voni + bryan | mansfield traquair

Voni and Bryan were married on 7th October at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh (swoon venue for me!). They were planning their wedding for 2 years. Huge thanks to the amazing Sean Bell for sharing his images of the day with us. You can catch Sean on his websiteFacebook or Instagram. Sean will also be with us at the Braw Brides Workshop this Sunday.

"We set a wedding date in advance in order to provide notice for everyone but also to be able to save hard and pay for the wedding ourselves. We used a free website tool by gettingmarried.co.uk which was a brilliant resource to put all information and communications which were accessible for everyone."

"We had done some research about wedding venues in Edinburgh and had considered going further afield as we just didn’t get that ‘this is the one’ sort of vibe. I was reluctant to go too far, feeling concerned about the amount of people travelling and any additional inconvenience. After some digging I found our venue and I liked that it isn’t exclusively listed for weddings. I very much like art, history, culture and we were both brought up Catholic which ticked numerous boxes plus we both have a reserved, understated style and the venue requires little decoration. I liked the multi purpose approach of it, that it is used for various things such as hosting Question Time on occasion. On the day we arranged to view it, there was a wedding starting within 90 minutes. Whilst the place is absolutely stunning, it was the relaxed and organised atmosphere that sold it to us. There was no sense of pressure and it was very relaxed even in the midst of preparing that day’s wedding. This translated itself throughout planning; everything was so flexible which was really helpful when we were based over 4 hours away. We certainly were not disappointed on the day when the venue staff delivered the experience with absolute military precision. Huge thanks go to Bryony for her patience with my early days 10 million questions, Jacqueline for just everything and Marites for her impressive drill on the day. We were touched to receive an unexpected gift following the wedding of a sketch of the venue. Customer service and personalisation was just amazing."

"Because we finalised our wedding date twenty one months in advance, it felt like I had plenty of time to plan although the time did go very quickly. I undertook most of the organisation myself and had lots of offers of help but was keen to keep the day as a surprise to ensure our guests had a wonderful time. A lot of the detail was with them in mind and planning was fun."

"Brian’s family and his parents were so supportive and keen to support us in any way. We received such generosity both physically and emotionally upon getting engaged from everyone on both sides of the family. As Brian’s mother had just retired, we were insistent on providing everything for the wedding ourselves. However, finally we accepted their exceedingly kind gesture of helping us with the venue deposit, especially as we paid it two weeks before Christmas 2015!" 

"Brian’s mother made us the most amazing fruit cake as an alternative to the sponge we had as our main cake. Everyone commented it was the most delicious one they had had, me included considering I don’t even like it."

"My sister Leona was amazing in helping us design and print all of our stationery needed on the day such as orders of service and menus, our photo table numbers and generally helping with the necessary ‘what do you think of this’ kind of questions. She generously gave me my deposit for my wedding dress which was very kind and will always be remembered, especially as I had asked her to give me away. As a thank you, I was keen to provide everything she needed for the wedding, from her outfit to makeup."

"My sister in law Joanne and her husband Paul made us the most amazing wooden photo booth polaroid frames which offered a lot of fun. Additionally, Joanne is a talented seamstress so was the perfect person to help with dress alterations for a bridesmaid whom became pregnant. Joanne is just such a reassuring presence in everything she does which was invaluable should there have been any nerves."

"My cousins Patsy and Emma kindly gifted us our wedding cake to which we will also be indebted. It was very touching, absolutely stunning and a really big help to receive. We travelled back and forth from England to Scotland many times within the planning process to which Emma always put us up which also helped us so much."

"Our friends Charlene and Lee gave us some left overs from their wedding such as their sweetie bar jars and photo booth props. It is literally a case of begging, stealing and borrowing whatever you can when it comes to weddings!"

"Our bridal party, particularly my three bridesmaids Jenny, Jess and Emma were always offering to help. All I needed was for them to be there, which they were and completely the right people to have by my side. Best man Mark and Usher Richard were there to basically drink whisky and entertain people, which they excelled in!"

"Brian would openly describe himself as ‘a logistics man’ so early on I would get bewildered, perplexed looks choosing between images of floral inspiration or cakes. I did involve him in every single aspect especially conscious every decision I made would impact upon the money we were jointly saving and spending. About 3 months before the wedding, Brian was a really good practical help. Brian did the long haul trip to arrange, pick up and return the wedding suits, spray painted over 100 wine bottles and table names plus having a VW camper van was a god send taking all of our stuff to Scotland the morning before the wedding. I think our styles balanced well during wedding planning, I would arrange all of the organisation and detail, he would logistically facilitate delivering all those ideas."

"I knew straight away I was not the type of individual to go dress shopping, trying on various dresses and being showered with focus, styles, details and information. I just knew I wanted to visit a local specialist dress maker Joanna Leigh Couture, despite not trying anything on. Initially it felt like a gamble but I just knew it was the right decision for me and I had an innate trust in her immediately. The process was absolutely amazing and I could not have been happier with my dress. I was struggling with finding the right veil to go with my dress and was absolutely touched to have had a bespoke veil made alongside my dress as a gift, which matched perfectly. Whilst I chose a traditional style in terms of length, shape and shade, I was keen to have a modern take on a 1920s style. Whilst it was typically a wedding dress, I felt the detail I had was somewhat unusual. It was perfect for me and it was captured beautifully. Whilst I have an understated and moderately feminine style, I also like things that are slightly different, gentle and unique. I also wore ‘Betty’ shoes by Charlotte Mills which have a wonderful concept for bridal shoes. They aim to capture the wedding day tradition completely in that the shoes are your something new, there is a sixpence in the sole as your something old, an envelope to ‘borrow’ in the box to return a wedding photo and the shoe box is blue. I chose this style of shoe as it had a vintage, pretty style which went perfectly with my dress and overall image. The sole is embossed with ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. It was a concept I’d never seen before and whilst obvious, was unique."

"We had a Humanist Ceremony which we felt reflected our beliefs and attitudes to the world. Duncan Robertson was recommended to us to undertake our ceremony and it was the best decision we made. He worked closely with us to design our own ceremony and undertook it with such sincerity and emotion. The ceremony was around 45 minutes long, we incorporated a little history about the building, had three readings and 2 pieces of music from our harpist. We also added some meaningful touches such as lighting candles for loved ones lost, hand fasting and ring warming but we especially loved Duncan’s request to provide ‘3 reasons’ in private as to our thoughts about one another and marriage. These were revealed as a surprise in the ceremony which certainly caused a roller coaster of emotion. Our guests regularly commented how lovely and personalised our ceremony was, it was clear to remember too. We were devastated to learn Duncan may have been stranded on holiday just prior to the ceremony due to flight strikes at the time, so I was absolutely over the moon he was back on time as he was such a pivotal part of the day due to the relationship we had built in the time of designing the most important part of the ceremony."

"Once the ceremony was over, the venue purposefully closed the doors so you are separated from your guests and are offered a drink. It was just a moment to be together to ‘realise’ you are husband and wife, privately acknowledging one another how you couldn’t upon meeting at the altar. We deliberately decided to sit on our own rather than having a top table, overlooking all of our guests. It was a moment to see them all enjoying themselves and that they were here to celebrate with us. Also, It was absolutely wonderful seeing everyone having fun at the ceilidh, many having never been to one before and learning the group dances.

"We both have a reserved, understated style and the venue requires little decoration. Therefore we knew we did not want anything too bold or imposing. My dress was inspired by vintage 1920s so the neutral and pastel colouring in the flowers complemented this. Autumn is my favourite time of year which influenced the use of metallics and lots of candles for decor. I was keen to DIY as many things as I could, partially as I do enjoy getting creative. In terms of the overall style, this was based upon literature, with a book page runner, book piles and quote tags incorporated every where. It was amazing to see it all come together considering we made everything ourselves and an added bonus it was a very cost effective way to style tables sitting 36 people on each! Who would have known used wine bottles, spray paint and old shabby books would have looked so romantic."

"Both of our families have strong Scottish connections, most are based within Scotland and my mother is buried there, so we always knew we wanted to get married in Scotland. The suits we picked touched upon this and although the details for the suits were tweed, the pattern also looked tartan which was a nice balance of both English and Scottish detail.  Our flowers naturally included thistles; we had a piper and a ceilidh of course. Brian’s tie pin was a stag and we gave stag tie bars as gifts to our male friends and family. We hand wrote funny Scottish dialect quotes and definitions such as ‘braw’, ‘blether’, ‘pished’, ‘steamin’, ‘bawheid’ and ‘wheest’ on tags and put them in the toilets and on the bar!"

"My grandmother is Irish and traditionally an Irish Gaelic speaker, as are other family members. We had an Irish blessing read in Gaelic by one of our family members which was a wonderful touch. We also incorporated some old traditions into our ceremony such as hand fasting, where the term ‘tying the knot’ comes from and ring warming where our rings were passed around all guests to give thoughts and wishes, acknowledging our marriage will encompass support from those individuals."

"As my mother had passed away five years previous, I had a photo charm on my bouquet and we worked closely with the local hospice she was cared for in to create charity favours. It was the perfect way to make favours more personal, whilst raising money for a charity close to my heart. Similarly we worked closely with the company compiling and designing our invites and table plan which matched another charity donation to Macmillan. We made a notice board with photos of loved ones passed, left empty seats during the ceremony with red roses on that would have been for them and lit candles during the ceremony itself. This was additionally poignant as we sadly lost Brian’s grandmother unexpectedly 5 weeks before the wedding."

"I can recall most of the day so clearly, mainly because I was too excited and busy I only had a few sips of fizz! It is so true what they say about the day going so fast, I wish I had more time to just embrace and savour it all over again. I was preoccupied with getting round all of our guests, especially appreciating many had made such efforts in getting there."

"Try not to be too emotional over decisions because it is so true that all of those details are just for one day, even though it is such a special time.  Weddings can be as individual as you like and achieved on any kind of budget. Our marriage application cost £70, that is probably one of the most important things and it refocuses that the true cost of marriage is completely attainable. Keep grounded, realistic and retain the real meaning. We felt getting married was our choice and we did not expect and declined help. We decided what type of day we wanted, therefore was responsible for footing the bill for it and chose to try contribute ethically as well."


Venue: Mansfield Traquair

Musicians: The Pickled Piper // Mio Shapley Harpist // The Jiggers Ceilidh Band

Florist: Planet Flowers

Cakemaker: Luisa Mcdougald at Heartbaker Cakes

Make Up/Hair: Nicki Teal of Nicki Teal Salon and MHM Styling

Bridal Outfit: Joanna Leigh Couture

Bridesmaids Outfits: ASOS

Grooms Outfit: Jack Bunneys

Transport: Avant Garde Hire

Stationery: Feel Good Invites (invites and table plan, we made the rest!) and VM Bespoke for table names

Favours: Made in collaboration with Lindsey Lodge Hospice

Photographer: Sean Bell Photography

"We were absolutely over the moon with the service we received from everyone. The quality of service on the day from Heritage Portfolio from the quality of the food to military standard operations but also the wonderful touch of giving us a sketch of the venue as a wedding gift. Jacqueline and Marites were so helpful and definitely took the organisation to another level which helped my own stress levels for sure."

"All of the musicians captured the day perfectly and incorporated our preferences perfectly. We thoroughly enjoyed having all of them there, their sense of tradition, elegance and fun was brilliant." 

"Planet Flowers are amazing in their creativity but also their patience in helping my ideas become a reality, alongside Luisa’s amazing talent making the most perfect but also delicious wedding cake." 

"Big thanks to Nicki and Melanie for the morning beautifying process, Melanie’s patience with my indecisiveness over hair but also Nicki kindly agreeing to travel over four hours to be with us." 

"Huge thanks yet again goes to Jo at Joanna Leigh Couture, she really is amazing and every bride’s fairy godmother. You don’t meet many people like her in you life time and I will forever be indebted."

"ASOS proving high street is an amazing contender in occasion wear but also excellent customer service managing to source us another dress in a different size when all stock was sold out within days – life saver!"

"Despite Jack Bunneys being based over three hours away from home (which was a killer returning the suits from an additional four hours from Edinburgh), we would not have chosen anyone else. The quality and style of the suits was second to none and a very impressive service being able to perfectly fit our 6 ft 6 best man by sight and our usher by a photograph alone!"

"Avant Garde Hire supplied us with a beautiful Mercedes we were able to view at a wedding fayre thanks to Ronnie kindly providing us with free tickets. Despite a few hick ups with wedding accommodation and location changes, their service was effortless and professional. Many thanks to our driver on the day who was so friendly and helpful, many nerves were calmed!"

"Feel Good Invites have just won wedding stationery of the year in Wales, which is so well deserved. The quality and standard is amazing, again demonstrating patience and perfectionism in all they do. Their ethos to charity was inspiring as we collaborated to donate to two charities during the production of our invites. Ger, Sarah and Amie are approachable, friendly and hardworking staff that captured exactly what we wanted through email alone." 

"Lindsey Lodge Hospice is a charity very close to my heart. I was so grateful they agreed to facilitate bespoke and meaningful favours as a method for me to donate and continue to promote their amazing service. Many thanks to Peter Dennis who helped this become a reality, it meant so much." 

"Finally, Sean and Justyna. Where to start? I just knew reviewing Sean’s work on line he was the photographer for us. The tone of his website proved correct as his gentle, unimposing creative style was exactly who we wanted around us during the most important day for us. As a modest couple, not fond of the lime light, gently capturing this was achieved. We couldn’t be happier with our photographs, so much so, I also need to thank Sean for his patience that we still have difficulty choosing our favourite images as there are so many. People have not stopped commenting on how wonderful our pictures are and it is so nice to re live over and over from the angles they have captured."