Wedding photography at Louise and Chris’s celebrations at Mar Lodge, Braemar, Scottish Highlands
I love being a Mar Lodgewedding photographer – and my job is made easier by a happy smiling couple like Louise and Chris. The venue is perhaps beast known for hosting the BBC’s Autumn, Winter and Spring Watch, and there’s plenty of wildlife to look at on the 29,000 hectare estate. Mar Lodge itself is a relatively recent building (it was rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1991) nestled in the Dee Valley and just a few miles from Braemar and the Queen’s highland home at Balmoral.
Weddings at Mar Lodge benefit from amazing scenery outside, as well as fantastic interior decor. There’s even a ballroom decorated with 2,500 stag antlers, some dating back to Victorian times.
Louise and Chris are outdoors people, and their day started with a run up the local hillside – for them and all their guests! It was handicapped, so everyone arrived at the top at more or less the same time. Luckily no injuries were suffered, and by the time I arrived everyone was busy getting ready into their finery. Louise’s Mum gave her away at a simple ceremony in the spacious Drawing Room, and then everyone proceeded outside to stand in the sun for the champagne reception.
Dinner, speeches and dancing followed in the Stag Ballroom, and as I left I was sure there would be some sore heads in the morning. Perhaps another run up the hill side would be a cure!
Here’s a small selection of my favourite natural wedding photography in Scotland from 2016.
For personal reasons I took six months off this year, and several couples requested that their wedding photos were not posted on the web, but I still have many favourites that I can show you.
There’s everything here, from grand venues, laughing brides, winking grooms, reflections and shadows, a very embarrassed (by her husband) mother of the bride, the most amazing table decorations made from antique tea cuos and wild flowers, a bare foot bride walking on gravel, and of course, dancing!
All of these photos were unposed – some were guided in that I put the couple in a location and told them the angle of view I had – I just photographed their reaction and ‘the look of love.’ If you’re looking for a wedding photographer who takes natural wedding photography – get in touch!
When planning a wedding in the hills around Loch Lomond, you should always be aware of the potential problems: rain and midges. Luckily for Tom and Kristen, the rain held off and there was enough of a breeze to blow the wee monsters away. (However, as a Loch Lomond wedding photographer I always arrive prepared with an umbrella and insect repellant!)
They’d chosen Duchray Castle, Loch Lomond for their ceremony and first reception – a romantic gem of a venue hidden at the end of a forestry track. For their evening reception they moved to the larger Altskeith Country House, Loch Ard on the other bank of Loch Ard, where they were joined by more guests for an evening of dancing and drinking.
The other weekend I photographed a highlands wedding which I can’t write about, or show any photographs from! The couple asked that no photos appear anywhere on the internet, as an increasing number of my clients do nowadays.
However, since my friend Peggy was visiting from Brooklyn, New York, I decided to turn the trip north into a tour of the Highlands, and these are her and my photos. It was, of course, a typically Scottish summer, with no sun and lots of grey cloud, but Peggy seemed to love every moment!
I don’t really do landscapes. To paraphrase Joe McNally, ‘I’ve never seen a good landscape that couldn’t be improved with the inclusion of a person.” In the almost deserted Highlands, that person was Peggy!
We travelled to Lochinver (where the wedding was) via Glen Coe, Loch Ness and Ullapool, and returned via Cromarty, the Cairngorms and Braemar.
And although Peggy was keeping a sharp lookout, she didn’t see the Loch Ness Monster, or a single Haggis on the hills! To make up for the disappointment, on our return I introduced her to my favourite ‘wild’ animal, Freddy.
What a wonderful day at one of my favourite venues – Mar Lodge near Braemar. Katherine and Gavin couldn’t stop smiling – and kissing – throughout the day, and it was wonderful to see such happiness between not just them, but all their family and guests.
I was a bit dubious about having a ceilidh for such a small number of guests, but enthusiasm and the excellent calling by Katherine’s father proved me wrong!
Here are a few highlights from Katherine and Gavin’s wedding photographs from Mar Lodge.
After photographing hundreds of weddings over the years, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. However, I wasn’t expecting the phone call I got before 8am the other Saturday morning from another wedding photographer. “I’ve done something to my knee and I can’t put any weight on it – can you get to Inverness to cover a wedding for me, by 12 noon?”
I’m at least three hours from Inverness, but luckily I had charged batteries and a clean shirt ready – and they haven’t switched on the average speed cameras on the A9 yet!
So, four hours after the initial phone call I met Michael and Lindsay at Bunchrew house, and had a quick chat about their timetable for the day – but not before the staff at Bunchrew House had welcomed my arrival with a mug of coffee!
And that, I thought, was the end of the unexpected for the day. Although all weddings are different and individual, there’s still some things that never change – the bride will look beautiful, the groom handsome, the weather will often be unpredictable, and it’s all tied together with an eclectic mixture of guests.
So I was ‘mildly’ surprised when, after the speeches – a belly dancer took to the dining room floor, performing between the tables for Lindsay and Michael’s appreciative friends and family!
And then to cap it all, a fully equipped band tour bus turned up, with the band on board. Lindsay’s favourite band had been performing in York the previous night, so to get them up to Inverness on time, and refreshed, she hired the luxury coach for them! And it was perfect for some quiet portraits of the two of them.
Three firsts for me in, one day. As it will be for Michael and Lindsay, this was a day to remember for me!
Below are a selection of the Black and White photos I have prepared.
I first went to Mar Lodge last year – and the second time I visited was a month later! Those two visits confirmed my view that Mar Lodge is one of the great undiscovered (by me) venues in Scotland.
Originally built as a hunting lodge for the Duke and Duchess of Fife in 1895, it unfortunately burned down in the 1990s while being renovated. The immaculate restoration has now reulted in a complex of luxury appartment with all mod-cons (with the exception of a mobile phone signal!)
It is one of the most perfect places in Scotland for a weekend party. The building itself is a wondeful backdrop to any photo. And the 29,000 hectares of beautiful Scottish countryside that make up the estate can leave no photographer at a loss for a location!
In the evening, there is the Stag Ballroom. So named for the stags antlers adorning every surface…. I didn’t count them, but there’s apparently over 1,000 of them.
And on top of all of that – the staff are just some of the most hospitable people I’ve met! Nothing is too much of a problem for them.
Here are some photos, but you can see others on my blog posts about Viki and Brian’s wedding and Fiona and Niall’s wedding.