This couple had to charter a CalMac ferry for their wedding on a tiny Scottish island

Alastair Dixon & Marie Carmichael

26th July 2019

Venues | Isle of Lismore Parish Church and Corran Halls, Oban
Photography | Barry Robb Photography

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We got together in November 2015 after meeting through my work, and I proposed on 19th October 2018. We were over on Lismore [a small island off Oban] visiting Marie’s dad and we went for a walk up Lismore’s highest hill with Luna, our Springer Spaniel. After enjoying the view, I got down on one knee and popped the question to Marie.

We returned to Lismore for our wedding ceremony. Marie grew up attending the Parish Church and her parents also wed there, so there was no better place.

Getting married on an island brought its own unique costs and challenges that we wouldn’t otherwise have had. CalMac very generously put on a special ferry in the morning in order for us to get our guests over (with the timetabled sailing, our guests would have had to kill time for two hours before the service). They kindly put on extra crew to ensure the boat would have enough passenger capacity.

Guest transportation also proved a bit of a headache due to timings, bus availability and capacity. The single-track roads on Lismore meant we couldn’t have a large bus, but we eventually managed to secure two small minibuses that did two runs each. We also had a tractor and trailer lined up, but this was weather dependent – thankfully our guests didn’t mind the wind!

In fact, the ferry journey and the tractor ride to-and-from the church is something that our guests often comment on now. Marie’s great aunt conducted the church service. She has overseen quite a few family weddings, but this was the first of the next generation down. It was a very personal ceremony and the hymns were carefully picked.

We knew we couldn’t have the whole day on Lismore due to limited accommodation. Oban seemed like the obvious option for the reception and the biggest place in town is the Corran Halls (we had 150 day guests, 130 more in the evening).

The whole wedding was a proper family affair. My mum made the wedding cake; Marie’s older brother Neil made the wedding favours (jars of homemade ‘Spread the Love’ jam and ‘Meant to Bee’ honey); the flowers on the dinner tables were from Marie’s granny’s garden, while Marie herself turned her hand to all the flowers and decor up the aisle.

Before the main speeches, Marie’s brother spoke and proposed a toast to absent family and friends. This was particularly emotional and poignant as Marie’s mum and my dad have both passed away.

Photography was important to us. I spent a lot of time comparing pricing, styles and quality of photos. There are some very talented photographers out there, so it was not an easy choice.

Barry Robb was perfect from start to finish. We explained how our day would run and although we knew it was going to be a ‘big ask’, he took it all in his stride, even coming over to Lismore the day before just to scope out the church and houses. We wanted our day to be captured as naturally as possible, with the right mix of pictures. Barry was reasonably priced, and the standard of his work was first class. We could not have asked for better.

Our wedding road sign is our favourite keepsake from the day. We had two of these at the ferry terminal in Oban to ensure our guests went to the correct pier. We have one up in our kitchen – pointing in the direction of Lismore obviously!

Top tip: Don’t sweat the small stuff. All the little touches and extras may seem important to you at the time, but they aren’t what your guests will remember. Make sure to spend time researching and picking a photographer and videographer – get the best you can afford. When the day is past your pictures and video will be your memories, after all.

Catering Thomson Cooks
Bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses The Wedding Planner
Groomsmen’s attire Chalmers of Oban
Cake Made by the groom’s mum
Favours Made by the bride’s brother
Flowers The Thistle and The Rose
Venue decor Oban Creations
Reception entertainment Robert Nairn Highland Dance Band
Wedding film Brian Scott Weddings
Hair Claire MacCuish, Spruce Oban
Makeup Natalie Pacitti, Ora Rosa Makeup

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Alastair And Marie from BrianJScott on Vimeo.

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