‘For us it worked out beautifully, what we ended up with was better ‘- Ali and Mark on accidentally designing their perfect micro wedding
For most brides a careful stroll down the aisle is really all the walking they intend to do in their wedding dress. Ali Forsyth decided she fancied a bit more exercise and instead staged her ceremony on a scenic plateau in the middle of the Bennachie hilltops.
Guests hiked for 30 minutes up from the back garden of Ali’s parent’s house until they reached the designated spot, ‘the wedding rock’. The weather was all bright blue skies and sunshine, even the family Labradors got to join in on the fun.
Led by the groom, the party progressed up the hillside in high spirits – although some may have objected to the pace set by ex-army officer and renowned ‘fast walker’ Mark.
It was all a far cry from the formal white wedding for 150 guests that Ali and Mark had originally planned.
Scheduled for May 2020 it was never meant to be and the couple pushed it back a few months hoping that would be all it took for the Covid crisis to be brought under control.
‘Naively, with hindsight, we postponed to September because we just thought ‘How long can this virus go on for? Then obviously as we were approaching September we realised that a bigger wedding just wasn’t going to happen,’ said Ali.
‘And I think we were in the same predicament as lots of other couples, thinking do we postpone again in the hope we could have all the people there? Or do we want to do something small? We were starting to realise that the pandemic wasn’t going to be a quick thing and even if we pushed it back further we couldn’t be sure it would still happen.
‘We agonised over it all because we love ceilidhs and reeling and we really wanted to have that part of the day. But the writing was on the wall really and then we decided that most important thing for us, was to actually get married.
So Ali and Mark decided to take things into their own hands and organise a DIY micro wedding in the garden of Ali’s parents’ house at the foot of Bennachie.
More than just a popular beauty spot, Ali had spent much of her childhood in these hills and during lockdown the scenic beauty of the area began to take on a deeper significance for the her and Mark as a couple.
‘We moved back to mum and dad’s at the start of lockdown and we spent a lot of time out on the hill walking and thinking about what we should do. And slowly we started to imagine how it might work to get married up there.’
Beginning what would become a theme of the wedding, the couples’ families immediately pitched in to help. Ali’s sister Katie found ‘the perfect wedding rock’ where the couple could stand to be married, away from the hustle of hikers and footpaths, with unbroken stunning views all around.
Ali and Mark went up to have a look for themselves and knew instantly that was the right place.
‘It was just like a different world up there on that plateau, it was a lovely place to be and it had great views out over most of the shires back towards Aberdeen.’
On the day of their micro wedding Ali and Mark were compensated for the upheaval and stress of the previous months with perfect weather. In a twist of fate their original May date had turn out to be miserable and grey while their September wedding had beautiful sunshine and warmth – perhaps even a little too warm for some of the guest gasping to keep up with Mark!
Ali had planned to drive to her original ceremony in a vintage car offered to her by friends of her parents. With a new destination in mind, the same friend was ‘adamant’ he could get the beautiful old vehicle along the dirt tracks of the hill – to get Ali within a 20 minute walk of the wedding rock.
‘It actually really added to the sense of fun of it all, I sat in the back with my bridesmaids and we were are all just laughing all the way.’
Leaving the car at the base of the hill, Ali and her bridesmaids could walk up towards their guests without being seen.
‘It was such good fun. We met a group of kids on their bikes on our way up and they were absolutely gobsmacked to see us trundling along in a vintage car, ready for a wedding in our long dresses – it just made us giggle more.
‘Having that time together really added to the fun and excitement of the day – it felt like a very unique way to do things.’
Having completed their journey, Ali was met by her dad who walked with her to where Mark was waiting. The couple managed to retain their service almost exactly as they had originally planned, even convincing their humanist celebrant to hike up the hill to marry them.
After the ceremony the couple took a longer route home to take some photos while their guests returned to their parents’ garden house for refreshments.
And with a beautifully decorated gazebo set up in the garden and a horsebox converted into a temporary whisky bar, the family garden lacked nothing for an afternoon of celebration. Guests competed in silly garden games and the relaxed atmosphere as the sun set on.
For Ali and Mark taking a more intimate approach to their big day proved to be exactly what they had wanted all along.
‘It was definitely less stressful this way, I’m a bit of a stressy person so I was always going to get pretty involved in the details but there just isn’t as much to worry about.
‘In my mind I made a real point of not comparing what we were planning in September with what we thought we might have had in May – I just tried to take it as a totally different experience.
‘For us it worked out beautifully because what we ended up with was better.
‘We realised having done the wedding this way, that actually we probably should have done it like that from the start – we thought we really wanted a big white wedding but it turns out that’s not actually what we wanted!’
Ali and Mark’s top tips for a micro wedding:
- Planning a new wedding when you’ve already chosen what you want can be really tough but we almost missed the chance to get married in the perfect place for us because we didn’t realise that’s what we wanted. Take some time and think about things that are special to you as a couple and whether you can incorporate them into your day.
- Focus on what matters to you. We decided early on that we were not doing anything at the wedding that was for other people – that’s not to sound selfish but it is your day – don’t worry too much about trying to keep everyone happy.
- Really enjoy the benefits of having a micro wedding, for us that meant we got to spend real quality time with our guests and have proper conversations.
Since ‘normal’ weddings were suspended nearly a year ago, we have shot more than a dozen smaller weddings for couples who didn’t want to delay the nuptials. We understand what a tricky, stressful decision this can be and we will be here for you every step of the way. If your plans are changing and you want to celebrate your own Micro Wedding with some spectacular photos please do get in touch for a bespoke consultation and quote.