{you are the story. i am the narrator.}

{you are the story. i am the narrator.}

Mr. & Mrs. Tan

Everything about Laura and Patrick’s Scotland wedding photos was a dream come true for me. In fact, if we looked at the list of reasons why I wanted to photograph this Scotland wedding so much, it would be like this:

✔ wedding in the U.K.

✔ wedding in a castle

✔ elopement

✔ old Hollywood feel

✔ did I mention Scotland?!?!

✔ also, Scotch

At least, those were the list-worthy items for me when Laura and Patrick contacted me about their wedding, but man, was I surprised about my favourite part!

Shoot a castle wedding

At the beginning of last year, I was thinking about quitting weddings. They’re hard on the body and the reward is sometimes too long in coming. Having been at this for over a decade now, I have a secret list in my head of things that I’d like to do before I retire from weddings. The trouble with a list like that is that there’s really no way to make it happen… Those couples and weddings just have to come to you on their own.

Not long after I considered throwing in the towel, I made an actual list. The two things at the top were, “Shoot a wedding in the U.K.,” and, “Shoot a wedding in a castle.” There; I’d done it. I didn’t know how to get a castle wedding or a U.K. wedding, and I don’t honestly think I really believed I would. But nonetheless, my not-so-secret Anglophile self was happy.

Laura & Patrick

Then Laura and Patrick reached out to me about their plans. I’ve known Patrick for years, and around Christmas 2016, I went over to his place to borrow a game from him whilst my best friend was in town. I had the chance to meet Laura for the first time, and spent much longer than anticipated talking with them, nerding together, and listening to their loose wedding plans.

Patrick knows I’m a wedding photographer in Orange County, but with all the options people have these days to choose someone local or fly in anyone in the world, I didn’t dare to hope that I could be the photographer for their Scottish elopement. However, they did ask me to photograph their engagement, and once we started talking about that, Pandora’s box was opened.

Scotland wedding photos

Before I knew it, we were in Scotland together. Honestly, it seemed to happen that fast… maybe because I was so excited about it, maybe because the year was packed with so many other great weddings and sessions that I didn’t have time to pine away for it. Whatever the reason, September came quickly, and my good friend Josh, whom I’d drafted to assist me with this amazing adventure, and I were on a plane headed for Edinburgh.

Okay, want to know the very best thing about photographing destination weddings? (And also about elopements and intimate weddings…) As the photographer, I get to be away from the distractions of every day life and just be present with my couples. When Josh and I arrived at Old Churches House Hotel where we were all staying the night before the wedding, we had just a moment to unpack, clean up from travelling. Then we excitedly headed down to meet up with Laura, Patrick, and their families.

The night before, we had dinner at the inn’s restaurant, chatting about the next morning, the wedding, what the families had been doing since arriving in Scotland, good Scotch, and so much more. The evening was relaxing and enjoyable, and the perfect way to kick off wedding festivities.

In the morning, Josh and I had the pleasure of hearing breakfast with Patrick, who’d staggered his meal time with Laura so they wouldn’t see each other before the ceremony. What stands out to me the most about that entire morning was the calm that had settled over all of us. I first noticed it over breakfast, but it was definitely a thematic mood throughout the day.

After breakfast, we had plenty of time to capture Laura’s details before starting getting ready photos. We lucked out: across the street was a rad old church (probably what Old Churches House Hotel was named for), which was a perfect setting to photograph Laura’s dress.

UK elopement // Scotland wedding photos

Enter Laura’s dress, which it completely its own character in this story, not only because of how beautiful it is. This is the first time in 12 years that I’ve had a bride who made her own wedding gown. The gown was a blush pink with beautiful lace. It’s uniqueness was paralleled only by its beauty and Old Hollywood charm. Truly the perfect gown for this day.

I could go on all day (truly) about Laura’s details, but so I don’t bore you, I won’t. The sixpence, which is a Scottish tradition, was Laura’s grandmother’s. Though we couldn’t get it to stay in her shoe because of the peep toes, Laura had sewn pockets into her dress and she was able to keep it on her all day. The necklace pictures here was given to her by Patrick’s parents at dinner the night before. (So sweet and thoughtful of them!)

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Doune Castle

To say we were excited to get to the castle is the actual understatement of the century. I’m sure Patrick, who arrived long before Laura and her dad drove over to Doune Castle, was eager with anticipation. Still, the day was calm and sweet, without the usual flurry of sticking to a strict timeline, worry about guests arriving on time, or starting before anyone we as ready. One of the best things about eloping is that you truly get to be on your own time as a couple. And we photographers sure do love that, too.

Oh, I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention Patrick’s Star Trek groom gear. One of the things I enjoy having in common with many of my couples is mutual nerdery, but Patrick took it to a whole new level with his cuff links and… kilt pin? I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, and I’m sure it’s not what it was made for, but whatevs. My story, my made-up terminology.

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And finally, with much anticipation, Laura and her dad entered Doune Castle for the ceremony.

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One of the things I found most interesting before we actually arrived in Scotland was that the ceremony was going to be held in the kitchen. I guess I had no idea how picturesque the kitchen would really be, because this just blew my mind.

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I suppose that, traditionally, an elopement doesn’t have family members present, and this might technically be considered an intimate wedding. Whatever it is technically, I loved having the family there to witness and bless the start of Laura and Patrick’s marriage. This moment where they each held and blessed the wedding bands was extra special.

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Laura and Patrick met swing dancing in Orange County. Even though they do different styles of dance, it only seemed appropriate for a celebratory turn around the proverbial dance floor after some bubbly. Plus, the guitarist who played through the ceremony was awesome!

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Laura’s Old Hollywood style was extra apparent in these photos Josh grabbed of her whilst I was working on family portraits. Info below on her absolutely lovely hat!

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We really wanted to get some photos outside the castle, but were very limited on where we could walk because of the newly sown grass. And of course, it was pretty muddy because, well, Scotland and constant rain. However, we managed to find a little spot in the courtyard where we could step out on a little cobblestone pad just far back enough to get some epic photos on the stairs leading down from the kitchen.

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I know I’m biased and my judgment can’t be trusted because I’m a diehard anglophile with a love for all things castle. However, these next photos in front of Doune Castle were truly amazing and I don’t know if I’ll ever love anything (maybe even anyone) as much as I love them.

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Josh was really sad to find out that he could not fly his drone here, as it was a public building and there’s some rule about that. Later, though, we stopped on the side of the road for the most epic golden field photos of all time, and Josh was able to make use of his Mavic then.

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We were the last ones to leave the castle… and more than a little sad to do so.

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The Scottish countryside

That epic golden field I mentioned?

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Josh and I both have a soft spot for this kind of spot, so it was easy to decide to make a stop here on the way to the reception. (Plus, we’d basically absconded with our bride and groom and they were at our mercy.) One of the things I love about travelling so much is that the more you do of it, the more the world looks the same. Though the charm and beauty of this particular field were unique to the Scottish countryside, this photo could have been taken back in California, or in Montana, or in Alberta, or in a hundred other places I’ve been. I love that it’s Scotland, and I love that it’s ubiquitous.

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Inglewood House and Spa

The last leg of our Scotland wedding photos journey brought us to Inglewood House and Spa, a hotel and retreat at a Jacobean mansion in the Stirling area. With only the meal left in the evening, we didn’t do much in the way of documenting the beautiful reception here. It would have been a shame to interrupt the intimacy of their family-centred wedding dinner with lots of camera clicks and flashes, so Josh and I sat back and enjoyed the meal with the two newly-joined families.

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Everything about this wedding day was my favourite. And sure, every wedding day has favourite aspects to it. These Scotland wedding photos might have been my original dream, but spending the days in Scotland with Laura and Patrick for their wedding surpassed special and have embedded themselves in my heart as one of my dearest and favourite memories. Less because I was checking a few items off my bucket list and more because I felt honoured to be the storyteller for their day.

Come back soon to see Laura & Patrick’s Isle of Skye honeymoon session! (Trust me, you’re going to want to see this.)

Scotland wedding vendors

Getting ready venue: Old Churches House
Hair stylist: Vanity Thrills Vintage Hair & Makeup
Makeup artist: Skye, the bride’s sister
Custom hat: Atelier Mela
Custom wedding gown: the bride!
Gown pattern/design: Colette Patterns
Groom’s kilt: Tartan Patch
Ceremony venue: Doune Castle
Wedding coordinator: Utopia Scotland
Florist: Floristic Designs
Officiant: Sheena Johnson
Musician: Martyn Rapley
Reception venue: Inglewood House & Spa
Wedding photography: Megan Kuethen

comments

  1. Chen

    January 8th, 2018 at 15:26

    Beautiful! Love love love the brides style! And the field looks epic indeed!

  2. Megan Kuethen

    January 8th, 2018 at 22:25

    Well, thanks so much, Chen! Yes, Laura has impeccable taste!! I just checked out your blog, too – love Steph & Kristian’s wedding, and your beautiful style!

  3. Neil van Niekerk

    January 8th, 2018 at 16:20

    What an unusual location! I love the diversity you bring to the images with the interesting compositions and angles. You beautifully told the story of their wedding day.

    Laura & Patrick – congratulations!

  4. Megan Kuethen

    January 8th, 2018 at 22:23

    Thanks, Neil! Coming from you, this is high praise indeed.

  5. Jimmy Esposito

    January 8th, 2018 at 16:27

    I absolutely love ypur style. Your ability to capture a moment is absolutely phenomenal!

  6. Megan Kuethen

    January 8th, 2018 at 22:22

    Thanks so much, Jimmy!

  7. Christine Yodsukar

    January 8th, 2018 at 21:20

    SCOTLAND?!!! Holy moly moly!! This is the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen. Bravo!!!

  8. Megan Kuethen

    January 8th, 2018 at 22:21

    You’re too kind, Christine!! Thank you!!

  9. Brei Olivier

    January 9th, 2018 at 12:57

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Amazing wedding & I just love her dress. And serious props to you for making a wish list full of crazy goals and then making them happen!

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