An idyllic beach wedding for five at Tentsmuir Sands, Fife
When your other half is one of the country’s best wedding photographers – Pocket Square Photography – and comes home from jobs saying, “There was such-and-such there today, so we should have that at ours!” you know you’re a shoe-in.
It was always going to happen for Sheila Barry and Neil Jarvie, though, right from the moment their first non-date (make-up-free, comfy clothes and Diet Cokes) turned into seeing one another every day for around 100 days straight.
“Intense – but natural,” laughs Sheila.
Pore over their intimate, romantic nuptials on our very own Scottish sands, featuring the most delicious post-ceremony crepes and outstanding photography from Mirrorbox Photography – handpicked, of course, by Neil who’d worked with the duo for years…
After seven years together and much discussion about marriage, it was always a given that Sheila and Neil would say “I do” at some stage.
The chosen date, though, came about very naturally and casually, which we just love to hear!
It was July 2021 and with a trip booked for the September weekend, Sheila recalls their conversation; “’See when we’re in the East Neuk, should we just get married on the beach maybe?’ … ‘Yeah, okay!’ … ‘Right, what do we need to do!?’”
Not only had the couple spent lots of time in the area since they met; they both travelled through when growing up and the beach is hands-down Sheila’s calm, happy place.
So, despite the short lead-time (just a few months to plan every aspect of their special day!) it made perfect sense to tie the knot on Tentsmuir Sands during their mini break.
Firmly focused on a stress-free approach, they kept their wedding small and simple – just Sheila, Neil, their daughter and two guests.
As a result, after swiftly submitting the necessary paperwork, there wasn’t actually too much to do!
“Because it was such a small, intimate ceremony, we wanted it to be conducted by someone we felt comfortable with, so we watched a lot of videos of humanists talking about themselves,” laughs Sheila.
“I liked picking out the cake and confetti, and things like that.
“It was a nice distraction during the ongoing pandemic.”
Even dress shopping was straightforward for Sheila.
“I’d seen some gorgeous dresses over the years but, in the end, I wanted something that could be washed when our three-year-old inevitably spilled something down it!” she giggles.
Washable, cool, breezy and with big pockets for carrying her mask, hand gel and lipstick, she quickly decided on a Palava dress that ticked all her boxes.
It also functioned as a sentimental tribute to Neil’s mum, Eve, who had passed away a few years ago.
Sheila explains, “It was a cotton and linen blend covered in flowers, bees and butterflies.
“Eve, who loved her garden, would have definitely approved.”
Embracing the botanic vibe, she added a few dried flower hair wires sourced on Etsy and topped the outfit off with bright yellow bee wellies – perfect for happily chasing her little one around in the water.
The most extravagant part of her outfit – her earrings – were bespoke, made by Jane Harrison Jewellery to match her ring.
Sheila remembers the night before the wedding being fairly chilled – “Well, as relaxing as it can be with a hyper three-year-old on a mini-holiday!” – and although they all slept in the same place, they preserved the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride until the ceremony when Neil headed off to do some jobs in the morning.
Once ready, Sheila walked along the beach with her mum to King Creosote’s My Favourite Girl on a portable Bluetooth speaker before their romantic and intimate humanist ceremony.
She says, “Neil is not religious at all and I’m not sure what my beliefs are.
“Our personal experiences of humanist weddings, either as guests or ones Neil has worked on, have been very positive, and they always seem very personal to the couple.
“We wrote our own vows and despite feeling emotional reading them back the night before, I just felt happy on the day.”
Lucking out with the weather, Sheila was delighted not to have to delve into the big bag of waterproofs and faux fur jackets she’d carefully packed.
Instead, she took great joy in watching her daughter playing in the sunshine; paddling, building sandcastles, and delivering shells, during the remainder of the ceremony.
Sticking with simple, there was no drinks reception, formal meal or first dance.
Instead, it was Prosecco and crepes on the beach with the newlyweds’ daughter, Sheila’s mum and Neil’s aunt.
And in lieu of favours, they filled glass bottles with sand from the beach.
Finally, providing the perfect end to a perfect day, the family of three headed back to their holiday home for an “amazing chippy” from the Crail Fishbar & Café!
“It was probably one of the most relaxed, stress-free days of the whole year!” laughs Sheila.
And when they got back they could also sample their amazing cake, after Neil had photographed it of course!