Real Wedding - Cornhill Castle

January 25, 2024

It was a crisp day in March 2023 when Emma and Austin, chose to tie the knot at the scenic Cornhill Castle. It's remote location was part of the Castle's charm, with its beautiful views of the rolling hills and rushing river. Though it was far from Emma's childhood home in California, it was symbolic of the country she nows call home: Scotland. It was in Scotland that their love story was born, of a walk in the local woods near Stirling as their first date - a first date with an insant love that brought them to their wedding day a few short years later.

 

Their theme was nothing short of magical - a Midsommer's Night's Dream blended perfectly with fantasy elements of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. It was vision that truly came into being, with Cornhill Castle bedecked in vibrant florals, cosy candlit setting and a wedding dress to match that beautiful fantasy style.

Morning Prep & Getting Ready Shots

 

 

The epic tunes from the bridal suite could be heard from the top landing, and as I opened the door to the Dunrobin Suite, my eyes were met with a whole lot of Californian energy. All the bridesmaids were up dancing, mimosas in one hand, matching dressing gowns and sunglasses. It was electric, infectiously happy. Emma was dancing as much as she could, sitting getting her hair done, while her mum Dorothea was nervously counting the minutes down until her daughter became a bride.

 

As ever, I started with details shots - including an extremely sentimental and old handwritten note from Emma's late grandmother, as well as her handkerchief as her something old. To this day, it remains one of my favourite shots of 2023, combining something old, something borrowed and something blue in the same composition.

 

 

Austin and his groomsmen were getting ready down in one of the lodges to the back of Cornhill Castle. Far from the high energy of the bridesmaids, Austin and his friends were relaxed if maybe a little nervous for the day ahead. We took a wonder around the grounds to get some informal shots of Austin and his friends before I returned to the bridal suite. At the request of Emma & Austin, a special moment of the day wasn't captured on camera, but it was a lovely moment worth mentioning. Emma and Austin wanted to have a private moment together, where they could receipt their own vows without seeing each other. Emma's wedding planner, Anna, helped arrange that moment, ensuring neither could see other before the big reveal in the pavillion later. Instead, they were placed on either side of a corner, eyes closed, and allowed to reach around to hold each other's hands. As much as I would have loved to have captured this moment for them, I loved the idea that this was one part of the day that was truly private, and is remembered solely by them.

The Epic Dress Reveal

 

With the ceremony fast approaching, it was time for the bridal suite to be cleared and for Emma to step into her dress. As Emma wanted to do a dress reveal with both her father and her bridesmaids, everyone but her mum and wedding planner left. It was a big moment as her mum helped her with her buttons, and jewellery. Outside, I'd arranged for her Dad, Lee, to wait for his daughter. From meeting Lee earlier that year during a venue visit, I knew this was going to be an emotionally charged scene - and he did not disappoint, bursting into tears the second he saw his beautiful daughter.

 

Allowing them a few moments together, I then squirreled Emma away so that I could arrange her bridesmaids on the steps, facing the mirror, for the next big dress reveal. That Californian energy rose to the occasion, with screams of joy and awe. Like father, like daughter - Emma's sister also promptly burst into tears.

The Wedding Ceremony

 

The ceremony itself was like a wildflower meadow in full bloom. As the bridal party arrived, Austin's waited for his bride nervously at the top of the aisle - and the wait was so, so worth it.

 

It was a beautiful and romantic ceremony, celebrating everything that make Emma & Austin such a unique and wonderful couple. There was a candlelighting ceremony, with both parents invited to each light a candle before Emma & Austin lit theirs - a symbol of their bright, burning love for each other. As a surprise to guests, their rings were going to be delivered in a very magical way! And who better to deliver their wedding rings than Bilbo the Owl, who swooped dramatically down the aisle. He even gave Austin a little "beak kiss" as congratulations.

The floral arrangement in Cornhill Castle's pavillion was truly amazing, and the perfect backdrop to their first kiss photos.

Drinks Reception, Group Photos and Couples Portraits

 

 

Immediately after the ceremony, everyone gathered at the fountain for whole guest group photo - I especially loved the pose that Emma's parents made!

 

During the drinks reception, Emma & Austin took a little time out to themselves to enjoy those first few minutes of being married together. When your wedding day flies by, it's so important to spend some time together as just the two of you - and it was lovely for Emma & Austin to spend these few minutes together, grabbing a first bite to eat now that their nerves had settled.

 

Meanwhile their guests were mingling in the reception area enjoying Owl pets and catching up over old times. The sun was piercing through the low cloud at the far end of the valley by the time we got out for group photos and couples portraits. The beautiful scenery at Cornhill Castle made for the perfect backdrop to Emma & Austin's first couple photos together as husband & wife. We had also arranged to do a private first dance with Emma's wedding dress, as she was going to be changing into another one after the meal. With everyone still chatting away on the other side of the castle, we took a few moments for a quick shuffle and a twirl in Cornhill's entrance lobby, with its huge ornate windows.

The Evening Reception & Speeches

 

And if owls weren't already enough of a surprise, what Emma had planned for her dining room wedding styling was just above and beyond what she could have dreamed of. Gorgeous velvet table cloths that glistened in the candlelight, beautiful floral arrangements towering over each table - which were aptly named after their favourite flowers. The flower arch from their ceremony now featured at their sweetheart top table. It's little wonder that jaws were dropping when the curtains were pulled back and the guests were invited to their seats.

There wasn't a dry eye in the room once the speeches were done - with the best man and maid of honour delivering the laughs, and mother of the groom and father of the bride bringing in the sentimentality & emotion.

Once the meal was over, and twilight had set in, I headed outside with Emma & Austin for some sparkler shots. We decided to do 2 sets of sparklers, one privately with just Emma & Austin at twilight, and then a second set with their wedding party once darkness had set in. Both sets of sparkler images have a very different and unique feel to them. After the sparklers, their wedding party headed in while Emma & Austin stayed behind for some romantic backlit photos. It just happened to rain for a split second as they held the umbrella over their heads - with the rain illumiated by my flash setup. It made for such an atmospheric and completely unplanned shot.

Cake Cutting, First Dance & Ceilidh

 

We headed back inside to cut their gorgeous 3 tier cake before Emma & Austin's first dance. It was such a romantic moment, and Emma's new dress sparkled in the soft evening lighting. It was important to Emma to also include a father-daughter dance. Her dad once again burst into tears and the emotion on his face in these photos is truly some of my favourite candid images from their wedding.

 

And with that, the formalities and traditions of the day were passed and the ceilidh & party began. Everyone was having an epic time on the dancefloor, with dresses and kilts flying around, sunglasses once again out and everyone throwing out their best moves.

Wedding Vendors

 

Photographer: S.G Mark Photography

Venue: Cornhill Castle

Wedding Planner: Events by Anna H

Videographer: Nine18 Wedding Films

Wedding Styling: Supernova Events

Florist: Fleur & Blume

Makeup: Leigh Blaney Makeup

Wedding Dress: Eleganza Sposa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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