Andrew and Ailidh – Rankin Church, Strathaven and The Lochside House Hotel

Andrew and Ailidh – Rankin Church, Strathaven and The Lochside House Hotel

Once upon a time, in the fairy-tale land of Strathaven just along from the Castle, there lived a beautiful princess named Ailidh. Hers was an idyllic life full of music and laughter shared with little sister Seonaid and mum and dad Catherine and Ian. She played piano and as she sang along I am almost certain the birds and animals would gather around her and tweet and twerp and join in. I imagine there was lots of sparkle and joy in the Ballantyne house. And lots of Disney DVDs and books! Yes this was my first Disney themed wedding and what a wonderful day we all had. Of course normally in any Disney themed story we would be introduced to the nastier elements of our main character’s life –  cue the wicked stepmother, Maleficent, Cruella De Vil or Captain Hook. Truth is, they don’t exist in Strathaven. Word on the street is that they only exist in big cities! In Strathaven, everything is perfect😉

Andrew and Ailidh are both lawyers and they met on the first day of University.  Andrew told how Ailidh stood out on that first day and how he was convinced she was the girl for him – it subsequently took him 14 months to pluck up the courage to ask her out! But ask her out he did and they have been together ever since. They share a passion for life, for Disney, and each other. Mr and Mrs Upton will forever be known as the “golden couple” – Ailidh’s dad Ian reminded us all of the significance of both having the initials AU! Check out your periodic table from standard grade Chemstry if this doesn’t make sense! Of course I think these photographs underline why they are a golden couple. I first met Ailidh when she was the bridesmaid to sister Seonaid as I photographed her wedding to Alasdair. Roles were fully reversed this time around with little sister playing the role of bridesmaid and Alasdair matching Andrew’s original first class usher performance. There is a great lesson in this experience – if something works well why change it? I’m persuading myself that’s why I was invited back! That’s definitely why we were back with the Rev Shaw Paterson in his wonderful Rankin Church and then why we were back in the sensational Lochside House Hotel – set in beautiful countryside outside New Cumnock – an absolutely stunning wedding venue.  To be honest I have now had several photographic sessions with Ailidh and her family. It has always been the most rewarding experience and this time around was absolutely perfect. It was also a delight to meet Andrew’s clan and get to see first hand how both families have helped shape our bride and groom into such a wonderful young couple.

The Lochside House Hotel is set in the most beautiful grounds. It has won numerous awards as Scotland’s leading wedding venue and it is a photographer’s delight. Even if the weather doesn’t play ball there are so many nooks and crannies hidden everywhere where we can capture the most amazing scenes.

An eloquence of lawyers ( a new collective noun I learned from dad Ian) and guests had travelled from far and wide to join in the celebrations and I am confident they will return home with wonderful memories from a very special wedding. They got to hear some of the finest after dinner wedding speeches, especially from best man Tipu. He spoke of a friendship with Andrew stretching back to primary school and he spoke with great confidence, comedy and sincerity. Theirs will be a lifelong friendship, severely tested in darker times gone by, but is as strong as best friends are ever likely to be. I have already seen a snippet from the wonderful wedding film produced by Sean O’Donnell of Timeless Productions in Ireland. It took my breath away Sean – great job.

As I left them all in the capable hands of Derek and Laughlin of Derringer, the music and dancing was in full flow. Odds on that Laughlin’s higher falsetto would work well on “A Whole New World” and “Some Day, My Prince Will Come” and he may have left Derek to master  “When You Wish Upon a Star”. They really are such a fantastic wedding band!

And one last thing for Andrew and Ailidh – thank you again for the opportunity. It really was a fairy-tale wedding. Here are a few photographs of a spectacular and joyful day and I just know that you will live happily ever after……..
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Gillian and Ian – Brig o’ Doon House Hotel

Gillian and Ian – Brig o’ Doon House Hotel

I had the pleasure of photographing the very special wedding of Gillian and Ian at one of Scotland’s finest venues – the Brig o’Doon House Hotel. The Duty Manager told me they had over 220 weddings booked at this hotel alone in 2015. It must be one of the most sought after fairy-tale venues in Scotland and it is every bit as glorious as you would imagine. Especially if you do as Gillian and Ian did and book the whole place – including the Doonbrae House and cottages across the road.

What a party they had! For the whole weekend!

Rumour has it the 11 girls staying in the Doonbrae House the night before had an amazing night with loads of laughter. Of course the 8 boys parked next door in the cottages were early to bed and awoke fresh to Ian’s wonderful choice of Scottish music. Whatever they did I could tell they had a fantastic time. It was a helluva party weekend!

Gillian and Ian met in the queue outside a Glasgow nightclub several years ago. Ian needed to find a girl before he would be allowed entry so he asked Gillian to be his buddy for the night. Turns out they’ve been best buddies ever since. The wedding service was held in the grand banquet hall which has a breathtaking setting overlooking the famous Brig o’ Doon immortalised in Robert Burns’ famous poem ‘Tam o’ Shanter’.  It was beautifully conducted by the very wonderful Kirsty Harvey and I’m so looking forward to seeing the film of the day from Candlelight Pictures.

Gillian and her bridesmaids were absolutely stunning – exactly what I expected from Gillian, a beautifully skilled professional make up artist whose work with Our Vow I have admired at several previous weddings. Ian had a fantastic collection of “besties” who all helped bring lots of laughter and style to the proceedings. You were all brilliant!

Everything about the day was perfect and I hope these photographs bring back some wonderful memories for everyone involved. Thank you Gillian and Ian for giving me the opportunity to play a small part in your special day and congratulations on your wedding. I’ll raise my glass to a future of love and happiness!

Gillian & Ian
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Claire and Seamus – St Patrick’s Church Strathaven & The Strathaven Hotel

Claire and Seamus – St Patrick’s Church Strathaven & The Strathaven Hotel

Claire and Seamus fell in love with the Strathaven Hotel after a visit to a Glasgow wedding show. At last they had found somewhere they adored which was equidistant from both family homes in northern England and Ireland. It was slap bang in the middle of everyone’s journey – including the bride and groom’s journey from their adopted city of Aberdeen. It was also on the doorstep of the quaint and beautiful St Patrick’s Church and the very welcoming, and entertaining, parish priest, Father Tom Devine. It’s so nice to be given a warm welcome in a church, and Father Devine made sure everyone felt at home. He conducted a very beautiful service and delivered some of the funniest sermon lines I’ve heard. A great choice for Seamus and Claire.

I only got to meet Seamus and Claire for the first time at the wedding rehearsal the night before the big day and, having spent some time in their company, I hope they get a chance to return to Strathaven on a regular basis in the future. Mari and I had a great day. It’s such a difficult task to organise a full church wedding and reception from a distance but the whole day was flawlessly executed. It was as if they were locals! It was perfect!

Sheila and Malcom once again delivered exactly what I’ve come to expect from the Strathaven Hotel but this time Sheila encouraged me to try the Love Heart group photo on the lawn. I think it worked beautifully and I can see another quality print appearing in Sheila’s wedding gallery sometime soon! Of course the day was all about Seamus and Claire. It started with my favourite service of the year and just got better and better. All of the meticulous planning paid off and thank you for giving me the opportunity to play my small part in your special day. Here are a few memories of the day you all arrived in Strathaven for the most special of special occasions……

Claire and Seamus
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Roslynn and Roland – The Strathaven Hotel

Roslynn and Roland – The Strathaven Hotel

An international cast gathered together for the wedding of Roland and Roslynn at the wonderful Strathaven Hotel and what a celebration they had. This was a very special wedding – full of the joys and emotions I’ve come to expect from close-knit families. Close in terms of their love for each other but not necessarily in their proximity to each other – Roland’s family travelled all the way from the Netherlands to make sure they joined in with the celebrations. We also had tears of joy aplenty in the bridal suite beforehand as all and sundry ooo’ed and ahhh’d at each stage of Roslynn’s preparations. Tears of laughter followed later during the speeches as dad Rod reminisced about Roslynn’s early days and her love for Prosecco! It was a truly emotional and fun packed day for all.

It was also a very beautiful day. Roslynn and her bridesmaids Allison and Kellyann were absolutely stunning and were ably assisted by the wonderful Stephanie from Bibbity Bobbity Boo who came along as part of their fantastic dressing service. I was joined behind the cameras by the video guys from www.dynamicframe.co.uk who have produced a beautiful little highlights film of the day.

Everything about the day was perfect – right down to the customised Love Heart sweets. Roslynn and Roland – I hope you’ve had a wonderful time in Portugal and Mexico and you got a chance to relax on your honeymoon. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play a small part in your special day and here are a few wonderful memories of a day packed full of laughter and love………

Roland and Roslynn
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Chris and Katie – St Ninian’s Church Stonehouse & The Strathaven Hotel

Chris and Katie – St Ninian’s Church Stonehouse & The Strathaven Hotel

Chris, Katie and Joshua live in an adorable house overlooking a beautiful part of the Lanarkshire countryside. I know it is a happy house full of joy and laughter and love. I know it because I got to see it with my own eyes. We met for the first time a few weeks before the wedding for a photo-shoot in a local park and I was immediately taken by how calm and relaxed they all were as a family. I got to know them even more over the course of the wedding, complete with brothers and sisters and mums and dads and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends – it was all such a pleasure. Guests travelled from distant continents to help celebrate Chris and Katie’s big day and boy did they know how to celebrate! It was a spectacular wedding and I loved every minute. From the wonderfully warm welcome of the Rev Paul Grant and his elders at St Ninian’s Church in Stonehouse to the very familiar resplendence of the Strathaven Hotel, Katie and Chris could not have asked for a more perfect day . It was typical for 2015 that, despite the generally poor summer, the weather decided to play ball whenever my cameras appeared. I don’t think I’ve seen such consistently good weather for weddings in Scotland prior to 2015 and Katie and Chris were married on another beautiful late summers day. It all bodes well for the remaining 2015 weddings over the coming weeks.

I can’t quite believe Katie when she says nothing was properly planned for her wedding and it all seemed to fall into place without major organising! It was perfect! All of the little extras adorning the tables suggested a great deal of thought had gone into providing the most beautiful wedding imaginable.  Perhaps she just has a knack for perfection and some very good contacts! Of course I’m sure Chris helped plan it all out too! He is a fitness and martial arts expert who runs his own school of Taekwondo. His skills were honed over many years alongside his best friend and best man Bobby. They both grew up in the same street, gained their black belts together and they’ve been best friends since their time began. Bobby and his wife flew in from Toronto for the big day and I could sense this meant the world to them both. Bobby’s best man speech was as well planned and as well executed as Katie’s beautiful table decorations! It was brilliant and 100% original!

Sheila and Malcom hosted as I’ve come to expect from the Strathaven Hotel, it was the usual masterful display from my favourite wedding venue and with professionals of the quality of Angela Mills and Davie Stark on hand to look after the makeup and bagpipes respectively, it was no surprise the day went like clockwork.  It was a special day for Katie, Chris and Joshua. All of your hard work paid off and thank you for giving me the opportunity to play my small part in your special day. Here are a few memories for you to treasure of a day of joy and laughter and love………

Chris and Katie
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Glenn and Carolann – The Crowwood House Hotel

Glenn and Carolann – The Crowwood House Hotel

I’ve known Glenn’s mum and dad for many years and it was a real pleasure to be asked to contribute to my second Thomas family wedding. I first met Glenn and Carolann at the wedding of Glenn’s brother Gareth to Diana a few years back. It was one of my early weddings but what a laugh we had back then with lots of fun and laughter throughout the day. It didn’t take much to get me to sign up for the second Thomas family instalment. Glenn and Carolann are two wonderful people. Along with children Lucy and Christopher they make a really beautiful family and I suppose they get that first and foremost from their parents. I know Lynne and Graham are salt of the earth people who have instilled great values in their family. It was my first  meeting with Joe and Ann, Carolann’s mum and dad, but anyone capable of non-stop scenes of joy and laughter is someone to savour in my book – check out the abundance of joy in my photograph of Carolann walking down the aisle with her dad. Or what about her dance with her dad later on? It was magical!

Glenn and Carolann had a very personal wedding with their two kids playing very important roles. Young Christopher was a picture of concentration as he expertly carried the rings down the aisle and flower girl Lucie-Lyn lay a beautiful path of rose petals for Carolann’s walk up the aisle. There followed a  delightful and touching ceremony which included the ancient Scots tradition of “Handfasting” and a brilliant wee romantic and unexpected moment when the bride’s garter came unstuck and Glenn came to the rescue.

Just prior to dinner we had the speeches and Carolann’s dad Joe spoke warmly of the two hard working families although his very serious point about hard work and graft brought one of the funniest put downs I’ve heard at a wedding! Unfortunately I don’t think there is any benefit in repeating it……yet! Steven was Glenn’s best man and he gave a masterful best man’s speech. I might not be able to repeat any of it here but he had an endless range of tales to tell about Glenn and had everyone laughing for at least half and hour – the chefs must have been struggling to keep the food warm! But it was the kind of day where everything led to laughter and that is very often the secret ingredient in the very best weddings. We loved it and had a great time photographing two beautiful people and their families and friends.

Carolann and Glenn I hope the adventure continues in Greece and you have as good a time abroad as you so obviously had at the wedding. You two looked stunning on your wedding day and I wish you all the very best in the future. Many thanks to Lynne and Graham for the opportunity and congratulations Lynne on your masterpiece – the cake looked delicious, did you keep me a bit? To the Thomas and Bell families, the beautiful bridesmaids, the Carroll boys, and all of the guests, thanks for being so kind to me and for being so photogenic! Here are a few reminders of a perfect day for you both………

Glenn and Carolann

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Lesley-Anne and Craig – The Strathaven Hotel

Lesley-Anne and Craig – The Strathaven Hotel

I first met Lesley-Anne and Craig at New Lanark back in February and we had a fantastic pre-wedding photo shoot at a wonderful old venue. I knew then we were in for a special day at their July wedding and I was not disappointed! Back in February, Lesley-Anne and Craig told me how they had contemplated booking the New Lanark hotel for the big day but the Strathaven Hotel won them over – as it does for many couples. Great choice you two and I am always so glad to get to work there.

Lesley-Anne is a primary school teacher and she put her organisational and creative skills to great use for her wedding. Everything was meticulously planned to perfection with the whole day running like clockwork. She had loads of personal touches but perhaps the nicest came from the involvement of two family friends. Both the minister and the piper played important roles in the ceremonial aspects of the day and, as family friends, they were also welcomed as guests at the wedding. I waxed lyrical about Gordon’s piping. Probably too much, I know, but I have a love of traditional Scots music and his playing was as good as anything I have heard at the annual Celtic Connections festival. Get out there and let everyone hear you Gordon!

It was a warm afternoon in Strathaven and I often get a little hot under the collar on the warmer days but if you ever want to please all of your guests for all of the time, then take a leaf out of this little book of wedding tips – hire the ice-cream stall Lesley-Anne and Craig provided on the lawn of the hotel. Set it up under a huge umbrella and serve delicious traditional Italian ice cream – now that makes for the perfect chillout zone for guests and photographers!

The hotel was resplendent (as usual) on a beautiful day for Lesley-Anne and Craig. All of your hard work paid off and I hope you will now get a chance to relax on your honeymoon and enjoy Vegas. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play a small part in your special day and here are a few wonderful memories of a day of fun and laughter and love………

 

Craig and Lesley-Anne
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