A beautifully intimate elopement on the Misty Isle at Skeabost House Hotel

Although Richard and James had been together for nearly 17 years and engaged for four, the arrival of the pandemic quickly sped up their

wedding plans.

“It really impressed a sense of urgency on us both,” remembers Richard.

“We just knew that we really wanted to be married, and made the decision to make that happen immediately.”

Penny Hardie RLW

The couple got engaged back in 2017 when James got down on bended knee on the balcony of their apartment in Ibiza, overlooking the

boats in the bay and they had gone ring shopping together, choosing identical styles, with Richard opting for white gold and James for yellow.

But it was only with the uncertainty of the pandemic that they decided to expedite their wedding plans, and started searching for a


The options were Spain, where they lived at the time, or back home in the UK, but they discovered they were unable to give notice to

marry in England remotely and would need to have lived in the district for the preceeding seven days.

However, that wasn’t the case in Scotland and thanks to a postal application they started planning a wedding on the Isle of Skye,

somewhere dear to them both.

James and his family had holidayed there lots and Richard first visited in 2019.

“I fell in love with it so it felt like a perfect and natural place to marry,” he says.

James’ father had already arranged a holiday in Scotland in May 2021 and before there was any talk of a Scottish wedding the couple had

planned to take Richard’s mother to meet him.

“They had never actually met, despite us being a couple for 17 years!” he laughs.

With the plan already in place, they decided to marry on Skye with their parents as witnesses.

With their island chosen, Richard and James hit upon Skeabost House Hotel as the perfect setting for their intimate wedding.

Suitably styled

Both grooms were clear they wanted to embrace a traditional Scottish look and opted for tartan-influenced three- piece suits.

They shopped together for their outfits, scouring York, Leeds and Birmingham to find the perfect looks.

Richard favours classic blues so chose a dapper tartan suit in those hues from Abraham Moon & Sons in York while James chose a tartan

from Suit Direct in Birmingham that had an orange thread through it, giving it a bright, fresh and moden feel.

To finish off their outfits and those of their parents, local florist Caroles provided beautiful buttonholes and flowers.

When their wedding day arrived, the couple describe the experience as “very intimate”.

“There were only the four of us there,” explains Richard.

“This was the first time that our parents had met, which made this wedding extra special.

It helped create a sense of intimacy and also allowed the most important parts of our own families to be very much part of becoming a part

of a new family.”

Following their vows – which they wrote themselves – their photographer Penny Hardie encouraged them to get creative with their shots

and head to the Fairy Glen.

“She got some really terrific photos there which we absolutely love, and which also capture brilliantly just how beautiful and awe-inspiring

the Skye landscape is,” says James.

Back at the hotel it was time for some absolutely delicious toffee and salted caramel gluten free wedding cake – “It also ended up being

breakfast the next day!”

Looking back

Reflecting on their day, while planning a Skye wedding from Spain during a pandemic had definite challenges, Richard and James really

embraced it.

“You’re planning your wedding!” they remember.

“You’re planning being husbands and planning a new chapter of your lives that will bring you even closer together, so there’s a wonderful

energy, excitement and enthusiasm that goes with that.”

And while they hadn’t anticipated married life feeling much different – they had afterall been together for 17 years! – Richard has noted a


“We both love being married,” he smiles.

“I would definitely say it feels different, perhaps closer, being husbands.”

Planning their wedding quickly and from overseas, this couple are definitely qualified to give advice to other to-be- weds;

“Put your own stamp on the stuff that you do, what you wear, what you say and pick a venue and location that feels special to and

representative of you.

We genuinely believe that the Isle of Skye is the most awe-inspiring, beautiful and dramatic part of the UK.

So while we are biased, we would absolutely encourage anyone looking at getting married in Scotland to give that some thought!”

Penny Hardie RLW

Photographer’s Credits

These photos were taken and supplied by Penny Hardie Photography
“James and Richard’s wedding was a special one for me. The love and respect they have for each other was palpable. They were determined that this would be a special day too for their parents, who had not met before the day. It was a day just about them and the two most important people in their lives, which is what I think a wedding should be.”