Real Wedding Scotland – Samantha and James’ Highland Wedding

Sam and James’ winter Highland wedding at St. Conan’s Kirk & Ardanaiseig Hotel in Loch Awe, Scotland With Photos by Bound by Light and Video by Wedding Balloon Films

Hey readers! Samantha here – one of the TWS staff writers – and today’s real wedding post is especially special because it features… (drumroll please) my wedding! All of the stunning photos of our Highland wedding are by Stuart McIntyre of Bound by Light. And don’t forget to check out our highlights reel at the bottom by Andrew Day of Wedding Balloon Films!


My husband, James, and I got married out in the absolute backend of nowhere in the Scottish highlands. Although neither of us is in the least bit Scottish, Scotland is a special place to us. James went to the University of Glasgow, and he took me up there for the first time for a weekend getaway shortly after we got together.


It was on that same weekend that, as we were driving haphazardly around the Highlands, we stumbled across St. Conan’s Kirk in Lochawe. I was getting motion sickness and I thought I was about to chunder, so I made James pull over into the nearest convenient place. He just so happened to park in the drive of St. Conan’s.

It’s like something out of a fairy tale, isn’t it? (And FYI: I wasn’t actually sick there.)


I knew then that St. Conan’s was my dream wedding ceremony venue. It’s a late-19th century mock Gothic church that looks like a film set. When we discovered the Ardanaiseig hotel a few months later, (through Groupon, of all things) my mind was made up. This New York City girl officially had her heart set on a Highland wedding.


The Big Day

On 17 December, 2016, that dream came true for us. We were joined by 50 of our nearest and dearest from both sides of the pond. There wasn’t a single touch that we didn’t put thought into.

My day started at 6 AM when two of my friends from my yoga teacher training joined me for an hour’s yoga practice. I was then absolutely pampered by my beauty squad in the form of close friends Andrew (hair) and Anamelia (makeup).


The ceremony at St. Conan’s included readings from Wuthering Heights and the Torah (my family’s Jewish) and I walked down the aisle to a beautiful instrumental version of Queen’s Love of My Life.

One of the stand-out aspects of our day for me was our cake, made by my best friend and Maid of Honour, Victoria. Vicky and I started baking together during uni, so having her make our cake was so special. Not only was it gorgeous, but it was so delicious that James and I ate all the leftovers the next day while watching Netflix.


After I cleaned up my face from all the cake James had lovingly smeared over it, we kicked off the dancing. Our first dance song was Tiny Dancer by Elton John, which I chose mostly because of my obsession with the film ‘Almost Famous’. My dad and I then danced to The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset, after which our ceilidh started.

A note to brides considering having a ceilidh: make sure your dress’ train can be bustled easily! Mine got ruthlessly trampled on by a bunch of our guests who’d evidently had too much fun with the open bar.


I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Take a peek at more of our photos below:


And let’s not forget our gorgeous highlights reel by Andrew of Wedding Balloon Films:

Makes me cry every time…

Our Vendors:

Venue and catering – Ardanaiseig Hotel
Ceremony – St. Conan’s Kirk, presided over by Rev. Dugald Cameron
Flowers – Melanie Paget of Briar Rose Design
Ceilidh band – Ceilidh Minogue
String quartet – Capella
Cake – Victoria Grace Louise May
Rings – S.H. Zell & Sons
Bride’s dress – Suzanne Neville purchased from Leonie Claire
Bride’s shoes – Manolo Blahnik
Bridesmaids’ dresses – BHLDN
Groom’s kilt – Custom from Glasgow University
Best Man & Ushers’ kilts – Slater’s
Hair – Andrew Hill
Makeup – Anamelia Regan
Bride’s manicure – Off to Neverland Nails
Macaron favours – Lilika’s Treats


  1. Great blog! Thanks for choosing me as your florist, I had such a blast working on your flowers and you were so lovely to work with.

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