When it came to selecting a venue I knew in the back of my mind where I wanted to get married but Ingimar had never been and it wasn't a traditional wedding venue. We planned a trip back to Scotland and booked a few wedding venue visits. They are felt very much the same to me - planned, organised and easy. But this also felt like we were just selecting a package, a very pricey package, but something everyone else does. We wanted something unique, I guess many Brides do. I wanted to know I would be the only Bride there on the day, that our guests wouldn't have been to a wedding there before to compare it with, and that it meant something to us. We also wanted to feel comfortable there, as if it was like home, where the kids could run around and not be told off. A lot of the venues were very beautiful but they were too picturesque - like you didn't dare touch anything. That just wasn't us.
After visiting many venues on the outskirts of Edinburgh we decided on Netherurd, a Girl Guiding House in the Scottish Borders. Netherurd is home to many of my childhood and young adult memories, and a lot of happy times with family. My late aunt was the first Guider to hold an International Camp here and I have many memories camping in the field, doing crafts in the out buildings and staying over in the old Brownie House, now the Garden House. I went through International selection here and I was selected to represent Scotland in a trip to Prague and then Great Britain in a trip to Uganda in 2002 - which possibly started all my travel bug adventures.
I took my mum and sister, we walked around and agreed it was a great venue which meant so much to our family so I now had to convince Ingimar. On our next trip over we drove down to Netherurd. We were met by Janice and her charming hospitality of coffee and freshly baked shortbread - I think she won the Viking over right then!! She talked us through what kind of events they had done before and what they could offer us. Netherurd is a girl guiding venue where a lot of camps, trainings and selections are taken place. They host different non-guiding events too but very few weddings, ours was actually the only wedding this there this year. The main difference between Netherurd and the other venues we had visited was that they tailored the package to the bride - not the other way around. Walking around, it all felt perfect and I knew it was our venue.
We decided to book out the entire site and I am so glad we did. We had the main house which slept all of the wedding party. We had the option of being married on the lawn, though the weather meant we married in the Scotland Room within the main house which was beautiful. We used this room for champagne and canapé after and then the Garden House for our Wedding Reception. We had planned games on the lawn and a mini Highland Games for the Sunday morning but Scotland decided to gift us some pretty torrential showers so guests happily stayed indoors and mingled instead.
On our Wedding Day, as our guests arrived, we had Michael Knott a piper (such handy friends we have) piping some traditional tunes which really set the atmosphere. It was lovely getting ready upstairs with my Mum and bridesmaids whilst guests arrived to the sound of the Scottish bagpipes. The rain really brought out the luscious green of the gardens and paths which framed the buildings beautifully.
As guests walked into the main house, they were met by one of the ushers and given an Order of Service. My Mum had created some stunning flower arrangements and these were dotted around the house and the Garden House. I used this entryway to gather any Wedding Cards and Gifts in my Granddad's old leather suitcase.
The Scotland Room was set up the week before the wedding and it was so exciting to see it all transformed. Pre-wedding day, walking down the aisle with my sister and best mate, before all the guests were there, was so much fun. We took some silly pictures and had a good laugh, just the three of us.
On the morning of the wedding, Ingimar and his two best men made their way into the room for the nervous wait. I was still upstairs in the Bridal Suite where we had gotten ready. I was feeling calm, I was ready for this. We were actually 30mins early!! Walking down the wooden stairs in my beautiful - if a little challengingly high - Kate Spade gold glittery heels, I made my way to my Groom. I couldn't wait but also didn't want the day to go by too quickly.
I met my Brother at the landing and took his arm, ready to walk down the aisle. The Scotland Room was beautiful and it was amazing to see everyone who we know and love, there to support and share in this very special day. I walked towards Ingimar, he lifted my veil and we turned to alistair the minister for the ceremony to begin. There was a large gold framed mirror in front of us which meant the reflection connected us to our friends and family throughout the ceremony, I loved this. I was beaming, we were so happy.
The ceremony was about 30 minutes long and it was just wonderful. All that planning, all the to-do lists and excel sheets, the days counting down, we had done it - Mr and Mrs!! Walking back up the aisle and out onto the landing, we both let out a very excited and happy YAY!! and then looked at each other and laughed a little as we had done exactly the same thing. I can't put into words how happy, lucky and amazing that moment was. It's my favourite moment of the day.
After a few minutes alone, and then joined by our immediate family, we headed out (in between showers) to have our wedding photographs taken.
Back to seek shelter from the typical Scottish rain, we were driven the short distance over to our reception in the Garden House. Guests followed, led by our piper. This gave us a few minutes alone to enjoy a little bubbly as husband and wife before joining everyone for the Wedding Breakfast.
We spent the Friday before the wedding decorating the venue both inside and out. I had ordered a load of balloons and we managed to get helium tanks and weights. We covered Netherurd signs with our personalised wedding signs - these were printed and laminated at a graphic printers. We used a lot of ivy pulled from the site and hung it all over the room, lights and on tables to create a natural woodland theme. I had pre-designed a lot of it using photographs I had taken when visiting the venue and created collages so people could see what I was imagining. This worked really well and meant lots of people could join in and help create the vibe, and I could be buzzing around between them all.
We still had some wedding signs I made for my brothers wedding so I spray painted them white and repainted the correct arrows showing which way parking or the ceremony was. As there is a flag pole it was the perfect opportunity to fly the Scottish and Icelandic flag together. it was so much fun and I think our guests had a good giggle at the little touches we had put into the day.
The House and its grand staircase was decorated simply. We used white balloons strung with ivy and white ribbon as clusters and tied these to the stair posts. The Scotland Room had ivy hung over lights and paintings, and we used antique candelabras within the flower decorations on the mantelpiece.
The Reception was held down in the Brownie House, now Garden House. We transformed the room with balloons, ivy, wall hangings and calligraphy. I wanted to keep it simple, easy and bring the outside in. The wall hangings were sheets from a Flipchart, taped together with a printed calligraphy words on them - they were then put up over the cupboards to camouflage them. We then hung a length of bamboo garden cane from the ceiling, with some ivy twisted around it, this framed the wall hanging. We did this around the room so it all pulled together and linked with our wedding signage, menus, order of service, etc. The stag was already in the hall and gave us some great inspiration for our wedding crest which was on all our Wedding stationery. We brought Mums Rudolph from home and put a Viking helmet on him, he stood proudly in the garden, surrounded by fairy lit trees.
The Bridal Suite was decorated by my Bridesmaids and their partners with balloons and candles, it was so magical. They even created a fourposter bed by tying helium balloons to the corners of the bed frame. On the bed they had written out our initials with a love heart, arranged using the knitted lengths of Icelandic wool that were on the table centre pieces. We switched off the artificial candles, crawled into bed, and dreamt the night away.
The venue was ideal and gave us a lot of space for kids to play and adults to sit and chat or to get on the dance floor and party. We partied into the wee small hours, with a ceilidh and then a disco with my good friend as DJ playing a playlist made up of songs our guests had pre-requested. The day flew by but I took a few minutes to myself to just stop and take it all in, that definitely helped. What an amazing day!!
I have to add that I'm loving being married - it's true that not much changes but I feel so much more settled and I'm loving life with my soulmate.