Highland “Fling” – The complete wedding story of Abbie and John – Dornoch, Scotland 12.12.09
It was about this time last year that I began communicating with Abbie about her wedding in Scotland. When the wedding that she originally started planning in Florida began to transform into something she wasn’t passionate about, she decided to take a completely different turn. She told me that one day, in her crazy search for venues in Florida, her friend emailed her one of the many forwards we get filled with funny jokes and iconic images to “brighten ones day”. In this email was an image of a castle that sparked her imagination. One thing led to another and Abbie began trying to track down where that image was taken. In her search out of pure curiosity, she found the element that was missing in her planning process. She began to research weddings in Scotland and after much clicking of the mouse, her and John settled on the quaint little town of Dornoch, Scotland to have their wedding. I truly was so excited when Abbie and John chose me to document such a intimate wedding in an absolute gorgeous destination. It has been one of the best experiences that I have taken with me so far in my career. Between a visit to their hometown in Chicago to photograph their engagement session, to traveling halfway across the world, I really feel that I’ve gotten to see all the beautiful things that make up Abbie and John’s relationship. They are meant for each other. With a year to plan, I decided that I wanted to share this experience with my sister Amy. With a wedding guest list of only 40, I knew she would make the perfect assistant! So on December 9th, Amy and I hopped our first out of many flights on our trek to Dornoch. Arriving there was surreal. I felt that I was living in a little snow globe. We were welcomed by the friendly staff at the Dornoch Castle Hotel. It was exactly how one would imagine. The lobby with a huge, roaring fire place, wooden floors, stone walls, and the perfect little bar serving great beer. I was home! There was even a resident castle cat named “Charley”. All he would do is lay by the fireplace. We think it helped with his arthritis. So, inlay a picturesque and perfect setting for a wedding. All that Abbie imagined, and all that this Abby was hoping for! The next three days were purely magical. As family and close friends arrived, everyone, including Amy and I, shared a sense of excitement and closeness. We all ate and drank together, and got to know one another. It was really nice to be so close and apart of their circle. I felt that we were just another friend in this exceptional trip to celebrate their wedding. It was a magical time being able to have a glimpse into the lives of these people, and being able to laugh and share stories. The day after the wedding was great too. Since it gets dark so early there, we didn’t really have much time to capture portraits of Abbie and John during the day. So, the next morning we all met back down in the lobby and set out for two hours to photograph all over Dornoch. Amy and Kate helped with styling and even shot some video. Then they headed back to plan our trip to Edinburgh, Dublin, London, and then Paris. Yes, we had just begun our trip to the UK and France! It was so exciting and so much fun. So many memories were made! Below is the wedding story of Abbie and John from rehearsal to day after session. I hope you all enjoy viewing these as much as I truly have enjoyed capturing them. To Abbie and John, thank you for the amazing opportunity to document your wedding. I will always remember it! xoxo – Abby
Here’s a “Behind-the-Scenes” look into our trip!
May I introduce to you, the beautiful town of Dornoch Scotland…
This is Dornoch around 3pm, yes…that’s in the afternoon! The sun rises late and sets early at around 3:30. I will say, the lighting was always spectacular!
How beautiful is this town? I miss it already!
Across the street from the Castle hotel was the Cathedral where Abbie and John were married. Every old church has to have a graveyard, how fitting is this one? This is exactly how it felt over there. Simply mysterious and enchanting.
Introducing Abbie and John…
Now, I know you’re thinking that they have to be pretty morbid to want to do a portrait in the graveyard, but it was MY idea! I couldn’t resist! I’m such a sucker for foggy graveyards. 🙂
For the rehearsal, Abbie, John, and their guests took a tour of the famous Glennmorangie Whiskey Distillery. Here’s a shot of Kate, one of the bridesmaids making her way down to the tasting!
This is around 3:30pm.
John, the groom getting a whiff of the whiskey brewing…
Needless to say, it was so harsh to the nose.
Everyone huddled around the tour guide, waiting to get to the end for a taste!
The perfect ending to the tour.
Cheers to the happy couple!
A quick pick taken by the bride of Amy, Kate, and me. We look so happy huddled together!
The Dornoch Castle’s signature wine…my fave.
Wedding day and perfectly laid out are Abbie’s fabulous accessories. I absolutely adore the chic fur…
John and the guys on castle grounds dressed in their traditional Scottish Highland Dress. How regal are they?
Abbie’s Grandmother and all her lovely grace.
Kate putting on the finishing touches..
One of my favorite portriats of Abbie.
On the way to the Cathedral for the ceremony. Abbie and her family were led by a single bagpiper. I got goosebumps and chills. It was so moving.
This is one of my favorite moments before the ceremony. I’m usually with the bride just before she walks down the aisle. I notice this pure sense of contentment that comes over them. You can see it clearly on Abbie’s face. It’s now real, it is all happening. This makes me love my job.
…and here too.
Candlelight throughout transformed this already beautiful cathedral into something truly breathtaking.
Just married! Again, about 20 degrees and 3:30pm. I still can’t get over the time!
The fabulous wedding party!
Another one of my favorite portraits
The bagpiper escorted them back over to the Castle for the reception. Amy and I were ready to get inside and warm up by the fire!
The intimate setting for dinner. A perfect way to keep it all about close family and friends. Abbie did a great job in designing!
Introducing the newlyweds…
…and the first dance.
The lovely Vanessa and Gareth
An impromptu duet with Abbie and her Mother…
…and Abbie’s solo.
One of the most unique details of their wedding were these sky candles. After a few drinks to warm up, we all headed out to the garden to send them off into the sky. It was the perfect ending to the most perfect Scottish Winter wonderland wedding. Everyone made a wish and released the candles. It was such a great memory!
Abbie and John…
We all came in from the cold and were welcomed with homemade hot chocolate…
The next morning.
The cathedral in the background..
There was a dusting of frost over everything.
A lovely pathway..
With just the right amount of light coming through the trees..
Communication is always key in a solid marriage…. 🙂
Even the spider webs had icicles.
Greetings from Dornoch.
I’m in love.
John tying his shoe…again. 🙂
We made our way down to the beach by cutting through the Dornoch Golf Course. We felt like we were at the edge of the Earth.
You can almost here the snow crunch in this image.
I am in love with the light in Scotland. This was high noon!
The highest point overlooking the ocean.
Our view from the top of the golf course. A beautiful skyline of Dornoch.
The beach. The water was practially frozen on top of the sand.
A “thank you” to all of their family and friends – Love John + Abbie