bride and groom pic
The coolest couple around – Joanne and Greg rocking a fabulous look

By Joanne Caird, Fuze Celebrant

We did it! Myself and my now husband (I doubt saying that will ever become less exciting!) tied the knot, literally, on April the 8th 2022. I should mention that I wasn’t a celebrant at the time of planning my wedding so my tips and advice are truly from a brides perspective.

People really aren’t lying when they say your wedding day is the best day of your lives! I’m sure it’s not the only “best day”, as your journey as a couple is full of exciting milestones and experiences which you both hold very close to your hearts. I was super excited when I was asked to write this feature, as our wedding day is all I can think about, and I could talk about it forever! What better opportunity to talk about it in detail than to all of you excited brides and grooms to be reading this blog! I will write what will be, hopefully, helpful advice and share some of our special day with you. Hope you’re sitting somewhere comfortably!

bride and groom walking

The Engagement and Choosing Your Venue

I’ll start from the beginning of our engagement. In December 2018, Greg proposed to me next to the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland. We had been together for nearly two years at this point and always knew we were headed towards marriage.

As cheesy as it sounds, you know when you know, and we definitely knew. We settled into engaged life quickly, If I had a pound for every time I said the word or referred to us as ‘fiancés’ I probably could have afforded the wedding based on that alone!

We started looking at places to hold our wedding in October 2019, and booked our dream venue, Fernie Castle on November the 6th. I would recommend having a small number of places in mind to visit and consider, and not overwhelming yourselves by looking at hundreds of places and overthinking your decision. Also, try before looking for venues to have a rough budget in mind, don’t devastate yourselves visiting dream venues that you can’t afford, or would struggle to afford at a push.

As soon as we drove up the driveway to Fernie Castle we got butterfly’s. I must admit, I see myself as quite the princess, so when I saw the grand stand alone castle surrounded by trees and a beautiful lochan, my heart was set. We said a quick hello to the farm animals next to the car park and made our way to the main entrance where We are greeted not only by the owner, but by a flock of chickens sunbathing on the doorstep.

We loved this and it felt amazing being surrounded by so much nature, it felt like a world of it’s own. After receiving a tour of the Castle and seeing it’s many breath-taking suites and it’s “straight out of a fairy-tale ballroom we sat to discuss packages and then went home to discuss the decision further. My husband and I are both very sensible individuals, so with the prices of the venue and all it had to offer in mind, we went home and sat with a notebook, a calculator, and some rum. (of course!)

Saving and Budgeting For Your Big Day

We both had ambitions to save for our wedding ourselves, and neither of us were in a great rush. So, taking in mind the price of the venue, then the other main aspects of a wedding (e.g., dress, photographer, entertainment) we decided a certain amount each a week we could both comfortably manage to save, then projected this to see how long roughly it would take us to pay for the wedding. With this information in hand, we made another appointment to visit Fernie and set our date, April the 8th 2022. We were both on cloud nine and couldn’t wait to start getting organised.

Weddings are, undeniably, expensive. I truly believe however that if you work as a team to know how much your comfortable saving and put that set amount away each week, then the cost won’t be nearly as daunting. Of course, every couple is different, but this worked really well for us, as when we needed something for the wedding (e.g., deposits on hair and makeup) the money came out of the wedding account, and we didn’t really notice a large expense in our day to day lives. You would be surprised how quickly money adds up when saving becomes a routine. Another great thing about this way of budgeting is the pride you and your new husband feel together when everything comes together knowing that you worked and saved hard and made your dream wedding a reality together as a team. There is no “I” in wedding! We also, very kindly, had our photographers and my dress paid for as a gift from our families, who were nothing short of superstars during the planning process.

Finding Suppliers

When it comes to finding suppliers, we prioritised the most important aspects of the wedding first, our celebrant, our photographers and our entertainment DJ. We had attended a good friend’s wedding reception a few years prior, and her wedding photo’s had us speechless, we knew before even becoming engaged that they would be our photographers.

We knew we had to find our celebrant next and now I am one, I know how busy diaries can become.  After all, there’s no point having a wedding if you don’t have somebody there to legally officiate your union in marriage. We had also been advised that bands and DJ’s book up really quickly, so we started researching suppliers to find one that’s right for us. We looked at bands first but decided on a DJ because we both lovely cheesy music and party classics and would have missed them if they weren’t played. I recommend looking for a DJ who offers décor and photobooth’s in their packages. In our package we received an LED dancefloor, large Mr and Mrs letters, a photobooth and of course the DJ himself. This made planning a lot easier as when we had any queries regarding evening entertainment, we only had one point of contact.

We then discussed general themes of the day and how we both envisioned it and started to brainstorm things we would need to purchase and suppliers we would need to hire. A lot of the suppliers we chose were local (both our invites maker and our florist were mere streets away).

We both LOVED wedding planning, we can honestly say we were never stressed, and we were always on the same page. Since we had 2 and a half years to plan it, we took our time and didn’t rush a single aspect. This meant that our wedding didn’t consume our lives and we could enjoy day to day living alongside our planning. That’s probably the best advice I can give when it comes to planning your wedding together, take your time and take it all in, enjoy every second.

The Dress

I went wedding dress shopping in June 2021, about 10 months before the wedding day. I felt this was a good timeframe, as I wanted to order a dress with enough time for it to be delivered and altered accordingly, but I also, personally, didn’t want to have the dress too early. A lot can change in a matter of months, so I patiently waited (watching Say Yes to The Dress quenched my urge to go a lot sooner!).

Just like selecting the venue, I only made appointments for a small few bridal boutique to avoid become overwhelmed. I had the misfortune of loving EVERY single wedding dress I tried on (If I could get married to Greg every year for the rest of my life so I could wear all of the bridal styles I would) I did however go in with a rough idea of what I envisioned, lace with sleeves and princess like because it’s the one day you can be extravagant! So, I stuck with that and after trying on a few dresses and having great fun in the process I found my dress.

My dress was originally sleeveless, but the bridal boutique and fabulous seamstress worked with me to create sleeves using appliques and materials sent alongside the dress. I had two amazing bridesmaids, and knew I wanted them to wear burnt orange. I wanted them to be comfortable, so let them choose their style. We had no success finding burnt orange dresses everybody liked online, so we travelled to David’s Bridal and found the dresses almost instantly.

The Big Day

The months flew in, and when they say it all goes by in a flash, they aren’t exaggerating. We enjoyed our hen do and stag, and before we knew it the week of our wedding arrived. I made the most of relaxing this week and pampering myself. I counted the sleeps, and before I knew it I was at the venue checking in the night before the wedding. The night before the wedding we had the venue host a family dinner with close family and members of the bridal party. I stayed with the bridesmaids the night before in one of the castles suites. We had a great time singing and dancing before hitting the hay in our matching pyjamas.

My alarm sounded on April the 8th, and it sunk in that I was getting married! We were ecstatic to open the curtains and watch the sun pouring in, as we had always dreamt of an outside ceremony and the rest of that weeks weather had been miserable. I will never forget the morning of my wedding. It was blissfully relaxed and peaceful. After breakfast, myself my two bridesmaids and my mum went out to the lawn to wrap some faux sunflowers around the bridal arch then headed back in to get ready. Greg says he was extremely excited when he drove past the arch and noticed the sunflowers, as that’s when it sunk in for him as well that our dream of getting married outside was becoming a reality.

One by one our suppliers arrived and what a fantastic bunch of individuals! The girls who did our hair and makeup felt like lifelong friends and went above and beyond to help us look and feel like princesses. When our photographers arrived, they fit right in, and we all had such a great laugh getting ready. My florist arrived to deliver our flowers, and I was truly speechless when she showed me my bridal bouquet and flower crown. She really bought my vision to life and my flowers were one of my favourite parts of my overall bridal look. I felt like a boho fairy queen!

My Dad and The Aisle Reveal

My dad came to walk me down the staircase and down the aisle. Such a special father daughter moment which I will cherish forever.

I was piped down the aisle to the Highland Cathedral and struggled not to cry tears of joy when I saw Greg standing at the front, looking dashing in his kilt. We had a beautiful, personalised ceremony filled with Scottish traditions such as Handfasting and drinking from the Quaich.

After the ceremony we enjoyed some fizz and ice cream cones, provided by the venue in the form of a manned old fashioned ice cream cart (super cute). Our photographers took some formal photos and then blended right in like guests which we loved!

We can’t wait to see our full gallery of candid snaps of those nearest and dearest to us. We had a fantastic three course meal and then danced the night away. The dance floor was never empty, and everyone took part in some Scottish country dancing. Loch Lomond started to play, and we all huddled for one last dance before the taxi’s started arriving.

The Treehouse

Greg and I stayed in the Treehouse in Fernie Castle’s grounds. The only word I can use for this experience was pure, undiluted magic. The owner drove us to the door himself and when we went in we were transported to a land of folklore. The treehouse consists of two floors and a stunning stand alone roll top bath which was the perfect way to relax our feet after all of our dancing!

bride groom treehouse

Final Thoughts

I truly believe we could not have had a better wedding day; we are so thankful for all of the help we received and advice we were given in the lead up and I hope the advice I have shared here can help other brides and grooms.

Above all though, remember to:

  • Work as a team
  • Don’t rush any aspect of planning
  • Know your limit financially
  • Have fun and enjoy every single wedding related activity you share together.

Check out our TikTok clip HERE!

Mrs Joanne Caird (Oh! and Greg)

Sealed with a kiss – Joanne and Greg felt lucky to have their Fernie Castle day outdoors

Our Suppliers

Venue: Fernie Castle Hotel

Photographer: Number94 Wedding Photography

Florist: Charmed Willow Flowers

Cake: I Dreamed a Cake

Dress: Kudos Bridal Dunfermline

Makeup: Nadia Doriano Hair & Makeup

Hair: InspireHair by Claire Rae

Invitations and seating chart: Flutterbeeze wedding stationary

Kilts: Caledonian Kilts

DJ: Platinum Discos

Joanne Caird

Joanne Caird
Celebrant at Fuze Ceremonies

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