jamie + jourdan | elopement at north ballachulish

Jamie (her) and Jourdan (him) were married on 10th October 2015 in North Ballachulish ... "10th of the 10th. A date that was specifically chosen so that said husband could not forget)" They were planning their wedding for about 2 months. Not enough thanks go out to the fantabulous Jo and Liam from Jo Donaldson Photography for sharing their images of the day. You can contact Jo on her website, Facebook and Instagram.

"Sorry about the distinguishing as to who is who. Without meeting us it’s quite common for people to ask us who’s the Mr and who is the Mrs. Damn the shared gender names **shakes fists"

Jamie says "What required the most time in planning was getting our UK Marriage Visas approved there was a large number of forms we were required to complete as well as certified copies of documents to prove our identities/ financial status etc."

And Jourdan is not so clear... "I’m going to go with not long? We kind of winged it a little. Or a lot. Not sure as my participation in the planning was not required. Or I didn’t contribute. One of the two."

"My Dads background is Scottish (from Helmsdale) so I had always felt some emotional attachment to Scotland so when Jourdan and I decided to elope I won the where-do-we-elope battle. I also wanted to be in a location that was painstakingly beautiful, almost otherworldly. I feel that there is just something about being outdoors that escalates the emotion charge of any occasion." 

Jourdan... "I wanted to do something small in Australia, Jamie wanted to get married in Scotland so we compromised and got married in Scotland."

"We decided to elope because I didn't want to succumb to my control freak tendencies and the whole ‘wedding-industry’ pressure that I think surrounds the occasion. I will admit that when Jourdan first proposed I made my ‘wedding’ Pinterest board and family members were gifting me wedding dress magazines and taking me on day trips to potential venues and I think I just reached a point where I was like is this really what I want? The answer was no."

"I think that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of what you think your wedding should be like so in the end I said to Jourdan, for us to get married all we need is the two of us and a celebrant, oh and a couple of willing witnesses (Thank you Jo and Heather) and from that point I just knew that eloping was the way to go."

"Weddings in Australia end up costing some stupid amount so having a holiday/wedding/honeymoon all in one seemed reasonable. I’m not much of a people pleaser and tend to do what I want and apparently weddings are about the bride and groom so that’s what we went with."

"Without a doubt my favourite part of the planning process was making contact with Jo (our photographer) and Heather (Lovely lady whom we stayed with in North Ballachulish)."

"It was just reassuring that I knew I would be involving people who had the same enthusiasm as me. They were as passionate about Scotland, and the idea that we were coming to get married there, as much as we were excited. I think also the reassurance from both Jo and Heather helped set my mind at ease."

"My favourite part of the planning was probably not having to do anything. At all."

"The biggest challenge was by far the VISA application process. Because our elopement arrangements were rather impromptu considering we were getting married in another country, the little amount of time I had to apply for our Visas (Which includes completing a giant questionnaire, attending the bio-metric testing and interview and submitting certified documents) was the biggest challenge."

"Other than that I found the planning to be quite easy. When you decide to elope (especially in other country) I think you need to accept that you have limited control which I think adds to the excitement."

"I think one of the issues was having an “address” to process the wedding visa. Seeing as we didn’t have a permanent place to reside we needed someone to agree to let us have their home as our reference point. That’s where the lovely Heather came in remarkably handy."

How involved was your partner in the planning process?

"Ahhh he sat beside me on the plane ride. Does that count as being involved?"

"Ahhh she did a few things here and there. I think."

"I had always wanted to design and make my own dress so I sourced some raw silk and bridal tulle from a textile supplier and found a beautiful blouse with floral embroidery motifs from a second hand charity store, did some sketching (whilst I was suppose to be working haha), made a pattern and put it all together."

"The dress was composed of a fitted bodice which splayed out into and A-line skit. The bodice was made from fine tulle and the gold embroidery motifs were arranged and sewn by hand. Simple and delicate. I thought the design would compliment the location I imagined we would be married in."

"My outfit was laid out on the bed in the morning of said wedding so I suppose that counts as somewhat easily found. Had pants, a jacket of some woolen material and glorious steel toe boots. They were my contribution."

"We had a Civil ceremony." 

"One with rings and some silly hand binding."



"Meeting Jo and her trusty sidekick Liam that morning and just knowing that I had nothing to worry about. After we all shared a brief hello the first thing Jo said to me was ‘I don’t know if you’ve decided on a location to say your vows but when driving here Liam and I saw this amazing clearing where a tree has fallen and there is all this beautiful greenery surrounding it oh and we also found an old abandoned church.’ I think I may have uttered the words I-bloody-love-you.. or maybe I said that inside my head but both Jo and Liam just knew what we were after and went out of their way to make that a reality."

"The ‘I-do’ Breakfast which had an exclusive attendance of 8 people; Jourdan and I, Jo and Liam, Heather and her beautiful dog Skye and our new friends Jonathan and Joanne (A Canadian couple who were also staying at Heathers lovely home)."

"The ceremony itself and literally hiking around the mountains in our wedding attire whilst sharing funny stories with Jo and Liam, whilst they took our amazing photos."

"Our evening celebrations which involved us (Jo, Liam, Jourdan and I) having dinner and drinks at a mountain climbers pub and then slipping next door to have more drinks and singing along to songs where the only word we really understood was ‘nancy’. It was honestly the best night."

"Probably the food. Breakfast was lovely and the dinner afterwards with Jo and Liam was both entertaining and tasty. Oh and I suppose I have to say 'seeing Jamie walk up in her dress'. She scrubbed up all right."

"Getting out the the Car with Jo (Jourdan was already at the location) and walking slightly uphill to the fallen tree location and seeing Jourdan with his hands in his pockets, adorably smirking. All I could think was hmmm this location and this man. Love."

"Drinking at the pub and yelling out “nancy” to the live band with the other Scottish men and women. Whatever the hell that means."

"In the nature of elopement, you need to accept that there are some details you may not be able to control (due to time, location etc) but that’s what makes it all the more special. I really think it was the best decision we could have made. By not getting caught up in all the fuss and people, you remember all those small details. Also when I was explaining my choice to my family I told them that it didn’t want to be faced with the decision of choosing who made the list and who didn’t. Instead I choose Jourdan and Scotland." 

"Just do it. And let the woman plan it. Less yelling."


Venue: Outside somewhere in North Ballachulish

Florist: I made Jourdans buttonhole pin. Don’t know if that counts as anything.

Photographer: Jo Donaldson Photography

"Heather and Skye, our amazing hosts who essentially let us run our marital errands/ use their home as a meeting point. Literally without Heather and Skye, none of this would have been possible."

"Clare from the Fort William Highland Registrar, who answered all 23 of my emails and numerous long distance phone calls."