Happy Tuesday Peeps!
We have a very special festival wedding to share with you today. If you can spare 10 minutes of your time, then make yourself a cup of tea and please read Rachel and Jared’s beautiful story – it’s inspirational and a reminder that the most important part of your wedding is sharing it with the people you love – everything else just isn’t important.
‘I (rachel) got married at the end of August 2011 – it was an unconventional do to say the least – in my Dad’s cow shed in the Highlands of Scotland!
We were originally meant to get married in 2013 in New Zealand, where I live now, however we discovered at the end of April that my Mum was very ill so I dashed home mid May.
Before I left NZ, my fiance and I talked about how important it was that all of our parents would be there to attend our wedding – all my previous fusses about venues and dresses suddenly went out the window and all I wanted to do was make sure that Mum would be around to see me walk down the “aisle”. It was decided, whilst in Scotland we would get married.
To cut a long story short, I organised our wedding in about 2-3 months, in between hospital appointments with Mum, helping my Dad on the croft (small farm) and generally looking after my family.
We had it on my parent’s croft – overlooking the loch and mountains and in a shed that only a month before had 6 cows in it – and some sheep and lambs!
Being on a tight budget I made all my own decorations, which meant learning to use a sewing machine and sewing what seemed like 1000 metres of bunting! I also started collecting jam jars, organising wild flowers, making signs, collecting vintage tea sets, ribbons, you name it! The objective was to stop the shed looking so much cow chic and more village fete/festival chic!
My Dad kindly let us have some clean straw for the floor and newly cut haybales were brought in to hide all the farm equipment and give the place a nice smell.
Where we are in Scotland is very rural so accommodation was a bit of a problem – we managed to get a couple of cottages for the groom’s family and for a pregnant friend, but there was no-where for the other travelling guests, mainly friends of mine.
This was solved by telling them that they needed to think of the wedding as a “wedding festival” and that they would all be camping on our croft. I told them the beauty of this was they would only have a short distance to stagger from the wedding, it would be free and that they’d be in beautiful surroundings and could party as late as they liked, which they did!
We built two flushing toilets and made a hotwater shower for them (courtesy of my clever Dad and fiance) so it was practically luxury! Dad had even mowed them a campsite!
Everyone arrived on the Thursday afternoon to, shock horror for Scotland, beautiful sunshine! It was great to see all my mates putting up their tents, having barbeques and beers whilst admiring the sunset over the loch. I was in the process of setting up, so was jealous that I wasn’t joining them! That night we had drinks up in the shed and tested out the 3 kegs that had generously been given to us by a friend of my Mum’s who brews beer locally.
The day of the wedding, everything was so relaxed and informal – my very talented friend Steve Heron played guitar for our ceremony. I walked into the shed with my Dad on my arm to Turin Brakes “Fishing for a Dream”. We had a wonderful Humanist ceremony, complete with some Scottish Traditions such as the Hand Fasting Ceremony and drinking from the Quaich. The Doves “Winter Hill” was the song Steve played after the ceremony.
The humanist ceremony, was perfect – Sylvia Cameron was our celebrant and she was brilliant! Very funny and very us. The ceremony had a huge amount of meaning and so much more than if we had had a church wedding – neither of us are religious. We were able to say and do things we really meant. We also wrote our own vows, well actually we sat up in bed one night and wrote them together! It was wonderful to have whatever readings we wanted and whatever music we wanted in whatever format.
Dinner was a simple 3 course meal including Aberdeen Angus Blade of beef or Chanterelle Risotto for the veges, served buffet style and was all cooked in the back of a horsebox at the side of the shed! After dessert and before the band, tea and cream cakes were served and BBQ later on.
We had a rock covers band, BIRO, playing everything from Kings of Leon to Whitesnake and later on, a playlist on an iPod of what can only be described as “indie heaven” with a few power rock ballads thrown in for my new Husband.
We partied on until the sun came up – true festival style, even continuing after the vodka ran out! I think we all went to bed at about 5:30am. Now that is a party!
As far as favourite moments go…my word, it is hard to choose as it goes by in such a blur! Jared will tell you it was having a plastic sgian-dubh (knife tucked into kilt sock) in amongst the hay with his best man about 3am!! ha ha!
For me, I think it would have to be at the ceremony – one moment when Jared got choked up and a few tears during his vows and also looking around at all the people that I love in one room, standing next to the man I love and knowing that my Mum was there to see it all. Also, the night before, when I saw that everything had come together and all the people that had helped and the outpouring of generosity and kindness from the community that was pretty special.
So much of our wedding would not have been possible without the help of the local people in our area, which made it really feel like a community spirited event. Dundonnell is a really small community, about 200 people (or less) spread out over 10 miles. It’s an old crofting community and a lot of people have lived there for generations. When I arrived home to Scotland to take care of my Mum, I was astounded by the number of cards she had received from people and there was always a constant stream of visitors and well wishers. Once word had gotten out that I had decided to get married that summer and on the farm, well the offers of help started flooding in.
People were so eager to help, even if it was decorating, or bringing me wedding magazines or just chatting about it in general – nothing was too much trouble. The same with my friends as well, people were just so, so kind and I found it really touching.
We didn’t have a wedding cake as such, a local lady made lots of home made cakes and goodies for us – we didn’t actually cut a cake. My Uncle and Brother took photos, my good friend Greg filmed it, the local primary school lent us all our tables, two privately owned estates in the area gave us free run of their gardens to take wild flowers from (as well as Tesco flowers being utilised!), beer and a working bar from my Mum’s friend, so much help with the set up – the list goes on.
It just goes to show that even with a small budget and an even smaller time frame, anything is possible! So many of my friends said that it was the best wedding they had ever been to – although that could have been the fact it was a free bar!
Well, what can we say………….Rachel and Jared we salute you! What an amazing day and, more importantly, what amazing friends and family you have. Your parents croft is stunning!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us – your wedding looked truly awesome.
I think Rachel and Jared have proved that you don’t have to spend millions on the wedding of your dreams. Just by thinking out of the box and calling up a few favours from some friends, you can even make a cow shed look like an awesome festival venue! And besides, their wedding demonstrates that it’s the people that make it – not the decor/venue/dress/theme.
And on that note………
Festival Brides xx