There’s something so intimately beautiful about wedding pictures. Even when you don’t know the couple personally, the tales captured in these gorgeous shots give you a window into one of the most incredible days in theirs and their family’s lives. It just so happens that today’s photographs may be some of the most beautiful we have ever seen; and of course they come from none other than insanely talented duo Craig & Eva Sanders.
I’ll admit, I could happily have written an essay on this stunning wedding, with all elements tying together to create the joy-filled, perfect celebration you see before you. Every inch the modern day fairy tale, this wedding beautifully combines classic elements with modern touches; a testament to the effortless style of the couple and their vision. Sit back with a cuppa, this may be a long read, but oh my goodness, it’s so worth it!
The ultimate in organised brides, Natalie married her partner Christopher on the 7th April this year in a serious stunner of a celebration at the glorious Dundas Castle, South Queensferry that left us in total awe in the studio. This couple may have one of the best introduction stories I have had the pleasure of writing, with an unexpected Christmas kiss sparking this beautiful couple’s journey to “I do”!
“Christopher and I were at the same school, although, he was a few years above me (in my eldest brother’s year!)” explains Natalie. “We didn’t properly get chatting until years later, when we bumped into each other, with a mutual friend, one Christmas-Eve in Glasgow …and the rest is history! Christopher lived in London for 11 years, and soon moved home after that fateful Christmas kiss!”
An enviable planner, Natalie’s planning journey started before there was a ring (in her case a sensational marquise cut diamond; an epic choice from Christopher!) in sight…
“So my first confession would be admitting to being one of those girls who had multiple secret ‘wedding boards’ on Pinterest long before I got engaged!” smiles Natalie. “But I look at it more as research and being well prepared-which is crucial!”
“I have always been a ‘list person’ so I knew I had to make the ultimate to do list! My wedding to do list was categorised, split month by month, list of tasks, who was responsible, and a cell for traffic light colours to indicate their progress! Can you tell I’m a teacher?!”
Selecting suppliers to match their vision for their wedding was no mean feat, however a chance encounter with dream duo Craig & Eva Sanders cemented Natalie’s goal to one day have them shoot her wedding.
“I first approached Craig and Eva at my Uncle’s wedding (I had always loved their work, they were like celebs to me!) and asked them to photograph my wedding, they were so nice and said “of course, when is your wedding?” And I sheepishly replied “I’m not even engaged yet!”
“After a few giggles and a few years, I kept my word and they were one of the first suppliers I excitedly emailed shortly after getting engaged. They put us at ease throughout the whole day and did a great job making us look like we knew what were were doing!”
The incredible family home of Sir Jack and Lady Stewart-Clarke, Dundas is renowned the world over as a remarkable exclusive use venue; striking in its luxurious elegance and perfect Scottish grandeur.
“Dundas Castle was the first venue we visited! To be honest we were going on a ‘fantasy wedding’ trip then ended up falling in love with it!” explained Natalie. “As we drove up the drive way it was a bright, crisp January morning and it was just spectacular! I knew at that moment, it was where I wanted to get married and that it would be a hard one to beat. Then we met the team, and they walked us through every moment of the day and it was just so clear they knew their sh*t!”
A family connection also nodded at Dundas being the perfect place to tie the knot for Natalie and Christopher.
“After spotting a photograph of my late Grandfather with Frank Sinatra in the Pavillion at Dundas, we knew we had tingles and shivers for all the right reasons. We then felt we had to see other venues (research!) but nothing came close!”
A luxury exclusive use venue can be the perfect place to entertain guests, with Natalie and Christopher placing a huge emphasis on housing all of their nearest and dearest together for whole weekend.
“The main attraction was being able to have exclusive use for the whole weekend. We had a fantastic, very emotional, rehearsal dinner the night before with our families and wedding party in the Auld Keep, then onto a pre-wedding party in near by South Queensferry” Natalie said. “It was a great chance to see so many of our guests who had travelled across the world to be with us! We’re so glad we did that, as on the wedding day, we couldn’t get round 200 guests!”
Focusing on a truly immersive celebration for their guests, filled with incredible beauty and enjoyment at every turn.
“The most important aspect of the day was enjoyment! We wanted everyone (including us!) to have the best day ever”, Natalie describes. “From the music in the church, the most incredible jazz trio during the drinks reception, surprise singing waiters during our meal and then our fantastic band in the evening, we just wanted to be entertained and have fun! Our musical director (Des McLean) said to us, “music isn’t reserved for royalty!” A 20-strong choir, trumpets, bagpipes and a drummer and we definitely felt like royalty!”
With a seasoned, professional luxury wedding venue like Dundas, which focuses on delivering weddings to inspire the world over, finding suppliers to suit such a dream destination can often prove daunting. However, Natalie and Christopher used their research to find suppliers who both matched their expectations and ideas, and who knew Dundas Castle well, leading to a seamless celebration delivered to perfection.
“Through my pre-engagement research I had chosen so many of my suppliers, so it was so reassuring to see so many of them on Dundas’ recommended supplier list! For flowers, I just knew that being through in Edinburgh called for the incredibly talented Planet Flowers. Dundas has so many beautiful spots around the grounds that speak for themselves, plus Lady Lydia has impeccable taste so we were merely adding small details to make it our own. Suz and her team are so creative and their attention to detail is second to none.”
“We knew we wanted a wedding video and there was no one else in the running to capture the elements of the day that were so special to us. It’s so easy to see why Yvonne and Steve are so highly sought after once you watch any of their wedding trailers! I would highly recommend investing in a good videographer, (and of course, photographer); these are the memories of your special day and you don’t want to risk ending up with something of poor quality.”
“It’s funny, 3 of our suppliers (photos/video/stationery) were husband and wife duos!” laughed Natalie.
From our perspective, this lovely couple were an utter dream to work with, taking inspiration from one of our most loved collections and transforming it to fit in with their vision of an understated yet subtly regal day.
“I had seen some of EYi’s work on Instagram and was just in awe of their creations. I loved the timeless and elegant look of the ‘Emma’ and thought I could put my own spin on it. Meeting with Jack was great, I could have spent all day rummaging through the luxurious stationery! He knew exactly what I was trying to achieve and I trusted his judgment every step of the way!”
“Jack was so patient with my indecisiveness and worked like a pro to get everything produced on time and to the highest quality. It was so much fun looking at potential designs for our own crest (which ended up on everything, even 24 white umbrellas!) and playing about with different styles of calligraphy.”
“We were delighted with the final outcome. We received so many compliments about them, it was really unexpected, but so lovely to hear! Invitations really do set the tone for the day, so it was a big part of our planning, but having an experienced duo guiding us through each aspect of the stationery was one less thing to worry about! I remember the feeling of excitement after posting the invitations, the countdown was on!”
Can we take a second to pause and revel in the bride’s UN-BELIEVABLE dress?! Those eagle-eyed readers may notice that certain cut, that specific shimmer that can only have been achieved by the one and only Berta. We simply adore these designs and have been so lucky to feature many of our brides styling these gowns to utter perfection.
“The dress! I began my dress shopping experience with an open mind, then very quickly had a mental checklist of what I didn’t want, but couldn’t quite put my finger on what I actually did want!” describes Natalie. “After a long search, both my mum and I had taken a screenshot of my dress and tracked down the wonderful Sharon at Opus Atelier in West Kilbride who was expecting it in a trunk show one weekend. As soon as the back was fastened I got “the feeling”. I’d never seen anything like it before and it had to be different.”
With her handsome groom in full kilt by her side (after being given away by her tangibly proud and beaming father at their ceremony in St Mary’s Catholic Church), not even a soft drizzle of Scottish spring rain could dampen the spirits of the radiant bride. You can truly feel the joy shining through these gorgeous images, and we hope the couple continue to share such smiles for the rest of their lives! Congratulations to the gorgeous new Mr & Mrs Friel!