Spontaneous summer weather in March is a real treat but if, like Rachael Johnstone and Eliot Milroy, it happens to be your wedding day, it’s the best thing ever! Rachael tells us all about their relaxed but romantic nuptials at St. Columba’s Church and Ba
“Eliot proposed at the top of Lochnagar. We love going on walks with the dog and had started doing Munros, so this was a beautiful setting on a gorgeous day. But we went up the wrong way and ended up doing the White Mounth route, which consists of five Munros instead of just Lochnagar. It took us about nine hours and we were knackered and hangry – but happily engaged!
The location – Banchory – was our first priority as it’s always held a special place in our hearts. My granny stayed there and St. Columba’s Church is where I was baptised. We’d been to Banchory Lodge so many times for food and walking the dog – we love the setting and surrounding scenery. After booking the hotel, the themes fell into place with ease.
Overall, we just wanted something fun and relaxed after the pandemic causing so much stress for everyone (I and many of our guests work for the NHS). We knew our wedding may be one of the first ‘normal’ events people would be going to and we just wanted them to enjoy it.
The colour scheme organically became, based on pink and sequins after picking the bridesmaids’ dresses. The girls all had different skin tones and hair colours, but we found a dress they all looked gorgeous in and went from there. Spring means the most gorgeous colours of flowers are available, so everything tied together well.
The greens in the kilts and the guys’ brown shoes complimented the surroundings of Banchory Lodge. Eliot decided on the Isle of Skye tartan because it was different to his family one and we have some really happy memories from a trip there. Mel from Selbies was a star in creating outfits for both of our dads that were different from but in keeping with the Isle of Skye theme.
Ruffle & Rose Events and Flowers by Lilybet helped us put our own stamp on the venue whilst my talented bridesmaid Jemma helped me craft the wedding signs, table plan, table names and place settings. My lovely mum made our cake, which was all gluten-free, and our favours were Crème Eggs.
We hired Cobbleheugh, the cottage on the Banchory Lodge grounds, as a private space for our family for the whole weekend and had a fun but relaxed wedding morning there with the hair and make-up girls. I’d found dress shopping quite stressful, never getting the feeling of finding ‘The One’ but I loved my simple, elegant gown. I adored the silhouette the dress gave me and the added drama of the long train, plus the cape we’d added later. It modernised a somewhat classic dress and elevated the whole look.
We married at St Columba’s and, as we were so lucky with the weather, had drinks from Banchory Lodge’s Fox Box outside afterwards. It was a stunning afternoon beside the river – and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
After a delicious meal and some funny speeches, we had our first dance to Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac. The song represents us perfectly as a couple. Un1que Disco kept the dancefloor full all night and everyone just seemed so happy. We honestly had the best time and didn’t stop smiling all day!
We’d advise other couples to try not to overthink things. There are a million possibilities with weddings and I think the pandemic has allowed a bit of a reset, removing a level of expectation. So, do what matters to you both – it’ll be things neither of you will regret. We always remember food and music from weddings we have attended, so that’s what we focused on.”
Little White Book
Bride’s accessories: RedRocks
Bride’s outfit: Etiquette Bridal
Bride’s pre-wedding beauty: Kinga Sagala at Kelo
Décor: Ruffle & Rose Events
DJ: Un1que Disco
Flowers: Flowers by Lilybet
Groom and ushers’ outfits: Neil Selbie & Co
Hair: Zoe Gordon Special Occasion Hair
Make-up: Steph Milne MUA
MOB and MOG custom fascinators: Totally Fascinating Millinery Design
Mother-of-the-bride outfit: Bentleys
Photographer: Gregor McLellan Photography
Rings: Finnies The Jeweller
Tan: Brown Sugar by Sam Milne
Transport: Rainbow Prestige
Venue: Banchory Lodge