A Not-so-secret Island Elopement

Marion and James’ not-so-secret elopement took place on a beach that is only accessible by boat (or foot at low tide). They battled intermittent rain and high seas and took a speed boat to the beach. And the bride’s choice of footwear? Wellies of course. We love everything about this wedding.

How did it all begin?

We met on our first day at Aberystwyth University in September 2009. After 3 years of university, a year in London and Japan, a couple of years in Edinburgh and loads of travelling in-between James asked me to marry him on Bickerton hills.

I’ve walked Bickerton hills with my family since I was born. It’s a place close to my heart and over looks our family home. My dad suffers from dementia but still manages to do this walk almost everyday, he loves is so much. I never wanted a flashy engagement, just low-key and meaningful: it was perfect.

We were inspired by…

Us! Our day was all about us, our love for each other and having fun. We really wanted to embrace and remember the moment without any stress. Our families also fully supported us and encouraged us to do what we wanted even if it meant they couldn’t be there. We were overwhelmed with all the love and support we received.

Tell us about your ceremony setting…

Balfour’s Bay is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever step foot on. It’s beautiful, secluded and so romantic. The Isle of Mull has had a special place in my heart ever since I was a child. I spent every summer on the island with my family and on the rare good days we would take the boat out to Balfour’s Bay.

The beach is only accessible by boat or on foot at low tide. James fell in love with the area almost 8 years ago when I took him to visit. Unfortunatly my dad now suffers from dementia and is unable to travel far from our family home in Cheshire. My dad would never want me to give up on my dream so we had a very intimate wedding day, just two witnesses and a minister we call it our not so secret elopement as close family and friends knew.

We battled the intermittent rain and high seas and took a speed boat to the beach. The ceremony was just perfect, so simple and meaningful. We then had champagne and cake! We couldn’t have imagined getting married anywhere else. A week later after a mini-moon on Mull we had our wedding reception in Cheshire with all our family and friends and it was amazing. We had the best of both worlds.

Tell us about your photographer?

Margaret is simply amazing. She completly embraced our wedding day and said it was the craziest wedding she’d ever done. She embraced the speed boat ride to the beach, waded to the seashore and even pulled up the anchor at one point.

Margaret took really beautiful and natural photos, they really captured the dreamy, romantic and fun atmosphere.

Your wedding dress looks so beautiful and floaty. Tell us more…

My wedding dress was classic and simple, lace top and flowy bottom. I had a handmade pearl belt sawn into the waist to add a little detail and my own touch.

Most importantly for me was that I felt so comfortable in my dress.

And how about the groom?

James bought the 150th anniversary suit, it’s a blue and grey Donegal tweed which had flecks of colour in it. He had a knitted mustard yellow tie and pocket square with a dried flower button hole to match my bouquet. No shoes though, he had to jump into the water to get onto the beach….I was given a fireman’s lift by the skipper!

What did you do for flowers?

My flowers were dried. They were beautiful and also meant I got to reuse them for our wedding party the following week. Carly made my dream bouquet and hair flowers.

We had a mustard yellow theme with pinks, purple’s and daisies. I adore the flowers and they now take pride of place above the fireplace, a lovely memory I can keep forever.

My best friend gave me a beautiful locket with a photo of my parents on there wedding day so they could be with me on my day. I wrapped it around my flowers.

Tell us something surprising about your day…

Everyone got on the speed boat despite the rough sea and no one was sea sick!

Any advice?

Do what you want to do, it’s your day and you only do it once.

What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?

The kindness shown to us by the islanders, many of which we didn’t know! We were really touched by everyone’s kindness, it made our day so special and we made many new friends.

In particular we want to thank Lynne and David. We rented Lynne and David’s beautiful holiday cottage, Burnside Cottage for our wedding week and when we told them about our story and they found out we needed a boat they got in touch.

They travelled 5 hours each way so we could use their boat. David drove like a professional and Lynne decorated the boat with helium balloons! We had never met them before and they did it all for free!

Why Scotland?

It’s a place close to both of us and our families. When we arrive onto the island we immediately feel relaxed and at home.

Anyone else fallen in love with the idea of getting married on a remote beach? Alie x


Wedding setting – Balfour’s Bay, Isle of Erraid
PhotographerMargaret Soraya Photography
Florist -
 Florence and Flowers
Hair stylist and Make-up ArtistClaire
Wedding dressCharlotte Balbier from Bridal Haven with Kate Elizabeth
ShoesCath Kidston wellies
Wedding Transport – 6 seater rib!

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