I am SO excited to share this incredible wedding with you today! Catriona and Alex are old University friends of mine and as soon as I saw some sneak peeks of their wedding online I was desperate to share the whole wedding on The Wedding A-List!
Although they were friends throughout Uni, it wasn't until later when they were travelling the world together that Catriona and Alex got together, and their beautiful Mexican themed wedding is an homage to the adventures they shared. Every detail has been so carefully thought out, and the entire wedding is packed with love and personality. I know it's said a lot about weddings, but from the Mariachi band leading the dancing couple through the streets of Edinburgh, to the joyful Beach Boys singalong during the ceremony, and the sunny champagne reception on the beach, this really does look like the best day ever!
And can we just talk about the photographs?! Catriona and Alex wisely chose the incredible Lianne Mackay to shoot their wedding, and it is nothing less than a masterclass in wedding photography. Happiness radiates from every single image. The portraits in particular are simply some of the most amazing I have ever seen. If you're a bit unsure whether to have any 'formal' portraits then I implore you to check these out - they are a world away from the cheesy, posed shots that might be putting you off. Fun, cool, romantic and natural - these gorgeous shots are proof that a great photographer is worth their weight in gold!
I could go on all day about this wedding, but instead I'll hand over to the lovely couple now to tell you all about it - I know you're going to love this one!
Thank you so much Catriona and Alex, I am so delighted to be sharing your brilliant wedding! xx
HOW THEY MET
We knew each other at uni but there was no danger we were getting together back then because Alex looked and acted 11… We got together on a roadtrip through Mexico and Central America (Alex driving with his pal G and Catriona and her sister Ellen ending up being long term hitch-hikers in their Jeep Gina). We got together in Tulum and the rest was history. The wedding was an ode to Mexico in terms of colour and fooooood.
18th Feb 2017. Went for a weekend break in the Borders and Alex got on one knee on a bridge (risky) over the river Tweed.
Portobello Town Hall. Chosen because it was available! We really wanted to get married in the summer and they had a weekend free in August! We wanted somewhere that was a lovely building but a blank canvas and city centre-ish so it was easy for transport
Mexico! We knew we wanted to capture the joy and colour and tastes of Mexico as an homage to where we got together. It felt like a really ‘fun’ theme and that was our number 1 priority! We just wanted our friends and family to come and have a blast. We really wanted our service to be personal. Also, budget was important. We worked to a smaller budget (spent less than half of the supposed national average).
Dress from Frock and Frill - bought on ASOS. I didn’t go wedding dress shopping! I mostly looked online. My main thing was that I wanted colour on it which narrowed my choices down… I actually had bought another dress before (which I’ve since sold to a pal for her wedding!)
Shoes from Topshop.
Flower crown from local florist, Lorraine Graham Flowers.
Gold cactus earrings from H&M.
Trews from his Grandad (tailored in Edinburgh), jacket and waistcoat from Walker Slater.
Flower pin from local florist, Lorraine Graham Flowers.
The engagement ring was Catriona’s grandmothers that Alex had resized and the wedding rings were from Jewellery by Liam Ross. It was the only jewellery shop we went to but we both found something we liked!
Catriona’s sister Ellen, who wore a dress from We Are Rewritten (it actually cost more than Catriona’s). The great thing about having one bridesmaid is they can just do what they want and you don’t need to get to a consensus!
THE BEST MAN
Alex’s brother was best man - he wore his own kilt.
Lianne Mackay. We really loved her casual natural style. Trying to find a photographer in our budget in Edinburgh was tough so when we came across Lianne we were over the moon - she over-delivered and her photos came out absolutely perfect.
Lorraine Graham Flowers. We only had 2 flower crowns, and 3 buttonholes for the groom, best man and FOB.
We used a lot of our own plants and borrowed some cacti for decoration.
THE HAIR AND MAKE-UP
I was willing to spend quite a lot of money on hair and make up as we’d saved in other areas so just thought go for it and get the best in Edinburgh. I wanted to wear my hair down as that’s my day to day look and I wanted to look more casual. My hair was a vintage wave. I chose Ishi as they’re a great salon and also v local to our flat!
Alex's aunty Jenny made us an amazing Mexican colourful cake which kept everyone fed at the party the day after! Each tier was different flavours and it was delicious!
Caterer - Sara Kindness. We had a Mexican buffet with amazing salads and pulled pork tacos with loads of veggie and vegan options which was great as it’s an easy way to cater for all dietary requirements and no staff - we used bamboo vegware plates that are biodegradable. We also had a guy come in the evening and make churros for everyone.
A Mariachi band who came down to the beach while we had bubbles after the ceremony (in a miraculous window of no rain). In the evening, we had a ceilidh band - The Wullie Fraser Band. Then we had a friend DJing for the end!
We knew we were having a ceilidh because they are the best and we really wanted to show our international pals a good Scottish knees up. Rob, our friend who DJ-ed, was a given as he is amazing and he DJ-ed at another friend’s wedding the year before and we were up dancing till 5AM so he had form.
Catriona and her family took an Uber and Alex got a lift from a friend’s dad! This was decided for budgetary reasons - anything that wasn’t adding to the fun and meaningful part of the day was sacked off.
We created our own using Canva and online printers but kept most of our communication with guests digital.
Wedding night we stayed in our own flat but Alex slept in the spare room and the night of the wedding we were at Dunstane Houses - a gift from Alex’s brother Gregor and his wife Linda.
THE WEDDING MORNING
Alex ran up Arthur’s Seat with some pals, had a whisky on the summit and got ready in the flat on his own. Catriona got ready with her sister, they got their make up done first thing, then hair, then returned to the flat and got ready after Alex had left.
We had a humanist ceremony as we are heathens. We had the ceremony in the town hall and our celebrant was a lovely woman called Marney. She listened to our requests to keep the ‘humanist preaching side’ to a minimum and delivered the ceremony beautifully.
We all sang Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys, with printed lyrics for all the guests and an instrumental version of the song played off Spotify. We’d warned the guests to practice the song at home as it’s pretty tricky - it was a hit though - it really set the tone for the rest of the ceremony.
Both our mums did readings - they chose their own. Catriona’s mum read a passage by Neil Gaiman and Alex’s mum read The Little Dinosaur by Edward Monkton, which she adapted to suit out situation a bit more specifically.
We wrote the whole service - well the story of how we met and who among our guests were instrumental in getting us together - the vows were suggested to us by Marney. They were simple and effective - neither of us were too comfortable being too effusive with the vows - we thought it best to keep them straightforward and just declare our love for each other loud and clear!
We did a ring warming, where our rings were passed amongst the congregation in a wee gauze bag. This meant our friends and family could give us their blessings however they wanted and we think it was a really nice way to involve everyone in the ceremony.
The town hall was just that - a town hall. So we spent the day before the wedding with a gang of pals dressing the place up with colourful streamers, papel picado (Mexican bunting), cacti and coloured paper baubles suspended from fishing wire. The wire was suspended over the hall from the opposing balconies. As we were having the service and the reception in the same place, we hung huge white drapes which acted like curtains and dividers down the middle of the hall. After the service, the drapes were taken down, the chairs moved from where the ceremony was to the tables and the buffet table was set up. We also built our own altar out of crates, fairly lights and lots of cacti and succulents. In the front lobby we set up some piñatas for the kids.
We tried to keep timings as simple as possible. We had the service at 1pm, drinks on the beach at 2pm, back to the hall for snacks at 3pm (and we got our photos done), sit down for dinner at 5pm, ceilidh at 8pm, disco at 10:30pm (we think).
We had six speeches, split into two groups - one set before the buffet, one set after. Each speech was to be no longer than 10 minutes! Alex spoke, Catriona spoke, and both our siblings and father spoke.
THE FIRST DANCE
Our first dance was This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks. It’s in The Darjeeling Limited, it sounds amazing and it’s the right blend of emotional and fun.
THOUGHTS ON WEDDING PLANNING
It was all consuming. We did it in 6 months, it was DIY, Alex was changing careers and we bought a flat. Considering the little things was the big stress. Things like hiring fridges, hiring bar staff, setting the bar up, having to deal with the council who insisted on providing security guards for the day (but turned up late anyway so had little impact on the day).
It was fun coming up with unusual solutions to problems. For instance, our table cloths were provided from a huge roll of cheap white fabric we found online. They looked great and there was no hassle with a hiring company. Same with glasses - we bought them in bulk from Ikea and then sold them after. We realised the key is to keep hiring to a minimum.
We actually had pictures of a wedding in the same venue where they had divided the hall with huge drapes. We met the couple and picked their brains - it was a huge help!
THE BEST BIT
The ceremony was magic. We managed to make it really personal and that moment when you realise everyone important to you is in the same room as you marry the person you love is pretty terrific.
ANYTHING YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY?
Not drink so much tequila! Catriona admits she got too drunk - she was warned about this but did not take heed! Luckily we had a Sunday after party with everyone to do it all again.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Break it all down. Do it in stages. Work out what's important to you and don’t just think you need to have everything you see on Facebook. Question everything! You will save tons of money. But remember for every penny saved is more time spent, so there’s definitely a line you need to take. We just kept going back to - what would be the most fun - and this informed all our choices.
Go on the honeymoon straight after! We went straight from the afterparty on Sunday to the airport and didn’t look back. It meant day 1 in Rome was a bit rough but it kept the buzz from the wedding going. We would also recommend the Sunday after party, especially if lots of guests have traveled from afar. It was too difficult to spend time with everyone on the the big day so the Sunday was a wonderful opportunity to chat properly.
Venue - Portobello Town Hall
Photography - Lianne Mackay
Bridesmaid - We Are Rewritten
Groom - Walker Slater
Rings - Jewellery by Liam Ross
Hair - Ishi Salons
Make-Up - Lauren Gollan
Ceilidh Band - The Wullie Fraser Ceilidh Band
Flowers - Lorraine Graham Flowers
Hotel - The Dunstane Houses