kitty + matt | linlithgow burgh halls

Kitty and Matt were married on 29th May at Linlithgow Burgh Halls. Huge thanks to the lovely Julie from Photography at Juliebee for sharing her images of their day with us. You can catch Julie on her website, Facebook and Instagram.

"We got engaged in April 2015 so in theory we had just over a year of planning - but after an initial burst of planning enthusiasm (we fixed the date and venue) we got thoroughly distracted by buying and redecorating our first house together, so a lot of planning happened in a bit of a rush between January and May."

"We've lived in Linlithgow since we moved to Scotland together in 2014, so this is really our local wedding venue!  We wanted to have the wedding somewhere nearby as it was the first time a lot of our friends and family would have the chance to see the place we've chosen to build our lives together - and after we looked round the beautiful rooms and gardens at the Burgh Halls and talked to the lovely staff we didn't seriously consider anywhere else!"

"One of my favourite moments was when I had my hair and makeup trial with the lovely Natalie – she made the whole experience such a lovely relaxing few hours that it really felt like a little holiday from the time-consuming business of wedding planning… and then the best bit of all was looking in the mirror at the end and seeing a bride looking back at me – that was the moment I really believed I was getting married!"

"Choosing my dress was one of the few aspects of wedding planning that took much less time than I expected!  Both of my bridesmaids are London-based, so when I was in the area for a work trip in August 2015 I thought it made sense for the three of us to get together at the weekend to have a first look at outfits… little did I expect that by the end of the day I’d have bought my dress and the bridesmaids would have agreed on a style for theirs!  I said before the shopping trip that I didn’t have any strong ideas about what I wanted – the only thing I was sure about was that I didn’t want something completely strapless.  Then, of course, I picked out a strapless dress to try on just because I wanted to see how that kind of skirt would look, and that was the moment I looked like a bride… the assistant then picked out a very similar strapless dress with a little bit more detailing on the bodice and an asymmetrical skirt, and that was The One."

"Matt was very involved in the planning process - I think we discussed almost every aspect of the day together (except, of course, for bridal outfits).  We decided very early on that we didn't want to follow the 'standard' wedding format with a sit-down meal and long speeches, so it was then a case of deciding what would make the day personal to the two of us.  I joke that the reason we decided to have a vintage afternoon tea right after the ceremony is that I’ve learnt over the years that the best way to get Matt to agree to anything is to find a way that it can involve tea and cake…"

"We had a civil ceremony.  Initially we were concerned that this would be less personal than some of the other options, but Sharon from West Lothian Council did an amazing job of making sure we had our perfect ceremony - she took the time to talk through all the options with us in person a few weeks' ahead, and was very patient as we kept sending emails afterwards to make small changes to the wording!  We struggled at first to find a suitable reading for the ceremony, until I came across the Edward Monkton book A Lovely Love Story.  Although it's about dinosaurs, and a humorous book, it really summed up for us what we feel marriage is all about, and my mother did a wonderful job reading it."

"We wanted to make sure that the day was fun for our guests and that there were things to get people talking to other guests they hadn’t met before – and two of the things we planned with this in mind turned out far better than we’d hoped.  One was that we had two jigsaw puzzles made with photos of us, and gave each guest a bag containing a few pieces when they arrived – there was then a table at the reception for all the guests to combine their pieces to complete the puzzles.  I was amazed at how much people threw themselves into this, and it was great to see my aunt and my university friends working together to complete these!  (Only one bag of pieces went astray and ended up going home to Hong Kong with one of the guests…).  The other unusual activity we had was a quiz: instead of the traditional speeches, we decided to let our guests find out a carefully chosen selection of our embarrassing secrets by means of a team quiz – and we’d told the guests in advance that to do well a team needed to have people who knew about various different aspects of our lives (work, studies, family etc.).  We had a lot of fun coming up with different types of question, including rounds inspired by the TV shows Pointless and Would I lie to you? and a picture round in which the guests had to try to distinguish between us and our siblings as small children.  We weren’t quite sure in advance how well the quiz would go, but it seemed to be really popular – so much so that one of my friends who got married later in the year decided to do something similar at his wedding."

"The other thing that I really loved doing was designing and making our wedding cake (we had a home-made, gluten-free fruit cake accompanied by lovely gluten-free cupcakes from Wild Flours in Glasgow) – being a cake decorator was my fantasy job when I was a teenager (I used to go past an amazing bakery on the way to school every day!) and what our wedding cake should look like was one of the very first things we discussed after Matt proposed!"

"As Matt and I met through the ballroom dancing club at university, there was always going to be some pressure to impress with our first dance… but we hadn’t danced seriously for the last five years, and we were so busy in the run-up to the wedding that we only had a few hours to choreograph and practice the dance, so while I was looking forward to the dance I was also a bit nervous.  All started off to plan – we were doing a slow waltz and the wonderful Ian Muir band had arranged a song specially for us – but then I stepped back onto my skirt and broke the loop holding up my train!  After a few moments of confusion, though, I just picked up the train in my left hand and we carried on with the routine – and while we wouldn’t have been getting any 10s on Strictly for our unconventional hold, we suddenly got the pay-off for the fact that we were dancing based on years of practice in the past rather than knowing a single perfect routine that had been polished to perfection in the run-up to the wedding.  I think both us and all of the guests enjoyed it far more than if everything had gone exactly as we intended (and watching a video afterwards, it looked a lot better than I expected!).  I think this was a good lesson both for weddings and for marriage – when things don’t go to plan, make the most of it!"

"We finished the ceildh with an Orcadian Strip the Willow and almost all of our guests were up on the dance floor.  The band kept playing long enough for us to go down our “own” side as well as the opposite one, so we each got to take a turn dancing with everyone – male and female – and it was amazing seeing all of our friends and family dancing and laughing.  For me, what makes a perfect wedding is the fact you are starting out on a new life together surrounded by all the people you love – and this last dance really captured that wonderful experience."

"If you want to, don’t be afraid to do something a bit different!  It may take a little longer explaining to suppliers that you don’t want to follow the standard format, but if you have a different vision of what will give the two of you the day you dream of you and are willing to put in the time to make it happen, then go for it.  It will be all the more memorable for both you and your guests, and it might even save you some money!"

STAR PLAYERS

Venue: Linlithgow Burgh Halls

Band: Ian Muir Scottish Dance Band with Sheila McCutcheon calling

Florist: We didn't have a florist as such - we used dried flowers from Artisan Dried Flowers and Florence & Flowers on Etsy for the bouquets, table centres and buttonholes. We bought live lavender and hydrangea plants from the local garden centre to decorate the ceremony room, and decorated the rest of the reception room with wonderful bunting that Matt's sister had made herself for her own wedding.

Stationery: Bride & Groom - we designed everything ourselves.

Photographer: Julie Broadfoot

Hair & Makeup: Natalie Mackenzie

Catering: Hatters Catering

"It’s so hard to pick just one supplier, because absolutely everyone who contributed to the wedding hugely exceeded our expectations and we’re incredibly grateful to all of them.  However, if we had to select one for an extra-special thank you, it would have to be Stella from Hatter’s Catering for dealing with the challenge we gave her: she only hesitated for a second when we asked if she could cater a completely gluten-free wedding – including an afternoon tea! – so that I didn’t have to worry about what I could and couldn’t eat, and months later we’re still receiving compliments on the food from people who didn’t even realise it was all gluten-free!"