A Mystical, Magical, Styled Highland Wedding Shoot in the Cairngorms – Part 1

One autumnal day in September a team of talented wedding suppliers led by a Cairngorms wedding planner – me – appeared in a few magical locations in the heart of the Cairngorms. This was to become a styled Highland wedding shoot with three aims:

  • Firstly, to provide fresh images for the gallery on my website;
  • Secondly, I wished to highlight the beauty of the Cairngorms in the autumn. So many couples automatically decide on a summer Highland wedding. However, each season in the Cairngorms can be spectacular with the different colours and looks. Autumn is also my favourite season. Colours turning rustic – browns, reds, gold and oranges and a sun becoming weaker, creating a mystical illusion; and
  • Thirdly, sustainability is extremely important to me. I wished to demonstrate how easy it can be to put the word ‘eco’ or ‘sustainability’ into wedding plans.

This styled shoot could be interpreted in two ways. Viewers may see it as a Highland elopement or alternatively, a newly wedded couple who have chosen to escape from their guests for a while to enjoy some private time together. It alludes to an outdoor wedding set in natural surroundings.

The Beginning

This project began back in June when I created my mood board, demonstrating the style of my shoot. My first supplier on board was local photographer, Catriona Parmenter. Catriona has a huge talent for capturing the raw emotion of a wedding. She incorporates this with the natural backdrop and a moody, mystical element that I was looking for. She is also extremely conscious of the environment in her work, respecting the landscape she works in and choosing her suppliers and labs carefully. Catriona and I initially got together on several occasions brainstorming the look that we wanted for the shoot. The excitement and trepidation rose!

Once I had my photographer on board I made contact with Elizabeth Brown from Saint Beth Official through The Wedding Business Club that we are both members of.  I really wanted to use one of Elizabeth’s beautiful crowns and when she saw the photographer that I had, and my mood board, she suggested the next supplier to come on board, Jo from Julita London. What a fantastic recommendation that proved to be….

The moodboard for this styled shoot.

The Dress

On a family visit to England, I next met up with Jo from Julita London. Meeting Jo and looking at her incredible collection of stunning bridal dresses, my imagination went wild with the look we could create. She suggested we use her ‘Gilded Lily’ dress, a shimmering cream and golden sequin creation that could stand up to any weather, be worn outside in woodland and water, and can be handwashed after use. I didn’t realise at the time quite how amazing this dress would look in the locations I chose!

Aside from the fact that the dress was stunning, Jo was also the perfect supplier for me. Her dresses, are handmade and well made by a small team in London. They can be resold and worn by future generations, as her designs never going out of fashion. Dresses are made to order so there is never an excess of stock fabric. They can be altered and worn at other events. Whilst Jo makes the dresses, all the off cuts are donated to other independent designers who incorporate the fabric into their own products.

The Team Comes Together

From there in, it was a case of finding my bride and groom and all the other suppliers involved in a Highland wedding. This proved to be more complex than I had realised. Expecting people to donate their time and services, when suppliers were working like mad in a post-lockdown wedding season, was possibly not the best idea!!  However, by the week leading up to the shoot, I had a fantastic team of suppliers and a brilliant model, Sylwia, for my bride. Finally, along came James – my daughter’s dancing teacher – who became groom for the day, his first ever modelling contract!

The Day Before……

The day before the shoot was exciting meeting Sylwia who had travelled up from Perth. I had also collected the flowers, the delicious food and all the last bits and pieces. I did a wonderful yin yoga class in the tipee at the beautiful Dell of Abernethy. Finally I went to bed happy that all was ready. However, not much sleep was had….

The Day Arrives

The team began at 7.30am with Laura and Steph from The Dolls House in Inverness arriving to do hair and make-up. As they worked, we watched the rain come down and listened to the wind howl outside. We wondered how on earth the shoot would go. But miraculously by the time Laura had fixed the golden ‘Areli’ halo, made from upcycled golden floral and leaf filagree and metal beads, and hand-painted by Elizabeth Brown from Saint Beth Official, the wind and rain had gone.

Sylwia put on her dress and James our groom arrived.  James was suited and booted courtesy of the prestigious tailoring firm Stewart Christie & Co.  I had decided against a kilt for my groom. I felt that on this particular shoot, it was to be the landscape and the team of suppliers that would highlight the Highlands of Scotland. James’s suit was perfect for autumn with a rich orange tie and handkerchief, and a fine orange thread running through the suit.

We set off with a bounce in our step for our Scottish wedding!

If you wish to find out more about me have a look on my website.   If you can’t wait until the next episode and would like to chat with me about this shoot or a Highland wedding you are planning, please get in touch with me via my contact page.

Images – Catriona Parmenter Photography

To read the second part of this blog post, click here