A gorgeous autumn wedding with warm pastel tones at Colstoun House, Haddington
Emma-Louise (EL) and Pete went into planning their big autumn wedding at Colstoun House determined not to put any pressure on themselves, making the process to much less stressful than it could have been.
They didn’t set out with a theme or a huge expectation of it being what they’d “always dreamed of”.
Instead, they went with the flow, took advice from others and gathered inspiration along the way, trying to enjoy it as much as they could.
“Don’t get us wrong; guest list and table planning did get tricky!” reveals the bride.
But they pulled off a stunning wedding, pictured beautifully by Christine McNally Photography.
Read on to hear they managed it…
EL and Pete first met during a night at the students union having sounded out mutual friends they’d spotted each other around campus.
She happened to be dressed in her jammies for a themed night when they got talking.
After nine years together Pete proposed while they were in bed at The Gleneagles Hotel during a break away.
“I was in Disney PJs (coincidental theme there – but it was 7am on a Saturday) and Pete got down on one knee at the side of the bed.
“Pete proposed with the most beautiful ring and a wee jar of sand taken from the beach in East Lothian where he first told me he loved me.”
This chilled couple of course wanted a relaxed private venue for their whole wedding and fell in love with Colstoun House.
“It was stunning and everything we wanted, from the driveway into the grounds, the pink house steeped in history, the cosy coach house for the reception and the slightly alternative option of getting married in a polytunnel,” says EL.
They didn’t set out with a set idea of theme, colour or even a preferred month to get married which actually made planning far more enjoyable.
The couple picked what they liked and it all fell into place.
“We suppose looking back, we did have a colour palette of warm pastel tones to match the autumn season and venue,” says the bride.
Getting married in a polytunnel and holding their reception in a coach house, they had the freedom to dress their blank canvas as they wished.
“To make it our own, and also, from a budget perspective, we decided to DIY out signage, order of service, menus, seating plan, place settings and decorations,” says EL.
Pete decided to treat himself to a very dapper three-piece suit from T.M Lewin – the first one he tried on.
His best friend from university was by his side as best man, while his two brothers were his groomsmen and EL’s brother was his usher.
The bride had always wanted a dress with sleeves but had no particular preference for silhouette or material, although she loved the idea of lace.
During her second shopping trip with her mum, Pete’s mum and bridal party the staff at Kudos Bridal Edinburgh asked her to choose four dresses and then added a “wild card” of their own.
“If I’m honest, I looked at the dress and though it wasn’t the style I was after as the sleeves were transparent with large, patterned lace,” admits EL.
“But I was encouraged to try that one on first.
“The minute I was buttoned in, and stepped out into the shop in front of my mum I just knew it was the one – sounds cliché but I just knew.
“I still wasn’t sure on the sleeves but I just loved it and a couple of months later, after quite a bit of research, I placed an order with the designer for extra lace (the same lace from the back of the dress) and the amazing seamstress at Kudos was able to make me new sleeves – it was then perfect, it was my dream dress.”
Not taking anything away from her dress, EL kept her veil plain and accessorised with gold Gucci sandals.
Her mum let her “borrow” her drop earrings and she wore her late Granny’s sapphire ring on her right hand as her something blue.
The night before the big day the couple relaxed with a beautiful three-course meal in the venue’s main house, cooked by the hosts.
In the morning EL had a lovely time in the private library with her bridesmaids, mum and mother-in-law, getting their hair and make-up done and drinking champagne.
Pete on the other hand was less relaxed, misplacing the order of ceremonies and setting up last-minute pieces.
“However, when it was time to get ready and have a little whisky with my best man, groomsman, father-in-law and Dad I was feeling more relaxed,” he remembers.
EL had been nervous about walking down the aisle, scared she would fall or cry uncontrollably.
However, she was reassured by many it would be her favourite part and they were right.
“It is the most magical feeling,” she says. “Walking down the aisle [to Ludovico Einaudi’s Nuvole Bianche] with everyone you care about in one room and your soon-to-be-husband waiting at the other end, it was the best!
“I loved it, and tell all my friends now to not worry and take it all in.”
The couple feel really lucky they were able to have a religious ceremony, despite not getting married in church.
“Rev John Povey knew this was important to us and our families and kindly agreed to do it – even in a polytunnel!” smiles the bride.
Knowing they’re both emotional, they opted not to write their own vows but worked with Rev Povey on selecting pre-written vows, making sure the wording matched the commitment they were making.
Following the ceremony, it was back to the main house for prosecco, beer and canapés while Sarah the harpist continued to play.
And choosing to stick to their own tastes they chose to serve some of their very favourite food for their wedding breakfast, including haggis spring rolls, lasagne and salted caramel cheesecake.
“We know it’s not traditional but people still say how much they loved that,” remembers EL. “On a brisk November evening, what better than lasagne, garlic bread and a lovely glass of red wine.”
EL loves how thoughtful and heartfelt the speeches were, despite being hilariously funny.
“It’s also traditional in Northern Ireland for the father of the groom to do a speech, which was a lovely part of our wedding day,” she says.
“During his speech, Pete’s dad also surprised us with a quaich to share a dram and presented all the tables with a personalised bottle of whisky to mark our wedding day.
“This was very special and enjoyed by all!”
Then it was on to dancing the night away to their band, The Trueloves.
“It was a celebration,” says EL. “It really was a party.
“Everyone was in amazing spirits and there was constant laughter and smiles.
“The band ensured that no one wanted to sit down and everyone was just there to be happy and have an amazing time.”
Although EL and Pete had been together for 10 years before they got married it definitely changed things for the better.
“We really do feel like an official team as we now share the same surname and are officially husband and wife,” she says.
And looking back, they loved having everyone they love in the one room to celebrate with them.
“We feel incredibly lucky to look back, and have so many cherished memories, videos and pictures from that day with our nearest and dearest that we can keep.”