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.
This was a first for me – a Lego themed wedding! Scroll down for some photos of the cake and amazing floral table centre pieces….
I’ve also included a couple of my David Hockney inspired collages, which are proving popular.
This was my second visit to Innes House near Elgin in a couple of years, and it never fails to be a wonderful venue, with it’s extensive gardens and unique ‘marquee in a walled garden.’
Rachel and Rab made the most of the late summer sunshine, having their ceremony and reception outdoors before retiring to the marquee for speeches and dinner, and then to the ball room to dance the night away.
This also the only venue I have been to where you can hear opera music coming from the kitchen!
A McGregor marrying a Campbell, in the Highlands? I knew the ancient history of the two clans, and the modern history of these particular North Berwick Campbells, since I photographed Fiona’s sister’s wedding seven years ago. So I wasn’t expecting the trouble I had been reading about in Wikipedia, that took place in the 1700’s…..
In fact, the only real confrontation to contend with was the wind, which howled down the Dee valley past Mar Lodge at some speed. But after a wet journey from Mar Lodge to Craithie Kirk (where they were married by the Queens Chaplain, surrounded by the royal flowers) the rain stopped and the sun decided to make an appearance.
By evening it was good enough to hold an impromptu football match on the front lawn, with six year old Hamish stealing the show.
It was a day with the smiliest and happiest bride and groom, of good friends and family travelling from afar and a wonderful ceilidh in the evening. I left before the BBQ the next day, but if the previous day’s party was anything to go by, I’m sure a good time was had by all!
Take one magnificent National Trust for Scotland building (Mar Lodge) and bathe it in sunshine by the river Dee, then add a skydiving bride and groom, their equally fun friends and family, and finally add in some inflateable guitars, and you’re bound to have a wonderful wedding. Oh, and there was also a surprise performance by the Ballater Pipe Band, and a ballroom decorated with over 2,400 stags heads….