Finishing our Helpx stay in Pitlochry was sad as always but we were just a little excited as we got the train south to the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh. More sightseeing? Housesitting? No. Something very special was taking place that we just couldn’t miss. A family wedding! Even my bad back wasn’t going to stop me enjoying this.
Wedding what wedding?
My youngest brother Dave has lived in Aberdeen for several years and had met a lovely American girl called Ali. She moved across from sunny Florida, that must have been a slight change in temperature, and they’ve been together in Scotland for a couple of years and decided that summer 2019 was the time to get married. Edinburgh was chosen as the venue and luckily for us we were just a couple of hours train ride away.
We had booked an Airbnb in Leith, just on the northern edge of Edinburgh, for ourselves and our three boys and their girls. So apart from being excited about the wedding we couldn’t wait to get them all together for a couple of days as we hardly ever get the chance these days. Shaun and Katie were on the early train from London. Ryan, Ella, and Sam were on the afternoon flight from Gatwick. And Tabitha was flying up on a later flight due to work commitments.
Now the wedding was due to be held in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and a lot of Ali’s family had already jetted across from the States to attend. She also had family from Belgium on their way which along with my other brother, Nick and family, from Sussex it meant it would be an interesting mix of different people. Although Dave and Ali had been planning the day for a long time they both seemed incredibly relaxed and laid-back about the whole affair. They were intent on just enjoying every moment.
Cocktails in Tigerlily
Everything started on Friday night as Ali’s parents had booked the Tigerlily cocktail bar for a pre-wedding family get-together. I think this is a particularly American idea but it was a great opportunity for us to meet everyone in a casual atmosphere and have a few laughs and generally get to know each other.
The drink flowed and there were snacks a-plenty as the formal gathering turned into an informal party. It was brilliant to see both my brothers again as we hardly ever get to see each other anymore and there were a few hugs and tearful conversations as the evening wore on. Our boys and girls threw themselves into the party atmosphere as Dave and Ali really let their hair down. Our US hosts seemed to have an equally great time too as the night wore on.
All too soon it was time to get to bed as we lept in taxis to different corners of the city with shouts of ‘see you tomorrow‘ ringing out on the Edinburgh streets.
What’s the Dress Code?
Now some of you may be wondering how two scruffy JWalking urchins could possibly scrub up smart enough to go to a top class wedding. Well let me explain. Several weeks earlier before we had even arrived in Scotland we packed up a suit-cover-type-bag with Jo’s dress, my suit, a couple of shirts, and smart shoes. We lugged this bag all the way to Pitlochry 6 weeks earlier so were all ready for ultra-smartness on the wedding day.
After a fabulous early morning walk out for breakfast at The Printworks in Leith we returned to get ready. Can you imagine it? Eight of us. Two showers. Three mirrors. Could have been a disaster but like some sort of complex ballet it came together and we all ended up in the right outfits with the right make-up.
Wedding in the Botanical Gardens
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t very friendly and Ali and Dave’s planned outside ceremony had to be moved inside a marquee but the Botanical Gardens were still beautiful and the occasion unbelievably emotional as we shared their special moment. With a string quartet playing through the ceremony and a Scottish piper welcoming guests it was a truly wonderful musical experience. Ali looked amazing and even Dave scrubbed up well looking very dapper and smart.
More drinks before the meal and then the piper marching the happy couple in. We were sat with Ali’s lovely parents Cindy and David and her brother and his wife, plus my brother Nick and sister-in-law Natalie. Fabulous food and even more drinks before the entertaining speeches. Now my brother Dave is a big music enthusiast and had arranged a traditional Scottish Ceilidh for the reception. That’s Gaelic music and dancing to the uninitiated amongst you. A bit like a line dance but louder, more manic, and more fun.
Sharing your Special Day
So a terrific evening celebrating with the happy couple and enjoying a fabulous time with all of our family and new friends. The day was absolutely perfect and we really hope it was everything that Dave and Ali dreamed of.
Thanks so much for letting us share your special day Dave and Ali. We felt honoured to be part of the most wonderful occasion and wish you all the very best for your married lives. Exciting times and adventures ahead.