I already made a post detailing Chris and I’s fairy tale wedding in Scotland, but I thought I’d make a separate post that shined a light on all the great businesses involved. I also wanted a post that provided further insight to anyone else who may be interested in a less-traditional wedding.
It was such an exciting time! Keep reading to learn about all the events leading up to the big day and the details that made our wedding so special.
We decided to each have a Bachelor/Bachelorette party as a way to get together with everyone before we went off to Scotland to be married.
For my Bachelorette party, me and some close friends and family went to a bed and breakfast in St. Genevieve, Missouri. We stayed at Main Street Inn B&B, an amazing place that I’d stayed a couple of times prior.
Jade and Kassy decorated my room with Hufflepuff-themed décor, with a cute tee for me to wear, and fun Harry Potter-themed props for everyone.
On the first night, we visited Masquerade on Main to play dress up in their selection of costumes and take pictures in their photo sets. It was such a blast and a unique way to spend my bachelorette! I loved seeing the costumes everyone put together and playing dress up for the evening. Afterward, we had dinner and went back to the bed and breakfast to play games.
The next day, we went winery hopping on the St. Genevieve Trolley. We started at Cave Vineyard, and spent the rest of the day winery hopping. The final winery had a band playing and I lucked out on the genre. They played a lot of alternative and rock, even playing a Foo Fighters song in tribute to Taylor Hawkins, who had passed that weekend.
The whole weekend was a lot of fun and had such a chill vibe. No drama, even when combining several of my friends and family who had never met. I’d do it again!
As for the bachelor party, I think Chris remembers a lot less than I did! He celebrated at my brother-in-law’s house where they shot some guns, barbecued, and hung out. Chris was on his night shift schedule at the time, so did not eat beforehand. Not eating, then drinking – you can imagine how that ended up for him. Naps on the gravel and falling down the hill 😀
My bridal shower was at a local hall. It was simply decorated with cute additions, such as a veggie tray that spelled out my future last name, and a frame to take selfies in with guests. My stepmom even found a travel-themed banner to display that certainly fit with the theme of the wedding! Overall it was very lowkey, with a couple of games, cocktails, and food. I will admit, I’m not a big fan of being the center of attention and opening presents in front of people.
I was lucky to be gifted with several of the trip activities, which allowed Chris and I to have a lot of great experiences while we were off getting married
The Visa Process
As American citizens, getting married in Scotland required each of us to get a Marriage Visa. This ended up being quite a stressful experience because we had some mishaps that had us on edge until the very last moment.
To fill out the Marriage Visa application, all you do is enter in a lot of information about your wedding, workplace, etc. to prove that we aren’t going to get hitched and stay in Scotland (if only!).
After filling out the Visas, we were asked to schedule a fingerprinting appointment with a U.S. government agency, however, the closest location available to us was shown as in Chicago. Chicago is about six hours away from us and appointment times were only during the middle of the day. It was something we couldn’t realistically get off work for but were willing to do as a last resort.
The Visa website showed an approved fingerprinting location close to us in St. Louis, but there was no option to schedule an appointment. The website stated we would be contacted to set up an appointment time. Weeks passed and we heard nothing, so I started reaching out.
During this process, I learned that it’s pretty simple to get hold of UK government agencies, but near impossible to reach US government agencies. I called and I called, often getting robot recordings referring to immigration with no option for what I needed. The UK Visa office said there was nothing they could do on their end.
Finally Getting Somewhere
Eventually, after a lot of back and forth, we got an appointment scheduled. We were fingerprinted and hoped we’d get the Visas approved in time.
Flash forward to the week I was scheduled to leave for my trip. I was leaving ten days ahead of Chris to hike the West Highland Way, and I still didn’t have my Visa in hand. I frantically emailed every contact I could find, knowing that if I found one kind person willing to put the effort in to help me, a miracle could happen. We had to mail our passports off with our Visa applications, and I could not leave for my scheduled hike without it.
A day before I was scheduled to leave, I found that nice person.
They managed to escalate things after so many others told me there was nothing they could do. I would have to push my trip back by a day, but my Visa was being approved and sent out Next Day Air. I was grateful I’d added two days before my hike to the itinerary. It ended up saving me a big hassle when I had to push things back by a day.
I’m still so grateful to that kind Duty Officer every day, though I never got their name!
The Destination – Isle of Skye Scotland
The idea to marry on the Isle of Skye came to us after our trip to Ireland back in 2018. Road Tripping through Ireland, we were both amazed at how beautiful it was there. One morning, we were talking with a fellow guest over breakfast at our B&B. We told him how beautiful we found Ireland, and he said to us, “If you think this is beautiful, then you should see Skye in Scotland. It’s like this, but better”.
After that, I guess the idea of Skye simply stuck with us. We’d never been, but it felt like the right place for our destination wedding.
Disclaimer: I think Ireland and Scotland are different kinds of beautiful and I have a strong fondness for both! Ireland had the green and all the rolling hills that I love, but Scotland was a more rugged, wild beauty
The Location – Fairy Glen, Uig, Skye
Now the idea for exactly where we would marry on Skye didn’t come until later. Scotland has free-to-roam laws, and we had the opportunity to get married pretty much anywhere. My only stipulation was that I wanted to be outside somewhere scenic. I did not want a hall or a building, just the two of us out in nature.
As I narrowed down wedding planning packages/services, our planner provided us with a list of location options. I would have loved any of them and was suffering from decision fatigue, so left it up to Chris to make the final call.
He chose the Fairy Glen in Uig. His reasoning?
“It looks like something out of Lord of the Rings”
My thoughts: How could we go wrong with a place with a name like Fairy Glen?
It ended up being the perfect choice (even after visiting our other location options throughout our stay). We were able to get married up on a cliff away from the tourists with Castle Ewan in the background. The area was also compact, making it perfect for getting a variety of pictures in different areas during our adventure photo hour.
I researched multiple elopement packages before I came across Run Wild Elopements. Getting married in another country and far away from home, I wanted a planner to handle the logistics and keep my stress to a minimum.
In my consultation call with Lily Jones, we got to know one another and discussed our vision for the day. I decided they would be the best fit for me.
Lily was the behind-the-scenes magic who coordinated every detail before our wedding day and during. She found local florists, scouted dinner locations, handled dinner reservations, helped with the visa/marriage application process, found us an officiant, and kept us on track with the strict timelines involved with marrying overseas.
She was available to answer any questions I had throughout the year leading up to the wedding, and quickly answered my emails, despite being quite a busy lady!
On the day of, she kept us and the team on schedule. She shuttled each of us to and from the Fairy Glen for the ceremony, dinner, and back for adventure photos.
Aside from being on the team at Run Wild Elopements, Lily has her own Event Management and Wedding Planning business in the UK, focusing on the fun and quirky! If you’re in the market for someone to help with your planning, check out her website.
Our Photographer for the day came with the Run Wild Elopement Team. Leonie likes to work with adventurous and unique couples, and loves those moody vibes! Her love for moody photography is one of the things I initially loved about her work. I’m a sucker for moody scenery.
Though my wedding day didn’t end up as moody as I hoped (sunshine, all day, in SCOTLAND?!), Leonie was amazing to work with. Her enthusiastic personality had us feeling comfortable and laughing right at the get-go. You could tell she enjoys what she does and it definitely shows in her work.
Leonie is also a ton of fun to be around, and her energetic/excited energy quickly rubs off on you. She could make the most camera shy people feel more comfortable.
She photographed us getting ready, the ceremony, and fun adventure photos during our adventure hour. I think she would have happily spent all day taking photos well past our adventure hour if she didn’t have Lily keeping her to the schedule.
If you’re having an adventurous or unique wedding and are looking for a fun photographer to work with for your big day, I’d highly recommend Leonie! I follow her on Instagram and love seeing all the photos she captures of her unique couples. I hear she’d love to do a Vegas wedding! Check out some of her work.
Paired with Leonie, our videographer Ellie helped make quite the dynamic duo. They made a great team finding natural things for us to do to capture moments of our big day. Chris and I are not comfortable or natural in front of the camera, but I feel like Ellie helped make it easy. We didn’t feel like we were posing too much or being followed around by cameras.
She was also such a special person to be around, quickly picking up on our interests and chatting with us about things as we went along.
Ellie had a great eye and captured so many special moments of our ceremony. Less than a week later at our honeymoon, we were so excited to discover that she’d already created a teaser video for us to reminisce on our wedding day before the official video was done.
Once we got our video back, I kept it under wraps from anyone so I could “debut” it at our wedding reception back home. I didn’t show it to anyone before then. Needless to say, our final video, played up on the projector at our reception venue for the first time, had everyone up in their feels.
I’m so grateful to Ellie for capturing the best parts of our day <3 Check out her work (and our video!) on her website.
Hair and Makeup
Last but not least in the crew was Sam! Sam handled my hair and makeup, making me feel pretty on my wedding day. I first met Sam via a Zoom call on the day I completed my West Highland Way Hike. My hair was crazy from being outside in the rain as we talked about my vision for my look.
I instantly felt like we were on the same wavelength and hit it off. She understood my request for several braids and was patient with my complete lack of knowledge about all things hair and beauty. My hair type? No idea. She also understood that in the unpredictable Scottish weather, my hair was likely to get messy, so we went for an already messier sort of vibe and stayed on hand to touch up.
On our wedding day, I spent the most time with Sam as she got me ready. Despite having a water outage at my B&B and not being able to wash my hair as planned, she still made my hair look great, going above my request and incorporating several different styles of braids into the look. We chatted as I got ready and she even gave us some recommendations for the couple of days we would be in London before our honeymoon. Before we headed off for the ceremony, she helped me with some boob tape mishap and got me in tip-top shape to go get married.
It was with Sam I rode with to the ceremony, and who captured a candid video of us right after we were pronounced husband and wife. This was something I was very grateful for because I was able to share it with friends and family online before we got the official footage. Find her at SJB Hair and Makeup.
Finding the right dress for me was an interesting adventure. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress I would only wear one time and would likely get dirty. The idea of trying on dresses at a bridal shop where I’d feel sweaty, have too much attention, and potentially be offered dresses or accessories that were well over my budget.
I said I’d spend $500 if I found the perfect one, but ideally, I wanted a dress for $300 or less. We planned to have a try-on party at my house with only my closest family and friends. I would order the dresses online with a return policy to try them on in the comfort of my own home.
Now, finding inexpensive dresses for a wedding that aren’t necessarily wedding dresses was more of a challenge than I expected. I spent so long scouring and saving a variety of dresses. It was especially challenging because I wasn’t particularly keen on wearing all-white, wanted something a bit unique, and did not want a poufy princess dress. I ended up ordering dresses from ASOS, Baltic Born, and BHLDN primarily. All of them were under $300.
Such a Fun Way to Try on Dresses…
For the try-on day, I was excited to find that all the dresses I ordered fit and my spirits were high. It was way more relaxing trying them on in my home. We narrowed it down to a handful of dresses and then went outside to try them out in different lighting, especially since I’d be getting married outside!
At the end of the day, I’d narrowed it down to two dresses: one from Baltic Born and one from BHLDN. I hoped to make a final decision before my wedding day, but I didn’t. Both dresses traveled to Scotland with me and didn’t officially decide until a few days before.
I went with the dress from BHLDN in the oyster color. I’m so glad I did because it went PERFECTLY with the scenery, had a little shimmer in pictures, and the color felt like me. I loved the sheerness in the sleeves and the rare pop of cleavage.
BHLDN by Anthropologie Belize Dress, Oyster, $275 (now $298)
(It looks like they now call the color champagne!)
I ordered my boots before I even had an idea of the dress. I’m not a fan of heels and didn’t want to wear them on my wedding day, not even for pictures. I found a dark green suede pair of boots from Thursday Boot Company that I picked for the big day. I still love wearing these boots in the fall and wearing them always causes me to reminisce on our wedding day.
Pro Tip – Don’t try to break in new boots at the airport before a long hike. I still have flashbacks of the blisters.
Thursday Captain Boot, Dark Olive Suede, $180
It does not look like they make this color anymore, but you can find their Captain collection here.
Lily organized the ordering and pickup of my flowers. I knew I wanted a wildflower bouquet. My options were a fresh flower bouquet or one made of dried flowers. I went back and forth between these options but liked the idea of something unique with the dried flowers. Besides, I could keep them long after my wedding day.
Because Skye is a smaller island, there was not an abundance of local florists to choose from. My bouquet was created by Carole’s Flowers in Portree. Lily picked them up for me before the crew arrived at our Bed and Breakfast for the day.
Carole’s flowers did such a great job and I ended up with a beautiful dried wildflower bouquet. I still have it displayed as my centerpiece on my dining table a year later. We had to do a lot of luggage Tetris to make room for the flight home, but thankfully Chris packed lighter than I did.
I did not have many accessories for my wedding look. I had some simple earrings, a rose gold and pearl necklace, and a rose gold necklace with a W – my new last initial.
My sister got me a forget-me-not bracelet that I also wore on the big day, a callback to Outlander, and fitting for the Scotland ceremony.
I also had a green faux fur coat from Asos, but didn’t end up needing to wear it during the ceremony much, as it was a warmer day than we anticipated.
Before we got engaged, I always told Chris I wanted an emerald and rose gold ring. I didn’t want a big diamond and preferred it to be unique. He had it custom-made with Helzberg Diamonds and did a better job than I could have imagined! I absolutely adore my ring and it feels like a special heirloom item.
Because my engagement ring is such a statement piece, I opted for a simpler wedding band. It is also rose gold with small diamonds. It’s also mismatched to the band on my engagement ring, something I felt was more me than a matching band.
Chris got a woodgrain and metal ring, but with his profession is often found wearing silicone ones. I love the rare moments when I catch him wearing his regular ring!
Chris ordered a custom suit for our wedding, but unfortunately, it did not arrive in time before he left for Scotland. Thankfully, he had a suit in the same color scheme from a wedding he was in. His shirt was purchased separately, so he was able to wear the one he planned. I wasn’t concerned, as long as he had a suit to wear, but I know he was bummed to not have the suit he originally hoped to wear.
Chris and I are not religious, so we decided to have a humanist ceremony where we could make our own vows and didn’t have to include any elements that didn’t feel true to us.
I knew if I stood before him reading things of God or religion, it would not feel genuine. Humanist ceremonies are non-religious, inclusive, and personally tailored to the couple. To have a humanist ceremony, we had to register for the Humanist Society of Scotland.
The officiant for our ceremony was Lesley Simpson. She had us fill out a questionnaire about us as a couple to tailor our unique vows. She requested that we privately send things we love about the other to include in her vows. We were able to view her drafted vows ahead of time and eliminate anything we didn’t think felt right for us.
Working with Lesley was so lovely, and I thought the ceremony was conducted beautifully. Nothing felt untrue to us as a couple, which made the ceremony feel so special. I often feel some couples sacrifice for the other when it comes to religious elements, leaving one partner to feel more uncomfortable during the vows, but everything in Lesley’s vows felt perfect for us.
We decided to include handfasting in the ceremony, which Chris and I were nervous about, but it ended up being a highlight of the ceremony as we were able to “tie the knot” – literally. Lesley chose a beautiful plaid material to use for this portion of the ceremony and we still have our knot displayed in our bedroom today.
Aside from Lesley’s vows, Chris and I wrote our own to each other. We were both nervous about this portion since I’m more of a “writer” than Chris and we both aren’t big on talking about our feelings. In the end, our vows were complimentary of each other and Chris did a great job writing his! We both included a dash of sweetness and humor.
We played rock, paper, scissors to decide who would read theirs first. This ended up being a great icebreaker for us. We kept picking the same thing for the first several rounds!!
During the wedding planning process, we discovered that our first restaurant choice for dinner did not allow reservations and only served locals. Like most hiccups that happened during the planning process, it ended up working out for us.
Instead, we ate at the Chargrill Restaurant in Portree. It was inside a hotel and the staff was incredibly welcoming to us, even asking to take our picture before we left.
The food was delicious, it had a relaxing atmosphere, and the service was great. It was the perfect way to slow down after the ceremony before we headed out for adventure photos.
We stayed at Cruinn Bheinn luxury self-catering apartments for our three nights in Skye. The location was beautiful, perched on a hill with a shimmering loch below. Our apartment was warm and welcoming, with cute design touches, skylights, a separate bedroom, and a kitchen.
The host was welcoming and did a great job of communicating with us when there were issues with the water on our wedding day. There was a water main break and she supplied several large liters of water for the guests to use.
The location was close to Portree and Fairy Glen. I would gladly stay here again the next time I visit Skye.
After our time on Skye, we journeyed to Inverness where we would return our rental car and hop on a sleeper train to London. London was a layover destination before our official honeymoon, and unfortunately, Chris did not enjoy his time there.
I did not do my research and planned on this pitstop before I realized it was the same time as the Queen’s Jubilee. The city was much more crowded than normal, and Chris is not one for crowds.
Still, we made the most of it. Walking along the Thames that morning, touring the Globe Theater, visiting a Dungeon museum, doing the Harry Potter Studio Tour, and seeing Tom Felton’s play.
I think Chris needs a redemption day, but it will be a challenge getting him back!
To Our Final Honeymoon Destination…
From London, we caught a flight to Dassia, Greece. We’d be spending our honeymoon at the all-inclusive resort called Ikos Dassia. Chris and I are not high-maintenance or fancy people, so the high level of service there was certainly something we had to get used to.
We loved our first experience at an all-inclusive, even getting to visit the local town on a shuttle and rent a car for a day to explore more of the island. Exploring, we got to track down old ruins, and visit a donkey rescue that also had plenty of cats to say hello to. I still dream of the desserts we had there.
Later this year, we will be visiting another Ikos Resort to celebrate 10 years together and one year married, so I plan on creating a future posting talking all about all things Ikos!
Our first dance as a married couple ended up being on our honeymoon. Chris and I did a sunset boat and dinner tour from Ikos that took us to Vidos Island for a meal. Not only was the meal wonderful, but they also had traditional Greek musicians playing. After dinner, they invited everyone to join in during Zorba the Greek for a group dance. Chris and I joined in. We were slow to learn the steps, but lots of fun and laughter were had.
We debated doing a different “first dance” at our reception, but we knew in our minds that would always be the true first dance, so we didn’t bother.
Despite getting married just the two of us, we still wanted to celebrate with our loved ones back home. We didn’t envision a big fancy traditional wedding reception and wanted it to feel more like a casual party/get-together. It was also a way for us to celebrate with Eli, since we didn’t have him there at the ceremony with us in Scotland. He had a great time dancing the night away and taking some the best photo booth shots!
I’ll admit that the setup did make me glad we did the ceremony the way we did, the few moments of people running around trying to get things up felt very overwhelming and stressful for me.
We chose a local concert venue called Red Flag to have the party. It was a relaxed, yet cool space that had enough space and amenities for what we wanted. We were able to create our own playlist to hook up to the sound system and play our wedding video over the projector.
To keep up with the party vibe, we had several games set out on the top floor of the space. We had beer pong, giant Jenga, putt pong, and a photo booth. I opted to skip decor and fancy tables, because I didn’t want to put money into something that people might look at and think was nice, but then wouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I did get a couple of signs for the bar and dessert area.
We spent about an hour before dinner allowing people to arrive, then we played our wedding video for the first time to our guests. Afterward, most people played games and mingled, with only a little bit of dancing. I made a rule to have Chris come dance with me to every slow song because I knew we’d be spending more time socializing with others than each other.
The food was another thing we wanted to keep casual, and probably what we received the most compliments on. We ordered appetizer-style food from a local restaurant called Joey B’s. We ordered wings, pretzel bites, homemade chips, and pizza. In addition, we called in some White Castle and Taco Bell. It was the perfect meal for drinking and hanging out, and proof that wedding food doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be memorable to your guests.
For dessert, we had a dessert buffet with donuts from Pharaoh’s Donuts (I haven’t had one since and I could go for one…), cookies from Insomnia Cookies, homemade cupcakes by my mom, and other smaller items.
We encouraged everyone to take any leftovers with them if they wanted, and I saw several people taking White Castle burgers and other food as they left. I was happy to not have to take everything home with me and that everything got eaten.
The one traditional thing we did at our reception was request a few speeches from people important to us. This was one thing I knew would be memorable as we looked back on the day. My niece Jade, Chris and I’s good friend Dominic, and my dad each gave a speech.
Not Enough Pictures
The only thing I regret about our reception is not getting pictures. I have photo booth pictures but don’t have any of the setup or party going on. Usually, I’m the picture taker, and I was too distracted that day.
At the end of the night, it felt like the reception went by in a whirlwind. I was incredibly grateful that we decided not to spend tens of thousands of dollars on this one night like many do when they have a wedding and reception all in one day.
We were able to slow down on our wedding day and soak up our time together. At the reception, we were able to spend time socializing and celebrating with others without feeling like it was taking away from our day.
Don’t Worry About Being Traditional
My one piece of advice for anyone getting married is not to worry about being traditional if all the pomp and circumstance isn’t what you want. There will be several people who will want you to do all of those things, but in the end, it should be about you and your partner! Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
Don’t worry about certain foods being considered “trashy” for a wedding, don’t go into mountains of debt for one day, and remember, it’s your day.
Whether you want to have the big traditional ceremony, pop over to the courthouse, or want to go off to Scotland and get married in the Fairy Glen, that’s up to you!