An Enhanced Elopement


An Enhanced Elopement

When Murray Aitken proposed to Lila Cruickshank, most family and friends would have dubbed them ‘an elopement couple’ and, actually, they pretty much were – just with an extra few VIPs. Here, Lila takes a break from her job of wedding planning at bea

We always knew a big wedding wasn't for us. I don’t like the limelight or fuss but lockdown confirmed it. We had six months of restricted weddings at Logie and although the conversations with couples were bleak (they couldn't have the guest lists they thought they wanted) each one was so, so special and more memorable in its own way with just the nearest and dearest present. That was it – we were sold, keen to break the mould and not the bank with a personal micro-wedding. We had eight guests at our ceremony at The Hermitage and meal at Fonab Castle then a further fifteen joined us at night for The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, which was where we had our first ever date.

Although we weren’t marrying in Aberdeen I knew I’d be ‘dragging along’ plenty of those I know from doing weddings for a living as we’re truly spoilt with our supplier family locally. Photos were important for us, and during a rather drunken celebration six months prior to our date at Logie for owners Tim and Stef, I put our date in Michael Carver’s diary. He followed up the morning after and we were all more than happy to proceed… A true indication of how complacent we were with our own wedding plans! Securing our venue just six months before the big day narrowed down our other options and I was able to secure my hairdresser by chance through a cancellation. And our celebrant was a given – I've worked with Neil Mellis so much we joke he's part of the furniture at work. The rest all fell into place rather seamlessly and we went for a whimsical, autumnal theme.

Both our mums were florists and Murray’s mum is sadly no longer with us so we used her dry flower stash to adorn the gents’ suits. My mum did the rest of the décor (I’d never have had anyone else!) and Murray, having inherited the creative gene, spent time making lots of personalised details, like our resin-topped signing table.

Painfully awkward and self-conscious, I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy dress shopping. But when the lovely Linda at Elmar Bridal Collection shared a black gown with pockets on her socials, I knew I had to try it. Sadly, it wasn’t right for me and I ended up taking a huge gamble with a boho dress that had been doing the rounds on TikTok. It arrived from Chicago just weeks before our date and I loved it – phew! I’m a trainer gal so when Vans released a wildflower white trainer, there was no question as to what I’d have on my feet. Then I approached Claire (the bridal jewellery queen at RedRocks) to make some custom hairpieces that would match my bouquet.

For Murray, I’d stipulated no kilts, having seen them worn haphazardly one too many times at work! So, a few trips to Hugo Boss and he was sorted with a very dapper velvet suit. My six-year-old daughter, Éabha, was our flower girl and we joked that I was the third wheel; happy to attend Murray and Éabha’s wedding! It was probably more of a big deal to Eabha than I most days and she wasn’t just flower girl, she was also lead planner and head decorator.

We chose to get married at 2.30pm to have more time in the morning and include a first look with our photographer (our only chance for daylight images at the castle given the time of year). Our humanist ceremony included drinking from the quaich – a quaich Murray’s mum won for Best Stand at Banchory Show 2003, which we'd filled with Thistly Cross cider, the first drink on our first date in Pitlochry in 2019.

Afterwards we got a few photos at The Hermitage then headed to Fonab where a champagne tower awaited. Having worked in hospitality from a teen, I knew we needed somewhere with impeccable food and service, and Fonab’s private whisky room didn’t let us down. We’d dressed it on-theme, drinks were flowing and the food was amazing. Our relaxed approach all came together here and we were so well-looked after.

We opted out of speeches and a first dance, heading straight to The Enchanted Forest for an evening reception that was ‘unapologetically us’. Our wedding was different, alternative and non-traditional, and its uniqueness was our highlight. I’d say to others to be selfish because it’s your day. Do it your way and never put yourself in a position where you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable

Lila's Little White Book

Alterations: Vip Alterations

Banners: Daydreamer Creative Studio

Bridal outfit: Flora & Lane

Bridal accessories: RedRocks

Beauty: Natalie Fearnley Skin, Glow on the Go mobile spray tanning

Cake: Gumblossom

Celebrant: Neil Mellis

Favours: Cakes by Kirsty

Groom outfit: Hugo Boss, Slater Menswear

Hair: Michelle Reid Hairdressing

Linens: 88 Events (gifted)

Make-up: Steph Milne MUA

Personalised jackets: Stitch N Print

Photographer: Michael Carver Photography

Rings: DV Jewelry Designs

Venue: The Hermitage, Fonab Castle Hotel, The Enchanted Forest