Katherine and Duncan’s dream wedding had taken place over 4 glorious days in Scotland. Over a year in the planning and with the train journey to London ahead, they could now begin to realise the magnitude of what they had shared with the people they love.
Katherine and Duncan were introduced by mutual friends and despite the fact that they lived 5000 miles apart, distance was no barrier to them falling in love. An invitation for Duncan to join Katherine in London for a stroll through the falling autumn leaves was the ultimate romantic rendezvous before they decided to spend their lives together.
Having already shared special moments at The Burn House (a period property with a shabby chic appeal and extensive mature grounds) which was owned by the College at which Katherine was completing her thesis. For 4 days, family and friends from all over the world would come together to experience a full schedule of amazing events, the highlight of which would be Katherine and Duncan exchanging their vows in the gardens of the historic Edzell Castle.
With Duncan based in Texas and Katherine in London, they knew the challenge of creating their dream wedding would require experienced wedding designers and producers to interpret their ideas and turn them into reality. Although only initially asking ASC to provide décor services, their desire to have their guests want for nothing during their 4 day stay meant Angela Stewart Creative were then asked to provide full design, production and management for the entire event.
From the first briefing by the bride and groom, we were clear that we were to co-ordinate all guest communication and travel plans for their arrival and departures. With guests based all around the world, for 6 months, our team were constantly tailoring itineraries to suit the ever changing needs of the guests and their families. 1248 emails later and we knew all the routes of the planes, trains and automobiles that would safely deliver the guests to Scotland!!!
Personal itineraries for the bridal party were prepared to account for their arrival 2 days before their guests a mixture of sporting activities and relaxation was created.
With instructions to have guests continually entertained and excited during the 4 days, our site visit 11 months prior to the wedding allowed us to select the locations within the house and surrounding estate, as well as at the ceremony location of Edzell Castle 2 miles away.
Our experience in taking ordinary spaces and creating exciting event settings was what the client wanted. It was our job to make everything happen seamlessly and make the necessary preparations for nothing to be impossible. This was only achieved by detailed planning on how we would create each setting and provide all of the hospitality and entertainment, without guests seeing any behind the scenes services needed to achieve a magical experience.
With the desire of the bride and groom to be outdoors as much as possible and the July weather in Scotland not always sunny and dry, we presented the idea of a clear view marquee offering 360 degree views of the lawn, house and surrounding woodlands. It was instantly loved and the significant extra cost was worth it. Two additional pagoda style marquees offered covered outdoor lounge areas around the lawns. These were to be used for vintage afternoon teas, games on the lawn, reading and relaxation.
After 12 months of detailed planning, we flew to London for our final sign off meeting, which was by now only 3 weeks before the wedding. Katherine and Duncan’s dream wedding was now clear in their minds, all that now remained was for the team at Angela Stewart Creative to produce and manage their event as planned… no small task!!!
To ensure the magic of ‘how it happens’ was not revealed to the 42 guests arriving from 3pm, all of the final installation of décor was to take place early in the day. At 6 am with the sun in the blue sky, dew on the grass and birdsong in full flow, the full ASC décor team of 16 were on site to install the décor for the events taking place around the estate and in the marquee the following day.
The pagodas became lounges of comfortable rattan furniture and rustic garden bench seating. Formal seating around small tables was set for afternoon teas and the variety of seating areas were completed with vases of beautiful scented flowers to compliment the vintage tea sets.
The clearview marquee was set up for the following evening’s barbeque dinner and with the marquee being transparent, we had to schedule our work around times so the guests could not see us creating the setting.
The silver birch trees were joined by a variety of table sizes clothed with natural linens from our hire range. Simple kilner jars of scented summer blooms in repeat design were used as décor and interspersed with candles, chiviari chairs were used to complete the look along with natural linen napkins to match the tablecloths. This simple, natural and organic design was perfect for a relaxed barbeque where the guests would be introduced or re acquainted with one another.
With the décor installed, our events director and his assistants could now turn his attention to the arrival of the guests. Having been communicating via phone and email with all of the guests for many months, it was great to finally meet them in person and take care of any additional requests they presented us with.
It was now over to the team from the Burn House to get the guests settled in their rooms and adjusted to the relaxed atmosphere
The front of house service team would begin attending to the guests desires and no request was to big or small.
A relaxed evening Buffet dinner would let the guests eat at their leisure after a busy day of travelling. Although most enjoyed an early night, many were seen by our events director late on, watching the sunset over the hills and enjoying a wee dram!!
With all of the guests having an early breakfast then a little free time to explore the estate, the ASC team swung into action to set up all the tables, chairs, linens and flower designs in the dining room ready for the buffet lunch the guests were to enjoy later in the day. A morning of leisure with some of the guests sneaking in some practice on the croquet lawn prior to the afternoons competition!!!
The visually stunning buffet lunch with the taste to match was served to guests around noon and with them all enjoying the tales from the mornings discoveries, the ASC team created the lovely setting for the afternoon tea in the drawing room. Tables and chairs were set up with blue tablecloths( to compliment the room and wedding colours) overlaid with authentic vintage lace cloths. Full sets of vintage crockery and cutlery were laid for the traditional serving of tea by the service staff, and to be accompanied by delights from the pastry chefs.
The croquet tournament on the lawn was a competitive but fun affair, encouragement and distraction were shouted in equal measure, all fuelled by a selection of wonderful cocktails. An interlude in the tournament brought on afternoon tea in the drawing room, with the weather being fair, many guests enjoyed the additional areas within the pagodas that we had laid with tea sets and cakes.
A resumption in play for the semi final matches let some of the guests relax in the early evening sun, others took a some time to reduce the jet lag on the comfortable blue picnic blankets laid out on the lawn!!!
Pre dinner canapés and drinks were served on the lawn to those who still had appetites for more after the sumptuous afternoon tea. The informal barbeque dinner had the option of being moved outdoors if the weather permitted but with some cloud cover rolling in, the wind feeling cold to us Scots let alone the Houstonians in the group who were now dressed for arctic conditions, the clearview marquee was perfect for everyone’s comfort.
Chef and his team laid on a barbeque with cooked to order local beef steaks that were in appropriate Texan portions!!!
By the end of the evening and after a long day the guests were ready for bed, cue the ASC décor fairies!!!!
From 11pm – 2 am, the creative team of 12, de rigged all the furniture and décor from the barbeque setting of the marquee and reset the layout for the following afternoons concert. The dining tables and chivari chairs were replaced with blue banquet chairs, and a stage complete with baby grand piano.
With the dining room now set for breakfast with crisp white linens from the ASC hire collection and the jars of flowers used to decorate the tables, the team could now reflect on a successful day of events and get some well earned rest!!!
It was the grooms 50th birthday and after a leisurely breakfast, all of the guests met on the lawn for a traditional Highland Games.
The ASC Team were busy inside the house re setting the styling within the dining room for the following mornings gents breakfast. From our glances out the window, and the noise of the laughter and encouragement being given to the caber tossers, the games were going well!!!
The kitchen team was busy preparing all of the hampers being used for the picnic we set up at the front of the house on the west facing lawn. Blue picnic blankets, white Adirondack chairs and picnic benches all from our hire collection were used by the wedding guests whilst enjoying their lunch and the incredible views to the hills.
In the marquee, final preparations were made for the early evening concert. The testing of the PA & tuning of the piano were performed out of earshot from the guests. The ASC décor team continued to put the finishing touches to the following day’s flowers before switching attention to the dining room and library that were to be styled for the evening’s rehearsal dinner and birthday celebrations. Again, without guests seeing it happen!!!
The bridal party and ASC events director made their way to the wedding rehearsal at nearby Edzell Castle, a full run through of the ceremony detail was overseen by ASC to ensure a seamless flow to the proceedings took place. The feeling of tranquillity and peace within the castle gardens, had to be reflected in the style of the ceremony and nothing was to feel rushed. With everyone happy with their roles for tomorrow and 2 hours spent at the Castle in the afternoon sunshine, it was back to The Burn for a few hours free time.
A short drinks reception with guests in formal attire, more cocktails and guests entertained with up close magic was swiftly followed by the invitation to guests to join the Bride to be (wearing Vivienne Westwood) and her groom to be for an early evening concert. Talented guests and the bride herself, played music, read poems and shared stories of friendship and love. The warmth of the evening sun in the sky and the surroundings of nature at her finest, had guests in the perfect mood for a romantic Scottish wedding.
The ASC designers, had selected a suitable décor design for the two rooms being used for dining. The drawing room with its blue masculine blue and gold tones and the library with its pink and gold tones. There were no decorative table centrepieces being used in either room as for the evening, the message of sharing was being celebrated. Large silver platters of food were placed in the middle of each table, with guests being encouraged to help themselves and others to the mouth watering selection before them.
For dessert, a Birthday cake for each of the 10 guest tables with 5 candles was brought from the kitchen simultaneously and a chorus of happy birthday going on for the entire time it took Duncan to run between each table blowing out his 50 candles. As the guests enjoyed their meal, out in the marquee, the ASC team set up the layout and décor for the following days wedding celebrations.
Blue silk tablecloths and chair covers were decorated with a mix of silver candelabra and footed silver bowl flower designs, punctuated with mirrored votives and set upon mirrored plates, the décor was to be simple and classic, but beautiful.
With darkness upon us, all the guests were invited out to the front of the house to witness the bride and groom joining together to light a paper lantern. As the lantern slowly filled and gently lifted of into the still night air, the peace of the scene was enjoyed by all of the guests and you could have heard a pin drop. The lantern floated slowly upwards for what seemed like an eternity before becoming a spec in the darkening sky. Just as the guests lost sight of the lantern, the peace was broken by a huge screech as the first wave of fireworks rocketed into the sky!!!
A dazzling firework show shattered the silence in the glen and the guests who were winding down, had their senses re awakened by the noise, scale and colour of the show. 5 minutes after it began and with a grand finale, the show was over and the guests retreated to the house with a final nightcap accompanying a series of short speeches. As the guests all went to bed…cue the ASC décor fairies again!!!
Our team of 12 cleared down all of the tables, chairs, and décor from both rooms and reinstated the sofas and armchairs in the library.
The drawing room was to be used for the ladies only breakfast, fresh ivory linens and flowers were added and some of the sofas and armchairs which had been removed earlier in the day were returned to their rightful location in the room.
The gents had their own room for breakfast and the dining room was set up accordingly. Merlot table linens and napkins were laid to match the room décor and furniture. Red flower arrangements were re used from the previous day to complete the look. With everything in place by 1am, the team headed home in the knowledge everything was ready for the wedding day.
The Wedding Day
The early morning silence was replaced by the sound of the bagpipes calling everyone for breakfast. The sun was rising and the House was coming to life with guests. The ladies were enjoying breakfast in the drawing room and the gents were in jovial mood in the dining room and another lovely breakfast was served by chef and his team.
At Edzell Castle, the ASC team were installing the décor for the ceremony, specially made benches along with blue picnic blankets were laid out among the roses and box hedging of the garden – 600 rose blooms were added to the large shrubs to create the altar. The guest conveniences arrived and the catering gazebo installed from where later in the day, discreet preparation and service of delightful canapés and champagne would be served.
Back at the house, Angela had to take emergency action when the coach taking the groomsmen to the castle suffered a puncture before departure, with time running out, 2 emergency chauffeurs in the form of The Burn Manager and assistant swung into action and the guests had no idea it even happened. The coach was ready 30 minutes later to take the groom, best men, parents and lady attendants to the ceremony.
The bride in her Vivienne Westwood wedding dress and accessories broke tradition and along with her maid of honour were last to depart to the ceremony in the Bentley. With a seamless entrance to the altar lead by her personal piper, the bride and groom were now ready to share their vows amongst the people closest to them. Fluffy clouds in the blue sky, the warm breeze, perfectly manicured gardens and the historic ruins as a backdrop, it was about as perfect as a wedding can be!!!
For 2 hours after the ceremony, guests relaxed in the privacy of the exclusive garden and were treated to the delights from the chef and mixologist. Exploring the ruins and deciphering the symbols on the walls, guests were free to socialise and take photographs to remember the occasion.
The official cake cutting and speeches were made before the bride and groom were waved off to their official wedding photography session and were closely followed back to The Burn House by all of the guests. Afternoon tea was awaiting those who could fit it in and guests had the opportunity to relax before the evening wedding breakfast was held.
The ASC team by now had returned Edzell Castle and Gardens to normal and with 3 van loads of equipment safely loaded, were ready to begin the final preparations within the marquee at The Burn.
Cocktails were served to guests on the west lawn and they were surprisedly greeted by the Bride and Groom appearing on the roof of the house. A romantic kiss between the bride and groom at their guests request followed by arial photography of the guests - complete with unused umbrella’s from the day, The bride and Groom invited guests to the wedding breakfast in the marquee,
The décor was all in place from the ASC team, the flowers were just perfect, the smell of the birch trees, the stationary on the tables, candles glowing and the blue overhead lighting reflecting from the roof drapes. The marquee now just needed the guests
Led by their piper, the bride and groom took their seats ready for their first meal as Mr & Mrs. For the next 2 hours, a beautiful banquet was served accompanied with fine wines and of course, the now obligatory cocktails.
With appetites satisfied and guests looking to stretch their legs before the evenings entertainment begun, the next surprise awaited them!!! In the evening twilight and in acknowledgement to the first walk shared in the leaves of London, Katherine invited all of the guests to join them for the ‘First Walk’ a romantic walk through the woods (lit by a pathway of ASC candles and torches) to a viewpoint of a secluded waterfall.
Warm cocktails were served as guests enjoyed the views and as the guests marvelled at the walk in the woods, the ASC team refreshed the table settings in the marquee, additional lighting was added to change the mood to “party time” and the set up of the DJs and music was complete.
Guest were welcomed back to the marquee and after 2 hours of dancing away to an eclectic playlist of music (which also included the most incredible line dance with a group of people we have ever seen. At least 30 people all moving like one giant organism in perfect rhythm and sequence. Apparently all un rehearsed!!!!!!) the bride and groom were ready for a romantic getaway.
Following a path of candles, the Bride and Groom were to spend the night in the honeymoon yurt, located in a peaceful rock garden on the estate. This cosy little oasis complete with wood burning stove and double bed was where they would share their first night together, almost under the stars!!!
Early breakfast in bed was served to the bride and groom in the honeymoon yurt and after sharing a private stroll around the gardens, they met their guests as they appeared in the reception rooms of the house.
Brunch was to be shared in the marquee that by now had been fully cleaned down and re set by the ASC team. The chefs had set up the buffet service tables, which included the much in demand, bloody & virgin Mary’s.
The atmosphere was electric as guests recounted the events of the week and shared stories of the night gone by. Some of the guests had trains and connecting flights to catch and with the assistance of our events director all their travel plans and schedules were timed to perfection.
With good byes over with, an optional afternoon picnic was ready for remaining guest to enjoy either at The Burn House or at nearby Dunottar Castle. With most guests choosing to go on the trip to Dunottar, the deserted estate gave quiet backdrop for the ASC team who cleared down the settings in the marquee and set up the dining room for a farewell dinner for the remaining guests.
The informal evening dinner was followed by a final walk on the estate. With lanterns lit and sunlight fading, The bride and groom had the chance to reflect on their shared experiences with friends and family. Only a few guests were around when the ASC team departed at 10pm after re setting the dining room for the final early morning breakfast.
The Bride and Groom depart.
By 10am it was all over, Katherine and Duncan’s dream wedding had taken place over 4 glorious days in Scotland. Over a year in the planning and with only a train journey to London ahead, they could now begin to realise the magnitude of what they had shared with the people they love.
A short ride in the comfort of the executive car to the station where the train arrived suitably in accordance with the ASC production timeline at 10.23am!!!. Assisted by our events director onto the train, a final farewell with our lovely clients was shared.
By the time the train reach London 6½ hours later, the ASC team had already returned 3 van loads of equipment to their base 140 miles away and were beginning to reload another 3.
The mountain of used crockery, cutlery, glassware, hire tables and chairs were all checked off and collected. The lighting in the marquee and around the estate was all taken out and the birch trees made their way to the compost heap via tractor and shredder.
With all of the décor de rig complete, Most of the ASC team departed at 6pm, leaving our events director to oversee the final return of The Burn House gardens to normal the following day.
Last Clear Down
Having been on site for 10 days, the weather gods finally decided it was time for some rain!!! The de rigging of the marquee was a slow process with the torrential showers being punctuated only with more steady rainfall. The final challenge of trying to remove a full marquee structure in these conditions without leaving lasting damage on the lawn was met by all concerned.
The groundsmen’s precious lawn was returned to them with minimum damage and after the final lifts of the kitchen unit and the generators it was all over.
After more than a year’s planning, 10 days on site and soaked through, we could finally afford a few hours to reflect on the week with satisfaction and pride in another job well done.
But with only 4 days to go to our next event, it was time to start all over again!!!!!