Steven and John
11th September 2021
“John proposed to me on Christmas Day 2019 with a handmade Christmas present. It was very romantic and completely unexpected! We were supposed to be married in March 2021, but Covid restrictions at that time meant that we would only have been able to have the two of us, two witnesses and a celebrant. We decided to postpone as we didn’t want a wedding for the sake of simply getting a marriage certificate. It ended up being 21 months between engagement and wedding.
We chose Venachar Lochside as our venue. It’s a stunning place and suited us as a couple. We liked that we would have the entire venue to ourselves for the ceremony and reception, and we fell in love with it (and the staff) when we went to their wedding fair. There was no competition. Our plans changed slightly due to us just coming out of Covid restrictions. John was the one who looked for inspiration. He likes looking online at blogs, magazines and so on. I went along with most things unless I had really strong ‘nope!’ feelings, which I don’t recall having.
We wanted a ‘natural’ setting. It was right beside a loch with lots of trees, so we wanted a touch of nature brought inside. ‘Bringing the outside in’, so to speak. There was lots of greenery, foliage and flowers – but not too much! We just made our day all about us. We didn’t have garish signs or pictures of us everywhere. It was more subtle, but everyone there had all eyes on us. It was really special and everyone felt that.
There were no wedding traditions we were keen to ditch, per sé. Although we were two men getting married so there was a noticeable absence of a bride! We stayed at lodges not far from the wedding venue itself the night before. Lots of family joined us and we had some food, some wine, and a good catch-up.
The morning of our wedding was very relaxed. We were wondering what all the fuss was about, until we realised we had forgotten one of the shirts. Lucky we lived not far from the lodges where we were staying, but having to rush home for a shirt with two hours to spare put the pressure on a little! We walked down the aisle to ‘Highland Cathedral’ played by our piper, Connor.
The ceremony was fabulous – it was very much about us. It was outdoors at the edge of the loch (although it had been such a dry summer that the loch was half empty). We had a humanist celebrant, Beverley Bryant. She’s hilarious and we would highly recommend her. There were a few funny moments. but Beverley trying frantically to keep her dress down where it should be was funny. It was a bit windy…
We met our photographer Rachel Spence at another wedding fair. We enjoyed her approach to capturing pictures, with a second shooter taking the same shot from different angles. There were no ‘posey’ pictures. We felt relaxed and they captured the day perfectly.
Our reception was drinks, canapés, pictures and a playlist that we had created ourselves. Again, all about us. The venue staff commented that it was ‘such a Steven and John playlist’. They were loving it! We wanted a single long table in a T-shape. The top table was our parents plus the two of us, so six in total, with everyone else at one long table coming off the top table. We didn’t want anyone feeling they were at the ‘last table’.
The speeches were very funny. I did one, but John chose not to. I was nervous about delivering my speech, so we opted to do them before the meal. By the time it was my turn, I’d had about a bottle of prosecco so I really enjoyed it! It was myself, John’s best man and our groomsmaid who gave speeches, all of which were great…especially mine!
Our original choice of band weren’t able to make our rescheduled evening so we had an alternative, but they were fabulous. And they went over and above to learn our first dance song – ‘Viva Forever’ by The Spice Girls.
Covid made it easier for us in a way as restrictions dictated numbers. We were very much limited which made it easier to pull a guest list together. We opted not to have a reserve list in case restrictions changed, we didn’t want anyone feeling like they weren’t good enough for the ‘main list’. Everyone we invited were there because we wanted them to be there. We had 56 guests all day.
Our guests say they love how relaxed and informal our day was, and how loving and joyous it felt. We can’t believe how quickly it all went. I want to go back to the wedding again, but as a guest, so I can absorb everything that went on! Our favourite keepsakes are the memories of the love that we felt and the laughs we had!”
Top tip: “Everything is so expensive! Mention the word ‘wedding’ and the price goes up markedly! Shop about and see what you can do for yourself.”
Venue, cake and catering Venachar Lochside
Photography Rachel Spence Photography
Celebrant Beverley Bryant, Independent Humanist Ceremonies
Grooms’ outfits House of Henderson and Slater Menswear
Groomsmaid dress Coast
Flower girl dresses Next
Flowers The Secret Garden Florist
Piper Sourced by venue
Engagement and wedding rings Beaverbrooks
Entertainment Katy and the Mooks
Transport Ultimate Private Hire
Favours Drinks tokens