Diary of a Bride - Oran Mor, Glasgow
Emma & Andrew, Summer 2011
We were married on the 29th of July in 2011, and the sun was shining (thank goodness!). The day was amazing in every way and we can honestly say we enjoyed every single second of it. This was very much thanks to the careful planning done in the run up to the big day, and I am very glad that we spent so much time pouring over all the details – it is worth it in the end! We are looking forward to reflecting on our wedding and all the moments that made it so special.
Waking up to the smell of bacon rolls was an excellent start to the day. After breakfast with my ushers and best men we all got into our kilts which had been set out with individual labels and tags by my parents. The sun was splitting the sky as we posed for pictures in the garden, we could not have asked for better weather. We all jumped into my usher Gordon’s very glamorous boy racer car and headed to the church. Our ceremony was held in Emma’s hometown at Lenzie Union Parish Church. It was very important to us to have a traditional wedding ceremony and this church was perfect. On arrival, however it was still locked up and no one was around! After about 15 minutes of sweating and worrying the care taker arrived, all was well, we were pleased to discover that the flowers had arrived earlier that morning as had the band to set things up. All we needed now was guests and a Bride.
After a very long night of restless sleep I was so glad to be sitting down in the hairdressers at 9am finally beginning the long ‘getting ready’ process! With me were my Mum, sister Lisa and my cousin Jennifer who were my gorgeous bridesmaids, along with Jennifer’s Mum, my Auntie Joyce. We took over the whole salon and spent a good two hours getting glammed up. I have to mention everyone at the salon Stephen John in Kirkintilloch who did an incredible job on the hair, I have to admit, I was nervous that a bridal hairstyle wouldn’t suit me, but I was so happy with the natural curls that were created!
Eventually we arrived back at the house and were welcomed by my Dad (who had prepared an entire buffet lunch – he had clearly been trying to keep himself busy!) my Auntie Anne who was sipping champagne, and Nick who was very discreetly taking photos as all the girls and I took residence at every mirror in the house. Here, I saw a glimpse of the flowers for the first time, Ruby Flowers in Hyndland provided them and I loved what they had created. The arrangements were very natural and simple with white, green and pale pink.
After doing our own make-up bought from Urban Decay and Benefit (I would highly recommend this!) it was time to get into dresses! My sister’s friend Rachel from Sarah Louise Bridal in Glasgow where we selected the amethyst coloured bridesmaids dresses kindly came to help us all get tied into our gowns – something that when done by a novice can literally take hours! My dress was made by Essence Australia and it was only the second dress I tried on. I knew that it was the dress for me then and it didn’t disappoint on the day! I wore it with a cathedral length veil and simple pearl and diamante headband. The accessory that meant the most to me, though, was my Granny’s wedding band, which I wore on my right hand. I can genuinely say that I was completely relaxed through the whole experience of getting ready to leave for the church, the cars from St Clair Wedding Cars in Hamilton were fabulous and I kept my cool for the whole (five minute journey) with my Dad. It wasn’t until we pulled up outside the church where there was a small crowd gathered to watch that the nerves finally began to kick in!
After checking that all the preparations at the church were completed my best men David and Graeme and my Ushers Robbie and Gordon and I waited outside the church enjoying the weather and mingling with the guests as they started to arrive. It was nice to greet family and friends some whom I had not seen for a while. The time seemed to fly past and before we I knew it the bridesmaids had arrived. My Best men and I made a quick dash towards the vestry of the church.
A knock at the vestry door told David, Graeme, William (who conducted the service) and myself that the Bride had arrived. We made our way to the front of the Church to await the arrival of Emma and her dad. Nerves at this point had left me. At my brothers wedding a year before as best man I was a nervous wreak but today I was calm and composed. The piper started up and I saw Emma for the first time. Words cannot describe the moment I saw her. She looked stunning. I had no idea what to expect from the dress but it was spectacular. Emma made her way to the front of the church and her father lifted her veil and kissed her on the cheek. I took Emma’s hand and we made our way up the steps towards the alter. William began the ceremony.
Although so much time is spent planning the entire wedding day from the transport, to the meal, to the party at the end, the most important part has to be the moment when the vows are said and you finally become husband and wife. I was completely calm until I reached the church, and I can’t explain how nervous I was when I heard our good friend Willie Hutchinson who was leading the ceremony, announce my arrival and ask the congregation to stand – it was somewhere between crying, laughing, and panicking. This was also the only time in my 23 years on earth that I have ever seen my Dad look nervous! When our great piper, Donald MacKenzie started playing Highland Cathedral and we began walking down the aisle it was the most wonderful thing. It was such a lovely feeling to see the smiling faces of all of our friends and family looking at us, and I would have been crying with all the emotion had it not been for the giant grin I couldn’t seem to wipe off my face! It was so exciting seeing Andy standing at the Altar with his best men Graeme and David – he looked as happy as I felt and I just knew it was going to be a perfect day.
The hymns ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ were performed on acoustic guitars by my school band mates Callum and Stephen which added such a special vibe to the songs, and my Auntie Anne read from Colossians 3:12-15. Willie led prayers and performed the sermon, and it fitted us wonderfully. It was very important to Andy and I to have a Christian wedding, which represented our faith and the service really put this across. The ceremony flew in and we were suddenly heading through to sign the register. I was relieved to sit down as having broken my pinky toe a few weeks earlier, standing in 4 inch heels was proving quite difficult!
We walked back up the aisle as husband and wife to the live bagpipes once again and it was so special to see all of our favourite people in the same place as everyone came out the stand in the glorious sunshine with us. The time spent here chatting to people and seeing old friends was one of the highlights of the day for me, and was where some of my favourite photographs were captured. Soon enough we were whisked into the wedding cars (where my absolute favourite wedding picture was taken of Andy and I!) and headed off in convoy to the West End of Glasgow – the bus full of guests provided by Parks of Hamilton not far behind!
Next stop was the botanic gardens in Glasgow, just across the road from our venue Oran Mor for our group photographs. Once again I can’t profess enough how thankful we were that the sun was shining and the weather was warm. Many of our guests came across to watch and I loved the atmosphere of being in this surreal wedding situation in amongst the hustle and bustle of the busy Glasgow West End on a summer’s day! Being so close to our venue across the road also meant we could hear the bagpipe music greeting our guests in the distance, which really added to the whole experience! Nick had asked us to organize a small number of group shots in preparation for the photographs and this really helped us get all finished in record time, with a fabulous end result. Everyone seemed so relaxed and it wasn’t a stressful time as I have heard other brides admit; the only irritating aspect was that the breeze kept blowing my massive veil into my face; as soon as the photos were taken I had my Mum take it out – what a relief!
After the photographs, we all sauntered across to Oran Mor to be greeted by the very friendly and helpful staff who made sure we had everything we needed before we entered. I hadn’t actually seen the reception space since we’d viewed it back in September 2010 and it took my breath away. If you have never been to the Oran Mor I’d recommend a visit – it is a beautiful hall with the most fabulous décor and high ceiling with a stunning mural. It was colourful and unusual with loads of character – as an art school graduate it was ideal for me! Andy works for his own DJing company: Shine Discos, with his best man Graeme, and having DJ’d at hundreds of weddings he’s seen it all, this meant it was really important for him to have a stand out venue, and as my art college buddy Nairn commented to us afterwards, it’s impossible to imagine a more stunningly different venue, in addition to this the staff are excellent and the day was so well organised – big thanks to wedding planner Louise and her colleagues!
On arrival, the main hall looked even fabulous than usual decked out in all of the things we had chosen for the tables. Tall, blue, cream, pink and green flower arrangements again provided by Ruby Flowers, words actually can’t describe how much I adored the flowers. Table settings and menus were designed by Lovat Press (they created our entire wedding stationary, as a Graphic Designer by trade I was super impressed by the simple, elegant yet modern designs. I would have loved to make the stationary myself but I was bound by time constraints because I was also completing my postgraduate degree in secondary teaching the year of the wedding!) The table plan was designed and illustrated by myself, which added a personal touch and satisfied my inner designer! I also illustrated our song themed table names with the lyrics and framed them for each table. Our favours were a donation to Cancer Research in memory of my Granny and each guest received a badge and a small card telling them about this. Also on the tables were gifts for the bridesmaids (tiara charms from Links of London), best men, Ushers and Callum and Stephen who played in the church (personally engraved glasses).
We split the speeches up with the groom and best men before dinner and the Dads afterward, during tea and coffee. This really worked as it saved us time but also meant that the guests weren’t sitting through four speeches whilst desperate for their dinner! The speeches were great, and not too embarrassing (Andy might disagree with this…)
Although I couldn’t eat much of it due to dress constraints the food was truly delicious. My sister still talks about the duck starter to this day and everyone I’ve spoken to says it was a great meal. Andy and I were lucky enough to have time between courses to work our way around the tables for a chat with everyone, something I’d really recommend as the day goes so quickly and time spent with individual guests is limited. I loved the moment when I got round to the table where all of my friends from Dundee Uni were sitting and was presented with a bright yellow T-Shirt stating ‘Dundee saved my life!’
Between the meal and the evening reception there was the opportunity to mingle and chat with guests as well as those arriving for the party. During this time our guests were also able to head up to the balcony to record a video diary for us! Before this, Nick whisked Andy and I along with the best men back to the Botanics for some relaxed, romantic photographs, this was such a great idea and gave us a welcome chance to catch our breath before the madness continued!
Back in the Oran Mor, we cut the cake (I felt like a celebrity with all of the cameras going off!) Our cake was from Special Days in Bothwell and was called ‘Glitter Thistle’. It was a beautiful cake and although I didn’t actually get a chance to sample it (it was scoffed in a matter of minutes at the buffet so it must have been good!) it was apparently delicious!
The band we chose for the party at night are called Bahookie, and they are a ceilidh band with a rocky twist! My school drum teacher Scott Arnott was on the drums and the entire band are exceptionally talented. Scott introduced Andy and I to the floor and we danced to ‘Ten Storey Love Song’ by the Stone Roses as all of our guests looked on from around us. After this the party got into full swing and the dance floor was always packed – a true sign of a great band! There was a break for the buffet: bacon and egg rolls with wedding cake – exactly what everyone was in the mood for, and then the band provided us with a disco. For months after the wedding I thought they had miraculously known and played all of my favourite songs (Girls Aloud included) but then I found out just the other week that in actual fact my friends had been requesting them! I loved all the dancing and I really enjoyed the whole party and doubt that I left the floor all night (a member of the band told me this was unusual for a bride!) The second half of the ceilidh was as successful as the first and the night ended with the whole wedding singing and dancing to Loch Lomond – perfect.
We arrived at the Botanic Gardens with the sun still shining. It was great to catch a few moments of alone time with Emma in the car. The ceremony had gone so well, it was a strange but great feeling to now have a wife. The Botanic Gardens were packed with people enjoying the sunshine. After the pictures were taken we made our way across to the Oran Mor. This was a memorable moment as Emma and I stopped the traffic and walked across the junction of Byers road and Dumbarton road. Some guests had assembled outside the Oran Mor and cheered as we arrived. The Oran Mor is a spectacular venue. The character and atmosphere created was just what Emma and I wanted, getting away from the classic function hall style of venue.
My Best men and I did our speeches before the meal so we could relax more with the fathers doing theirs after. After a short introduction by Colin (Emma’s dad) I gave my speech. Public speaking is a part of my job so I was looking forward to this part of the day. I opened with “on behalf of my wife and I”, after the expected cheering died down I gave my speech and sat down wondering what level of embarrassment I would feel after the next speech. David and Graeme did a joint speech, it was an interesting take on some memorable moments, the less said the better! The meal was outstanding and the feedback from guests mirrors this with only excellent comments about the high standard of service from the staff at Oran Mor. The father’s speeches were funny with my both fathers recalling their first impressions of meeting myself and Emma. Both Emma and myself feel very blessed to have such supportive and loving parents.
With the band sound checked Emma and I stepped onto the dance floor for our first dance to the sound of ‘10 storey love song’ by the Stone Roses, a song we had grown to love over time together. My attention was completely focused on beautiful girl in front of me who had become my wife only a few hours earlier. As we danced that first dance I remember thinking how thankful I was that such an amazing girl had agreed to spend the rest of her life with me.
The wedding was truly was an incredible day. Every aspect was perfectly suited to the style and taste we wanted.
After the final dance Andy and I were whisked off in the patiently waiting car back to Blythswood Square where we spent the night. We had breakfast with the family in the morning and then headed off to a relaxing honeymoon in Iceland for ten days. My parents called halfway through the holiday to let us know the pictures were online, and I’ll never forget Andy and I peering at the tiny screen on our phones in the hotel lounge trying to take them all in, and what a marvellous selection for us to see! They really captured the day in the exact style I was hoping for. Thank you to Nick and all the others who helped make our wedding perfect in every way. (Especially Mum and Dad who took the roles of head wedding planners – I’ll be forever in your dept!)
Stories told by the Bride and Groom about their wedding day
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