We live in London, but Paul is Scottish and I also have Scottish roots so we were both keen to get married north of the border! We put a weekend aside to fly up and look at venues in the Central Scotland area. We managed to visit about five and there was just no contest! We loved the character of Solsgirth House and the fact that the whole house and grounds would be exclusively ours for the wedding day. We wanted an intimate, romantic ambience within beautiful sorroundings and definitely didn't want to go into a marquee in the evening. Solsgirth was the right size and ticked all of the boxes."
"I loved looking at Bridal magazines and websites, reading blogs, talking to other people about their weddings... and slowly but surely building up a picture of how we wanted the day to feel and look... and then trying to work out how to make that a reality!"
"I went to three shops and tried on about eight dresses... and found exactly what I was looking for. I had liked lots of the other dresses, but according to my Mum and Sister, I came out of the changing room in 'the one' grinning from ear to ear and they just knew. It's hard to describe, but I felt like my name was embroidered into the back of it and it belonged in my wardrobe! Whereas the others dresses had felt like I was playing at dressing up. I was not prepared for just how much fun dress shopping would be. Unless you're a regular at the Oscars, you may never get to try on dresses of this quality and type again, so make the most of it!"
"My lovely friend Jill happens to be a Minister and we were lucky enough to have her marry us. She made our ceremony so special and personal. When you say your vows, everybody else in the room sort of fades away. I wanted to think about every word that I said and say my vows as clearly as possible, meaning every single word from the heart, which isn't easy when you're feeling so overwhelmed and trying not to cry! Hearing your husband promise to love you for the rest of his life is something that will stay with you forever."
"It was quite a rush getting to the door of the ceremony room and then suddenly the Piper began playing 'Highland Cathedral' and it was happening! Everything went into slow-motion and a wall of emotion hit me. I couldn't stop shaking, but it was pure elation and joy!"
"I remember thinking 'I've never felt this happy' right at the end of the night when Paul and I were spinning round on the dance floor circled by our family and friends... another unreal 'movie moment'! The dance floor was heaving all night and the ceilidh went down a storm - our band Bahookie did a magnificent job of creating a huge great party!"
"I worked hard at lots of details and wasn't sure they would be noticed, but everybody did seem to really appreciate them! I owe a lot to Laura at Cherry Blossom for my incredible flowers. She really went above and beyond to create 'the look' I wanted, with lots of tiny vintage vases dotted around filled with the most stunning garden flowers. My bouquet was amazing - it took my breath away when I first saw it."
"Home-made details included a vintage framed blackboard with a personal thank you message for our guests, kindly made for me by my bridesmaid. Instead of a traditional guest book, we asked guests to write a message on a river stone (from the local area) and place in a vase for us to display and keep in our home. We ummed and ahhed a bit over favours and after asking around realised that whilst ladies appreciate and remember favours, men frankly just aren't fussed! We therefore decided to just provide a wooden crate of pashminas for the ladies.... and even though the weather was unseasonably sunny and hot, they were all taken! A definite success. My most favourite detail of all though was our table plan, which we had calligraphied onto a large standing mirror by the very talented Angelo Meola at The Calligraphy Company. How we ended up transporting the mirror from London to Scotland is a story all by itself (!), but suffice to say that it was definitely worth it in the end! Oh - and as a surprise for Paul, I also hired giant light-up letters (our initials) for the evening which made quite a statement and looked amazing!"
Helen has some amazing advice for brides to be "Stay true to yourself. Everybody will have an opinion and you can't help hurting people's feelings occasionally even if you're trying to be so careful to think about everyone! Stay calm and smile a lot, but stick to your guns and make decisions that feel right to you. My other piece of advice is to spend a big portion of your budget on the best photographer and videographer that you can find. We're so glad that we did. When it's all over, your photographs and your video are the tangible things that you have left and you realise just how important they are. Ours are so, so beautiful thanks to the huge talent of 1500 Photography and White Balloon Films."