Old-fashioned elegance teams perfectly with modern chic in Cameron and Max’s intimate transatlantic wedding. We are swooning over everything – from the boys in tux to Cameron’s dress (er wow) We’ve fallen head over heels for this wedding and think you will too…
How did you meet?
We first met in 2001 in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament. Max was a manager for the Duke University basketball team, and Cameron’s family was part of the group of fans who accompanied the team to Maui. Max became friends with Cameron’s family, but he and Cameron are five years apart so by the time she got to Duke Max had graduated. We didn’t “click” until 2015, fourteen years after we first met.
In the summer of 2015, Cameron was planning a trip to London with her friend, Julie (a bridesmaid–so cool to have her there at the beginning of their courtship and the wedding!). Cameron’s parents had recently learned that Max was living in London, so they suggested she get in touch with him. After some emails and phone calls, we were both very excited to meet again!
Cameron finally made it to London (a day late after her flight was cancelled), and Max met up with Cameron and Julie despite being hit by a car earlier that morning! Out of that chaos came one of the best weeks ever. It’s crazy, but we knew almost instantly that we were made for each other. We dated long distance from North Carolina to London for almost two years before Cameron moved to London in April 2017.
And tell us about the proposal…
It was in July 2016. I arrived in London on a Friday hoping Max would propose. We had known we wanted to get married for months, and I was excited to make that leap and start our official life together.
Max made a reservation at one of our favorite restaurants for Sunday night, so I thought he would ask me then. I was a little nervous because I didn’t really want a public proposal. But he surprised me by asking me to marry him in his flat over coffee on Saturday morning! It was perfect.
We were inspired by…
Greywalls! It’s a place we love and were thrilled to share with our friends and family. We wanted to spotlight the incredible hospitality, elegance, history, and warmth of Greywalls and make our guests feel transported to a more charming, gracious world.
We were also inspired by Max’s love for the finer things! He insisted on wearing black tie and took charge of the menu and wine selection. I was delighted to agree!
Instead of a blank guest book, we asked our guests to sign a coffee table book about Greywalls. It’s a wonderful memento.
Our cake toppers were a golden retriever figurine for our dog, Esther, and a Chemex in a bow tie that Cameron made for Max because he loves coffee and wears a bow tie to work nearly every day. Plus, he proposed over coffee! The Chemex cake topper was a surprise.
Tell us about your venue…
Greywalls is a country home-turned-hotel built in 1901. The house and gardens are absolutely gorgeous. Inside, Greywalls is luxurious and elegant, but also relaxed and approachable with tons of character, history, and charm – it set exactly the tone we wanted for our wedding. It feels like a home, not a hotel; the books in the library have been well-loved, the rooms are cosy and comfortable, and there are family mementoes tucked in every corner.
Max had been to Greywalls and the North Berwick area a few times for work and to play golf, and it immediately became one of his favorite places. He took me in the spring of 2016, and I fell in love with it, too! Even though we weren’t engaged yet, we kept talking about how incredible it would be to get married there.
When Max proposed that summer, we immediately thought of Greywalls. It took some intense discussion before we decided, though, as it would limit our guest list quite a bit (Greywalls can only sleep about 50 people); plus, we knew that a wedding in Scotland would be more expensive and difficult for our American family and friends than a wedding at home.
But in the end, we realized that Greywalls was the one place we were truly excited about, so we went for it!
We are so glad we went with our “dream” wedding because Greywalls was extraordinary! Their service is always impeccable and the food is terrific, but they went above and beyond for our wedding. They were fantastic throughout the planning even though we did most of it over email and only visited once before the wedding. (I was still living in the US until just before the wedding and Max was in London.)
The staff let us choose exactly where we wanted to get married in the garden, helped us combine American traditions with Scottish ones, and accommodated all of our guests’ needs in a snap. Even the garden cooperated – it bloomed about a month ahead of schedule so there were lovely flowers everywhere for the ceremony. We always thought of the garden as a long shot (Scottish weather!), but we were able to have the ceremony outside exactly where we’d hoped! And Greywalls’ flock of doves took flight over the garden just after we kissed! Our guests thought we’d planned it, but it was a fortuitous accident!
How did you break the news of your destination wedding?
We were still a little apprehensive to announce our plans, but our family and friends were really supportive and most were thrilled to celebrate a destination wedding. Some guests even crafted longer vacations around the wedding!
Many of our guests arrived several days before the wedding, so the week felt like a family reunion/non-stop celebration. We loved being able to spend time with loved ones before the wedding day and planned golf outings, a distillery tour, dinners in Gullane and North Berwick, and lots of beach walks.
Having everyone stay Greywalls also took some of the pressure off to have “meaningful” moments with all of the guests at the wedding. Instead we could enjoy the time and not cut conversations short because we needed to greet the next table or group.
How did you choose your photographers?
We got so lucky with Ryan and Lina! We loved their candid, journalistic style and knew they could capture our wedding the way we wanted. Fortunately, they were available! They were flexible and professional over email and seemed happy to work with us despite the distance.
When we met them in person, we were struck by how warm, funny, and delightful they were. We left our one and only pre-wedding meeting feeling so grateful and excited that they were our photographers! They were open to our requests and shot lists, and made sure that they captured the day the way that we wanted. For example, we asked to keep posed shots to a minimum and instead focus on candids, and they did a tremendous job.
We also had some hugely specific requests: for example, my sister and I have a favorite photo from her wedding of me pinning her veil on in front of a window. I showed it to Ryan and Lina and asked if we could get a similar one at my wedding. They made sure to get the shot, and we treasure it.
On the big day, Ryan and Lina were absolutely amazing! They kept me relaxed and comfortable as I got ready so that I never felt as though I had to “model” and could instead enjoy the moments with my sister, my mom, and my best friend. During our first look, Max and I were able to cherish the time together and still get pictures that we love. Ryan and Lina kept us laughing, and we didn’t feel pushed or rushed – somehow they let us be ourselves while gently arranging different poses and locations.
What I love most about the photos are how they capture the happiness and laughter of the day. We’ve had several people tell us that when they look at the photos they feel as though they were there. Since some of our loved ones weren’t able to travel to be with us, we are so grateful to Ryan and Lina for the photos.
What’s really special about Ryan and Lina is how well they work together. This husband-and-wife team function so smoothly with humour, kindness, and professionalism. They were so much fun to have at the wedding and made everyone feel comfortable. We were genuinely sad when they came to say goodbye at the end of the night! We could not be happier with the photographs. Now we just need another reason to work with Ryan and Lina again…
We have been swooning over your wedding dress. Tell us how you found it…
My maternal grandmother Sally got married in 1949 in a Christian Dior gown with 3/4 sleeves and a sheer overdress with a floral pattern. I’ve always loved her dress. Sally passed away before I was born, and I really wanted to wear something that reminded me of her.
The dress she wore is long gone, unfortunately, but I hoped to find something similar. I searched stores and online without any luck, and I had almost given up on the “dream dress” until I found Brooks Ann Camper Bridal Couture. Brooks Ann’s background is in costume design on Broadway, but she now makes custom wedding gowns in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Amazingly, her studio is only about 20 minutes from where I lived! Fortunately, she was available and excited about the project.
To simplify the job and be mindful of my budget, I bought a strapless, tulle ball gown from David’s Bridal and asked Brooks Ann to design the overdress. I also asked her to incorporate elements from Grace Kelly’s wedding dress from the movie High Society (1956). I’m a writer specializing in classic Hollywood, and I’ve loved the 1940s and ’50s styles and Kelly’s sheer, floral printed dress for years.
We had trouble finding fabric we loved, so Brooks Ann found a company in Greensboro, North Carolina who printed a custom silk fabric for us based on antique botanical drawings of gardenias (a flower and fragrance I’ve always associated with Sally.) Brooks Ann was so much fun to work with and the custom process was a treat. The dress exceeded all my hopes. It fitted the setting and I loved wearing it – I felt beautiful, and it was comfortable, twirly, and incredibly special because of its connection to my grandmother and classic movies. I even got to wear the dress again at a reception in the US.
And the groom’s outfit?
Max wore a Hugo Boss tuxedo with a custom shirt made by Commonwealth Proper in Philadelphia. He wore onyx cufflinks from the 1930s that Cameron gave to him as a wedding gift.
He and the groomsmen wore “Maxwell” tartan pocket squares in a nod to Max’s heritage and the location. (His full name is Maxwell in honor of his maternal grandfather, Richard Maxwell, whose ancestors came from Scotland.)
What did you do for evening entertainment?
Whenever we stay at Greywalls, we always enjoy Greywalls’ in-house pianist, Tony Smith, so we asked him to play during the cocktail hour and dancing.
Our first dance was one of our favorite songs, “I Just Want You” by Sara Bareilles. We listened to it as we rode a train back to London on our second date and it remains very special to us. Tony also played jazz standards like “Cheek to Cheek” and “Night and Day,” which are some of Cameron’s favorites from classic Hollywood movies.
We saved the serious dancing for a reception in the United States in May. We knew that a destination wedding in Scotland would mean some of our close family and friends wouldn’t be there, so we had a big party with a band back in Durham, North Carolina.
Tell us something surprising about your day…
Cameron: I was surprised at how completely the world melted away during our ceremony. I only remember Max and our wonderful minister and dear friend, Katie, as she led us through the service. Apparently several doves came to perch on a wall near the ceremony, and later guests kept mentioning how cool it was, but I never noticed!
Max: I was struck not by surprise but instead by happiness that all aspects of our wedding went so incredibly well. There were no hiccups or accidents (that we noticed, anyway!), and instead just a perfect day filled with joy and love. That feeling wouldn’t have been as full without the loving support of our guests, Greywalls, our vendors, and each other.
Come up with a list of your top wedding priorities early on and try to stick to it. Wedding planning can get crazy, and you can spend as much time (and money!) as you want, but try to stay focused on what’s really important to you.
We wanted our guests, the majority of whom crossed the ocean to be there, to have a wonderful time and feel welcome and appreciated, so we tried to focus our energy and budget on the food and wine, accommodation, activities (lots of golf!), and a great photographer to help us capture the memories.
Things like stationery, linens, thousands of flowers, and an elaborate wedding cake weren’t as important to us. Every couple is different, of course, but try to do what will make you happy (and relatively relaxed) on the day!
It is one of our favorite places in the world! We absolutely love it and were so excited to share it with our friends and family, many of whom had never been there before. All of our guests were blown away, and several are already planning return trips. We cannot wait to be back, and are grateful that it’s such a short trip from London!
What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?
Watching the people we love celebrate in a place we love was overwhelming and magical. The whole group blended beautifully and people genuinely seemed to have a wonderful time. Max and I knew that we would have an amazing day no matter what because we got marry each other at Greywalls surrounded by loved ones, but we were thrilled to see our friends and family enjoy Greywalls and the day so much! We feel incredibly lucky.
So much to love here, but above all I love how clear Cameron and Max were on their wedding vision and making it happen. Alie x