After getting together one Halloween as students in St Andrews (she was catwoman, he a rockstar), Lauren and Sean chose to get married in Scotland so they could have a legally binding humanist ceremony that would be really special to them. Their vision for their wedding was a big, informal party that everyone would enjoy, with great food, shots of whisky and lots of personal touches.
Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
Sean and I met in our first semester at the University of St Andrews – we were in the same halls and the same circle of friends. We got together at Halloween when I was dressed as catwoman and he was dressed as a rockstar, then went ‘official’ a month later.
After seven years, two years of on-off long distance, two rented flats and a move to a new city later – Sean proposed to me on the 18th December 2015. It was about 9pm on the Friday night, we had just got back from my work Christmas party and we had plans to exchange presents before I went down south the next day. I came in and we turned on the Christmas fairy lights and some chilled out music and I sat down on the sofa, where I didn’t even clock the new stocking hanging over the mantelpiece until Sean pointed it out to me. It hadn’t been there that morning and I’m always the last to leave for work, so I have no idea how I didn’t notice this new addition to the living room! I went over to the stocking and Sean hovered behind me, I guess looking a bit anxious looking back at it now, but I just figured he was excited to see me open my presents!
The first present in the stocking was hard and rectangular, wrapped up in glittery paper. I opened it to find a vintage style tea caddy. I’m the biggest tea fiend ever and Sean is always having to make me a cuppa so I thought this was such a sweet little stocking present… then I looked inside. Inside the tin (which I only opened because I couldn’t smell tea and I wanted to check if there were actual tea bags in it!) was a ring box. The rest is history!
We were inspired by…
What we’d want to have at any other big party! We were really keen not to go down the formal traditional route as that’s just not who we are as people – we wanted to have a big enjoyable day with friends and family, and for it to be exactly how we wanted it – that meant great food, no seat covers or wedding programmes, shots of whisky for everyone at the meal and little touches that would remind people of us – like my Harry Potter themed ‘Mischief managed’ bunting!
I read We Fell In Love avidly trying to get ideas for decor and little touches in the run up to the wedding!
A good friend of mine had Sophie from I Heart Flowers do her wedding flowers a few years back, and she also kept popping up on the ‘Real Wedding’ posts that caught my eye through the planning process. She did such a great job of turning my very vague instructions into exactly what I was thinking of! I’m not big on flowers beyond thinking that they look pretty, so I just gave Sophie my wedding colours, mentioned that I wanted something quite natural and rustic looking and then waited to be completely surprised on the day! It worked for me!
My bridesmaids had smaller, slightly less full versions of my bouquet, plus we all had some spare blooms for our hair. The groom and his posse had little thistle buttonholes, and Sophie also put together some fab aisle decorations which we then repurposed as centrepieces for the meal.
Tell us about your venue…
We had one venue for our whole day – both the ceremony and reception were held at Pollokshields Burgh Hall in Glasgow. We didn’t want to bother with transport (we were keen to cut costs on things we didn’t really care about) and we also wanted to make sure our older guests would be comfortable (my grandma is in her nineties!).
When we visited Pollokshields, we fell in love with the amazing features – the red brick and stained glass windows – as well as the beautiful statement wallpaper in the reception area and the separate rooms to set up spaces away from the dance floor.
How did you choose your photographer?
I’d come across Suzi on Instagram way back before Sean and I even got engaged, and had my heart set on her from the very beginning. I didn’t actually look into any other photographers at all – so it was lucky that she was available on our date! Her style was perfect for what I was looking for – dreamy, light filled images that actually capture those little moments of emotion that you remember (and those that you don’t).
I love being able to look back and see the shots of Sean watching me walk down the aisle, and me hugging my grandparents after the ceremony. A bonus is that Suzi is a total dream to work with – she’s friendly and bubbly and it honestly just felt like we had another one of our pals at the wedding!
Tell us something surprising about your day…
I had absolutely nothing to do with the donut wall! I desperately wanted one but couldn’t justify the expense, so my wonderful family completely surprised me with it on the day! I think there’s a photo of me somewhere actually spotting it for the first time – it was one of the biggest grins I sported all day! My dad made the wall itself (how talented is he?) while my sister, mum and my brother and his girlfriend coordinated the setup with my caterers, did a Krispy Kreme run on the day and didn’t let on to me or Sean in the slightest!
We love your dress! Tell us more…
My dress is the Rebecca Ingram Olivia wedding dress in Ivory over Antique Blush – I so adored the hint of pink. I knew pretty much from the beginning that I wanted a real princess gown for my wedding day, and I think this dress definitely gave me that! As well as the blush pink skirt, the dress also features a sparkly belt, delicate lace flowers, an illusion neckline and the most gorgeous back detail.
My shoes were Rainbow Club’s Fern Ivory Blossom Court Shoes. My veil was also by Rainbow Club – the Thistle Flower Detail Train Length Veil. I was keen to wear a full length veil with my dress, as I think they just look really beautiful in photographs – the teeny flower details on this one matched my shoes perfectly and made my skirt look like it was trailing delicate confetti everywhere.
I wore an Olivia Burton watch on the day – I went for the English Garden Midi Mesh – the ultimate way to tell when it was time for me to walk down the aisle! My gorgeous Kate Spade bangle was my something blue. My sister gave it to me on the morning as we were getting ready and I wear it almost every day now. My earrings were custom made by Artique Boutique. I got them for my birthday from my parents before my wedding, and the pearls represent my June birth date.
And what about Sean’s outfit?
Sean is Scottish (he’s from Edinburgh) and so are all his groomsmen, so we asked everyone to just wear their own kilts! Not only does it save money, but I think that kilts are quite a personal thing so I wouldn’t want to dictate which one people could wear! The only slight tweak for Sean was that he swapped his usual jacket for a rented one in a grey tweed material – and the typical bow tie for a tie that matched the bridesmaid dresses.
Slow shuffle or big number?
We wanted a band that would play a mixture of classic and more modern songs to get people dancing, as well as the most popular ceilidh songs. The ceilidh was the best bit – it got everyone up on the dance floor and my English side of the family really enjoyed trying out something a bit different – even if some of our Scottish relatives are known to get a bit violent when it comes to Strip the Willow!
Our first dance was to Baby I Love You by the Ramones, which was Sean’s pick but which I fell in love with. Then at the end of the night we of course had to finish off with the traditional Auld Lang Syne and Loch Lomond.
Prioritise what both of you want above anything else (especially if you’re paying for it!). Only listen to people’s opinions up to a certain point – if you’re looking for advice, great. If you’ve already decided what you want and people keep adding their two cents, politely ignore and change the subject!
Don’t make your wedding your whole life. Have time with friends where you don’t bring it up at all, and spend time with your spouse to be without debating table plans.
Don’t do anything stressful in the week running up to the wedding, delegate EVERYTHING to your trusted bridal party and suppliers and, most importantly of all, find suppliers that you think are fab and that you can trust to deliver what you want without you micro-managing everything. My caterers set up all of my decor with just a five minute briefing session the day before and I didn’t see my cakes or flowers until the day, but it all turned out as everything I could have wanted, without all the stress on my part! Trust the experts! For in depth posts about all the aspects of planning my wedding, I’ve got a section on my site with plenty of posts!
I really wanted a humanist ceremony because I was so keen to have something really personal and special to us – I really wanted people to see us in the whole thing and neither of us are religious at all. I’m from Kent and Sean is from Edinburgh and humanist ceremonies aren’t considered legally binding in England so, Scotland it was! Plus, we live in Edinburgh now so I was really keen for my side of the family to get to come up and enjoy a proper Scottish party!
What’s the one truly unforgettable thing about your wedding day?
The ceremony! Before our wedding day, Sean and I were both much more excited for the post-ceremony aspects of the day. The drinks reception, catching up with old friends, the wonderful food and the dancing through the evening. Of course, these were still all amazing – but we both surprised ourselves with how much we adored our ceremony. We were laughing and smiling through the whole thing and even the little things that went wrong (like Sean’s best man and brother spelling his name wrong as a witness!) just added to the casual and enjoyable atmosphere.
Loads of our guests actually came up to us afterwards to say that it was one of the best and most interesting ceremonies they’d ever been to and how much it reflected us as a couple.
We love the way Lauren’s family surprised her with the delicious looking donut wall… Mischief Managed! x
Venue – Pollokshields Burgh Hall, Glasgow
Photographer – Suzanne Li Photography
Florist – I Heart Flowers, now Cosmos Floral Design
Hair & makeup – Pamper & Polish
Wedding dress – Rebecca Ingram, Olivia in Ivory over Antique Blush from Emma Roy Edinburgh
Shoes – Rainbow Club Fern Ivory Blossom Court Shoes
Accessories – Veil by Rainbow Club, watch by Olivia Burton, Bangle by Kate Spade, earrings by Artique Boutique
Bridesmaids’ dresses – ASOS
Stationery – DIY & Etsy
Cake – Little Cake Parlour
Celebrant – Caroline Pearson
Caterer – Bespoke Catering
Musicians – Sahara