A gorgeous Glencoe elopement at Ralston Cairn, Ballachulish
After many years together, Fiona figured marriage wasn’t part of her and Ross’ plan – “Things were amazing as they were”– so she was pleasantly surprised when he announced he really wanted them to tie the knot.
The couple picked her ring together (a sapphire teardrop stone with smaller diamonds on each side) but Ross wanted the proposal to remain a surprise.
“It was glorious weather, so we took a last-minute trip to Glencoe and Ross proposed at the top of the Devil’s Staircase,” remembers the bride.
“I had no idea it was coming, and it was beautiful and perfect.
Planning-wise, our priority was making sure we did exactly what we wanted – that and how quickly could we do it!”
Just us, please
After a bit of Googling the pair found Wee Wild Weddings (a group of wedding suppliers who work together to create swoonworthy Scottish elopements in the wilderness) and knew the collective would be perfect for the secret elopement they had in mind.
“We didn’t want traditional, and we wanted to get married somewhere outdoors and beautiful.
We love Glencoe and got engaged there so it was the perfect choice.”
The couple’s vision was relaxed and very ‘us’, which meant being very comfortable and incorporating witchy, gothic hints throughout. Fiona started with making sure her bride style was totally on point.
“I 100% thought I’d buy a black dress or at least black and white; something gothic.
“I was open to most things but didn’t think I wanted anything too ‘bridey’.”
She admits it was daunting to hit the shops because she’s “not a sample size” but she immediately felt at ease and took advantage of the assistant suggesting lots of gowns she’d never have thought to try herself.
And guess what? The dress Fiona chose was nothing like she imagined she’d go for!
“It was off-white with lace and blush pink floral detail.
“I knew the flowy boho vibe would look incredible in the hills of Glencoe.”
Not quite the gothic look she’d envisaged… But the spaghetti straps and plunging neckline made sure her tattoos were on show, and she added jewellery that had a ‘‘til death’ theme – an amethyst coffin necklace and an anatomical heart necklace, complete with matching earrings and rings.
Blush pink Doc Martens, a funky matching bag and an “immense flower crown” tied together the relaxed, natural style she was after (“We joked that I wanted to look like a sacrifice at Midsomer!”) and her custom hand-painted jacket was the most incredible finishing touch.
Not to be upstaged by his other half, Ross looked suitably dapper in a stunning black and red checked suit, a pink floral tie, a stylish pocket square (instead of a traditional buttonhole) and a pair of socks with Fiona’s face all over them!
All in all, the couple found the planning process fun… Although Fiona did feel that trusting that everything was running smoothly in the background was a challenge!
“The wedding was for us and we didn’t have anyone else trying to shoehorn their opinions in.
“We picked everything then just had to wait for the day.
“The biggest cause of stress was trying to keep it a secret.
“It was lucky we only had to keep quiet for weeks, not years.”
Saying ‘I do’ in the wild
The couple woke up super-excited on the big day, especially when they realised the sun was shining.
It was a very leisurely morning with a breakfast hamper and an intimate moment together making a spell jar for love.
They chose a humanist ceremony to give it a more personal touch.
They didn’t write their own vows but had a lot of input so that it told their story.
“This is something I’m into but Ross got really involved too.
“We made the jar together, set intentions for the wedding and sealed the jar with smiles on our faces,” explains Fiona.
Rather than walking down the aisle, the to-be-weds hiked up to Ralston Cairn holding hands and “smiling like idiots” before their intimate ceremony with just three others – their humanist celebrant Claire and two suppliers (photographer Sarah from Joy Story and Lesley, Fiona’s MUA) who doubled up as witnesses.
They had written their own vows and made it even more personal by adding some special quotes at the end before concluding the ceremony with a drink of Nick Offerman’s Lagavulin whisky from a quaich to cheers their new adventure.
After a hike there’s nothing better than some hearty fare to refuel and these newlyweds got just that and more with their wedding breakfast picnic from Scottish Wild Picnics.
“It was honestly amazing and fed us for about two days,” smiles Fiona.
“Bread, cheeses, smoked venison, roast beef, smoked salmon, chicken, jams, chutneys, fresh fruit, cream, chocolate sauce, brownies, biscuits and Victoria sponge in a jar.”
The evening was a super-chilled wedding reception for two, consisting of a few champagnes, dancing on the deck and a little hot tub before bed… What more could you want!?