A beautiful rustic tipi wedding at the Walled Garden at Strathyrum, St Andrews
Having been together since 2014, Frankie bravely proposed to Louise in 2019 on the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede in Northern Ireland and quickly replaced
her Haribo ring – “He knows I’m clumsy and had a high chance of dropping the real one over the side of the bridge,” laughs Louise – with a diamond solitaire on yellow gold from an antique jeweller in Edinburgh.
With a flexible, blank canvas venue top priority for Louise, the couple booked a tipi wedding in The Walled Garden at Strathtyrum.
“The garden is very atmospheric, and having the tipi meant I could DIY the décor to our tastes.
“We also got to choose our own suppliers without any restrictions,” says Louise.
Known for loving a nautical theme, the bride found mussel shell place cards on Etsy and let her creative juices flow from there.
She picked up napkin rings online, scoured local antique shops for vintage bottles and inherited glassware from friends.
A trip to Hobbycraft had her sorted for easels and light-up letters, whilst her sister whipped up the tablet favours and a friend poured the candles.
More decorative details were added by the tipi company, then lots of beautiful blooms provided the perfect finishing touch to Louise’s handiwork.
“Flowers were so important given the plain nature of the tipi and Narcissus really made it all come together.
“Everything looked amazing without me having to specify exactly what went where.
“They knocked it out of the park!”
On the big day Louise woke at 6am, plagued with panic that she’d forgotten something!
“That’s the problem with a DIY wedding,” she laughs.
Fortunately, a big coffee sorted her out and everything ran smoothly from there.
Bridal prep took place at her parents’ house with The Gibsons capturing special moments.
“It was great having the two of them as it allows you to capture things happening in different places. They were so good natured too, dealing with 12 small children and the notoriously late Kelly family!”
Finally, it was time for Louise to slip into her dress, a classic style that she’d made her own with a bespoke belt – and the first one she’d ever tried on.
When it came to her bridesmaids (her cousin Iona, and sister Emma) Louise had wanted to make sure they felt confident in whatever they were wearing so she
dictated the colour and left them to pick the style that best suited them.
Arriving at the fairylit tipi she’d poured her heart into personalising, Louise walked down the aisle to the sounds of the Cairn String Quartet, firmly focused on getting to the end where Irishman Frankie was waiting, all kilted up.
“He’d been wanting a kilt made for a while, in a tartan with Irish connections if possible.”
He added a tweed jacket and accessories – and got his groom squad to follow suit.
“I wasn’t sure they’d go for kilts being Irishmen but they were good sports and looked great,” remembers Louise.
The pair opted for a light-hearted but meaningful humanist ceremony, peppered with special stories.
“It was really important that it was personal to us and our relationship.
But we didn’t write our own vows because we like the sentiment of the traditional ‘for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health’ wording.
For us, those words epitomise what marriage is about.”
After an al fresco champagne and prosecco drinks reception – “There was a long discussion and we decided to serve both!” – the thick, east coast haar took over and celebrations continued inside the cosy tipi.
The wedding breakfast was varied to cover a variety of tastes (from traditional roast beef to people with dietary requirements to young children) and was followed by a selection of speeches that combined humour and sentiment in the best way possible.
“Frankie was very emotional talking about his family,” explains Louise.
“With them in Ireland and us in Scotland we miss them a lot and don’t see them as much as we’d like.
“It was nice for him to be able to tell them this!”
For the bride, it’s impossible to pick just one single highlight of the wedding day but she admits she did really love the planning stage, from décor ideas to dress shopping.
“However, the planning memories ultimately fade away and enjoying the day is the most important thing.
“We had an amazing time that we’ll remember forever.
“We now have a wee baby and we’re enjoying life as a family together.”