Our DIY Orkney Wedding
All I can say is, hoorah! It happened! After all the usual planning and prep, coupled with the waiting and wondering if Covid restrictions were going to stay the same, our day was even more intensely joyous. I wasn’t sure whether to share anything about the day at all here, as I usually reserve it for my paintings and other creative endeavours. But really, the day felt like one giant, joyous creative day. Our families helped with putting everything together. For example, the garland making, candles, food making, soap making. You name it, they pitched in. Nothing was too small
CHURCH & MUSIC
Firstly, we got married at St Magnus Cathedral. We’d booked it a year and a half in advance, and just hoped amidst the Covid restrictions everything would be ok. We ended up having the tiniest ceremony, which made it even more special. Everyone was sat in their pairs, and they were lined up and down the aisle. Although everyone was so spread out, it seemed to make the ceremony feel even more special and intimate.
The pianist for the Cathedral played our favourite songs, including the Cocteau Twins Heaven or Las Vegas when I came in, and Joy Division’s Ceremony, when we left. We were originally so gutted to have no other live music, but actually, just having the songs played on the piano was really special. We weren’t really allowed photography in the Cathedral, but luckily Jacob snuck a few in from his seat!
We had our wedding at Woodwick House, a gorgeous B&B in Evie, Orkney. We hired the house out for the week, meaning we could get the venue ready in plenty of time. The house has its own woodland and river, which is a rarity here. The gardens are magical, with a real About Time vibe.
I wish I had taken more photographs of us getting the house ready, it was a wonderland of dried flowers, candles and garlands, with everyone pitching in. It was a really magical time. We strung fairy lights from the trees around the garden in front of the house, and hung ivy in the tent.
THE DINING ROOM
For the dining room, we dried the flowers ourselves, and popped them in recycled beer bottles, and around the walls. The flowers were beautifully arranged by Hannah. My mum made soaps for everyone as place names, in fragrances like bergamot and earl grey and oat milk and rosemary. She also made a candle for each table using sweet orange, bergamot and black pepper. So gorgeous!
We collected vintage crystal glasses from the charity shops, and in my opinion, the more mismatched, the better! We just got one of each, a champagne flute and a wine glass, which saw us through the evening. Our friends lent us some gorgeous vintage cake plates too. The rest of the dinnerware was from Woodwick House.
FOOD & CAKE
We had the lovely people at Beiting and Brew do some salads for our sit down lunch, and a gorgeous vegetarian curry spread for the evening. Do I have any photographs? No! Was it delish? YES. We also had a huge amount of help with all the extras. My mum pitched in and made the falafels and olives, and Jack’s mum went to town on the coleslaw and arranging the cheese and charcuterie boards.
Hayley, at Hayley Bakes did our gorgeous cakes. And she did a whole table of them! We had lime and polenta, chocolate Guinness, Victoria sponge, chocolate fudge and a carrot cake. They were practically devoured by everyone on the terrace, as we listened to the speeches!
I love a good dress, but could I find a vintage one with everything I was looking for? No. I couldn’t. And I’m not sure after a while, whether I was actually looking at anything I liked, or whether I’d seen it on someone else and thought ‘oh yes, that’s lovely’ when in reality, it wouldn’t have looked right on me. I was on The Anna Edit’s Instagram, and noticed her mentioning a brand called Tove. I loved their silhouettes, use of silk and how everything looked so vintage and contemporary at the same time.
I knew I wanted super relaxed and gorgeous bridesmaids dresses. But could I find any that I liked? Most were extortionate and would never be worn again. My mum actually found the dresses below, on Monki. I love the gingham and the gorgeous sleeve detail, and thought they worked so beautifully on the day. Fidra and my sister, Florence, really looked so gorgeous and made the day super special.
I saw the Sabine dress in lockdown, and knew it was the one. It’s not a wedding dress, but it had everything I wanted. Pleats, a slit at the front, and those voluminous sleeves which I enjoyed wafting around me.
When it arrived, I’d had to order the size up, so I was a little nervous. The dress was so weighty as I pulled it out the bag, and it fit like an absolute dream. I wasn’t sure if it was normally this easy, but it seemed like I’d found the perfect dress straight away. I posted it down to Jack’s mum’s, as our old house was so cold and damp and I was worried about it getting ruined. It lived down south for the year, and then was posted back up again the week before the wedding. We just gave it a light steam the day before and it was good to go, despite being folded in a box for so long!
On the day, it wore like a dream. It was so comfortable and I felt so lovely in it. The way it moved in the wind with the slits was just amazing, and unlike anything I’ve ever worn before.
I wore the dress with a vintage veil, which was my mum’s and she kindly gifted to me. I didn’t really think about wearing a veil, until my mum suggested it. We put everything together on the morning of the wedding, so I wasn’t even sure if it was going to work! Luckily, threaded through the flower crown (it’s actually a vintage scarf!) and with a velvet pink ribbon, it did just the trick.
Maybe my favourite part? The flowers! I’ve always loved flowers, the soft, chalky coloured, delicate kind. However, being in Orkney, I knew shipping anything fresh here was not a good idea. As a result, I bought some dried flowers from Moonko, and I was so impressed by Debbie’s attention to detail. She dries and designs the best dried flowers I’ve seen, and uses such sensitive colours and gorgeous textures, I’ve never been so obsessed with dried flowers, until now. You can see her gorgeous Instagram here,
Debbie listened to all my vague ideas about my bouquet and flower crown, which really just focused on my favourite colours. She produced something I could’ve only dreamed of, with all of the most gorgeous colours, textures and fragrances. And the best part? The fact that they’re dried means I can hang onto them just that bit longer!
And last but by no means least, our photography! This is a tricky one, as Jack is a photographer so we often know what we love. But on the day, we felt like we were in such safe hands. Jacob did such an amazing job of catching all of those moments where we didn’t even know he was there! You can find his beautiful wedding photography here. The photographs were just what we were looking for and so much more, and I couldn’t be happier!
Benjamin Johnson, my brother, who’s currently doing his degree in photography, also took some of our lovely photographs above. So, it was really special to have two people taking photographs of our day. They’ve really captured the spirit of the wedding, and we can’t wait to look through them over the years.
And finally, a special thank you to everyone who made our day so special, and we were thinking of everyone who we sadly couldn’t have there because of Covid. I’ve loved sharing the photos of our special day with you, and I’m sure there will be many more on Instagram.