~ Ceilidh Bands and Caterers ~

Spinning at the Music Hall in Aberdeen last year!

Spinning at the Music Hall in Aberdeen!

The wedding planning has begun in earnest this week. After a old colleague of mine became engaged last weekend (pause for an excited squeal!) I realised I really had to get on with planning mine and Mike’s big day.

My first port of call was the butcher who provided a hog roast for my friend Anna’s wedding back in May. It was easily the best hog roast I’d ever eaten, and the pig itself was outdoor-reared which is something that matters to me. That was an easy one to book – although I did baulk at the weight: your average pig weighs 55kg and we only have 50 guests! I am assured that the weight relates to the whole animal rather than the weight of the edible meat – we won’t have to get through a kilo of pork each!

Next stop was the Finzean Farm Shop, a really sweet restaurant close to our venue. I have asked them whether they can provide some scrummy side dishes to go with our pig – salads, breads and maybe a quiche or two for anyone who isn’t keen on the idea of pork. Hopefully they get back to me soon; they look like a great option, as they serve really good quality, local produce.

Finally on the food front, I’ve been thinking of cake plans. My Mum is a fantastic cake-baker and icer, and she has kindly offered to make ours. Her and Dad’s cake was made by my Grandma, so I’m happy to carry on the tradition! On top of that, Dad is an artist (a really good one – click here to see!) and has agreed to hand-paint our cake with food paint. I’m hoping to use some sort of flower design, which we can also add some real, fresh flowers to. I thought the idea was quite unique, but it turns out that it’s really not! There are loads of lovely designs floating about on the internet…

The next thing to organise is music for the night. If we needed any confirmation at all that planning a wedding needs to be started early, this was it. Our first choice was Clachan Yell, a ceilidh band that Mike and I have seen several times. Their music is great and their frontman is fantastic. Sadly, weekends in July fill up fast (even 12 months in advance!) and we were the 2nd couple to enquire about our date. The first enquirers seem to have gone a bit quiet, apparently, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ve found another band, or moved their wedding date.

I opened it up to my Facebook friends to recommend ceilidh bands, and we got three more to try – the first of which was also booked. Eeek! Luckily there are plenty of bands to choose from in the Aberdeenshire area, most of which have YouTube videos up so you can hear their style. I’ve got queries out with Iron Broo, Hip Flask and Big Shoogle just now.

For those unsure, a ceilidh is a traditional Scottish dance event – usually saved for weddings and other special occasions – with organised dances that most Scottish kids learn in school. The dances are really energetic and can get a bit wild: they are so much fun! It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the moves, because a good ceilidh band will usually have a ‘caller’, someone who shouts out what you should be doing next. I just can’t wait to ceilidh in my wedding dress… It’ll be such a challenge!

That’s all for the planning this week I think. Our next job is to organise a bar and serving staff… And after that, we’ll be onto the invites. There seems to be an awful lot to do! If any of you are organising your own wedding just now, leave me a comment and let me know how you’re getting on!

K

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~ One Year Today… ~

… I’ll be getting ready to walk down the aisle to marry Mike… Eeeek! I’m so excited, I thought I’d do a post about our wedding plans so far.

The Venue: I have a really compact family: my mum and dad, one aunt and myself. By contrast, Mike seems to be related to half of Aberdeen. Still, we’ve decided to have quite a small wedding – around 50 people. We will marry in Scotland – despite loving living in Norway, Mike’s more elderly relatives simply won’t be able to come over here: some of them don’t even have passports!

Inside the hall - imagine it without the chairs and with lots of fairylights!

Inside the hall – imagine it with lots of fairylights, candles and a traditional Scottish band on the stage! 

Neither of us wanted to get married in a hotel, but a lot of the alternatives (barns, marquees) are quite big: no use for us. A friend mentioned looking at village halls so I started to research halls in Aberdeenshire and Moray, and the last time Mike and I were back in Aberdeen we took a tour round eight of the best.

Perhaps a little formal for us - I plan on filling all available surfaces with wildflowers!

Perhaps a little formal for us – I plan on filling all available surfaces with wildflowers.   (Check out those lovely tartan curtains!)

The first one we saw we actually liked a lot – that was Victory Hall in Aboyne. The only downside for me was that there was limited outdoor space, as I’m crossing my fingers for good weather so we can have the ceremony outside! The next five were fairly awful – a bit smelly, scruffy and with that hideous strip lighting you get in community sports halls. By this point we were starting to get a bit disillusioned! Then we saw the seventh venue – Glenlivet Village Hall. I totally fell in love. The downside was the distance from Aberdeen, where most of our guests will be travelling from. Still, we were convinced we could work round it, and we nearly cancelled our viewing of the eighth venue! Luckily we didn’t, because it was absolutely perfect.

The surrounding countryside of the Finzean Estate.

The surrounding countryside of the Finzean Estate. Finzean is Gaelic (pronounced “Fing-an”) and means The Fair Place. Photo courtesy of Jane Cragie.

 

Finzean Hall, a pine-lined, tartan-curtained, very Scottish village hall close to Aberdeen and surrounded by fields. Exactly what I’d been dreaming of! It wasn’t expensive to book, and any money we pay will go back into the community. The pictures I’ve added to this post just don’t do it justice, it is so pretty.

The Rest: Think country wedding. Informal wildflowers everywhere. A touch of tartan (Mike will be wearing a kilt of course), a ceilidh band and dancing into the night. Fairy lights, candles, lace and champagne. Lots of laughing, singing and fun. An outside ceremony on the grass if we can, gazebos set up to drink bubbles in the shade. My three best friends as my bridesmaids – Anna, Anna and Heather – and Mike’s best man sharing a hip flask of whiskey with Grandpa. Photos in the surrounding fields, a relaxed atmosphere and a day with our loved ones that we’ll remember forever.

My dress? Well, that’s a secret until the big day.

K