leah + blake | elopement at conic hill

Leah + Blake eloped and had a Neo-Pagan ceremony on the 8th of July. They were planning for three months, but had been planning their wedding before that for about a year and a half. Huge thanks to David from David Grant Simpson Photography for sharing his images of their day. You can catch David on his website, Facebook or Instagram.

"We started our day at Bothlyn Bank Cottage, in Kirkintilloch, having our ceremony in a forest outside of Drymen, and ending up on Conic Hill by Loch Lomond."

"We had looked at flying to various parts of the United States, but really loved the idea of coming to Scotland for its beauty and culture."

"We had been planning our wedding for a year and a half. In that time, I had five, almost six bridesmaids drop out, most for financial issues. We had many people, including vendors, make comments about how this was 'the bride’s day' and it wasn’t at all about the groom. This attitude bothered both of us, as my husband was involved in every part of the planning, aside from picking my outfit. He was the one who had the final say on the bridesmaids’ dress color. We went together to every appointment for the venue, flowers, groomsmen attire, etc. We also became so stressed about planning, that it made us heavily reconsider even getting married. It wasn’t becoming a day we looked forward to, instead it felt like the day was closing in on us. We also heard other people tell us how the day would go so quickly, and that we had to remember to eat. It also stopped being about us. All the stupid, little details didn’t matter. Making our friends and family happy didn’t matter. So we decided to have just the two of us, called all of our vendors and family and friends and cancelled everything, three months before it was supposed to happen."

"We knew we wanted a photographer, flowers, and someone to do my hair, but after finding those people and booking our flight and lodging, all of our planning was pretty much done. We asked people for their recommendations because we didn’t know where to go. Our photographer was the one who found our ceremony spot and was the one who took us to Conic Hill."

"The biggest challenge we had was more to do with the short notice. A lot of vendors either didn’t return my emails or were booked. I actually received a lot of 'Well you shouldn’t have waited so long.' Hair stylists were definitely the hardest to find, as the moment I said wedding updo, they refused to see me without a trial. My husband actually called one salon, and booked that day by telling them that I needed an updo, leaving out the wedding detail. Their reaction was quite funny when they asked what occasion I was getting my hair done for, and I told them my wedding, and asked if they’d sew in my veil."

"Blake was involved every step of the way. As I mentioned earlier, he came to every appointment when we were getting married in the states, but he also helped with the decisions for the elopement."

"Finding the dress was exceptionally easy. I found it in April of 2016 at the first appointment I had. Everything else was a challenge. My veil was a drop veil, which for some reason, most bridal shops in Pennsylvania had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. They were also very expensive to buy online. I was able to find the material on Etsy for around £30, and with some help from my mom, cut to the size I wanted, with tons left over. We also added sleeves to my dress, using this material. My jewellery was a bit of a mess, and in the end, I decided I would try to make it myself. I ended up giving that up, and settled on the jewelry I wore. As for my cloak, that was made by my mother, using wool I’ve had sitting around for over five years."

"We technically had two ceremonies. Blake’s mom is a judge, so she officiated our legal ceremony in the Pittsburgh International Airport, right before we left for Scotland. Our ceremony, in Scotland, was a Neo-Pagan ceremony that we had written together."

"I didn’t really have a favourite part; the entire day was absolutely perfect. We didn’t have any expectations, so if something went 'wrong', it didn’t matter. The day sort of just flowed as any other day would, and yet something felt so special about it. From the beginning of the engagement, I said I wanted to marry my best friend, in a dress that I loved, and that’s what I did."

"You know how most people say they don’t remember their wedding day, and how it was all a blur? I remember all of it clearly. I remember waking up and putting on my clothes to get my hair done. I remember talking to my taxi driver. I remember the flowers arriving and my husband making tea for us, but keeping his eyes closed so he didn’t see me. I remember walking outside to seeing our hosts decorating our Airbnb. Every detail from getting into my dress and popping my bustle by sitting on it to our ceremony to having to hold my dress up in a public bathroom, and then climbing Conic Hill. I remember the smells, the feelings, and the sights. Eloping allowed us to move at a real life pace and take everything in."

"Pick a dress that you don’t need help getting into. I love my dress, but it was a little awkward having to ask my Air bnb hosts (who were AMAZING, by the way) to help me get into my dress. Two, find little souvenirs. Collect a rock, seashell, take clippings of your bouquet. No one is doing that, especially if it’s just the newlyweds. Third, it’s ok if you aren’t doing anything for your friends and family. Some people might make some passive aggressive comments, but that’s why you’re eloping. It’s not about them. Most people will tell you how awesome and amazing of an idea it is, and that it’s the way to do it."


Florist: Showers of Flowers

Stationery: Lauren Hemphill in Butler, PA, USA

Photographer: David Grant Simpson Photography

"Everyone we worked with was incredible."

"David was an exceptional photographer. He was easy to work with and fun to be around. He was the only other person that was with us through the day, and he definitely added to it. He had gone out before we had come into the country to find places that would be beautiful to have our wedding. He also drove us to these places, and as someone that was not used to driving on the left side of the road, it greatly reduced our stress. The pictures themselves are amazing. They truly capture the day. He rarely asked us to pose, and when he did, he did a great job of coaching us to recreate things that we already do. He caught our silliness and our love for each other."

"Rowena, our florist, was also wonderful. I gave her very little direction, but she was a pleasure to work with, and the flowers turned out incredible. She worked very efficiently, and I didn’t need to even think about or worry about the flowers. They arrived at our Airbnb and looked stunning."

"I also want to put in a note about our hosts. Karen and Elaine from Bothlyn Bank Cottage were absolutely amazing. They helped me into my wedding dress, decorated the cottage and when my husband and I came back from the long day, our room was decorated with petals and signs and they had a bottle of Prosego waiting for us. They also gave us a beautiful vase with thistles on it as a wedding gift, which I was able to put my bouquet into."