It was the morning of May 31st, 2022. Here I was, in a cute Airbnb on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, perched on a hill overlooking a shimmering loch and neighboring a herd of sheep. It was just shy of a week after I completed my 96-mile solo hike on the West Highland Way and a few days after I reunited with Chris in Edinburgh. It was also my wedding day.
My View on Weddings
When Chris and I got engaged 13 months earlier…okay, okay, long before then (we were together for nearly 8 years by the time we got engaged)… I knew I wanted to go away to get married.
I’ve seen a lot of weddings over the years and all the preparation leading up to it. I worked banquets for ten years (primarily wedding receptions) and worked at a bridal shop for two years. I’ll begrudgingly admit that I’m a bit of a romantic, but while weddings are often viewed as the epitome of romance, all I saw was stress.
This view of the traditional wedding increased as more people I knew got married and I was more closely involved in the stages of wedding planning. So much about the day became wrapped up in all these costly details that wouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Everyone involved seemed stressed out and chaotic, even if the couple themselves were calm. It seemed like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off throughout the lead-up to the big day. Eventually, the chaotic energy from everyone else would rub off onto the bride or groom making them gradually become more and more wound up as things progressed. Hell, it even stressed me out sometimes and it wasn’t even my wedding, but perhaps that’s the empath in me.
A Different Kind of Dream Wedding
I didn’t want my wedding day to be like that. I didn’t want Chris and I to feel stressed, rather than slowing down and enjoying the moment together. I wanted the day to be able the two of us. I also didn’t want to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for a single day.
I love traveling and knew that going somewhere to get married would make it all the more memorable for us. Not only would we get a vacation out of it in a world where so many couples were skipping honeymoons in favor of a big one-day event, but we’d be able to take it all in together and feel more relaxed.
I wrestled with the decision to invite my immediate family for a small destination wedding or have it be just the two of us.
Ultimately, we landed on an elopement-style wedding. My immediate family alone is nearly 20 people, and we didn’t think Chris’s family would travel that far. We didn’t want to pick and choose anyone from either family to keep it small or have any sort of drama. Plus, the task of organizing everyone with international travel or on the day of the wedding felt like extra stress that could put a damper on the day. So, just the two of us it would be.
I’m so happy we made that call.
Wedding Morning Misadventures
Back to our wedding morning. Chris and I decided that before our wedding activities started, we were going to have an adventurous start to the day by taking a swim in the Fairy Pools. It was something on Skye that I wanted to do, but we weren’t able to fit it into our schedule on any of the other days. We thought it would be a fun way to start our day before becoming husband and wife, so we hopped in our rental car and set out early!
I was glad we were taking the time to do something fun to kick off the day and calm some of the pre-wedding jitters.
(Although I think most of that was just anxiety about talking about our feelings out loud when we read our vows).
Chris was getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road, even though they were much narrower in Scotland and our vehicle was bigger than the one he drove in Ireland on his International driving debut.
I think he was even starting to enjoy driving in Scotland. So much so, he was comfortable driving at the higher speed limits (60 on those tiny curvy roads! I would never…) It was all fine and dandy until he rounded a corner and…BANG! We hit a pothole with full force.
As someone who has popped two of her tires at once, I knew that sound wasn’t promising. “That didn’t sound good,” I said. “My car sounded like that when I popped both my tires.”
Chris kept driving but seemed a little worried. “Shh, you’re going to jinx us,” he said irritably. He drove on for a short stretch before adding, “I better check to make sure”.
Sure enough, we had a flat tire. There was no spare in our rental.
Even the Best Laid Plans…
In our personal life, I’m usually the one who gets stressed easily and Chris has the calm. Traveling Cheyenne is a much different person. My personal travel motto is “Whatever, I’ll figure it out”. I know whatever unexpected event occurs, I can stay calm and collected to figure out what I need to do. Chris, on the other hand, gets himself all worked up. This time was no exception.
He quickly got in touch with our rental company, however, because Skye is such a small island, it would be a couple of hours before the tow truck would arrive.
Chris apologized repeatedly, beating himself up that we wouldn’t get to visit the Fairy Pools and that we were spending our wedding morning waiting on a tow truck.
“It is what it is,” I told him. “We can always go another time.”
I could tell he was still beating himself up. While I was a little disappointed, it was a nice day out. The sun was shining and there was a n byice breeze. I decided to get out and go sit in the grass nearby, while Chris took a nap. While sitting in the grass, I read fanfiction on my phone to pass the time. I wasn’t going to let this small hiccup put a damper on this day.
A couple of hours later, the tire company arrived. The gentleman was friendly and efficient, changing the tire for us in no time. We were back on the road, back to our Airbnb to start preparing for our evening ceremony.
Another Bump in the Road
I needed to shower and wash my hair before the team at Run Wild Elopements arrived, except the universe decided to throw us another curveball. There was a water main break on the road our Airbnb was on and we had no water for the foreseeable future.
Our host was incredibly apologetic knowing we were getting married today. She even tried contacting her husband, who worked with the water company, while he was out of town for work to see if he could pull any extra strings. In the meantime, she supplied several litres of water for us.
I still had to wash my hair, so the litres of water would have to do. Chris was kind enough to help me wash it over the bathtub.
In hindsight, I probably should have messaged Sam, my hair and makeup artist with the elopement team, and let her know about our predicament. My hair was dirty though, as I’d put it off to wash this morning and been caught in the rain the day before.
Still, despite all these mishaps, I felt relatively calm. Even with a flat tire and a water outage, I felt less stressed than I would have with family scurrying about or if we’d had a “normal” wedding. I feed off the energy of others, so having only Chris there kept me calm.
Our Entourage Arrives
I was a little anxious about the arrival of our elopement team. I’m very shy and introverted around new people and wasn’t sure how four unfamiliar faces spending our wedding day with us would go.
I’d done a lot of research and everything I’d learned about the Run Wild Elopements team made me feel like they’d match my vibe.
From the second they came through the door, the four of them were a bundle of energy and excitement, a contagious feeling that quickly rubbed off on Chris and me. It didn’t take long for them to settle in and get to work. The team consisted of Lily (our wedding planner extraordinaire who I’d had the most communication up until this point), Sam (my hair and makeup artist), Leonie (our photographer), and Ellie (our videographer). This group was one of the main reasons I chose them as my elopement company, as all of these amenities were important to me.
Leonie and Ellie got to work snapping photos while Sam worked on my hair. Unfortunately, my hair was still damp at this time and neither of us had a blow dryer. I’d fried mine previously on the trip after forgetting to get an adapter.
While I was getting ready, Chris had a drink and participated in photo ops while chatting with the team. He’s good at making conversation with new faces, which helped make us all feel comfortable. We were soon all laughing, chatting, and mimicking one another’s accents.
In traditional weddings, the groom isn’t around while the bride is getting ready. I loved having him there and think it made the experience more memorable and relaxed. We even got to open our gift from our wedding team together – a star named after us!
Before we knew it, it was time for part of the team to shuttle Chris to the Fairy Glen. They needed to scout the location and get some shots before I arrived. Later, I’d come to find out that he picked the spot where we got married. They shooed away some tourists, and he had to stand and stare off at the scenery for an eternity before I showed up.
Here Comes the Bride
After some struggles with boob tape and enlisting some help from Sam (I’m so glad someone was there to help!), it was time to get this party started.
Lily arrived back to take me to the Fairy Glen. I expected to feel more nervous than I did and overall felt pretty excited. It felt surreal that the moment was finally here!
At the Fairy Glen, we met up with our officiant, Leslie. She was lovely and even practiced saying my name several times before we went up for the ceremony. In my extended time in Scotland so far, I’d learned that they have a hard time pronouncing the name Cheyenne.
There were several tourists mulling about. I was nervous they’d be nearby as we read our vows. Then we saw Leonie waving her arms on top of a small cliff. Leave it to Chris to pick a place we had to climb up to (literally using branches occasionally for support).
Once I got to the top, I could see Chris standing there on the edge of the cliff. He was staring out at the scenery (that he was well accustomed to at this point). For the first look, our photographer planned for me to tap him on the shoulder for a very long time. They said it would feel a bit awkward to keep tapping while they snapped photos and got video before he turned around.
It was a bit awkward tapping away at his shoulder forever, but I was excited for him to finally see my dress. He’d had some speculation that I wouldn’t be wearing white – I’d opted for a cream color called oyster. He also probably wasn’t expecting a dress with cleavage either..I didn’t often show any off in my clothing choices.
I actually brought along two dresses with me, but this one felt right in the end. I’m so happy I went with the one I did, it felt absolutely perfect on the day. Chris’s reaction when he turned around was so genuine. Not only was it a sweet reaction, but it helped put us both at ease.
Fairytale at the Fairy Glen
As we took our places with Leslie at the edge of the cliff, with Castle Ewan behind us, several tourists had gathered below. They were able to watch out of earshot and our photo frame, so I didn’t mind. We opted for a simple, humanist ceremony. Leslie created a few words about us before we read our own vows and did a handfasting ritual.
Leslie kicked off the ceremony with a Dr. Seuss Quote:“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Her words were lovely and felt perfectly in line with Chris and me as people. I didn’t think I’d get teary-eyed before we read our own vows, but Chris had some tricks up his sleeve.
Leslie asked us to list three things we love about each other privately to her before our wedding day. I’d asked Chris whether he planned on being sappy/romantic or funny with his. He was vague and acted like he didn’t know what to put. Meanwhile, I opted to do two funny and one serious. I told Chris so he could get on the same page.
Instead, Chris did all serious and decided to tug at my heartstrings right at the get-go. He included things about Eli and had me teary-eyed before I felt we’d even gotten started.
When it came time to read our vows, I think it was what we were both the most nervous about. We decided to play a game of rock, paper, scissors to see who would go first. The only problem? We kept picking the same thing!
The Run Wild Elopement team got a kick out of this, and some great footage. Chris and I went through several rounds before we finally picked something different. Chris ended up losing in the end and got to go first. Though he’s not nearly as much of a writer as I am, he surprised me with his vows. We’re both not ones to talk about what we feel often, so reading them felt like a rare moment where we put it all out there.
We finished up the ceremony with a handfasting ritual and exchanging of the rings. I was glad we opted to do the handfasting because we got literally “tie the knot”. The fabric was a beautiful plaid. We still have the knot we tied on our wedding day displayed in our home.
Time to Say I Do
Ultimately, I couldn’t have imagined a better ceremony for us. It felt like it fit us perfectly and made us feel more natural. We both clearly felt more relaxed and carefree than we would have in a more traditional wedding environment. This is something I think is apparent in our wedding pictures and video.
Once we were officially declared the Webbers, we got cheers from our team and tourists down below.
Together, we popped a bottle of champagne for photos. Leonie said we were one of the first couples to do so successfully. I’m glad I decided to let Chris do it instead of myself. I may not have been so successful! It was such a fun, lighthearted way to end the ceremony and made for some great pictures.
We took some more pictures directly after the ceremony but had reservations for a nice meal together. After, we would return to the Fairy Glen for some adventure photos during the picturesque golden hour. On the way back to the car, we were stopped by several tourists offering their congratulations. I was glad to have added some excitement to their day!
Our First Hours Married
We ate dinner at the Chargrill Restaurant in Portree. The restaurant was attached to a hotel and had a great atmosphere to spend our first meal together. The host and hotel manager seemed thrilled to have us there and greeted us warmly upon our arrival.
The menu here is often seasonal. While I can’t state exactly which dish I had, I know I ordered steak and it was absolutely delicious! As were the starters we picked. I believe one of them included a fondu-type cheese dip. Yum!
After having a leisurely dinner and spending some time together winding down from the exciting day, it was time to head back to our magical spot for more photos. As we were heading out, the manager asked to take our photo. We also ran into a couple who had been at the Fairy Glen during our wedding. They offered congratulations and said they filmed some of it on their drone. I gave them my email address, but unfortunately never received the video from them.
As we waited to head back to the Fairy Glen, we got our first experience of the infamous Scottish midges. As I’d researched my hike on the West Highland Way, I often heard that they came out full force by June 1st. I hadn’t encountered any on the entirety of my hike. Yet here we are on the eve of June 1st, and all of a sudden they’d made an appearance!
Back at the Fairy Glen
Back at the Fairy Glen, Chris and I had so much fun with our adventure hour. We climbed up Castle Ewan (it was quite the challenge in my dress) to take a long-distance shot of us at the top. I can’t tell you how many people asked how we got up there when they saw the photo!
During the photoshoot, Leonie and Ellie were both so much fun. They had us running, dancing, climbing, and cheering to capture more natural “in the moment” shots. This was much better than more posed photos of us standing in a stationary position.
You can tell the two of them love what they do, which made the process more fun and definitely showed in their work. Chris and I are not natural in front of the camera. It takes pure talent to catch good photos of us!
I even love the photos where Chris clearly missed the memo. Instead of placing his head where he would if he wanted to smell my hair, he actually looked like he was smelling my hair in several photos. I laugh every time I see them.
Our photo hour (let’s be honest it probably ended up longer than that because we were all too excited) felt like it ended quickly. I loved everything Leonie and Ellie captured. Despite not having the moody day I envisioned for my wedding photos, they still turned out perfectly. Who would have thought on the day of our wedding we’d have sunshine nearly all day in Scotland of all places?
And They Lived Happily Webber After
As we bid our adieus to the Run Wild team and they dropped us off back at our bed and breakfast, the sun was starting to set. With it came a beautiful sunset over the loch below. It created the perfect setting as our wedding day came to a close.
We had an unexpected start to the day with the flat tire and water outage. There were also some bumps along the road before we even arrived in Scotland (hellooooo Marriage Visa process – I ended up getting it the day I was supposed to leave and had to delay my trip by a day). In the end, everything still came together perfectly. The weather worked in our favor, we found the perfect tourist-free location for the ceremony and were greeted with that beautiful sunset.
While it wasn’t traditional, it was the best day and I’m still so grateful we did it the way that we did. We were able to soak up every moment together and enjoy it, rather than feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Today marks one year of marriage. We only have a lifetime to go <3 It’s also the day I’ll forever share our wedding video, which admittedly makes everyone cry.
Want to hear more about the details of our wedding? Check out my later post called It’s All in the Details.