Oh ladies, do I have the most breathtakingly beautiful, free spirited wedding to share with you this morning – it’s completely stolen my heart and will, I know, be one of my very favourite weddings of 2016. New photography graduate India, who is also a Snowboard sales advisor, married wakeboard instructor and boat mechanic Nicholas on 5th September 2015 at The Dutch Barn at Monachyle Mhor, Balquidder, Scotland. The couple were inspired by the majestic landscape of Iceland when planning the kind of wedding they wanted.
They also had the good sense to commission one of my favourite ever wedding photographers, that uber-talented little firecracker, Caro Weiss, who I think has done the most tremendous job of capturing the spirit and essence of this wedding.
“We love everything about the culture and wanted that to help mould what the wedding could look like so we knew we wanted to be amongst nature. A hand crafted feel was essential – we don’t like the feeling that everything is just so, or matching, we like imperfections it gives real personality to a place/thing. The colour palate came from the gorgeous blue hue of the thermal pools in the north of Iceland, the mustard yellow was from the houses corrugated iron/wood houses around Reykjavik and then we wanted to keep it fresh with white and greens. The 1970’s played a little part in styling the attire for the day because, I love Stevie Nicks.”
“Monachyle Mhor – what can you say? It is honestly magical and I’m not the type of person to use that term lightly. There is something in the air in that valley of theirs!
You have to drive along a windy 4 mile track by the loch side, through the trees, passed the highland cows, and a Buddhist retreat before you reach it, so you’re already feeling a bit ‘zen’d out’ by the time you get there.”
“Two words; Caro Weiss! Our photographer Caro is a wee star so chilled, really funny and stealthy, Caro got the most natural pictures of things and places I didn’t even know she had been! She is just fantastic and she gave us a sneak peek of that amazing day a couple of days after, as we were going on our mini-moon, and it made our holiday!! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!”Monachyle Mhor, you park up, walk passed the restaurants own veg garden and through the door of what was the owner’s Tom and Dick’s family home and it is just that – a home! It’s warm, full of character, incredibly welcoming and oozes love.”
“So once you’ve had your fill of being all loved up with a nice cup of tea and some shortbread, listened to an LP in the living room, given one of the lovely dogs a pat on the head, you get to go hang out in the coolest event space ever, the Dutch Barn. It’s just fun! Wooden walls adorned with antlers and fairy lights, a big parachute hangs from the ceiling like an awesome canopy sheltering the biggest disco ball you have ever seen in your life!”
“Then in the corner is a wood burning stove surrounded by old upholstered armchairs and barrels surround a cosy bar where the drinks shelf is an old water trough it’s the stuff of dreams. Oh yeah, and the pigs are just next door. Can you tell we are in love with the place?!”
India wore the most fabulous clogs by Kurt Geiger…
She also wore a soft felt hat from Anthropologie with white veil material stitch on by her god-mother, Carina.
“Rowan McIntosh is a graduate of Edinburgh college of art who I met at a vintage wedding fair in Glasgow, and is an absolute gem! I worked with Rowan to create something that was reminiscent of 1970s American summer, I knew I wanted something easy to dance and move in with crochet lace and long sleeves and a wee bit of colour and she gave me everything that I wanted and more she is just incredible.”
“Ruby, Ruby, Ruby Rubyyahhhhhhh! Ruby Flowers is a kindred spirit of bohemian romance – I don’t know the first thing about flowers, we came to Ruby with a couple of ideas from Pinterest of colour and feel and after that first meeting, this gorgeous lady gave us arrangements that were bang on! She knows the venue so well and gave us so much confidence in her creativity, that we left her to dress the barn and it was unreal, she’s just magic.”
“My hair was styled by Rainbow Room directors John and Jo Parker, who are total rock stars! My make-up was from Bobby Brown and Shiseido but applied so patiently by our gorgeous friend Raj.
I wore Miss Dior perfume, just because I bought it before we went to Iceland and it is a lovely fresh, clean and sweet reminder of the most amazing place I’ve been.”
“Nicholas and I have known each other since secondary school, a classic tale of friendship made over the love of hip-hop, basketball and Playstation. We’ve slightly moved on from those days of do-rags and Tekken battles but 14 years later and we still love hanging out with each other just as much now as we did then.
We travel the world, we snowboard, wakeboard, dance, laugh at each others rubbish jokes, go on spa days, kind of like Will Ferrel and John.C Reilly out of Step Brothers. We have as much fun as our bank balance allows and usually whatever the other person wants to do the other will be right there for the ride.”
“When I finished University in 2013, I wanted to go straight to Iceland that December (-30) and swim in the hot springs under the northern lights! It’s both of our birthdays at the start of December so Nick loved the idea. I really had no clue he was going to do the deed, because up until then I wasn’t really up for the wedding malarkey. We had been across most of Iceland and fallen in love with it, we had a couple of spots we wanted to visit and Thingvellir national park was on the list.
The ‘park’ is a huge expanse of land and is the only place in the world that you can stand in between two tectonic plates, and December in Iceland isn’t really tourist season so we had the place to ourselves.”
“Earlier on in the trip nick had bought me some amazing hand knitted wool mitts from and old lady in north and whilst having walked to the top of the ridge was joking about how much warmer my ‘wee granny’ mitts probably were compared to his uber gloves (still about -15), so we swapped to see if it was the case. There are only 6 hours of sunlight in the winter so by this point after going through a snowstorm, for about 2pm, it was starting to get darker.
The moon was out and the snow was just lightly falling and down in the valley there was a tiny bit of misty frost starting to settle, he lucked out and the place couldn’t have looked more atmospheric and romantic if he tried! He totally nailed it.”
“After agreeing that my granny mitts definitely had the edge, he gave mine back to me and as jammed my hand inside them triumphantly low and behold a box was inside one! I didn’t even give myself any time to think about it and I just burst into tears, gave him a massive hug and said ‘YES!’.
And then he actually asked me! We had Icelandic fish balls (weird!) and champagne to celebrate that night in our wee wooden house. It was perfect.”
Instead of being ‘given away’ the couple chose to walk to their ceremony together, having already spent the morning together.
“We said from the start we wanted to walk each other to the hillside and start this journey as we mean to go on as a team, but my dad walked me down from my room to the courtyard where we did a first look with Nick – the two of them had a massive hug and were in bits, they both needed that it was lovely.”
“I must add it was Nick’s idea to walk through a row of our guests and to lead them to the hillside it was great and everybody loved it they all felt included in the ceremony which is what we wanted, that’s why they were invited there after all.”
Nick wore skinny black jeans and printed socks from Vans, Ted Baker cherry brogues, Harris Tweed Jacket and Waistcoat with custom lining from Liberty London and a bird illustration shirt and pocket square from Kestin Hare. India made his mustard yellow Harris Tweed tie and his 1920’s pocket watch with Victorian chain was a purchase from Mr Ben’s vintage shop in Glasgow.
“We walked up the track to the epic Bon Iver’s Holocene, Nick’s choice and his favourite song; it had everyone in tears especially our groomsmen Ashish (holding the speaker) poor boy!”
“I used my engagement ring as my wedding ring and Nick bought the smokey quartz one of a kind from a Vintage shop online in America. Nick’s is a custom design from Stag Head Designs, based in a hut in Utah made from reclaimed antler and spalted maple.”
“As lots of couples do now, it’s definitely sweeter and more personal to write your own vows and we didn’t want them to be just promises. We wanted them to be an appreciation of us as were are now, acknowledging the journey we had taken to this point and the future willingness to keep this love and friendship strong…”
We have had a life time of lessons together, good and bad, what we have today is because good or bad we choose to grow from them together, as a team. (extract of India’s vows to Nick)
I will never ask you to be someone different or hold you back, all I ask is for you to take me along for the ride. (extract of Nick’s vows to India)
The couple also had the following reading by Bob Marley, as well as Louis de Bernieres ‘Love is a Temporary Madness’.
He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.
“Nick wanted a relaxed feel for the boys, as I did with the bridesmaids so they could wear any dark trousers/jeans they wanted, boots/trainers/brogues, and they actually all decided to go for the same light blue brushed cotton shirt from river island. We wanted everyone to be themselves but to tie them in to nick we bought a length of the same tweed as his jacket so I could make them whatever they wanted, in terms of skinny ties, bow ties, cravats and pocket squares. We wanted to give them all gifts that they would actually use not just your standard cuff links, so we got Vans sunglasses in different styles because we knew they’d rock them all the time.”
“Walking up the hill with all of our friends in front of us listening to Bon Iver with the sun shining was the most incredible feeling and we still tear up thinking about it. We are the luckiest people to have the friends and family that we have – though I’m sure everyone says that. The swim in the loch and the surprise rap from the groomsmen wasn’t bad either!”
“Monachyle has a complete unique feel and look to it, old armchairs, log burning stove wooden tables, barrels, antlers and a giant disco ball. It sounds crazy but that’s what we fell in love with, so it really didn’t need anything done to it we just simply added flowers, some fairy lights and candles. We also used lots of empty pickle jars with candles, and since the barn was covered in deer antlers I hand painted burlap table runners with an antler monogram and geometric print.”
“The table plan was made by my dad, the table names myself and the name tags got printed at moo.com with some crazy Icelandic phrases on one side and guests names on the other.”
“The Cakes we boxed up for everyone with little personalised stickers, also from moo.com, on the top as part favours, some Icelandic candy and we made clay name card holders to resemble Icelandic houses for people to take.”
“Lynsay owner of Skinny Malink made the invites from a little watercolour sketch India did and just created something really different for us, which our guests loved.”
“Monachyle Mhor has an award winning restaurant and Tom Lewis (owner) and head chef Marysia Paszkowska are incredible and tailored the entire day to our tastes from start to finish – they are the dog’s!”
“Our cakes were made by Bakery 47. Sam and Anna are amazing and their baking is nae bad either! They are a small bakery in the Southside of Glasgow and are only open on Sat/Sun so everything flies out the door; we worked with Anna to create two cakes like a his’n’hers.”
“She made us up some flavour samples, which didn’t take long to pick at all! Nick went with chocolate salted caramel with peanut butter and banana (I know) and I wanted a something a little fresher so Anna made me a lovely berry yoghurt cake with seasonal cherries and yoghurt icing…mmmmmmm! Their Instagram makes me hungry all the time!”
“We had the fantastic bluegrass style ceilidh band, The Homecoming String Band, and our really good DJ mate Kwaku Adjei – it was just the best mix of barn/dancehall music ever! Even the staff were shaking it!”
“Our first dance was to Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’. It’s timeless, a love song without the cliché and perfect for the time of year (harvest) and just suited the barn surrounding perfectly. We wanted to choose a song that we could dance to when we are 80 and it would transport us back to that night and remain a classic.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“There ain’t nothing that some good music, good vibes and dancing with your person to be won’t cure, get your favourite non-wedding song and get your boogie on when things get a bit much!
Weddings can be stressful with opinions given left, right and centre but just remember people love a good wedding and get really excited, they just want to help make your day special for you both, so try and be generous with them!
A wee bit extra advice; don’t spend the night before apart! We got up on the morning put on some mellow beats, did some yoga, had an awesome breakfast and went for a swim in the loch together, it was amazing to have that little chill out time between us before the crazy fun began.”
Breathtakingly wonderful, I couldn’t love this more. As a fellow adorer of Iceland (I visited late 2014 and my husband and I are planning on taking our daughters to visit soon too), I can entirely relate to India and Nicholas’ desire to have such a natural inspired wedding – utterly beautiful.
I’m also a HUGE fan of photographer Caro Weiss, who I’ve been supporting through Love My Dress now for several years. You can find out more about Caro on our wedding directory, Little Book For Brides – you can also see all of the weddings we have featured that were shot by Caro Weiss here.
Anyone else planning an Iceland inspired wedding, or maybe even getting married in Iceland?
Love Annabel x
Photographer – Caro Weiss
Venue + Catering – The Dutch Barn at Monachyle Mhor, Balquidder, Scotland
Bride’s Dress – Rowanjoy
Accessories – Viviene Westwood gold agate stone pendant
Perfume – Miss Dior
Veil – attached to a hat from Anthropologie
Shoes – Kurt Geiger
Groom – Vans + Ted Baker cherry brogues + Harris Tweed Jacket + Waistcoat with custom lining from Liberty London + shirt via Kestin Hare
Bridesmaids – ASOS + Zara dresses + Fawn and Rose necklaces
Florist – Ruby Flowers
Cake – Bakery 47
Entertainment – The Homecoming String Band + DJ mate Kwaku Adjei
Rings – Vintage store + Stag Head Designs
Stationery – Skinny Malink
Hair Stylist – Rainbow Room directors John and Jo Parker
Makeup Artist – A friend