Top Weekend

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Top Weekend

You might think that life can’t get much better when you’re in glorious Cancún, strolling along the beach at sunset with no one else around, but it certainly did for Stephanie Dickson when her boyfriend Gary Mann got down on one knee! From there, it

“In our eyes, the castle speaks for itself,” smiles Stephanie, who met her husband-to-be at work back in 2014. “From the minute we walked in, we both knew Drumtochty was the place – it gave us the fairy-tale wedding we always dreamed of. The location was perfect as it was secluded, and St Palladius Church was breathtaking. It also gave us the option of having a ‘weekend wedding’ where our guests would arrive on the Friday and depart on the Sunday.”

It just got better from here on for the duo: “We booked the date on our first visit and, during the two years that followed, we became very close with Nikki, the general manager. She and her staff were fantastic, and no request was too small.”

Taking advantage of the opportunity to be king and queen of the castle for a fun-filled weekend, the couple kicked off the celebrations with a hog roast on the Friday night with their nearest and dearest, then invited friends to join later on for drinks and games.

Stephanie spent the following morning in a haze of relaxation and excitement with her bride squad, who she’d popped the question to via a “Will you be my bridesmaid?” cookie cake – super cute!

Hair and make-up arrived bright and early on Saturday and it was time to get the glad rags on – beautiful blue for the girls and a spectacular white fitted fishtail Mark Lesley gown for the bride.

“I’d been so excited to go dress shopping,” explains Stephanie. “I had appointments all booked up but, taking myself by surprise, I chose my dress in the first shop I went to. I always knew what I wanted and the minute I tried on my dress, I knew it was the one. I loved the pattern and the beautiful open back and, when it caught the light, it just sparkled away.”

She added a diamond-adorned cathedral veil, gorgeous Jenny Packham shoes and a hairpiece, then headed down the road to meet Gary (dressed to impress in his Graham of Menteith Weathered kilt and tweed jacket) at the idyllic St Palladius Church for a non-religious ceremony.

The newlyweds and their 70 guests made their way back up to the castle with the sound of bagpipes in the background for a tipple or two before dinner was served – a sumptuous wedding breakfast with options sure to suit every guest: roast tomato soup or traditional Scotch broth, followed by either a roasted sirloin of Scottish beef or buttered baked chicken with haggis. Sweet tooths were absolutely satisfied when it came to the choice of deserts: a much-loved sticky toffee pudding or a wonderful warm chocolate brownie.

As dusk set on the castle, a further 20 guests arrived, just in time to see the new Mr and Mrs’ first dance to Perfect by Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé: “Ever since his album came out, we fell in love with that song and, when he did the duet with Beyoncé, you heard the song from the woman’s view, too.”

The rest of the evening involved a mix of pop and R&B tunes, plus a spot of ceilidh dancing to add that essential Scottish vibe.

“Seeing everything we planned for two years coming together with all our family and friends beside us made a fantastic weekend,” says Stephanie.

“And, after everyone left on the Sunday, we travelled down to Glasgow to stay at Malmaison before flying out to Dubai for four nights, then on to the Maldives for ten, staying in a water bungalow in the Indian Ocean.”

Venue: Drumtochty Castle and St Palladius Church

Wedding dress: Elmar Bridal

Groom’s outfit: Georgian Dress Hire

Hair: Sarah Jane Ironside at Salon 70

Make-up: Alana McCrae Makeup

Bridesmaid dresses: Blush Bridal

Photographer: Scott Hogg Photography

Video: Strawberry Wedding Films

Stationery: Aberdeen Wedding Shop

Transport: Local horse and carriage supplied through Drumtochty Castle, cars from Executive Chauffeur Services

Cake: Fondant Cake Design

Flowers: Orchid Flower Shop

Piper: Thistle Piping

Band/DJ: Splash

Rings: Beaverbrooks