Aberdeenshire, Scotland Real Wedding


April 24, 2020
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Fern Photography

What happens when the senior editor of a national destination wedding magazine gets engaged after twelve years of dating? She elopes to a castle in Scotland, naturally. 

“Having worked and traveled for Destination I Do for nine years, a hometown wedding was never in the cards for me. Over the years, Zach has gotten to travel with me and agreed we should start our married life together in a new and exciting part of the world,” says Courtney. 

Having dreamed of her wedding day for a while, she didn’t want to deal with the countless particulars and trappings of a traditional wedding. “I was also eager to get the show on the road, so-to-speak, and selected a wedding date only six months away. An elopement made this short time frame much more manageable,” says Courtney.

Family and friends were “amazingly supportive” and gave them the freedom to pursue the event that reflected Courtney and Zach’s desires. “Obviously our friends and family, especially our moms, would have loved to visit Scotland and stay in a castle, but understood our reasoning and supported our plan. They knew how long we had waited for this day and wanted it to be everything we had always dreamed of.” 

Apparently, Jon Snow does know a thing or two. Courtney was following the “Game of Thrones” actor’s real-life wedding to his costar and discovered Aberdeenshire. “Once I started researching the ‘Castle Country of Scotland,’ I was sold,” recalls the bride.

Her single worry about eloping was not having loved ones around leading up to and on the wedding day. “This was another reason why I suggested Scotland as our destination. I wanted to make sure we were surrounded by vendors who we could rely on and felt more like friends than business associates. I knew in my heart that the Scottish people would be warm, welcoming and make us feel right at home. This was exactly the case.”

With her hand-selected wedding vendors in place, Drumtochty Castle as their backdrop, a dream-like floral ensconced aisle to float down, a bag piper serenading and a Humanist officiant uniting them, Courtney and Zach made their commitment to each other official. Their ceremony was a true reflection of them with an emphasis on a partnership based on mutual respect with a desire to live a compassionate life together.

After the couple said their destination “I do’s,” they enjoyed a first dance and cake cutting. They then headed out to the fish and chip truck their wedding planner had arranged along with a Prosecco van. “We spent our wedding night sitting around the fire drinking whisky, playing pool and taking photos.”

One unexpected add-on Courtney insisted on was a sunrise photo shoot the morning after the wedding. “All our vendors were a bit shocked when I suggested it, but I thought watching the sunrise over 15th century castle ruins on the Scottish coast would be an amazing way to start our married life!”

Vendors: Photographer: Fern Photography; Wedding Planner: Lisa Bauer with Tartan Weddings; Reception/Ceremony Site: Drumtochty Castle; Videographer: Olive & Thistle; Florist: Hay’s Flowers; Humanist Celebrant: Halde Pottinger, facebook.com/humanisthalde, Hair & Makeup: Tiphanie Duncan; Bagpiper & Ceremony Music: Rich Gordon; Food Truck: The Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven; Prosecco Cart: Juniper & Grape; Cake: Vicky Irvine with For The Love O Cakes; Vintage Car: Eagle Wedding Cars; Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana (Style #874) from Marieé Bridal; Scottish Tartan Wrap (Purple): Joyce Young; Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka; Bride’s Hair Vine: Twigs & Honey (Style #408); Bride’s Bracelet: “Morning Dew” from BHLDN; Bride’s Earrings: Ayajewellery from Etsy

This article first appeared in Destination I Do’s Fall/Winter 2019 issue. You can order a copy here. 

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