White sandy beaches and sparklers at this wee castle wedding in the Western Isles

Eilidh Macleod & Neal Mackay

29th August 2020

Photography | Del and Jayjay Photography
Venues | Martins Memorial Church and Lews Castle, Stornoway

waist up image of bride and groom facing each other with a beach in the Isle of Lewis in the background

“Neal and I met at a mutual friend’s wedding back in July 2016 and got engaged on 7th May 2019 in our living room during extra time watching a Liverpool v. Barcelona match. It was very relaxed.

We were all set to get married on 24th April 2020 with 180 guests travelling from all over the world. As we all know too well by now, four weeks before our original date, the UK went into national lockdown.

At first, we thought we would be out of lockdown after a few weeks and although we made a few arrangements on new dates, nothing was set in stone. All we wanted to do was get married and were happy to do so in our garden if we were allowed.

In the Western Isles, our rate of Covid infections were low, so we moved to tier 2 at the tail end of the summer. From there, we ended up booking a date in August in at Lews Castle.

From the moment we got engaged, I had dreamt of getting married at this castle in Stornoway, but our original big guest list ruled it out. When we were allowed to go ahead with 20 guests (our closest family members), we knew the stars had aligned and my dream could be realised!

Our ceremony took place in our local church that my family and I attend. I grew up going to Martins Memorial and the minister is a good family friend. Neal’s uncle is also a minister and said a prayer for us which made the service even more special.

The church organised a live stream so all our other guests who couldn’t be there in person could watch from the comfort of their own home.

One of the highlights of the day was driving to the church in my Papa’s wedding car that my dad got fixed for us to use. I’ll treasure the memory forever, as unfortunately my papa  is no longer with us.

Our photographers Del and Jay Jay travelled up from Glasgow to Stornoway especially for the wedding. Our favourite photos are taken outside the castle at the end of the night with sparklers and confetti cannons going off around us. Everyone in those photos look so happy.

I was unsure of the style of dress I wanted, so I was open-minded when it came to shopping for one. The staff at Melle Cloche in Glasgow were amazing and attentive. I tried on seven dresses and the one I chose was the third one I put on.”

Top tip: “Try on your dress the night before the wedding and get your mum or one of your bridesmaids to practice doing up the buttons on the back. I ended up being 45 minutes late due to mix-ups on buttons – we had to re-do them four times, haha!”

Bride’s dress Melle Cloche
Bride’s shoes Rainbow Club
Bridesmaids’ dresses Angelique Lamont
Groomswear Hugo Boss
Cake Iced Gems
Flowers Bespoke Blooms by Maybury Gardens
Stationery Wedding Stationery by Jennifer
Favours MND Association charity badges
Hair Darrah Mackenzie Hair Design
Makeup Julia Macmillan Makeup

male helping a groom fix his tie on his wedding morningbride and flower girl wearing white dressing gowns and opening present on wedding morningwhite bridal trainers with personalised ribbon laces and crystal toesblack and white image of three bouquet charms showing deceased relatives and messagebridesmaids wearing blue walking down stairs outside a cream two storey house and bride leaving same house on arm of fatherbride looking at groom during church wedding ceremony with bridesmaids and flower girl watching onbride and groom exchanging ring with minister in background looking onbride and groom sitting on red seats in a church with other guests sitting in backgroundbride and groom kissing with a beach on the Isle of Lewis in the backgroundbride and groom kissing standing on grass with Stornoway in backgroundbride walking up steps with groom outside Lews Castle in Lewisbride and groom entering Lews Castle being piped in by bagpiperwooden wedding sign on white easel that reads E&N MacKaywhite three tier wedding cake with iced dots and white ribbon and blue glitter cake topper sitting on a tableback and front of a lookalike bride and groom cake topperbride, four bridesmaids wearing blue and flower girl posing for a photo on the staircase at Lews Castlebride and groom having a first dance at Lews Castle while guests watch on fron edge of dancefloorwhite Instax camera sitting on wooden table surrounded by floral and love heart paper photo booth propsfloral cardboard confetti boxes sitting in large green and pick confetti boxperonalised wedding sparklers with signs sitting in a blue metal bucketbride and groom at front entrance of Lews Castle carrying sparklers surrounded by guests also with sparklersbride and groom holding sparklers and being showered in confetti while leaving Lews Castlegroom kissing bride on head while standing in doorway of Lews Castle