Arisaig Micro Wedding – Vicki and Bob
Luckily for me I get to photograph loads of weddings and elopements up in the beautiful but rugged coastal town of Arisaig in the western Highlands of Scotland. You might recall the chilly, but very dramatic, wedding of Zara and Angus right at the beginning of the year on Valentine’s day, and this tiny elopement on Camusdarach beach at the end of 2022. Well, after a break I was back on the famous white sands for no fewer than two weddings, one day after the other. Vicki and Bob’s wonderful Arisaig micro wedding was the second of those two and was simply perfect in every way. I think I might have taken my most joyous photograph ever in 20 years that day too!
In the past I would meet with almost all of my couples at some point before their wedding to discuss their plans and ideas but, even before Coronavirus, this was already changing and these days I rarely get to meet anyone, which is rubbish because I’m very nosey and love to quiz people about their lives. Bob (whose real name is actually Gordon) and Vicki were different – they were very keen to meet up and discuss their plans for their Arisaig micro wedding so I happily obliged and then got into trouble from my wife because we chatted for so long that I made us both late for a meal with my in-laws (thanks guys 🙂 ). Bob is a truck driver and, as a person whose best day ever was when I got to drive a huge tractor at a wedding, I had so many lorry-related questions I could’ve picked his brain for days. I just knew that their day would be fantastic (even though there actually wasn’t a truck, which was very disappointing) because they were so laid back about everything which, as a seasoned wedding attendee, I can say is definitely the best way to be.
Photographing the Wedding Preparations at Borrodale House
Vicki and Bob had rented the large Borrodale House, just outside Arisaig, for their wedding basecamp. Because of the changing weather we still hadn’t exactly finalised the plans by the time I arrived to take some pre-wedding photographs but luckily I was working with good friend and Humanist celebrant Paula as our little Bog Cotton Scottish Elopements team. An informal service we decided to set up specifically to help couples marry in wonderful wilderness locations in the Western Highlands. For Bob and Vicki’s Arisaig wedding it was very useful because Paula is local to the area and has a wonderful mental map of the beaches, their orientation relating to the wind and the tide times so we chose a wonderful little beach nearby that I have dreamed of working on since I first went there as a tourist 20 years ago.
Whilst Bob, Paula and the rest of the small wedding party including their two sons, William and Euan, went to get ready for the ceremony on the beach I waited back at the house with Vicki to catch the end of her preparations and then walk with her and her bridesmaids over the dunes to one of the beautiful white beaches that Arisaig is so famous for. Even the walk from the car park was lovely and I was already thinking how wonderful my job as a wedding photographer is, basically getting to meander about outside in amazing locations whilst taking photographs.
Wedding Ceremony on Camusdarach Beach
Guided by the distant sound of Angus Binnie’s bagpipes, and the sound of the breeze whistling through his ever-growing moustache, we arrived on the otherwise deserted beach for the ceremony. What a gorgeous place to walk down the aisle, or at least down the wooden steps and across the sand. Some of the couples I work with aren’t overly cuddly but Vicki and Bob were amazing to photograph after Bob had wiped the tears from his eyes – from the moment Vicki arrived they were inseparable and it makes my job so much easier. I do love a bit of hand-holding during the ceremony 🙂
Of course, in spite of our very careful beach choice the wind direction had changed completely and it was now quite breezy on the beach. So breezy, in fact, that Paula took her eyes off the ball for one second and almost lost her carefully written script to the sea. Luckily she is a fast runner and had three boys to help round up all of the slightly damp pages. At the end of the ceremony Vicki and Bob surprised everyone by spontaneously running away down to the sea to dip a toe in the Atlantic ocean. I wasn’t expecting it at all (people tend not to run away during wedding ceremonies very often) but managed to fire off a couple of photographs that are now possibly my most joyful, completely unstaged, photographs I have ever taken.
After the ceremony finished I stayed behind with the newly married bride and groom to make a few photographs and test out Vicki’s Dubarry boots on the rocks and sand (amazing practical footwear choice by the way – five stars from me). Vicki and Bob hadn’t signed the marriage schedule by this point so we went back to Borrodale house (probably much safer than losing it to the sea) to finalise the legalities and eat some of the amazing spread that Claire Gunner, who still doesn’t have a website, had made for everyone. By the time Bob had finished eating time was marching on and, believe it or not, it was time for their late afternoon picnic on yet another beach. On this occasion just the three of us walked the 1/2 mile to the very rugged beach closest to Borrodale and found a large piece of driftwood to shelter behind for yet more eating.
The light at that time of the day was gorgeous and we were in such a wildly romantic spot with not another soul around. For me it was what Scottish weddings are all about. You can keep your touristy castles and gift shops – being able to be alone in a place of such outstanding beauty is a very rare thing in the UK, which is why you too should consider having your very own Arisaig micro wedding!
Update: I was back at Borrodale House in 2022 for Nils and Fiona’s incredible Arisaig wedding!
https://iangallacher.com Wedding rings
https://www.bonnyswonderland.co.uk Hair and Makeup
https://www.bijouxbridal.com Wedding Dress
Macgregor and Macduff Kilts
https://www.dubarry.com Vicki’s amazing boots