If you got the last issue of GWD you’ll have picked up some top wedding planning tips from US-born-and-bred Shannon Hutchinson and her Scottish sweetheart, Hannah Simpson.
Now it’s time to hear about the big day itself, which was organised from the States and took place at the Northeast’s very own Maryculter House Hotel…
We gave ourselves two years to plan since it would be an international wedding, and we did it all ourselves… Well, with lots of help from Hannah’s mum Ann who was our ‘boots on the ground’ given we live overseas. We ordered everything to her, she picked things up and she even made our Scottish tablet favours – all 5lbs of it!
Food, drink and dancing were our main priorities, and we chose Maryculter for its culinary offering and overall aesthetic, plus they were flexible with our wants and needs. We wanted it to be simple, modern and fun so skipped out on a lot of the ‘usual’ wedding décor – there were no chair covers and we limited flowers and other accessories, using the freed-up budget to provide an open bar until 10pm and the freed-up time to pull together our DJ’s playlist. We both love to dance!
Our colours were seaglass green, which Shannon really likes, and slate blue for Hannah. For flowers we did the classic Scottish thistle. Most of the bridesmaids were given a colour to stick to, a website to browse and permission to choose any style whilst Hannah’s two bridesmen and one of her ‘maids went for kilts; grey with ties to match the slate blue dresses.
We stayed at Maryculter the night before with everyone in the bridal party and had a lovely pre-wedding dinner at one long table for 24 in a private room. It flowed nicely and looked so elegant.
Our ceremony was somewhat traditional. The bridal party walked down the aisle followed by our brothers (we each have one) who escorted our mothers. Shannon then walked down with her dad, and Hannah with hers (we hadn’t done a ‘first look’ and Maryculter did a great job of hiding us from each other). Our celebrant, Neil, did a phenomenal job. He told our story, we said our vows, we laughed, we cried and we did the handfasting ritual. We used the same tartan Hannah’s parents and brother had used when they married, and Hannah’s dad assisted the process while Neil explained it. We loved that Neil always brings his dog to his ceremonies and she was so well-behaved, lying down looking over the River Dee looking rather majestic.
Afterwards we did a confetti toss then we went off for our couple photos with Dani and her second shooter, Louise. They had us laughing and feeling comfortable enough to be intimate and share some kisses without feeling awkward or staged, as had been our fear. When we got back to our guests, we were entertained by a bit of magic then had some patriotic fun with our Scottish and American flags, which turned into chants of ‘USA, USA, USA!’ then a rendition of The Flower of Scotland. It was so much fun.
The meal was delicious and the speeches went above and beyond our expectations. They were followed by our first dance to The One by Kodaline, which we’d listened to early on in our relationship, joking that it would be our wedding song one day. So, it was! It’s a long song so halfway through our DJ invited everyone to join us. It worked and it was extra special. Later, we both did a dad and daughter dance to Elton John’s
Tiny Dancer and there were two ceilidh tunes. It was fun to see the Scots show the Americans how it’s done!
It was so nice blending not only our families but our cultures. We arranged the tables to be half and half – the Americans were keen to experience a Scottish wedding and the Scots were all so welcoming. It was a surreal moment for us to have everyone together, many meeting for the first time. We felt extremely loved
After the celebrations we spent a week in Scotland doing touristy things with Shannon’s side of the family then a week hanging out with Hannah’s as she doesn’t get to spend much time here. We’re thinking of a more traditional honeymoon for our first anniversary.
For others planning their big day, we’d urge them not to sweat the small stuff – no-one remembers what the chairs looked like so do what’s most important to you as a couple! Then, on the day, take a second to look around and enjoy the moment because all the effort will be worth it in the end. It is truly a day you’ll remember forever.”
Little White Book
Bridal outfits: Perfect Bridal Rooms (Hannah), David’s Bridal, USA (Shannon)
Bridal accessories: RedRocks (Hannah), Sweetv (Shannon)
Bridesmaid outfits: Birdy Grey
Bridesmen outfits: Deeside Kilts
Beauty: The Beauty Boutique
Buttonholes: AngelK Silk Weddings
Cake: Fondant Cake Design
DJ: The Big Day Entertainment
Flowers: Isla Duncan Florist
Hair: Hair by Rae (Hannah), Gemma Taylor Hair (Shannon)
Humanist: Neil Lynch
Magician: Phoenix Magic Aberdeen
Make-up: Lauren Alexandra Makeup, Tracey Cepeda MUA
MOB outfits: Perfect Bridal Rooms
Photographer: Dani Rose Photography
Piper: Alba Bagpipes
Stationery: Made Naturally Designs
Venue: Maryculter House