How did you find out about Sophia Grace Couture?
I found out about Sophia Grace Couture through an online search of Gown shops close to me.
How would you describe your experience at Sophia Grace Couture?
Uplifting, to say the least! After bad experiences at two other bridal shops I was so nervous going into Sophia Grace. My bridesmaids were scattered all over the country and my mum 3 hours away so I was on the dress hunt by myself (probably through choice!). I walked into Sophia Grace literally shaking. I had negative expectations in my head just from my previous experiences. As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted with such a welcome I felt almost instantly at ease. The whole process from when I entered the door to when I left was just so lovely and I wish I could go over and re-live it all again. I left the shop feeling ecstatic!
Tell us about your dress and why you choose your particular gown
My dress absolutely took me by surprise. I had chosen all the gowns from the rails that I was going to try on I had my selection of what I thought I liked. On the way to the fitting room there was a dress sticking out a little from one of the rails. When I looked at It there was something about it that drew me in but at the same time the low back and very low front made me certain that it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t modest enough for me but still something made me want to try it on. I remember saying “I’ll try this one on first to get it out the way because I know it’s not my style” it was very fitted with no back and a very low front nothing like what I had been looking for. In my head I had the idea something loose not fitted to my body at all as I wasn’t very body confident at the time. So on it went and oh my…. I absolutely LOVED it! Apart from the low front everything about this dress was perfect. From the pearl detail on the sleeve cuff to the 3D flowers over the gown. I had fallen in love and I didn’t want to take it off. I felt so great, better than I had felt in a long time. The price was a lot out of my budged but I couldn’t see past it when I tried every other dress I had picked off the rails. I had managed to convince myself that I could, and would, work to afford it. The only thing holding me back from “saying yes to the dress” was the low front I knew that I could never wear anything that low. Imagine how ecstatic I was when Naydene told me that they could order the same lace to fill in the front?! Well, I left the store literally skipping I was on such a high but gutted that no one was with me to celebrate. I first tried to call my sister but she didn’t answer. So, I went into a local café ordered tea and a scone and called my dad. He was so relieved that I had finally found one. I just wanted to celebrate. I remember I missed my junction on the bypass as I was just on such a high!
How did you meet? Are you happy to tell us about the proposal?
Gary and I met through mutual friends on a night out in Edinburgh in 2014. Gary had went out with his friend to meet a guy he worked with and I had went out with my friend and bridesmaid Freya to meet up with her brother. The group we met just so happened to be the group that Gary was going out to meet. Little did we know that the rest of the group had tickets to a gig and it would only be Freya, Gary and his friend left sitting at a table. From there we chatted every day and 10 months later booked to travel Australia for 12 months. This really brought us together. On returning home from Australia I moved in with Gary in East Lothian.
The proposal… February 2018 Gary took me for a long weekend to Paris. I was in the middle of completing my Masters degree at the time so was stressed to the max with course work I was even finishing an assignment on the flight over. We arrived in Paris in the pouring rain and couldn’t check into our hotel for another 3 hours. Gary suggested walking to Notre damn and finding where the film “midnight in Paris” was filmed. So off we set on our adventure only to get lost and Garys phone dying. I managed to get us to the place where the movie was filmed by using a map. I was looking at the map to see exactly where we were and I turned around to see Gary on one knee with a ring in his hand. I was genuinely so shocked! We were in the middle of Paris, soaking wet… this was the last thing I expected! We were literally in our own little bubble for two days – we didn’t tell anyone. We went to the nearest bar and celebrated with champagne. Gary had booked us in for a meal in the Eiffel tower that evening which was lovely. The following day we continued to be in our own little bubble as we explored Disney Land Paris. We were running around like children just so happy in each other’s company. That evening we told our friends and family. It was just a fairy-tale dream!
What was your inspiration for your wedding? Did you follow a specific theme or colour palette?
I love winter. We knew that whatever season we agreed upon that it would be a cosy family orientated wedding with just lots of love and gratitude for what we have in life. We had originally looked at a barn style or tipi style wedding in summer but something in us was drawing us to a more winter themed wedding. Our theme was winter inspired with a little bit of rustic décor. My mum made our seating plan frame from driftwood she had found on the beach and put fairylights around the side and my dad made our cake stand we had a lot of personal homemade bits and bobs. My bridesmaids wore Navy blue and they each had a black watch tartan shawl with their initials on it. Thankfully I had got these as to our surprise we had the most beautiful crisp winters day. A lot of our family had worried about it being snowing and our Edinburgh guests not being able to make it but all we dreamed of any prayed for was a crisp frosty morning and that is exactly what we got!
What made you decide upon your chosen venue?
I stumbled upon our venue when out on a random road trip with one of my bridesmaids. We took a drive up to Friars Carse country house in Dumfriesshire and it was beautiful. I was hesitant about going in. I remember Sarah saying “lets go in, we can pretend we are looking at the menu for a meal sometime”. I reluctantly agreed. When we went in I just remember being like “this is it”. We spoke to the wedding coordinator and she couldn’t have been more helpful. She talked through everything with us. Again, I left feeling really happy and phoned Gary to tell him. He visited them after my graduation in November 2018 and we booked there and then that day for a year in advance November 2019.
The venue was a beautiful, traditional, county house. Each time we visited they had a roaring traditional fire in the main foyer which was just so cosy and gave off a really relaxed atmosphere. I loved the idea that a lot of our guests (especially Garys family from Edinburgh) could stay the night before and the night of the wedding. This really sealed the deal for us. It turned the wedding into a whole weekend occasion. It was great having family with us the night before to all meet each other, have meals together and just be in each others company to celebrate. As well, on the Sunday, the day after the wedding it was great having breakfast with everyone, hearing everyone’s stories and reminiscing. It just rounded off the perfect weekend.
Tell us about your wedding
The wedding morning started with myself and my bridesmaid waking up before 5am with excitement (we were sharing a room so when one of us was awake we both were!). We tried our best to get more sleep by putting calming sounds on the T.V but nope we were up! I started my morning with some yoga before our make-up and hair artists arrived. We had such a lovely morning all getting ready in the room together. My niece Daisy was so excited she kept wishing the morning would hurry up. I spent most of the morning stood by the window watching a lot of our family and friends out for morning strolls (I was careful not to be seen by the groom!) I just wanted to get out there too. When the time came to go downstairs I was so so excited. My dad had my arm as we stood at the top of the stairs and watched as my 4 bridesmaids and my mum made their way down. I remember hearing the bagpipes and my stomach just leaping. I loved seeing everyone as I walked down the aisle. We had a beautiful, very personal, ceremony with a humanist who shared Gary and I’s story. My sister did a beautiful reading. We incorporated some Scottish traditions into our ceremony with a traditional hand fasting and drinking from the quaich which my dad presented to us. After the ceremony Gary and I greeted our guests as we walked though their tunnel of confetti. I remember feeling so happy! It was then time for photos and our photographer Scott from Camerashy did not disappoint he had everyone organised and laughing at the same time. The day just flew by I’m so glad we caught it all on video to look back on. Our reception was great, we had a live band which everyone loved. It was great to see all the kids up dancing and having a great time. We also had a bit of a ceilidh which went down really well. This was probably my favourite part of the evening!
What was the most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment has to be the power cut we had half an hour before the ceremony was supposed to start. I was literally just about to get into my gown, I had my hair and make-up done and I was buzzing to get downstairs to see everyone and marry Gary when the power went off. I initially thought that the photographers had turned off the lights in the room to take pictures of my gown with natural lighting so I asked one of my bridesmaids to turn the lights back on. We then found out that there was actually no power. Ahhh! All of our guests were downstairs and seated in the dark waiting for our ceremony to start. We had considered using candle light to do the ceremony but with advice from our photographer on quality for photos we decided to wait it out. The hotel called an electrician from Dumfries to come out. I was stood eagerly waiting at the window waiting for him to arrive. The ironic thing is that Gary is an electrician! But they wouldn’t let him look at the issue due to insurance. I had decided just to get into my gown, I was sick of waiting and just so eager to get going. As if by magic when my bridesmaid Sarah clipped in the strap that ran along my back the lights came on! We were all so relieved. Thankfully the issue was resolved and the ceremony was only delayed by half an hour.
Do you have any advice for future brides visiting Sophia Grace Couture?
If you see a dress that catches your eye but wasn’t what you were looking for just try it on. This definitely took me by surprise. Don’t be scared to ask the for advice, the ladies in the shop are so lovely and helpful. Finally, enjoy it! Choosing my dress that day and finding the one was up there with one of the most uplifting days of my life.
Photographer: Scott, Camerashy
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Friars Carse Country House
Florist: Tammy’s Sweet Stems
Cake: Copper Rose Wedding Cakes
Make-up artist: Make up by Hania
Hair stylist: Emma Kennedy Nichol