation from Lightly Whipped, who’ll be making May and Stuart’s wedding cake

Stuart and I met while working at Crieff Hydro and were friends for six years before becoming an item. By then we were both at Dunkeld House. We were together for two years before he proposed on 19th October 2020 – taking me completely by surprise!

Stuart and I are very similar so it wasn’t hard to agree on what we wanted for our day. Dunkeld House is the perfect place for us to get married. It’s where we got together and, as far as wedding venues go, it takes a bit of beating! We’ll have full control, which suits us – we’re both perfectionists. We have family all over the UK, so having somewhere for everyone to stay was important. We wanted a marquee to give us the freedom to make it really special, and the food is obviously very important – Dunkeld covers all of this.

Once we’d decided on the venue, which only took us a few days, the rest was plain sailing. We had all of our key suppliers booked within two weeks of getting engaged – Stuart and I both like to get things done and then not have to think about them. We don’t find it hard to make decisions and we don’t dwell on things. Our guest list is also complete.

Exterior of Dunkeld House Hotel in Perthshire
May and Stuart both work at Dunkeld House Hotel – and they’ve decided to marry there too!

We’ve found the planning quite easy so far, but I know that’s due to my job. Having been at the hotel for two years now, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best wedding suppliers in the business. It’s really important to both of us to support local businesses, and to know the people behind them. We’ve confirmed our florist, Emma from Coach House Flowers – her work is superb and I am so excited to see what we can create. We’ve chosen our band too – Groove Culture. We actually changed our date from the Saturday to the Friday so we could have them. They’ll have everyone on the dancefloor all night long. 

Eilidh Sutherland is our photographer. That was another easy choice. I went to primary school with Eilidh and we just love her laid-back, natural images. We want gorgeous pictures but we don’t want our wedding day to become a photoshoot.

Abigail Tooth is our makeup artist. She has done so many of my friends’ weddings and is just brilliant – she always goes above and beyond! My hair will be done by my amazing best friend and bridesmaid, Kim (although I haven’t officially asked her), who owns the Coco Belle salon in Crieff.

Our cake is being made by Lisa from Lightly Whipped. Her style is perfect for us, and you’ll never find more delicious cake.

The final thing we’ve confirmed for now is our celebrant, the lovely Mary Docherty from Fuze Ceremonies. I saw her profile and said to Stuart, ‘I know she’s the one!’ We met her for a coffee and I was right – she was! We want a relaxed, personal and fun ceremony, definitely not one that just goes through the motions, and I know Mary will be able to create and deliver that for us.

We probably would’ve liked to get married this year but we felt 2022 gave us the best chance of being able to have the day we want. Regardless of what happens, we will get married on 27th May 2022.

We’ve not done much planning since October as we’d bought a house just before we got engaged, so we’ve been really busy renovating it.

Over the next few months we need to confirm our videographer, linen and dancefloor supplier. Stuart needs to ask his best man and ushers, and our page boy. I need to start thinking about booking our engagement shoot and making an appointment for my dress, and we need to get dresses for my eight beautiful bridesmaids. I would have loved to get all of my girls together but that just wasn’t possible; just before Christmas I asked them all in person at slightly different times with a lovely gift I put together for them. A big celebration is pending for the new house, the engagement and bridesmaids.

Once we finish our renovations in May this year, we’ll need to start making more decisions and final plans.