Fiona and Craig's Winter Wonderland Micro Wedding at Balbirnie House

Monday, January 25, 2021

Mr + Mrs King

22nd December 2020 | Balbirnie House Hotel

Instagram: @mrsfionaking | Photographer: Starlight Fairy Photography

This real wedding is a little bit different! Due to restrictions in December, Fiona and Craig made the difficult decision not to have their photographer there on the day in order to allow space for their loved ones, and had a photoshoot with their adorable dogs the next day instead. They celebrated their wedding day with 20 guests, with another 100 guests watching the ceremony live streamed online via a closed Facebook group. Fiona tells us all about the planning, and offers some advice to other brides planning during the pandemic.

Tell us about the ceremony...

We chose to have a humanist ceremony as neither of us are particularly religious. Our humanist was actually a family friend so it was really lovely to have that personal touch too. My (Fiona’s) brother took on the roll of Toastmaster at our wedding and also read our chosen reading which again was a lovely personal touch. Our reading was “How Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog” by Taylor Mali. Everyone who knows us is aware of our dogs Jack and Kallie and how big a part of our lives they are so we wanted a light hearted reading that would make our guests think of our fur babies. The reading also provided a good bit of humour during the ceremony with all of us bursting into fits of laughter as my poor brother tried to hold it together to finish it. 

  • Song you walked down the aisle to: “I get to love you” by Ruelle
  • Song for walking back up the aisle as a married couple:  Caledonia played on the bagpiepes by our piper Rich Gordon
  • First Dance: “Falling like the stars” Amber Leigh Irish Acoustic version

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Some Blue...

My Something old, borrowed and blue was my Gran’s sapphire ring, all of the women on my Mum’s side of the family have worn this ring on their wedding day so it really was something special and an honour to be able to wear it. My something new was a beautiful bracelet that Craig gave me for a wedding present the morning of our wedding.

Tell us about the food...  

Craig has a bit of an obsession with haggis so we had to have haggis! Our canapes were haggis bonbons, smoked salmon and potatoes with sour cream. Starter was of course haggis, neeps and tatties. Main was either roast chicken or beef with seasonal vegetables and my favourite- bowls of chips put on each table for sharing and dessert was either ice cream Sunday or again my favourite sticky toffee pudding. The food at the hotel was absolutely incredible and nothing was ever a bother to change with the food and drink.

Tell us all about your wedding theme...

The theme of our wedding was Winter Wonderland, I had always dreamed of having a winter wedding because it is my favorite time of year. We were keen not to make it a Christmas theme wedding with traditional Christmas colours. We opted for Navy and grey for the kilts and navy for the bridesmaid dresses to tie in with the winter theme. Our colours for décor were very neutral sticking to ivory flowers with green foliage with the incorporation of winter berries, pinecones and artificial snow. 

What was the most emotional moment of the day?

Our ceremony was so emotional, there was laughter, tears and snotters but it was perfect in every way. It is no secret that Craig and I are a tad hot headed at times and we are not afraid to tell each other the truth and that is why our relationship works. Our ceremony was so honest and real we talked about the things we love about each other but also the things that drive each other mad, all of our guests commented on how lovely it was to hear our honest story and it was just us down to a T. Craig really made me cry when he said his favourite thing about me is when I don’t wear any make up and my freckles are out for all to see which is one thing I really don’t like about myself so that was a really lovely emotional moment for me.

How did you choose your venue?

Well this is certainly a story that we will tell for years to come! Originally we had booked the Lochside House Hotel and Spa for 22nd December 2020, we completely fell in love with the venue from the minute we stepped foot into it but when the pandemic hit we started to rethink our day. We actually decided to postpone our wedding until May 2021 but after doing so we realised that we didn’t want to wait that long to become husband and wife so we decided to keep our date in May 2021 for a huge party with all of our family and friends and legally get married 6th November 2020 in secret with our nearest and dearest present. The plans were coming together we decided the get married in the Fife coastal town Elie where my grandparents have a holiday home where I have visited several times a year since I was a baby. Elie is a very special place to my family so we decided there was no better place than there to become Mr and Mrs. We were due to be married on the beach with our meal taking place in a local restaurant overlooking the sea but three days before the wedding Craig unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19. We were broken hearted to have to cancel our big day but also very thankful that he recovered quickly and that our family were safe. We quickly got back to planning a new date and went back to our original date of 22nd December 2020 but then the restaurant in Elie closed its doors as we moved into Tier 3 restrictions - we were back to square one again. By this stage I was completely exhausted mentally and physically trying to plan and reschedule several weddings whilst nursing during the pandemic, it was all becoming too much. Craig and I returned to work after our isolation period and much to our delight my mum stepped in and took over the wedding planning as she knew how much we wanted to get married in 2020. It was my mum who found the stunning Balbirnie House and pretty much organized the full day for us with the help of the incredible staff there. We had to take a leap of faith and book Balbirnie only having seen pictures of the venue and the occasional zoom call prior to arriving the day before the wedding. It certainly did not disappoint!! I remember driving up the long driveway to Balbirnie House and saying to Craig “Wow! Mum did good!!!”. The venue itself was absolutely stunning but the staff are second to non and really make the place what it is. We have no regret at all about taking that leap of faith and we genuinely cannot think of anywhere in the world that would have been more perfect for our big day. As the saying goes…everything happens for a reason and we truly believe that after all we went through.

Tell us all about the dress and dress shopping…

I loved going dress shopping it was so much fun and I got to spend so much time with my mum as I didn’t take anyone else with me except her. From the minute Craig proposed I had a vision of my dress in my head, I just had to find it. Long lace sleeves, sheath style with a massive long train was exactly what I wanted and when I found it I looked life a sack of potatoes wearing my grans curtains! I quickly realized my vision was absolutely not going to work and I was ok with that. Back to the drawing board we went to a few different shops but nothing really blew me away. One day Mum and I were out for coffee and we walked past Bijoux Bridal in Hamilton so we thought we may as well pop in for a nosey whilst we were there. And there it was an ivory, full satin, off the shoulder, A-Line Ronald Joyce dress with satin covered buttons all the way to the bottom of the long train, it was everything I didn’t think I wanted but I fell in love!! I arranged to go back the following day to try it on, I couldn’t get it out of my head the whole night and my mum kept telling me not to pin all of my hopes on it just incase it didn’t work out but I knew that was the one. We went back the following day and just as I thought it was the one. Both myself and my mum burst out crying and I knew that was the dress I was going to marry Craig in. 

Advice for future brides…

My biggest piece of advise for any bride given the crazy world we are living in just now is just to go for it, you will not regret it! We went from 120 guests down to just 20 and we can both honestly say it was perfect in every single way, we genuinely would not change it for the world. I think as a bride it is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of wedding planning, the details and wanting your day to be picture perfect but actually on that day it is just about you and your husband to be and nothing else matters. I was so obsessed with my décor and table decorations and wanting everything to be perfect which is so silly looking back and I wish I hadn’t wasted so much energy on it. I actually remember on the day not long after our ceremony speaking to one of the managers in the hotel and he asked me how I wanted things set out on the tables, my reply…”I actually don’t care anymore just do whatever you think looks good”. When you are in that moment nothing else truly matters except you and your husband. 

What was your first dance song?

Falling Like The Stars by Amber Leigh Irish. We absolutely love the James Arthur original of this song and often sing it in the house but we loved the acoustic version by Amber Leigh Irish as it is just a bit softer and more romantic. We totally winged our first dance, it was a total disaster and caused our first argument as a married couple- not quite what we had planned. At the end of our wedding evening we actually managed to get a dance just the two of us with no stress of everyone watching to Auld Lang Syne by Dougie MacLean it was actually really special.

Tell us about your wedding favours...

Our favours were white boxes wrapped up with navy ribbon to resemble a Christmas present. Inside was bottles of gin with gold flakes and a mini can of tonic water, we also provided my mums homemade shortbread hearts and silver Christmas crackers which was really fun as our guests shared their cracker jokes and wore their cracker hats throughout the meal.

What was the funniest moment of the day?

As all of our friends and family know Craig is a bit of a joker and is always up to something! Myself, Craig, my best friend Bex and her husband Blair were all posed in front of the main Christmas tree in the hotel for a lovely picture when Craig decided to hit me in the face with my bouquet! My face covered in artificial snow from my bouquet and a sore lip later he seemed surprised as to why I was a tad annoyed and tried to tell me it was an accident (when we all know it wasn’t he just thought it was funny). After he had brushed the snow from my face I did start to see the funny side and he has mentioned in his vows that he knows he makes mistakes-we just didn’t think it would have been that quickly!! The best part of this story is it was actually caught on camera! A live picture on my friends phone shows him hitting me in the face and another showing the aftermath which we have managed to turn into two short videos and is probably one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time! 

The following photos were taken by the couple's family and friends on the wedding day!

What was your favourite wedding purchase?

My shoes! I bought the most stunning pair of Ted Baker ivory satin shoes with a jeweled brooch on the toe, they truly were beautiful and 100% my favourite purchase. 

Tell us about your wedding favours...

Our favours were white boxes wrapped up with navy ribbon to resemble a Christmas present. Inside was bottles of gin with gold flakes and a mini can of tonic water, we also provided my mums homemade shortbread hearts and silver Christmas crackers which was really fun as our guests shared their cracker jokes and wore their cracker hats throughout the meal.

Tell us about your wedding cake...

Our cake was actually very simple, it was a toffee sponge covered with buttercream with real winter foliage and pinecones from my mum and dads garden and handmade sugar roses. Our cake was made by a very talented friend who still managed to make us our dream cake whilst nursing in the middle of a pandemic.

Top money saving tip: I bought a lot of our décor in Ikea and other high street shops and used different techniques to spruce them up for our day. Silver charger plates, wooden place names which I spray painted silver, white chair drapes which I decorated with Sainsburys Christmas floral picks all saved us a tone of money instead of hiring items from décor companies and it was actually pretty fun. I also did all of the stationary myself, I got signs printed online for different parts of the day to make it more personal and special. I would totally recommend brides get a bit hands on to make their day special and to save some pennies.

Photographer: Starlight Fairy Photography 

Venue: Balbirnie House Hotel

Stationery: Myself and printing via Vistaprint

Flowers: Little Petals

Cake: Sarah Watt

Décor: Myself using Ikea, hobbycraft, vistaprint and sainburys

MUA: Annie Walters

Hair: HairbyNatalie

Dress: Ronald Joyce @ Bijoux Bridal

Shoes: Ted Baker

Bridesmaids Dresses: WED2B although they didn’t arrive before the wedding so weren’t worn

Flower girl dresses: WED2B

Kilts: Kilts4U

Wedding Rings: Love For Diamonds

Celebrant: Iain Whitelaw- Scottish Humanist Society 

From Brides, With Love xo

Post a Comment