Feeling frazzled? If so, you can take some kind of twisted comfort in the fact that you’re definitely not alone! We Brits are working longer hours and commuting further than any of our European counterparts; added to that, a recent study concluded that the average UK smartphone user connects to their device almost forty times a day, purely, it seems, for fear of missing out (FOMO)!
All said, it should come as no surprise that millions of switched on and swiped out Brits are daydreaming of detaching from the unrelenting world of digital distractions. In fact, over the past year, there’s been a 42% increase in searches for buzz words ‘digital’ and ‘detox’ as more and more burnt out Brits have begun to turn their daydreams into reality.
Always one to embrace the latest trends, the wedding industry has rightfully jumped onto this bandwagon and as a consequence, ‘unplugged’ weddings and honeymoons – where couples disconnect from the digitalised world and reconnect with each other – are rocketing in popularity. We mightily high-five this back-to-basics concept, after all, could there be anything more romantic than a wedding day/honeymoon free of digital distractions where couples can give their newlywed status their full undivided attention? Well actually, there is! Couples could harness their inner-nomad and do all of the above in the confines of a gorgeous Gypsy wagon. Bohemian, bucolic and seriously boudoir-esque, Roulotte Retreat near Melrose is this week’s incredible Scottish wedding venue. Here’s why we are quite frankly, OB-SESSED:
• Ridiculously romantic, a photographer’s dream
• The ultimate unplugged/eco venue
• Less than an hour from Edinburgh airport
• Exclusive use or elopement venue
• Overnight accommodation for up to 22
• No styling required (it’s pretty enough)
• Numerous interior/exterior options for ceremony/reception
• Very helpful owners available on-site
Let’s be clear, we’re not talking your average home-on-wheels situation here; we’re talking about the intricately and expertly hand-carved wooden wagons of a bygone era. The type you’d expect a raven-haired beauty to emerge from; eyes sparkling; bangles jangling. The type that is adorned in the most opulent of fabrics and the most seductive of colours; incense burning; wood fire crackling. In short, the old-school Gypsy wagon is EVERYTHING!
Originally, roulottes were crafted in France to accommodate the actresses of the travelling circus; however, Romani Gypsies, with their nomadic lifestyle, soon became enamoured by these wonder wagons and by the 1850s it became tradition for Gypsy couples to purchase a roulotte as their first possession as newlyweds. This era firmly established Romani Gypsies as archetypes of the romantic imagination. 19th Century literature and folklore promoted the idea of Gypsies being the exotic other; nomadic, alluring and enchanting. The human represention of freedom and escape.
If this is all sounding dangerously seductive and you’re on the brink of running off with the Gypsies, there’s no need, as Roulotte Retreat offers a temporary solution for want-to-be nomads looking to escaping the complexities of modern-day life and the PERFECT place to say “I do”.
Roulotte Retreat is the ultimate wedding venue for those seeking a stylish, romantic and bohemian elopement or micro-wedding. Wifi-free and as eco-chic as it gets, Roulotte Retreat offers couples the ideal (not to mention incredibly sexy) refuge where they can reflect and connect on their special day with nothing to distract them but the morning chorus of birds, the buzz of bees and the occasional croak of a frog.
Situated in the shadow of the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills, Roulotte Retreat comprises seven GORGEOUSLY sultry roulottes affectionately named Karlotta, Devanna, Shivanni, Gitana, Maharani, Zenaya & Rosa Bella. The roulottes are peppered around a small loch amidst a glorious meadow jam-packed with wildflowers and wildlife. Each roulotte is completely unique; some with a flavour of France and some with an aura of India, but all play homage to their Gypsy heritage and boast magnificently hand carved Celtic knotwork entwined with horses, flowers, elephants, lotus ponds, peacocks, butterflies, fairies, vines and foliage. With sofas, chaise longues, wood burners, fridges, cookers, private outdoor seating areas and some even having eco-hot tubs, where couples can relax beneath the moonshine and star scattered skies, this is the crème-de-la-crème of elopement locations. The roulottes also have showers, WCs, heaters and are fully insulated so there’s a guarantee of cosiness, even in the cooler months.
When Catherine (that dress!!) and Padraig eloped to Roulotte Retreat in the summer of 2019, they opted to stay in the seriously sultry boudoir, Karlotta. As you can see from the epic pics taken by Trevor at Silver Photography, Karlotta is undeniably seductive with a palette of rich purples, reds and golds. Catherine and Padraig had originally wanted to exchange vows on the lochside, but with the weather not wanting to play ball, the couple took to the shelter of Roulotte Retreat’s beautiful covered wooden terrace, which is magnificently built around a Scots Pine tree.
After the ceremony, Catherine and Padraig retired to Karlotta and celebrated their husband/wife status with champagne and wedding cake. If, however, you’re on the lookout for a larger wedding, you’ll be happy to know that Roulotte Retreat can be booked on an exclusive use basis where 22 of your nearest and dearest can be accommodated between the seven roulottes and the very pretty, Horseshoe Cottage with Ruby Bow. The beauty of Roulotte Retreat is the flexibility it offers couples who are able to enjoy their ceremony, wedding breakfast, reception in a variety of locations. How about taking your vows down by the lochan, enjoying a champagne toast outside one of the pretty roulottes, before having your wedding breakfast on the covered terrace?
Owners, Avril & Alan, live on-site and are always available should couples and their guests require help or information. Similarly, they have a tried and trusted list of suppliers who couples can rely on to make their day completely unforgettable
Last, but definitely not least, we think the BEST thing about Roulotte Retreat is that couples are free to rent their love nest for as long as they wish, so why not enjoy a fully unplugged wedding and honeymoon in the blissful Borders?!
Couple: Catherine & Padraig
Venue: Roulotte Retreat
Photographer: Silver Photography