A Beautiful & Breathtaking, Celtic Handfasting Wedding By The Sea: Sarah & Neil

Oh my word. One of  my favourite weddings of the year is featured on the blog today!

It has everything. Breathtaking scenery, a hand-fasting ceremony, a romantic Naomi Neoh wedding gown and an utterly in-love couple.

Beautiful images captured by Craig & Eva Sanders Photography and words by our gorgeous bride Sarah.

When we were trying to choose a wedding venue we sat down and listed the things that were non negotiable; there had to be good food; there had to be room for dancing and a band; and it had to be by the sea. ‘By the sea’ quickly became ‘on the beach’ and we scouted out places which allowed ‘beach weddings’.

It was New Year’s Eve when I contacted Crear and by the 2nd week in January we were heading out in the snow through the Scottish highlands to visit. And we fell in love. Everything about the place was perfect; laid back and comfortable, yet still luxurious, it was a home from home.

What sealed the deal was walking into the main function room which is entirely walled with glass from floor to ceiling on one side and looks over to the island of Jura: it was breath taking. It perfectly combined the rustic with the comfortable; the Scottish west coast with the Scottish highlands; and elegance with originality.

My beautiful Naomi Neoh, Clementine dress really helped set the tone for everything else. It was a beautiful silk chiffon in blush that I knew would billow beautifully in the sea breeze. I absolutely adored it!

The bridesmaids dresses reminded me of the colour of the water (or a stormy Scottish sky) and I really wanted the flowers to look like they’d been picked from a nearby field, which they did; I loved them!

Neither Neil nor I have maintained religious practises consistently in our lives and so we felt that it would be insincere to have a religious ceremony.

Instead we opted for a humanist ceremony; Scotland is one of the places where a humanitarian ceremony is recognised as legal and we felt our values and principles matched well with those of the humanist society.

It was a very personal ceremony which we wrote ourselves and peppered with traditional Scottish customs. We had a celtic hand fasting and, with our parents, shared a wee nip from a beautiful Quaich.

Neil and I grew up in the same town and went to the same school. We’ve been together since we were 16 years old and this December it will have been 10 years since our first date.

We got engaged about a year after we moved in together one November evening in 2013 at an event called the Enchanted Castle where a local Castle and its surrounding forest was illuminated; it was all very pretty and magical.

We were married around 20 months later on 25th July 2015.

After the ceremony, Craig, Eva and Barry, our (incredible) photographers and videographer, took us along the beach to an old ruin for some shots and actually, it was a perfect time for us to relax for a moment and take everything in together.

I had many ideas for the decoration which our two marvellous mums helped to make a reality. In the days before the wedding, we had a stamping production line!  

One of our favourite features was the bespoke wooden signs with quotes from Winnie the Pooh which Neil’s parents very kindly made for us.

Other than our non-negotiable criteria that we had agreed on in the beginning there was no particular theme which we were necessarily going for.

The biggest influence was the natural setting around Crear. We really wanted the space to be appreciated as it was so complemented that by keeping things very relaxed and romantic.

What was your most memorable moment of the day / evening?

It is very hard to choose one specific favourite moment, we both tried to enjoy and absorb every single part of the day. The ceremony was perfectly imperfect and we giggled the whole way through which suited us down to a tee.

After the ceremony, Craig, Eva and Barry, our (incredible) photographers and videographer, took us along the beach to an old ruin for some shots and actually, it was a perfect time for us to relax for a moment and take everything in together.

Unless we could add more hours to the day there is nothing I would change. There is never enough time to catch up with all of your guests but we tried to speak to everyone at least once.

If you could impart any words of wisdom to a future brides planning their wedding day, what would they be?

Our advice would be do what makes you both happy. Don’t worry about what is expected or what is traditional: if it’s not for you, try something new!

Also, don’t fret if things don’t go exactly to plan, there were several things on the day that were unexpected and impromptu; we just went with it and laughed the whole way through and I think that comes across brilliantly in Craig and Eva’s fantastic photography!

We have absolutely no regrets about any aspect of our day. There were some who queried the distance of the venue but once they were there they completely understood why we had chosen Crear; it is just out of this world and our wedding was the stuff of dreams!

What an absolute stunner of a wedding! Massive congrats to Sara and Neil and thank you to Craig & Eva Photography for sharing this stunning on the beach and by the sea, Crear wedding.

In love with Naomi Neoh wedding dresses? Make sure you check out her elegant, modern and utterly romantic gown collection.

wedding credits / photographer: craig & eva sanders photography / wedding venue: crear, tarbert, argyll & bute, scotland / brides dress: naomi neoh / grooms suit: asos / bridesmaid dresses: hobbs / bridesmaid shoes: / hair: toni cook hairdressing / makeup: my mum / florist: family friend & mel from crear / wedding cake: crear

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