Monique Gorringe, 26, married Thomas Shepherd, 27, at Dundas Castle in South Queensferry, Edinburgh, on 5th May, 2018. She says:
We always planned to host a very British wedding full of tradition and romance. We imagined it to have a ‘spring, forest and folklore’ theme. I love enchanting stories and the wildness of nature, so wanted to create an environment in which we'd all feel we were at some sort of fairy revel, hidden in the middle of an ancient forest.
We love Scotland and its highlands, and have many happy memories there so, for us, hosting our wedding there made sense. The medieval Auld Keep at the venue, where our ceremony was held, was a truly special place to be married and Dundas Castle itself is filled with historic splendour. It's so typically Scottish in its rustic beauty and we loved including lots of Scottish elements throughout the day. We had a bagpiper, I walked down the aisle to a famous Scots poem, our ceremony included a Celtic 'handfasting' ceremony – in which a knot is tied around the newlyweds' hands to symbolise their commitment to each other, and we incorporated lots of visual elements that evoked the nation's natural beauty. For the reception we organised a traditional ceilidh – a brilliantly fun series of dances that bring guests together in celebration. We even served haggis, the country's 'national dish', at dinner!
Our florist, Stephen Knowles, who's a very good friend of my family, helped bring our romantic vision to life. We had a drinks reception on arrival in the entrance hall of the castle and the front door was decorated with an archway of green foliage, thistles, stag antlers, pheasant feathers and pink wildflowers, all inspired by the wilderness of the highlands. As guests then headed to and enjoyed the ceremony, our florist got to work covering the grand staircase in trailing ivy entwined with white roses. It was a magical surprise for our guests when they reentered the space to find that these plants had wondrously sprung from the ground and up the banisters. I loved how it looked like they'd been there forever. Inside the pavilion where we held the reception, Stephen had built a giant tree in the centre of the room and covered it in spring blossoms, while the ceiling was a giant canopy of woven ferns and flower garlands. Everything had the dreamy, heady quality I'd hoped for.
The design and arrangement of the flowers and all the other decorative details throughout the day resulted in the most spellbinding aesthetic. Our florist sourced props that would evoke an antique, eccentric vibe, using mixed-metal Baroque and Rococo urns and candelabras of varying heights and styles. We had gold cutlery and gold-edged glasses from Jones Hire to complete the look of an opulent dinner party in the forest of a rugged estate. We used moss-coloured tablecloths and napkins to complete the look. We didn’t know exactly how all the individual elements would fit together until we saw it on the day and everything totally exceeded our expectations. Thomas and I were so proud of our florist and wedding planner Sira Antequera for working so hard to create our dreamlike vision.
Photographs by Victor and Ramón at EL MARCO ROJO