Sara and David’s Glen Etive Winter Micro Wedding
Sometimes the conditions in Scotland are just so spot on that it is hard to believe that the beauty of the landscape and the light falling upon it is real. When I drove up to Glencoe for what seemed to be the hundredth time this year this is how it seemed to me. The mountain tops were dusted with a light covering of snow and the sky, although covered in light patches of cloud, opened up periodically to warm up aspects of the mountains like a searchlight. I have only ever seen it quite like that here in Scotland. Then, as I pulled into the Kingshouse Hotel car park for Sara and David’s Glen Etive winter micro wedding, I found the road blocked by a small herd of deer. I knew that today would be a good day.
There is possibly only one thing about Sara that you need to know to understand how strong her desire was to have a simple, small wedding outdoors in the wilds of Scotland in winter (well, strictly speaking the end of autumn I suppose). Rather than spending a load of money on fancy wedding shoes that she would never wear again she bought an even fancier pair of Scarpa walking boots to replace the older pair that she had and wore them instead. She was fully prepared to get married to David wherever they wanted, and that happened to be the wonderful Loch Etive, at the very end of Glen Etive. Her beautiful Maggie Sottero dress was just about long enough to cover the walking boots anyhow so they certainly didn’t detract from her bridal elegance.
The wedding dress was, in fact, given to Sara as a gift from her brother and sister-in-law as a more practical alternative to the much bigger dress she had originally purchased for their now cancelled full-size wedding. The more fitted style was far more practical for walking around the moorlands of Glen Etive, although it still didn’t look very warm and I have no idea how Sara didn’t get frostbite. I was working alongside friend and humanist celebrant Paula (with whom we work under the umbrella of Bog Cotton Scottish Elopements, helping couples figure out a way to have more natural, outdoors elopements and micro weddings in the Western Highlands) and videographer Adam from Inspire Video. If I had turned the camera around you would have seen the three of us dressed for the freezing weather and I would have worn even more clothes if I’d had them. Brides are clearly made of tough stuff.
After the wonderful wedding ceremony, watched remotely by David’s mum and gran via the wonders of the internet, Paula and the few family members that were also with us headed back to the hotel to warm up and have lunch. In the meantime we took a more leisurely drive back up the narrow road, stopping at promising photography spots along the way. I cannot emphasise just how tranquil it was – there was barely another soul to be seen aside from lots and lots of deer and a few chickens. I remember thinking to myself that there can be very few places in the UK that are so beautiful and yet so peaceful at that moment in time. As we were deep in a valley, in Scotland, the light was fading fast by about 2.30pm so we made our way back to the hotel for the signing of the marriage schedule in front of the monumental Buachaille Etive Mòr before finally relenting to the sub zero temperatures and heading inside to cut (and eat) the cake that Sara’s mother had made herself.
If you are thinking planning your own Glen Etive winter micro wedding or elopement please let me know. As I mentioned earlier, I work closely alongside humanist celebrant Paula Wilkinson as half of Bog Cotton Scottish Elopements. We aren’t wedding planners as such, instead we help people choose amazing locations and assist with the legal and ceremony creation side of things for wilderness weddings in Scotland that are a bit more relaxed and often more adventurous than most. If you are hoping to come to the Highlands to be married but don’t know how to go about organising it then it is definitely worth looking us up. Here are a few of this year’s weddings we helped to put together that you might like to look through:
Vicki and Bob’s wedding in Arisaig
Thea and Oliver’s Glencoe Micro Wedding
Mario and Sabine’s Castle Tioram wedding
Hair and Makeup by Bonnie’s Wonderland
Flowers from Ballachluish & Kinlochleven Florist & Wedding Decor
Sara’s Dad’s kilt was made for the wedding by a small kilt shop in Montrose called R Doig & Sons who apparently were fantastic!
Matching tartan Shawl made by Strathmore Woolen Company.