When lockdown came into effect in March 2020, Larissa and Bryan had already planned their Wedding Day to be held at Neidpath Castle, the Medieval Castle near Peebles. Close family members and friends had already booked their travel from various parts of the world, to attend their special day. We were all ready to celebrate with them as they planned to exchange their Wedding Vows at this very unique venue near the Scottish Borders.
COVID-19 put an abrupt halt to their wedding planning and their original date, of 10th May 2020 was put on hold indefinitely. Larissa and Bryan had already completed and submitted their Legal Paperwork to the local Registrars and there was nothing more they could do during the pandemic, except wait until each new Phase was introduced. As new guidelines were announced and set by the Scottish Government, the couples’ original wedding date came and went, and still Scotland and most of the world were still in lockdown.
Larissa and Bryan always maintained that as soon as the rules were eased, they would like to exchange their Vows and be Legally married in a shorter and very much smaller ceremony than the one already written especially for them. We kept in regular contact and watched the updates every week until it was announced that small outdoor wedding ceremonies could take place. Larissa and Bryan began eagerly planning a scaled-down version of their Wedding Day as I set to work to create a ceremony that was more suited to an outdoor wedding with very limited guests.
Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
Larissa and Bryan originally planned their Wedding Day for approximately 40 guests to be held indoors at Neidpath Castle, hiring the whole venue for their big day. Neidpath Castle is a rubble-built Tower House set in stunning grounds, surrounded by lots of greenery and situated on a hillside by the banks of the River Tweed. There are 360degree views all around you of the Scottish Borders. It is also steeped in history and Mary Queen of Scots is believed to have stayed at the Castle back in 1563.
Larissa and Bryan sought written permission from the Foundation, to use the grounds for their Wedding Ceremony. This was the perfect place for them and the closest they could get to their original plans without going to great expense. Permission was granted and they visited the area to see where would be the best place for them to have their outdoor ceremony. Government guidelines had advised that ceremonies must only take place outside and the good old Scottish weather was very much on their mind when choosing the perfect spot to exchange their Vows!
Various areas were considered but, on the day, the weather was on our side, the sun was shining, and the place they chose just ‘felt right’. To the right of Neidpath Castle, there is an amazing treelined walkway that was the perfect setting for the ceremony. Larissa and Bryan, brought a foldaway table to sign their Marriage Schedule on and placed the items required for their ceremony, along with some bright and colourful sunflowers, breaking up the lush green walkway with a dash of colour. The sunflowers also doubled up as a bridal bouquet.
The Bride, Larissa was dressed in a beautiful emerald green gown – plain from the front, backless, and studded with gems around the neckline and down the sides. Larissa designed and made the gown herself which I only found out after their big day! The Groom Bryan wore Jacobite Highland dress and their 2 Witnesses were also dressed in Highland wear. Another friend was on hand to capture on camera, all their special moments during their ceremony, and afterward as they ventured around the grounds of the castle.
Before their Vows were read, Larissa and Bryan, as part of their ceremony, chose to have a traditional Scottish handfasting. They used two pieces of cloth and together they tied the knots as social distancing was still to be adhered to. I had taught them how to do this virtually and, of course, working together to tie the knots puts them in good stead for working as a couple to make their marriage a success.
Medieval Castle Marriage
Being married in an intimate setting meant so much to Bryan and Larissa and they both agreed that their Ceremony was just perfect for them. I left the newlyweds to celebrate with their Witnesses and to enjoy the rest of their wedding day. They brought along a picnic feast with canapes and sparkling wine and water and embraced the beauty of Neidpath Castle and the surrounding area.
We will meet again in 2021, as the happy couple would still like have their Wedding Day with family and friends, and celebrate with them all when it is safe to do so. Their Ceremony will be an Affirmation of the Vows that they exchanged on 12th July 2020 and we will all return to this medieval place called Neidpath Castle.
I would like to end with a Quote that Bryan and Larissa introduced me to and I read to them during their Ceremony.
The Quote by Jeff Brown says:-
“You don’t measure Love in time.
You measure Love in transformation.
Sometimes the longest connections yield very little growth,
while the briefest of encounters change everything.
The heart doesn’t wear a watch – it’s timeless.
It doesn’t care how long you know someone.
It doesn’t care if you had a 40 year anniversary, if there is not juice in the connection.
What the heart cares about is resonance.
Resonance that opens it, resonance that enlivens it, resonance that calls it home.
And when it finds it, the transformation begins . . . “
With thanks to
Venue – Neidpath Castle
Celebrant – Mo Ackroyd
Quotes – Jeff Brown