Real Scottish Weddings - Fingal, Edinburgh
The waters were calm and the skies bright as I approached Fingal, a stunning luxury hotel docked in Leith. All was quiet, with no hint that the party was just about to begin...
Inside Skerryvore, a beautiful suite with its own private deck, I found Pippa surrounded by those closest to her, sipping champagne and enjoying the anticipation for what was to come.
Sunlight was streaming in, and it was time to see the dress and begin capturing the details and candids of those unrepeatable moments that only happen during morning prep.
With hair & make up well underway, my hunt for the groom began. Joined by videographers Joanna & Connor from Stag & Doe Weddings, it was great to have someone to share the day with. Alas, I'm not sure groom Paul thought the same thing as he spent the first hour trying to hide from us! He was eventually caught and ordered up to the Bridge along side is his Bestman and Groomsman.
Blue skies overheard, there were so many lovely moments between Paul and his son, who was today also his groomsman. As Paul struggled with a bowtie, his bestman Adam rocked up in a kilt and the trio were complete.
We took a walk along the deck for some informal shots, best friends and son spending precious moments together on what was such a special day.
The morning flew by and suddenly Pippa was in her dress, bridesmaid & best friend Steph completing the finishing touches as light poured into the cabin.
Pippa was effortlessly beautiful in her gown and dazzling Manolo Blaniks - a gift from her dad. She was just so ready to be married to Paul.
The Wedding Ceremony
The ceremony was to take place in Fingal's Ballroom - a beautiful space flanked by an elegant staircase and a ceiling of rippled gold. As Paul nervously waited for his wife-to-be, there was an excitement in the air about everything that was to come - not just the party and celebrations, but all the days after that. This marriage was so much more than the joining of two people but also two families blending together to become one.
And then the doors opened. Pippa was here.
Bridesmaids and flower girls walked gracefully in, and you could tell Paul was searching for a glimpse of his bride before she took her first steps into the ceremony. And when he saw Pippa, Paul's eyes glistened with tears as she walked down the aisle, arm in arm with her dad.
The beautiful ceremony began with a poem for Ukraine, a reading by Paul's son, and ended with a surprise reading by Pippa's sister that caused more than a few happy tears to be shed. Guests were also treated to one of the couple's friends singing as they signed the register.
It was such an intimate ceremony, one that seemed so very Pippa & Paul.
With the ceremony over, it was time to celebrate. As the guests headed upstairs to the Lighthouse Bar for fizz and canapes, we took a detour via the beautiful Engine Room for Pippa & Paul's first photographs as husband & wife. A long glass corridor overlooking all the machinery that kept this ship functioning when it was in service, it is such a stunning and unique place - perfect to for couples portraits.
The celebrations were well underway by the time we returned to the drinks reception for candid shots, cake & canapes. As Pippa & Paul mingled with their guests, I took the time to absorb the atmosphere. My first wedding of the year felt more like July than March. With music playing and champagne pouring, it was fantastic to finally be back doing what I love.
Mums, dads, step-parents, siblings and children all gathered together on deck for group shots and confetti. As sunny as it looked, it was a little hard to ignore that good old Edinburgh wind at the time and some physics calculations were involved in setting up the confetti shot just right! It was lovely to be outdoors though, and the old docks were a perfect backdrop for their group shots.
Fingal has so many unique locations for couples portraits. From the Engine Room, to the decks, inside the ballroom and underneath the gold ceilings of the Lighthouse Bar - as a photographer, it was so much fun to capture these shots from so many different angles. And with the sun slowly heading towards the horizon, I was spoilt for lighting conditions.
The speeches were nothing short of fantastic. Full of humour, sentiment and messages of love, it was brilliant to capture those emotive reactions - whether laughter, tears or warmth between family and friends. Adam expertly played the part of Bestman - telling tales of Paul's youthful adventures that suitably embarrassed him (especially in front of his mum!).
Night fell and it was time for the evening reception. Not wanting to follow tradition, Pippa & Paul arranged for an evening of karaoke. It was a perfect cocktail of discordance and overconfidence.
As the guests trickled in from the meal, there was a few moments of shyness and fear before Adam & his wife kicked off the evening with a fabulous duet that ensured neither would ever secure a record contract. (Sorry, not sorry guys!)
Far from putting anyone off, a queue for the mic quickly formed and soon we were hearing Spice Girls, Tina Turner & even Paul's son got on board with a song that had the whole wedding screaming with excitement.
Recording these unrepeatable moments was so much fun. Sore heads (& throats) could wait until the morning - now was the time to party, to enjoy every silly moment the night threw at them. And with one final snap, I made my way home knowing that for Pippa & Paul, this joyous night was just the start of something spectacular.