‘Our wee wedding was so wonderful – the photos speak for themselves’ – Sianann and Alistair on finding the fun in their micro wedding
When the pandemic began many of us believed that the whole thing would be over in a matter of months.
In London, Sianann and Alistair had just received boxes of their printed wedding invites ready to be sent out to family and friends.
Their wedding was scheduled for December 19th 2020 and the couple reasoned that there was still plenty of time for things to be sorted out without causing them any trouble.
‘We just thought oh we’ll send them out anyway’ said Sianann. ‘Everyone needs something to look forward to; it’ll all be fine by December.’
But sadly that optimism couldn’t last and by October the couple had some tough decisions to make.
Rather than repeatedly change when they would marry, as many other couples have done, Sianann and Alistair decided to stick with their original wedding date and instead change their plans to whatever allowed them to go ahead.
That meant changing their venue and slashing their guest list from more than 120 down to just 20.
‘Alistair and I had so many conversations about it and we did start looking at backup dates but the uncertainty of it all made it hard. Initially we had thought December would be ok but then six months later that wasn’t the case anymore so we thought, if we do push it back, when are we pushing it back till?
‘The process of thinking about all that made us realise that it was important to us to try and get as many of the people closest to us as we possibly could and go ahead.’
It wasn’t a decision they took lightly. For the couple, attending their own wedding in rural Perthshire would mean asking guests to travel long distances at a time when for many, even normal journeys felt risky.
‘There were some pretty dark days when we just didn’t know what we were going to do. We had to have some really difficult conversations about what people were comfortable doing.
‘But once we had weighed up all the risks with them and they were on-board, people got so, so excited.
‘They knew they were part of an exclusive group and that added to the anticipation a wee bit, people were really touched that they were the ones that we wanted to share it with.
‘Also they all knew the difficulties we had had in trying to organise the thing so they made an even bigger fuss of us because they understood what an achievement just getting there was.
The couple now had a real challenge set out for them, organising a wedding at short notice in the middle of a pandemic – from a distance of 500 miles.
Nevertheless they remained determined.
‘When we made the decision to go ahead with the 20 person wedding it was a bit of relief that we just had something to look forward to.
‘It was really all able to come together because of the help that our suppliers like Eilidh gave us in terms of re-planning that venue. We needed them so much more and they were so proactive. And because they’re local, they were able to scope things out for us and suggest alternatives, which was really valuable.
‘We’re organised people and I think early on we tried too hard to work out what we could control but really it’s about rolling with the punches.
‘You can never take anything in a pandemic for granted; our wedding day was the day the news broke of the new variant. Had we got married a week later we might not have been able to have what we did.
‘It ended up being totally different from what we had originally planned but still a wonderful wonderful wedding day and I don’t think either of us regret the fact that we made that decision.
Self-confessed ‘spread sheet people’, Sianann and Alistair’s wedding was always going to be a well-organised affair. What they didn’t realise was that under their specific circumstances it was only that level of tenacity and dedication that meant the wedding could go ahead.
Yet even after all their efforts there was one last spanner thrown in the works. On the way to the ceremony Sianann’s wedding car broke down, leaving her stranded on the side of the A9. After all they had been through this was nothing but a minor snag and the bride promptly jumped into the back of the second bridal car, while her bridesmaids obligingly squashed into the boot to make space for her dress.
‘In all honesty it made me laugh because nothing about our wedding happened the way we had planned it, even getting to the ceremony.
‘I just had to adapt and think ok right, “What are going to do now? I’m going to climb out of the car on the A9, the girls are going to get into the boot and we’re going to get there.”
At Eilidh’s suggestion the couple took time after their service to venture up on Moulin moor to get some photographs.
‘Actually that was probably one of our favourite bits of the day’ added Sianann.
‘ When we got in the 4×4 and we found that Stephanie at Balnakielly had put a bottle of champagne and some glasses in the back of the car for us. So we had a glass of champagne in the car on the way up to the moor and it was just the two of us and it was lovely.
‘We love those photographs up on the moor; we look like we’re having fun because we actually were having such a laugh. It was totally bonkers but great fun.’
‘Eilidh did such a great job of the photos of the whole day. There were some really great ones in the previews she sent the day after the wedding and to be honest we both thought she wouldn’t be able to top them, but then we did get them all and there were even more that were absolute crackers.
Alistair added: ‘Getting that selection of photos right after the wedding, I didn’t think a photographer would do that so quickly and it was brilliant because it meant we could share them straight away with everyone who couldn’t be there.’
Despite the difficulties Sianann and Alistair have found that planning their micro wedding has ultimately brought them closer together.
Siannan said: ‘When we started planning our smaller wedding, we both put off revisiting our wedding script with the celebrant because we didn’t know what shape the day would take.
‘But when we actually did it we realised, as much we had been disappointed about the loss of our bigger day, there wasn’t much to change because that bit of the day was still the same.
‘It was still a promise to spend our lives together and so actually it kind of reinforced for us what the importance of our marriage was.
‘In a lot of ways we’ve come out of this, with all the challenges we’ve faced, a bit stronger. It sounds cheesy but it made us value each other’s strengths and weaknesses a bit more because we learned a lot about ourselves.’
Sianann and Alistair’s top tips for a micro wedding:
No plan is final until it’s done. You have to accept that you can’t control everything and that you might just have to be adaptable.
Changing venue – even though it wasn’t our choice, that actually really helped. If we had kept the original venue we would have always had this ghost of what might have been. It was liberating to change the venue and reimagine the whole thing. There was never a shadow of this huge extravaganza hanging over us because it was just a completely different thing.
Working out what is important to you, even if it’s in quite an abstract way can be really helpful. Because you can apply those ideas to anything and you can have all those things that you want, it might not be the Plan A you envisage but actually Plan B can be so much better. Sometimes it’s just about taking a step back and looking at what your core values are.
Venue: Balnakeilly House
Florist: Coach House Flowers
Hair: Kirsty MacPherson
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.