I love photographing a castle wedding especially when it is at Comlongon Castle, near Dumfries. The castle itself can be found tucked away in the Scottish Borders, it has been the subject of many bitter and bloody conflicts over the years. This is a direct contrast to the beautiful, relaxing wedding venue and hotel that it has become. When Kristen and Peter asked me to be their wedding photographer and told me that they would be getting married at Comlongon Castle, I just knew that it was going to a brilliant day.
Kristen is originally from North Carolina in the United States and moved to Dumfries in Scotland. This is where she met Peter four years earlier and fell in love. They both share a love of theatre, both working in the industry. Peter romantically proposed to Kristen on the stage at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries.
Peter admits that Kirsten deserves the credit for planning their beautiful castle wedding. They both decided on a small gathering of close family and friends and went to great lengths to create a really personal and meaningful ceremony.
They had invited guests from far and wide to help them celebrate their wedding day, I was only travelling from one end of Dumfries and Galloway to the other, but I was still very excited to be sharing their wedding day. When I arrived at the castle, Kristen, her Mum and Gran were busy with the bridal preparations and so after the initial introductions I got to work photographing some of the wedding details such as Kristens beautiful wedding dress, shoes and jewellery. We chatted about the day ahead and I took candid shots of them sipping champagne and catching up. Downstairs Peter, Mark (Best Man) and Kerri (Best Woman) were also busy getting ready and I spent some time with them too before we headed to the main reception area to meet and greet guests prior to the ceremony.
The ceremony took place in the castle keep which is next to the hotel. A local registrar conducted the ceremony which included a traditional handfasting and beautiful vows which had been personalised by Kristen and Peter. Afterwards the ceremony we spent some time on the perfect lawns and took some formal and some less formal group photographs as well as capturing some romantic photographs of the newly weds as they spent their first moments together as husband and wife.
Dining and speeches took place in the castle’s candle lit banqueting hall which was later converted to a ballroom for the evening entertainment and dancing. I asked Kristen and Peter a few questions about their experience of their wedding day at Comlongon Castle and they were kind enough to share the following:
How did you meet?
We met at the Theatre Royal Dumfries at the aftershow party for The Exorcism. Peter had been in the play, and Kristen had painted the set. We started dating the next week, and have been together ever since. The Theatre Royal has played a big role in our relationship, where we have acted (Peter), stage managed (Kristen), and directed (both) throughout the last four years. (We also now both work there!) Peter proposed to Kristen on the theatre’s stage last October, and we had a big party at the theatre this spring.
We wanted a castle wedding and we loved that Comlongon felt like a ‘real’ castle, complete with suits of armour and a medieval tower. It was also important to us that everything happened at the same site, and that it was near enough to our home that logistics were easy to coordinate.
Kristen got to pick out her dress with her grandmother, mother, and great-aunt in North Carolina, which made the experience incredibly special. Peter picked out his kilt because he liked it.
We had a bunch of friends over to make the flowers (all paper), and Comlongon took care of everything else! Peter, his best man, and best woman made the wedding favours the morning of the wedding.
Two of our friends were getting married the April before us, and they had their engagement shoot with Dan right about the time we started planning the wedding. They couldn’t say enough good things about him, so we booked him sight unseen (and didn’t meet him until their wedding in April!) We couldn’t have picked someone better for our day. Dan went above and beyond in every element, and was a calming presence for a nervous bride. We’ve now gotten the canvas, prints, album, and images, and were pleasantly suprised that everything was nicer than we had anticipated. The leather-bound album in particular was just stunning.
Brad Paisley – Little Moments. It’s always been a special song to us about the imperfection of a relationship. It also allowed a touch of the South to be in our Scottish wedding.
(Kristen): I loved dancing in the middle of the circle at the end of the night to Auld Lang Syne. That tradition was something I had seen at other events, and I took advantage of the moment to look at every face there. It was such a wonderful moment.
The only regrets I have are getting upset over (what I now realise) are relatively unimportant things. So many people moved mountains to get us our day, and I wished I had just gone with the flow a little more. Also, there were some people we would have loved to have had but thought they wouldn’t want to travel so far – we realised our mistake and invited many of them at the last minute, and were so glad they could make it!
It’s cliche, but it really is all about the people who are present. It meant the world to have so many different people there, especially when there was so much travel involved for Kristen’s side.
Here are some of the photographs from their fabulous castle wedding at Comlongon:
Dan Bаіllіе іѕ a photographer bаѕеd in Sсоtlаnd, UK. Dаn dоеѕ a wide vаrіеtу of рhоtоgrарhу rеlаtеd tо реорlе аnd thеіr асtіvіtіеѕ – including wedding and family photoshoots. Yоu саn vіѕіt hіѕ wеbѕіtе: www.bailliephoto.co.uk or catch him over on facebook fоr mоrе іnfоrmаtіоn.