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……..
I first met Lisa when she was a bridesmaid to Claire at her wedding to Paul at the Crutherland House Hotel last year. It was a very special wedding and I took it as a great endorsement when Lisa subsequently asked me to photograph her wedding to Ross. They are part of a delightful crowd of friends who have wonderful family values and I didn’t need to be asked twice before accepting. I just knew Lisa and Ross’s wedding would be special! They were married at the stunningly beautiful Lochside House Hotel in New Cumnock in Ayrshire and Lisa returned the compliment with Claire joining the gorgeous Nicola and Amy as bridesmaids. This wasn’t my first visit to the Lochside but it was the first when the sun shone brightly. Don’t get me wrong – there was a wee nip in the air at times but what a hotel this is for a wedding when the sun decides to play ball. The hotel is set in the most beautiful grounds and at this time of year there are all sorts of wildlife active in and around the lochs and reeds and gardens – it is a photographer’s delight. After dinner I spent ten minutes in the company of an excited local wildlife photographer as he scanned the banks of the lochs for the day’s new arrivals. It was like being part of an episode of Springwatch! Within minutes a family of newly hatched and very rare chicks appeared in the late golden spring sunshine and I felt blessed to have been part of a very beautiful day. Of course what had gone before was also very special. Lisa was a stunningly beautiful, natural and very relaxed bride. She loved every minute of her day and her joy came through in everything we did. Ross is a very lucky man but he too had a day to remember. They were both as chilled as they come – resplendent in their finery and the day could not have worked out any better. Everything was timed to perfection, the sun, the music, the laughter and the hospitality. Indeed the timing was so slick that I almost missed the start of the dancing as we caught some last minute pics in front of the lounge fireplace.
Guests had travelled from numerous continents to join in the celebrations and I am confident they will return home with wonderful memories from a very special wedding. They also got to hear about Ross the poet, his love of a line of M&S thermal boxer shorts, and his tendency to bring his chestnuts into his bath – but the wedding DVD from Viking Video Productions will reveal slightly more from best man Greg than I could possibly publish here!
I must also mention the flowers – they were exceptional but they were provided by a very dear old friend of ours – Bobby McKean and his team at Flowers by Isabel in Blantyre. We bumped into each other as Bobby delivered the flowers and it was an unexpected bonus to see him again. Older, wiser, and very happy with his life, Bobby is a great advert for positivity and for beautiful wedding flowers!
The Lochside House is a fantastic venue for weddings. It is quickly becoming a favourite of mine and is thoroughly deserving of the national accolades and awards won in recent years. They have the most wonderful grand old bridal dressing room which is fantastic for the bridal preparations. It’s so different from the more modern, but equally stunning bridal suite and guest rooms. I said before that I was blown away by all of the hotel’s facilities but the more I visit the better it becomes. But then all of the hotels I visit are made all the more special when you are in the company of such lovely people. Lisa and Ross come from a good place and all family and friends laughed and joked their way through a wonderful wedding day. It was very special for everyone concerned and I would like to thank each and every guest for their help and their patience. Special thanks to Greg, Andrew and Dean for their help throughout the day. To Nicola, Amy, Claire, and Katie – you were all beautiful and performed your roles to perfection. Thanks for being so kind to me. To Joe, Grace, Alison and Alan – you have so much to be proud of. To Laura and her team at the Lochside House – I can’t wait to come back sometime soon! To Lisa and Ross, thank you once again for the opportunity. Mari and I loved it! Have a great life together as Mr & Mrs and here are a few reminders of your wonderful wedding day……..