Diary of a Bride - Kilbrandon Church and Lunga House Argyll
Carole and Stephen, Summer 2011
As all brides know, your wedding day is one of the most important events in your life and it has to be right. So we spent some time thinking about, and thought, well what is a wedding all about. It is a more searching question than you think. Is it a party for the relatives, is it a show where you are the main star for the day, or do you want to be on a production line on some south sea island beach, beautiful though it may be, but certainly to be shared with others in white dresses in the queue? And why does it have to be the traditional procession.
Thinking about it, we came to the conclusion that a wedding was none these. It was really all about committing our love to each other, and just importantly it is a happy romantic day without a care in the world. Nothing to do with what anyone else wants, a day for us!
So we searched the world north and south and we searched the Web and Google for hours. We are both outdoor people who love the countryside and fresh air. Through all our searches and deliberations, the old Scottish manor house at Lunga gradually popped out. How wonderful would it be to go to the spectacular scenery of the Highlands, stay in haunted castle on our own, get married in a little church on an island, go to your wedding and back by boat and live on champagne all day. Just the two of us, no relatives, no speeches, no ties and no stress. So that is exactly what we did.
The challenge was making the dream a reality, the idea was to fly to Scotland on the Saturday, get married on the Tuesday and a have a few days off exploring the Highlands for the rest of the week, walking in the mountains and getting lost in the glens. As we all know, it is all down to planning!!!!
Winding forward six months, we arrived in Inverness in a little plane from London and moseyed on down the Great Glen to Fort William on the way, saying hello to the Loch Ness Monster, rowing on Loch Awe and getting our paper work sorted out in Oban. On Sunday we went completely mad. We climbed to the top of Ben Nevis with phone chargers, three cameras and wedding rings and all, coming back like a couple of cripples with so many aches and pains we could not move. When we got back to the hotel in Fort William at 7.30pm, the best bit was the chilled bottle of champagne in a full hot steamy bath. The worst bit was the challenge in getting down the stairs, only one floor (without a lift) to the restaurant for a massive fat steak burger and a fish and chips. Never have we been so hungry and never has food tasted so good.
Monday was supposed to be a quiet day. On our way via the bureaucrats in the births, deaths and marriages office in Oban, we met Kenneth Ross, the Reverend, such a lovely man, for a cup of tea and chat, to get to know each other before the big day.
Soon after leaving the vicarage, we turned down the road to Craobh Haven, and then up the winding dirt track to Lunga House What a wonderful place, tucked away in its own gardens, almost back to front as it faces away from the sea. We met by Meg and Les, and shown to the Island Room, the best in the house and home for the next 3 days. It was quite fantastic, large lounge with a lovely Edwardian bed at one end and views on two sides looking over the sea, where we could see Mull and the Isle of Seil, five miles away, what a fantastic view. You can even see the marina at Craobh Haven, just down the road.
After our antics up Ben Nevis the previous day, fresh fish and chips at the Lord of the Isles Restaurant in Craobh Haven and an early night was called for. But during the night, the wind started to get up and the rain was lashing on the windows. In the morning, the day the wedding, we woke up with the full force of a Scottish Hooley coming up from the south. What a picture, black clouds steaming in reflecting off a very stormy sea.
A hearty Scottish breakfast and bottle of champagne was called for. Soon after, Carole our wedding coordinator arrived and took some photos. A few minutes later a phone call from the hair dresser, still in a coffee shop in Lochgilphead, she did not arrive, so to plan ‘B’, a whole bottle of hair spray and batten down the hatches for the storm to come. Nick, our photographer was next to arrive, as was coming over with us on the boat. We had chosen Nick because his photographs stood out. He really captured the atmosphere and the personalities of the people on the day.
After a bottle of champagne, we checked with Duncan, the salty sea dog who was going to take us to the Isle of Seil by boat, were we up for the ride ?
Carol looked stunning in her white wedding dress and pink wellies, prepare for the voyage of a life time. The day started to unfold as we headed, in the wind and the rain, down the track to Craobh Haven to get the boat. There was Duncan in his full ollies, ready to do battle with the turbulent seas. Thinking how were two cityites from Surrey going to cope with the full force of the Scottish weather.
The boat trip was a rollercoaster, a full storm force 8 with waves crashing over the boat, but we were both used to boats and having the time of our lives. The scenery and the atmosphere were stunning, such an experience.
After 40mins we arrived at Cuan, at the southern tip of the Isle of Seil, a small beautiful island just off the west coast. From Cuan we had to walk a mile up the hill to the church up a lovely beautiful lane. It was so lovely having this time to stoll up the road and chat with each other with not a care in the world, we are getting married today!! Not any old day.
Nearing Kilbrandon Church, as we neared the crest of the hill, we were met by Ian the piper, he too in all his wet gear and pipes all blazing, ready to go. As the pipes got louder, the church came into view, until we mounted the last incline up to the front door. At the church the pink wellies came off, and lovely pair cream of shoes took their place.
The Reverend Kenneth Ross and the organist conducted a very moving service as we took our vows and exchanged our rings. It was a very moving moment, filling the church full of joy and happiness, just 7 of us, the reverend, the organist and Carole and her husband as the two witnesses. We were now married, Mr and Mrs, 6th Sept 2011. We will remember that moment in the church for as long as we live.
As Mr and Mrs we retraced our path down the road back to the boat, Ian leading the way with the pipes blowing their music with steam out of every orifice. As we left the church, the weather stopped blowing and a big patch of blue sky appeared overhead and followed us all the way to Cuan. Singing, dancing down the road with Ian leading the way, holding up the local bus, cars stopping to take pictures, what a wonderful day.
At Cuan, the old sea dog was ready to take us back to Lunga. The ferry had to wait for wait for us to leave, hooting its horn and the people on board cheering us on. Once safely on board, another bottle of champagne had to be opened. Duncan had mellowed a bit by now that he knew his charge could cope with the worst the Scottish weather. It was a very special trip, just Duncan, Nick and ourselves sharing such a special moment.
Back at Lunga, we had some time to ourselves, and the house, to share some time together at the new Mr and Mrs B. Carole had arranged for another bottle of champagne and some canapés to keep us going to our wedding meal. We had the run of the house, the Victorian bath, playing the piano in the ballroom and the old organ in the lounge, wow a whole Scottish castle to ourselves.
Later, that evening we went back to the lord of the Isles Restaurant where Carole had arranged a table and cooked a special meal for us. Along with another bottle of champagne, we had scallops and lobster followed by a hearty Scottish pudding, finishing with wedding cake made by Carole and a few whiskies.
What a wonderful day. It was so much fun, we just relaxed and it all just unfolded one piece at a time. And by the fourth bottle of champagne and a couple of whiskies, it all merged into one. We thank you all.
In looking back, it was such a special day, dreams do come true, and it is not only about the planning, it is all about the people on the day, may be for our wedding only a few, but we touched so many more. We were very privileged to those involved and can only say our thanks. We will never forget it. And Nick did a fantastic job in capturing those memories as they were, not just another set of photographs on another wedding day. A job well done.
Next stop, backpacking across India for the Honeymoon!!
Stories told by the Bride and Groom about their wedding day
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