Elopement Special: Kathryn & Peter run away to...
We've all dreamed of sacking off the big wedding and sodding off somewhere warm and sandy. No in-laws, no politics and very importantly, no whopping great costs! However, far fewer of us actually follow through and make the brave decision to do exactly what we want. So this week we are giving a big shout out to those courageous souls, and getting the inside scoop on how to make it happen. It may not be warm and sandy, but Kathryn and Peter's romantic elopement to the Isle of Skye with its breathtaking scenery and no one but an officiant and bagpiper in sight is making us feel all elopey.
Look out for Peter's face when he first sees Kathryn, the perfectly timed rainbow and the reaction to their homemade wedding cake! We're also loving the story behind the dress, how their parents coped on the day and what Peter describes as his favourite moment. Enjoy!
The Big Meet
Kathryn: We met online! Through match.com. And considering Pete lived 130 miles away from me in Sussex, we should never even have met through that! Luckily for me Pete logged in from a different computer one day giving him a totally different search radius and found me. I entertained the idea of meeting up with him because he didn’t live that far away from my parents, so I could tie it in with a visit home and not waste petrol on another person who was nothing like their profile! Not that I was becoming sceptical with online dating or anything. Luckily I wasn't disappointed after he wooed me at a “cracking” owl sanctuary.
Kathryn: We first met in June and saw each other every weekend until Pete broke up for his school summer holidays (he’s a teacher not a pupil!) and then he pretty much moved in with me for the summer. So we knew we were serious about each other from pretty early on. Pete was starting at a new school that September in Peterborough so it was pretty crap to know he wouldn’t be able to move down to Sussex until he had seen the school year out. We took turns travelling to each other alternate weekends and the rest of our relationship was via FaceTime, until he'd fall asleep mid conversation!
The big question
Kathryn: I was up in Leicestershire visiting Pete for the weekend around Easter and he was making me a posh breakfast as a treat. He’d made pancakes and the table was set beautifully including flowers and some red kite feathers he’d collected (I’m a bit of a feather fan). He’d been a bit moody the weekend before so I assumed he was just making it up to me! I leisurely ate my breakfast and drank my tea, looking back he was encouraging me to drink my tea before it got cold. When I finished my tea, and got to the bottom, written inside the mug was “Will you Marry Me?” I think I was shaking by the time I put the mug down, then Pete passed me the sugar bowl to open. Sitting in the sugar was the most beautiful green tourmaline ring that he had had made for me. He did well.
Kathryn: Pete and I just wanted to be married, neither of us wanted the stress of a big wedding. As we were going to be setting up home together imminently, an expensive wedding wasn’t a priority. Initially we thought about a small registry office followed by a meal but guest numbers started to creep up very quickly, as does the cost, and neither of us felt excited about organising that style of wedding, it just wasn’t us. That was when we decided to throw out feelers to our parents to see how they would feel about us just running off and getting married. As soon as they didn’t react negatively to the idea we jumped on it and started planning, feeling a weight had been lifted. We were then able to be totally selfish and create a day we would love.
The Location - Shores of Coruisk
Kathryn: Years ago I saw a photo of a wedding in Skye where the bride wore a striking orange dress, and originally I thought it was taken in Canada with the mountains and stunning blue waters. The location has always stuck in my mind. By land it would have been an 8 mile walk over the mountains to get there, so we chose to take the boat from Elgol!
Photographer - Lynne Kennedy
Kathryn: We were researching locations for a UK elopement and in one article one of the couples had eloped to Skye. They were praising their photographer, not only for her beautiful photos but for all her help in planning the wedding. It was Lynne. After our initial enquiry she promptly responded very warmly offering us so much information about the steps we needed to take to organise our wedding in Skye. She was invaluable and so happy to help all the way through.
Bagpipes - lea macleod
Kathryn: To start with we weren’t planning on having bagpipes but thought we’d treat ourselves for this special event and we're so pleased we did. It added another dimension to the ceremony and photography and Lea, along with Lynne, acted as a witness for us. Lea was an interesting character and has piped all over the world and up mountains, including the Himalayas.
Registrar - Elizabeth McNiven
Kathryn: In Scotland it is legal to get married outdoors with a registrar. Also humanist ceremonies are legal so there is plenty of choice of celebrants and ways to marry. We chose to go with the registrar from Portree - Elizabeth McNiven who helped to create a relaxed atmosphere on the day, complete in her purple wellies for her for first wedding at this location!
Kathryn: We organised everything ourselves but as mentioned before we were hugely guided by Lynne, our photographer, in providing contact details for registrars/ celebrants. We looked at what dates in August she and the registrar were available, and then tied that in to when the boat company could take us there for the best light. So we ended up boarding a boat to marry at 9.30am on a Tuesday!
The Trusted Vessel - Misty Isle Boat trips
Kathryn: There’s a choice of two boat companies which travel to Loch Coruisk from Elgol. We chose the one with availability and easy communications. We ended up chartering our own boat to get timings right, but you could save money by going on one of their scheduled trips.
Sleeping on dry land
Kathryn: We stayed at Coruisk House the night before the wedding (my birthday!), and the wedding night. It is a beautiful restaurant with rooms. From there it was only a 5 minute drive to where we had to board the boat, so a perfect location. We were extremely lucky to stay here. Originally we had just booked our evening meal here as their accommodation was fully booked months in advance, but luckily for us they had just built a new suite which they offered to us.
We were away for 2 weeks in total, a week of it spent on Skye in an Airbnb cottage, where we made our own wedding cake. We travelled over to the Isle of Harris for a few days, possibly a trip fuelled by me wanting to visit the Harris gin distillery. Then stopped off in the Lake District on our way home south in a National Trust farm once owned by Beatrix Potter’s husband, William Heelis.
After the ceremony
Kathryn: As the wedding was in the morning we were back by lunchtime and had the whole day left to ourselves! Coruisk House had very kindly packed us up a picnic and dropped us off, still in all our wedding gear, to have lunch on a secluded beach. That evening we had an exquisite meal back at Coruisk House and eagerly awaited the first photos from Lynne so we could share them with our family who were awaiting news back home.
3 high points
- The lack of stress on the day! If something was to go wrong, it was only Pete and I who would have to deal with it.
- Getting to spend the whole day with each other in such a stunning setting.
- The great weather! We could of been drenched but instead the small amount of rain meant we had a beautiful rainbow in our photos.
3 low points
- Midges at the picnic, until then they had kept a low profile.
- Sunburn as Pete is fair skinned.
- Patchy wi-fi and no phone reception, which meant we couldn't speak to our parents after the wedding.
If you could change one thing...
Kathryn: Everything was wonderful but we wouldn’t have gone to the beach for our picnic! Turns out we found all the midges on Skye and couldn’t even sit down. As we had no transport we had to walk a long way in all our wedding gear to escape them, whilst carrying picnic hampers and golf umbrellas. I was laughing the whole time as we must have looked so bloody ridiculous to any passing cars/ walkers!
Kathryn: I think the fact that our families and close friends participated in the planning meant everyone felt involved. On route up to Scotland we stopped at Rushton Hall and shared afternoon tea with our parents and they happily waved us off. I must admit I had pangs of guilt at that point because they wouldn’t be sharing the day with us, but I still don’t regret at all our decision to go alone. I wore my grandma’s pocket watch on the day and our flowers and button holes contained Heather, which happens to be both our mums’ name. Although we were on our own on the day we knew everyone close to us was wishing us well. Unbeknownst to us, on our wedding day both sets of parents had organised to go out for a champagne lunch together, which considering they had only met twice before we were so pleased to hear. On our return we held a garden party at our new house to celebrate with everyone.
Pearls of Wisdom
Kathryn: Just do it! Don’t overthink it. It’s your day, celebrate how you both want to and don’t feel guilty!
Favourite Moment of the whole day
Kathryn: Obviously marrying Peter was the highlight, but it was incredible special when Lea started playing his bagpipes in that mountainous setting. It was totally magical and took the ceremony to a whole other level.
Peter: When we got back to our suite and changed into our comfy clothes. We opened our presents and cards on the bed whilst eating Frazzles and drinking tins of Adnams gin and tonic.
Once we set the wedding date there was only 3 months left to sort everything, so I knew I couldn’t go down the usual wedding dress shop route. I was also reluctant to spend a couple of grand on a dress which, in Scottish outdoor conditions, could easily be destroyed in the first 10 minutes of wearing it. So the search started! I thought I would probably end up wearing an evening dress of some description but all the dresses around May time are geared up more to girls going to prom. The sample dresses in the wedding shops, which were often very damaged from being tried on so much, were still £800+, and not what I was looking for. I decided I was going to have to order something online, which was slightly daunting for a wedding dress!
A friend had recently bought a beautiful evening dress from our local Hospice Charity shop, which also had a bridal department, and she recommended I visit just to try on styles with a jacket on to get an idea of what shapes I should be looking at online. She also said I may find something with suitable volumes of fabric that I could get a new dress made from. Fully prepared to be surrounded by 80's meringues I was pleasantly surprised. Nothing was immediately suitable, although I was rather taken by a Jenny Packham silk dress wedding dress for £200! Just as I was leaving a volunteer ran out from the back of the shop with one last dress. It had just been donated, brand new, by a bridal store, and it didn’t look like it had ever even been tried on. Despite it being slightly too small I was very taken with it, and took a seamstress friend of mine back the next day to see if she could work her magic on it, which she could! I’m so pleased that in the process of paying for a major wedding purchase I was able to donate a considerable sum of money to our local hospice. I am also re-donating the dress back to them so they have the opportunity to make some more money from it.
Trying to find a tweed jacket in May - June was slightly challenging, especially one which would compliment the dress. Just as I was getting prepared to fork out for one to be custom made I stumbled across a tweed wedding dress on Pinterest made by Timothy Foxx and discovered the brand. Rosalie was extremely helpful posting me fabric swatches and then, once narrowed down, posted me multiple sizes and colour ways of the jacket to try with the dress.
Geox Blush Ankle Boots/ Trainers! Not a usual wedding shoe but one much more suited to the rugged wet ground I would be scrambling over. And slightly more elegant than my walking boots!
Pete googled suits, found the Walker Slater site and ordered one. I don’t think he could understand how I had so much trouble finding a dress.
Looking at photographs of other couples weddings on Skye their beautiful flowers were all from Janet at Simply Flowers. The online reviews of her work were all glowing, she was available for our wedding date and happy to work with feathers, so we booked her!