"We wanted to simply to send you our heartfelt thanks for not only making the effort to be participants in Seonaid & Neil's wedding but also for the enthusiasm, spirit of joy and support that you contributed not only to Seonaid and Neil, but also to the entire family. Your warmth and affection was present in full measure and we felt the glow. We are grateful and humbled"
Dorothy & Ian
Having chosen to host their wedding at the bride’s family home in the Cairngorm’s National Park and having booked a number of their wedding services with various local suppliers. Only 12 weeks to go to their big day and lot’s of key decisions still to be made, Seonaid and Neil’s wedding plans were beginning to overwhelm them and their family.
Cue……. Angela Stewart Creative!!!
Not only is a wedding the beginning of a long lasting relationship between two people but also the coming together of two families. What better place could there be to share such a special day but at the home of either the bride or groom. As perfect as this sounds, it is not for the feint hearted as your most personal of spaces has to be shared not only with your guests but with all of the suppliers and staff which, for Seonaid and Neil amounted to over 70 team members managed by ASC throughout the entire week
The family had already organized their marquees with our friends at NOSM, their own team of chefs and kitchen staff from one of their favorite restaurants in Edinburgh. Spud the Highland piper who performs at the local hotel. Executive coaches to ferry passengers from the town along the single track road to the house. A hog roast from Taste of Moray for the buffet, afternoon tea caterers from nearby Alvie House and AV from Mike Godden, a family relation.
With a bride going through final exams in Edinburgh, a Groom living in Ireland and the parents of the bride based midweek in London, understandably the family knew that they had to get event managers to bring it all together in time. ASC were brought in to co ordinate with the suppliers already booked and provide the extensive additional production & management services the family needed to create the event they envisioned.
At our initial meeting at their picturesque home, I warmed instantly to the family and enjoyed hearing their ideas and sharing my own which were instantly liked!!.
With a beautiful old stone house and a separate timber clad guesthouse providing the main service points from which we would provide all of the food, beverages, discreet guest services, event and décor management to the marquees and other locations around the gardens. We created scaled CAD layouts for each location from which everyone involved in the event could view and collaborate on ideas and technical requirements.
With extremely limited access to the property, gardens being landscaped during the entire planning process and multiple service teams working with limited preparation and storage space,
I knew this was going to be an amazing challenge but a great opportunity to create a truly special wedding in a stunning location. Little did I know it would also become a personal journey of discovery in the sourcing and researching of customs and traditions from around the world, which would relate to the families history and loves.
Choosing the settings
The extensive gardens around the property were to be utilized throughout the wedding day and the production timeline we created for the day not only highlighted everyone’s roles and responsibility for the day, but allowed all of these areas to be used as beautiful settings in their own right. We wanted to make sure that the guests would never see the behind the scenes work that took place to create and change each setting as the day evolved.
Seeing the look on guests faces as each new setting unveils itself is what makes this job so special.
12 weeks on from our first meeting and after nearly 130 hours of design & management, all the planning came together. The sun was shining and the 57 strong team led by ASC was ready to go, The Wedding day had arrived!!!.
Arrival Drinks in The Front Lawn Marquee
Guests would enjoy light refreshments in the relaxed surroundings of the front lawn and wild meadow garden. Seated on a variety of garden furniture or enjoying the garden games, guests could re acquaint themselves with one another or be introduced to members and friends of each other’s families. All framed by the backdrop of the Caledonian pine forest and Cairngorm Mountains.
The families are big tennis fans and the wedding day fell on Wimbledon ladies finals day and the tennis was to be shown on plasma tv’s for any guests who wished to view the final. We came up with the idea of having a small separate marquee complete with a tennis theme – green carpeting with court lines, wimbledon purple accents, giant tennis balls, a plasma tv showing the match and a Nintendo wii with tennis games for the guests to show off their strokes!!
The Wedding Ceremony
The secluded garden with views of the mountains and its own pond complete with decking and beautifully restored wooden boat were to be the location for the wedding ceremony. Our poor weather plan accounted for the ceremony to take place in the main dining marquee overlooking the Caledonian pine forest – this was even set up the night before by our team ready for every eventuality.
With such a stunning location for the ceremony, only subtle décor was required to enhance the setting. With the bride wearing a stunning Caroline Castigliano dress and carrying a compact bouquet of David Austin roses mixed with delicate hydrangea and stephanotis blooms, scented herbs and bound with silk ribbon, her pathway to the altar with her father was lined with a 40 meter long garland of blue hydrangea and ivory roses. The same blue hydrangea blooms were mixed with floating candles on the pond to add color and sereneness to the formalities.
A 9-piece band made up of talented family & friends, chiviari chairs set up in rows facing the altar, woollen picnic blankets and seat pads for guests to sit on the lawn, the ceremony had a very intimate feel as the guests surrounded the happy couple throughout the taking of their vows.
After the ceremony and savoring the moment, the families and guests were served champagne and could share this special time together in the relaxed and informal surroundings.
Afternoon Tea in The Front Lawn Marquee
A lavish, vintage tea party was to be enjoyed after the wedding ceremony. With taste to match its stunning visual quality, no cake was spared by guests keen to enjoy the buffet style goodies served with vintage tea sets and on vintage linens from our hire collection. Keen to include personal touches at every opportunity, the father of the bride wanted to surprise the family with an authentic Indian Tea. I found myself talking with tea growers in the Darjeeling region of India and their specialist retailers in London. The mother of the bride had spent many happy years living in this area and we were keen to source a special tea for the occasion. With a knowledge of tea extending somewhere between Tetley and Earl Grey, I found the ‘tea sourcing’ experience surprisingly fun.
A First Flush selection from Makaibari Tea Estates proved a great choice with all the guests and I couldn’t resist a cup myself – my many daily cups of Tetley have never tasted the same since!!
The ‘Indian corner’ within the marquee told guests more about the tea they were drinking and paid homage to the families experiences of the region. Throws and shawls in beautiful hand made Indian fabrics were joined by white orchids, multi coloured umbrellas and family heirlooms in completing the look!
A joining of two families
Prior to the guests being invited into the dining marquee, the tranquil Japanese rock garden was the location for a ceremony marking the coming together of the two families. It was an element that we created and included to the production as the bride and groom had shared their first meal together in a Japanese restaurant. The ceremony saw the bride and groom opening a traditional taru of saki and serving each others parents from traditional saki cups. The guests then enjoyed their shot of saki served with Japanese influenced canapés.
Wedding Buffet in the Main Marquee
The main marquee was squeezed into an area adjacent to the guest house and overlooked the ancient Caledonian pine forest. This was set up the day before as the ceremony setting just in case the weather forecast for sunny intervals was wrong!!. As the weather was on our side and as soon as the ceremony had begun outdoors, our team swung into action to set the marquee for the serviced buffet wedding breakfast. Natural tablecloths were used on all of the tables to reflect the natural setting of the marquee and to compliment the 32 groups of silver birch trees with fairy lights around the interior of the marquee. Each table was decorated with birdcages of assorted sizes filled with garden flower blooms, fruits, foliages and ivy. A natural linen napkin for each guest was joined by a guest programme which was created by the father of the bride. Incorporating a very personal message to all the guests, the buffet menu, table name biographies and an acknowledgement to the suppliers for their role in the wedding, the guests had a nice memento to remind them of the day.
Two giant birch spheres complete with fairy lights hung above the guests and soft blue lighting to compliment the colour theme for the day completed the look.
The wedding buffet was beautifully prepared and displayed by chef Peter who had his succulent and flavorsome pork carved from the hog, roasted by Taste of Moray. The 4 serviced buffet tables had the experience and personality of the ASC service team mixed with a chef from Peter’s team.
Our table and beverage waiters ensured that guest’s appetites were truly satisfied at every opportunity and timings of the day were just right.
After Dinner Speeches in the Front Lawn Marquee
We used the front lawn marquee as the location for after dinner coffee and delights. Giving guests the opportunity of stretching their legs after dinner and between the speeches of the groom and the best man, guests enjoyed scrumptious petit fours, an amazing selection of cheeses and the option of 8 specially selected single malts, each served by a whisky expert from the Scottish Malt Whisky Society. Chrystal chandeliers were joined by navy vintage linens from our hire collection to complete the look of the marquee in the late evening light of a summer’s day. The exterior lighting of the mature trees around the entire property was beginning to add drama to the setting as the sun set far to the west.
Evening Dance in the Main Marquee
With only 45 minutes during the coffee and speeches to remove all the used glassware, crockery, cutlery, buffet equipment, buffet tables, re configure the guest tables for dancing, re cloth the tables with blue faux silk table cloths from our hire collection and complete with table centers from earlier in the day, place the self service soft drinks & ice buckets on each table, change the lighting theme to blue, set up the guest bar and get the band into sound check, our team had no time to waste before the guests would be excited about returning for an evening of entertainment.
After 2 hours of ceilidh dancing and guests showing their moves on the dancefloor to an eclectic mix of favourites from Andy Thorburn and his band, the guests ended their day with a walk past the elevated wood burning fire pits and colourwash lighting of the mature trees lining the driveway, to the coaches taking them to their overnight accommodation nearby. The parents of the bride and groom were last to leave and after wishing the bride and groom bon voyage for their honeymoon, were left reflecting on a day they described as perfect!!!
With duties complete for the evening and our feet feeling the effects of a 19 hour day, we enjoyed the drive back to Inverness in the emerging summer daylight at 3am and reflecting on a great day. A few hours rest and we would be ready for the next morning clear down.