An online dating success story for sure, Lauren Burnside and Ross Cowling ticked one another’s boxes on Match.com back in 2012.
A four-year relationship followed and Ross popped the question amidst the gorgeous autumnal woodland at The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry. Their big day took place two years later on 20 October 2018 and we asked Lauren her top tips for brides-to-be… and how her own wedding day went, of course!
It’s all about doing it your way and giving yourself time. We took two years between getting engaged and our big day and were lucky enough to get all of our first choices with regards to band, caterer, venue, etc.
Ross, his father and his best man-to-be all worked offshore at the time so our first priority was to pull their rotas together and see how many 2018 weekends were available… I think it was three!
Then we needed a venue for those dates. We didn’t want a hotel, and it had to be between Aberdeen and Inverness as that’s where the majority of our family are.
I immediately fell in love with the location and views when I visited The Barn at Barra Castle with my bridesmaid, Rachel. The Barn itself wasn’t built yet but Sarah – the owner – was so passionate about what she was creating that you couldn’t help but believe it’d be exactly as she said. Turns out it was even better! The Barn is finished to such a high standard; it’s versatile and just absolutely beautiful.
Our theme changed a lot throughout the planning process but, when I went shopping with my bridesmaids, they fell in love with a navy satin dress. And it suited them both so well that it swung the colour scheme!
So, it was to be navy, white and cream with touches of copper – but we stuck to ‘less is more’ as The Barn was so well-finished that we didn’t want to overdo it.
We wanted only flowers and fairy lights as decoration and tried to do as much as we could ourselves. We sourced the branches for the centrepieces and worked with our florist to create them, whilst my father-in-law made our postbox, the frame for our Polaroids and our ring box from tree trunks and branches on his building plot.
When it came to dress shopping, I was nervous… but also excited! I didn’t quite know what I wanted but I knew it wasn’t a simple white gown. It had to make a statement and as soon as I put on my blush dress, we all knew it was the one.
Waking up on the wedding morning to find beautiful weather was such a bonus – especially as it had rained the day before and poured the day after!
The next few hours were surprisingly calm. I never once felt stressed and ended up being ready early, so Jonathan did some photos with us in the gardens. Anyone who knows me will know I’m not a fan of having my photograph taken, but he put me at ease and managed to take some amazing snaps we’ll always cherish.
We had a humanist ceremony, performed by Lesley Simpson. We wanted it to be personal with a few laughs, which we got as I was so nervous that I couldn’t get Ross’s name out during my vows. I got there in the end, though!
After drinks, canapés and dinner with our 90 guests, another 50 joined us to enjoy the incredible band that is Bahookie. They performed a ceilidh with a difference, which meant a mash-up of Scottish tunes and modern music, like The Prodigy and Snoop Dog! They also did a DJ set and everyone loved them.
Later, we had fireworks, which were absolutely amazing – the night was so clear and the display was so impressive!
Overall, the atmosphere was brilliant and we wouldn’t have changed a thing. I’d tell other brides to just enjoy themselves as the day passes so quickly!
Venue: The Barn at Barra Castle
Wedding dress: Avorio Bridal
Groom’s outfit: Millsom & Main
Hair: Kerry Anne Hairdressing
Make-up: Donna Meachen MUA
Bridesmaid dresses: Avorio Bridal
Mother-of-the-bride outfit: Coast
Photographer: Jonathan Addie Photography
Stationery: Paper Skeleton
Flowers: XOXO Florist
Piper: Alba Bagpipes
Fireworks: Fireworx Scotland Ltd