Real Life Weddings - Mairi and Rhys

Real Life Weddings

16 Mins

Some people spend years planning their perfect white wedding. For others, their dream day couldn’t be more different. So what happens when your wedding isn’t the traditional event most people expect? We speak to five couples whose nuptials were big days with a difference.

The Diy Wedding - Mairi & Rhys

Make-up artist Mairi Gordon and electrician Rhys Mclellan were married in the Thomas Morton Hall at Leith Theatre last year. Homemade and DIY touches made their day more personal.

“We chose Leith Theatre because we loved its history (it was the first and only place we looked at), and decorated it with the help of a prop designer friend. We decided to do everything ourselves for a couple of reasons; first off, I had a firm idea about how I wanted the food to be.

Mairi and Rhys

I also wanted it to be very personal, and by getting friends and family involved the results were so much more satisfying. Plus, we saved a lot of money! It was a lot of work, but it was just how we wanted it.

Our flowers, decorations and invites were all handmade by friends and family. We borrowed and made lots; a colonial vintage bar, life sized pink flamingos, a vintage cake trolley, a wooden cake stand, vintage cutlery and wine crates – all these quirky touches made it special.

We made the ceremony our own with poems and songs, and wrote our own vows, and at the reception we named each table after one of our favourite albums and used the original record sleeves to signpost them.

“A good pal of mine, an amazing chef named Allana Harrower, made the food. Between us we came up with a menu for a buffet, with a selection of shellfish, cheeses, cured meats and salads to start, and main courses included individual fish pies and venison casserole. There were fish ‘n’ chips canapés beforehand, served in paper cones made from old issues of The Broons.

“We went to Japan for our honeymoon, I’d always wanted to see the cherry blossom trees and follow the trail. We got rail passes, and for two weeks we travelled around and stayed in the most beautiful places.”

The Elopement - Holly & Richard

Holly Mitchell owns Scottish fashion label Totty Rocks and her husband, Richard McLelland, is involved in the craft beer business, with Williams Bros and Drygate breweries. They got married in the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.

“We never wanted a traditional wedding, but committing to spending the rest of our lives together was still very important. We decided on Las Vegas to run away from outside influence.

We wanted a cinematic, surreal experience, rather than one regulated by religion or tradition, and for the wedding to be a statement of intent on how we wanted our marriage to be.

“Richard took care of all the arrangements in advance. We arrived in Vegas two days before getting hitched, and with none of the usual pre-wedding pressures we were already in full-on holiday mode.

Everything ran like clockwork, except for one of us (to this day we can't admit who) losing our marriage license in the Paris Casino the night before the wedding – we had to dash to The Clark County Clerks Office in the morning for a replacement.

“At the chapel, ‘Elvis’ eased us into proceedings with a few bars of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), and before we knew it we were saying ‘I do’ and walking down the aisle to Viva Las Vegas.

Holly and Richard

We managed to sneak a few (strictly forbidden) wedding photos at the Neon Graveyard, before heading back to The Strip for a serenaded Gondola ride around the canals of The Venetian and dinner at Bouchon.

“In the morning we were picked up by limo for a chopper ride over Vegas and into the Grand Canyon for lunch. Then we collected our convertible Camaro and set off on a road trip: first staying in a beach house in LA, then a Hunting Lodge in Yosemite, and finishing up at a small love nest apartment in San Francisco. It was a blast.”

The Secret - Jenny & Stuart

An imminent move across the globe and lack of funds meant that digital sales manager Jenny, and DJ and editor Stuart Todd, had to make a difficult decision about their wedding day.

“Stuart proposed to me out of the blue not long after having lost his father, saying that life is too short. We were neither of us really ‘wedding’ people, agreeing that spending crazy money on one day is a waste.

That, and the fact that we were due to move to Dubai in six weeks (meaning we’d have issues living together without being married), meant that we needed to act fast.

Jenny and Stuart


The costs of moving coupled with getting married were spiralling out of control – when we looked at our guest list we realised we just couldn’t afford to have everyone present, and something had to give.


“So we decided to have a secret wedding, getting married at The City Chambers with only immediate family present. As we were moving to Dubai two days later, we told all our friends we were having a leaving party that night and invited them to meet us at 99 Hanover Street.

We rocked up in our wedding outfits and everyone was pretty shocked (especially the staff who weren’t quite prepared for the party that ensued), but so happy for us.

Some of our friends were disappointed though, and we understand why. I do hate that my best girlfriends and Stuart's best friends weren’t part of the wedding day.”

The Unexpected Guest - Nicky & Ben

i-on Editor Nicky Murdoch was in the throes of planning her October 2016 wedding to Ben, a regional account manager for Diageo, when she discovered she was pregnant.

“I’d always wanted a white wedding; I’m the textbook girl who grew up hoping for the fairy tale. When we heard that the historic Borthwick Castle had recently been refurbished we immediately booked an appointment – as soon as we stepped through the door we knew instantly it was The One.

“About two months into planning, I discovered I was pregnant. I was extremely emotional and felt like I’d ruined our big day. My perfect white dress wouldn’t be as perfect as I imagined; I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the Champagne and fine wines we’d selected; I would be boring and dance awkwardly.

We talked about postponing but in the end we brought the date forward by nearly two months as the original was so close to my due date. Fortunately Borthwick Castle could accommodate us.

Nick and Ben

I was just so surprised, emotional and unnerved about what the future held but it was short lived and looking back, it was the best thing we’ve ever done. I walked down the aisle carrying my daughter – it’s pretty special.

“I hadn’t bought the dress yet and wasn’t set on one in particular but it was difficult knowing I now simply wouldn’t be able to wear certain styles. I was drawn to dresses that just weren’t suitable for a bump and there were tears in many a dress shop.

Then, my sister booked me an appointment at Rachel Scott Couture on Dundas Street. Rachel was amazing, showing me lots of different styles, but it was a Grecian silk dress from Amanda Wakeley that felt instantly right. I bought it that day.

“I was about 30 weeks pregnant when we got married. I was still working, iron deficient, and after planning a wedding and moving house I couldn’t face a flight somewhere, so we had a mini-moon. We went to Isle of Eriska and then onto Gleneagles which was utterly sublime.”

The Overseas Wedding - Hayley & Zachary

Hayley Daines is the model and beauty writer behind She and her husband, Zachary, a sales consultant at Graypaul Ferrari, got married in two ceremonies – the first in Portugal and the second in Singapore.

“We got married officially in Portugal, then had another ceremony in Singapore. After getting engaged, we were on holiday in Portugal having dinner at Pezinhos N'areia, when we realised it would be the perfect venue.

Hayley and Zachary

I wanted a beach wedding, so that’s where we returned to get married and it truly was the best weekend of our lives. “Zachary’s mum is from Singapore, and there were a lot of family there who couldn't be with us in Portugal, so we had a second wedding to celebrate with them.

In Singapore a wedding can have three different locations; the first for the marriage contract, second for the bride’s side of the family and third for the groom’s side. We had a miniature version of this at The Landmark Singapore, where everyone could celebrate together.

“We wore traditional outfits from Fatimah Mohsin. I had so much fun trying on all the different colours, I love how vibrant the weddings are there. It was hard to choose a final outfit, but I knew I wanted strong jewel colours of emerald green or ruby red and settled on the former.“The food was incredible.

There was a selection of traditional Singapore food; curries, rice and noodle dishes, with lots of fresh fruit and desserts. Our wedding cake was a traditional savoury pulut kuning cake, made with glutinous rice and meat. At a Singapore wedding there’s no formal sit down meal; guests come and go and help themselves to food as they please.

“We honeymooned in Bali which was amazing. After our Portugal wedding we had a mini-moon to Lisbon, which we absolutely loved and definitely want to go back.”

Real life weddings / wedding dresses / honeymoon

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