Jess & Ian's Scottish Elopement

Auckland couple Jess and Ian were married at Inverlochy Castle in the Scottish Highlands. They say their decision to elope to Scotland made their wedding even more special, here's their wedding story:

  • Photography by Wonderful & Strange

Don't miss the stunning video of Jess & Ian's special day – as captured by White Balloon Films – here

We were well down the track of planning a big wedding in the country, but it all became too much. With the advancing illness of Ian's parents and the realisation that, as bride, I would be the centre of attention – a thought that was not something I relished – we made the decision to be married overseas. 

Jess & Ian's Scottish Elopement

We knew that Scotland was the natural choice for a secret elopement. We both have ancestry there and are enthralled by the majesty and history of the country. Many of the castles and hotel estates offer a 'Wedding Package For Two', and Inverlochy Castle Hotel made it all so simple for us by taking care of all the planning, so we could focus on each other and our special wedding day.

I chose a beaded gown and accessories by Vinka Design. A sweetheart neckline with capped sleeves featured on the fitted bodice, and a full skirt and veil added to the regality of the surroundings.

Jess & Ian's Scottish Elopement

Our indoor ceremony was the legal part of the wedding day, where we agreed to get married, kissed, signed the official paperwork, drank some whisky, and the Fort William Registrar Mr Eric McKenzie from the Highland Council declared us married.

A brief interlude for a shoe change (me, into gumboots) and then the piper (piping The Skye Boat Song) led us into a small clearing in the forest grounds, where Scot the hand-fasting celebrant was waiting for us. Scot had designed a traditional hand-fasting ceremony with us through email and Skype conversations beforehand; this was the part that we really felt like we were marrying each other. 

Jess & Ian's Scottish Elopement

The Bann (ribbon or woven wool) was tied to our hands.  We also exchanged rings, and drank (whisky, of course!) from the Cuach – a communal whisky drinking cup (quaich). Our hand-written vows were read out to each other. At the end we jumped the Besom (An Sguab), to 'begin our life together'.

It felt wonderful to be outside, almost more intimate and meaningful than inside the castle drawing room, where the first ceremony was. (Ian says) Choosing to be hand-fasted gave a real feeling of unity, of being bound together. Choosing to do this outside, we felt a 'one-ness with nature', especially when we had some light rain in parts.

The best thing about eloping was the fullness of the day. We shared every minute together and there was no pressure to entertain our guests or to stick to a tight time schedule. Our wedding day was – ours.

Jess & Ian's Scottish Elopement
Jess & Ian's Scottish Elopement

THE DETAILS: Dress VINKA DESIGN; Bride's tartan-style cape WITCHERY; Bride's vintage arctix fox stole TRADEME; Bride's wedding ringTHE CELTIC TUI; Groom's wedding ring and cufflinks JEWELLERS WORKSHOP; Groom's attire LEWIS TURRELL'S HOUSE OF SCOTLAND and ARTISANS OF SCOTLAND; Groom's shirt and cravat SUITS ON BROADWAY; Bride's shoes ETSY; Bride's gumboots NESS.CO.UK.

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