The Waterfront at Archerfield is a luxury Scottish wedding venue, nestled on the Archerfield Estate on the coast of East Lothian overlooking the Firth of Forth and Fidra Island, just outside North Berwick. I love local weddings and being an Archerfield wedding photographer, and it’s hardly a long drive from my home in Dunbar to North Berwick and the Bride’s house.
As I arrived, Ashling was getting ready in a rather non-traditional way – with a glass of Bucks Fizz and a bacon butty! It was literally the first photograph I took. I always approve of Bride’s eating something before the ceremony, as there’s usually quite a time gap between getting the dress on and the first canapés.
Ashling’s father drove her to Dirleton Kirk in his prized Audi TT (a car he then trusted Groom Adam with for the drive to Archerfield) where she was met by her piper for her entrance to the church.
Incidentally, the 17th century Dirleton Kirk was the location of one of my first weddings I photographed digitally (as opposed to with film) way back in 2003!
After the service the ushers organised the guests into two lines so that the newly married couple could be covered in confetti as they left. This is an essential job for ushers, as people don’t seem to realise how close you need to be to throw confetti! It really doesn’t travel very far….
On arrival at the Archerfield Estate we stopped at the end of the Archerfield House driveway for a quick photo before heading down to the Waterside and more photos on the coastline and in the woods.
The weather at this point was nice enough for the guests to be able to stand outside drinking champagne before moving inside for the speeches. The Waterfront is a huge space, capable of seating 200 guests and always looks fantastic with its star filled ceiling. With a great PA system everyone could laugh at the Best Man’s speech, and Adam’s embarrassment!
One of my favourite photos of the day (along with Ashling and her bacon butty) was taken between the meal and the first dance. It had begun to rain and one couple took shelter in an upturned boat that was part of the garden décor. You can’t escape my lenses, no matter what the weather!
The first dance was a sedate affair, but as soon as it was over Ashling held court on the dance floor – in a style that was definitely not sedate!
Here are just a few of the over 300 photos from that special day I delivered to the happy couple, Ashling and Adam.
PS I haven’t mentioned the cake – the most unusual wedding cake I have ever seen! Two caterpillars – don’t ask!
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!
Being a Fenton Tower wedding photographer is always a wonderful experience for me. Situated just outside North Berwick, but within easy reach of Edinburgh for guests travelling from afar, it’s main modern claim to fame is that it was used as the location for Archie’s Castle in the BBC TV series Balamory, and has just won the 2017 Lux wedding awards as the Best East Lothian Wedding Venue.
With it’s huge hall, romantic bedrooms, a dining room with vaulted ceilings, and extensive grounds, it’s the perfect place for a small intimate wedding such as Shelley and Greg’s nuptials.
I’m assuming that when the castle was built in the 14th century and they decided on it’s strategic site atop a hill, they weren’t thinking about the wind, weddings and wedding photography! It can be the breeziest venue I shoot at, although, to be honest, there are so many good locations to use in the grounds that I can normally find a sheltered spot! And here’s a tip: always get your subjects to face into the wind so that their hair, veil and dress blow away from them!
Shelley and Greg’s marriage was on such a windy day. I almost got strangled by my own tie as I stepped out of my car…. But it was also a day full of surprises, not least for the Bride! Shelley was kept totally in the dark about the weekend, as the whole wedding was organised by Greg and Shelley’s Mum!
The Bride and Groom’s two young daughters nearly stole the limelight. Their excitement and smiles were only matched by their parents – in fact it was smiles all round for the whole wedding party.
After their ceremony I whisked the newly weds outside for some quick photos with the Tower in the background, and then it was back inside for some more formal photos in the warmth of the Great Hall.
I left them after the speeches, and about to eat from an amazing menu prepared by Katrionaand Lyndsay from Feast who always seem to be slaving away in the kitchen while I’m working as a Fenton Tower wedding photographer.
I’d never been to the wonderful Kellie Castle before – but that’s not a problem for me. I just turned up over an hour early and met the National Trust Scotland organisers and had a tour while we compared timetables for the day.
Kellie Castle is a jewel hidden in the Kingdom of Fife. Originally buit in the 14th century, it was extensively modernised by the artistic and famous Lorimer family. It’s a perfect, romantic place to get married, and a perfect location for your wedding photographs. It’s gardens in particular, with their ‘Arts and Crafts’ herbacious borders and fruit and vegetable gardens, provide the perfect spot for an outdoor reception.
Alex and Andreas got ready in the picturesque Scottish fishing village of Pittenwean before travelling to the castle. They got married in the magnificent hall, and then held their reception outdoors in the gardens, filled with spring time flowers.
Shona and Jon wanted their wedding to take on the style of a Country House Weekend, and Wedderburn was the perfect place for them. Built in 1770 to a design by the renowned Scottish architect Robert Adams, its most striking feature is a sweeping stone staircase that greets you as you enter, and leads to the first floor with its 5 grand reception rooms. With 12 huge and individually decorated bedrooms, it’s the perfect place for a wedding party!
Shona and Jon made full use of the space. While Bride Shona and her bridesmaids got ready in the Bridal Suite (complete with a 4 poster bed!) Groom Jon and his Best Man and father were immediately below in ‘The Glorious 12th’. Bedrooms can often be crowded places to photograph during all the busy preparations, but the rooms at Wedderburn are huge!
Their ceremony was held in the Ballroom – the perfect setting for any civil, humanist, or religious service, complete with marbled columns, Georgian windows and chandeliers. Once married, they and their guests moved to the drawing room, with its huge log fire and large and comfortable sofas.
While their guests enjoyed champagne, I took Shona and Jon outside to photograph them on the grounds of the castle. The sweeping drive is one of my favourite photo locations for natural and relaxed wedding photographs, along with my obligatory photo of them leaning out of a window with a crest below them, its motto: “Remember – True To The End”
Both the Bride and Groom are vets, and two of their clients gave them wonderful, and unusual, wedding presents. One farmer gifted them the beef that was served at dinner (carved by the guests themselves) and another dairy farmer donated the cheese that was served for dessert at the wedding breakfast.
Jon had made the favours: hand-tied fishing flies mounted on a broach, and even more unusually, Shona made her own decorative wedding cake!
The evening continued with a hilarious Best Man speech, and then ceilidh dancing in the ballroom. In between the reels, guests relaxed on the sofas in the drawing room.
Auld Lang Syne brought the celebrations to a traditional Scottish finish, and the end to a wonderful day.
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!