Published: July 12th 2008July 13th 2008
A day I'd imagined all my life and what a day it would turn out to be. I think nearly every little girl dreams of her wedding day, the beautiful dress - marrying the man of your dreams. For me, I always wanted to be by water, in the open air. Scotland was ideal, perfect and home. It took months of research to decide that we could do it there, as the strong pound against the Canadian dollar made it an expensive choice. However, with some help, the possibility turned into reality. We started planning and my trip over at Christmas proved a big help in this process. My Mum and I spent a very busy four days visiting people and most of the groundwork was already done. I'd taken my dress (purchased in Las Vegas on an earlier trip with my friend Sheri) over with me and also my wedding shoes, so they were safe and sound in Scotland. The first five months of 2008 were spent fine tuning all the details and ensuring that all who were coming would have a wonderful time when they got there.
After hours and hours of research, my Mum and Don helped
us secure both the ceremony and reception at The Creggans Inn (www.creggans-inn.co.uk), which is in the small village of Strachur on Loch Fyne in Argyll. Mike and I have spent a lot of time in this area on our trips to Scotland as my Mum and Don live just ten minutes further along the loch in the village of Newton (www.fyne-studios.com). The area has an abundance of natural beauty, sea lochs, mountains and forests. Creggans provided us with brilliant function rooms and a pier teetering at the edge of the loch, perfect for the ceremony. We used all the bedrooms at the inn and also took up most of the rooms at nearby Thistle House (www.thistlehouseguesthouse.com) and a few stayed in local B+B's or rented cabins. We had the use of the dining room, which has lovely windows overlooking the garden and the loch beyond. Connecting to the dining room is two smaller lounge areas, with sofas and places to take it easy - all this, whilst being able to soak in the amazing views and to listen to the tinkling of the grand piano if someone so desires to play. It fitted the bill perfectly!
Friday May 16th
rolled round. The day before had been our day trip through to Edinburgh. Now we were all moving on, leaving the city and heading out to the peaceful banks of Loch Fyne. We had various errands to do before we actually got going. We picked up some more ribbon, collected the kilts and went to the supermarket for flowers and a few other supplies. We then drove the gorgeous route past Loch Lomond, over the Rest and Be Thankful and down to Loch Fyne. We made a pit stop at Creggans Inn on the way. A few family and friends were already there enjoying lunch. After a quick hello to all we were on our way again. We had to go to the town of Dunoon to run some wedding errands. Our first stop was at the Registry Office to collect our marriage schedule - the official paperwork. The Registry Office was closed, so we walked down into the town centre. We passed Castle Hill on which the ruins of Dunoon's castle sits. Being a beautiful and sunny day, the views from up on top of the old ruins were stunning. We looked out onto the town down below and
over Holy Loch to Ayrshire on the other side. Holy Loch is famous as being a base for US navy submarines. The base had submarines that were built for nuclear missiles and of course, this brought about many protesters. The base became no more in 1992.
After our visit to the castle ruins we walked up the High Street collecting some essentials on the way. We stopped to pick up helium balloons and a gas tank, only to find that they would be too heavy to carry up hill, back to the car. We decided to grab a late lunch and then got the car, picked up the marriage schedule and then the balloons and gas tank. After that, it was back up to Strachur, dropping off the marriage schedule on the way with Robin the Minister. Mike went to visit his Mum and Dad at their hotel, Thistle House. I went to Mum and Don's. With a glass of wine by my side, the three of us finished off the favor bags and gathered all the wedding decorations together, including some more flowers. We assembled the table plan board. My Gran had painted it ivory and attached ribbon
around the frame. We had bought some pins and put on the cards with everyone's name My brother Alan, his fiance Kat and our good friends Trev and Charlie came by to pick me up and take me over to Creggans. They had just driven up from Leamington Spa, just South of Birmingham. Trev and Charlie had stayed the night with them, just getting in from India the day before that!
Creggans was a alive with people when we arrived. So many of our good friends and family all in one place. The atmosphere was brilliant, buzzing and fun. I said some quick hello's before running upstairs to change. That night everyone was meeting up at Inver Cottage to have dinner (www.invercottage.co.uk). Mike arrived and we were both soon dressed and dolled up. Inver Cottage was busting at the seams with so many of us. Lots of chatting and a great chance for people to meet one another. Dinner was soon served and the staff at Inver Cottage did an amazing job. Very efficient and a very smooth process. Nobody was left waiting for their food and the grub was just beautiful - as tasty as always. We had
a couple of late arrivals, my school friends Stephanie and Lindsey arrived just as we were finishing pudding. Inver Cottage quickly got some food put together for them and we had a good chat and catch up. They dropped me off at Inver Cottage before heading down to the cabin they had rented for the weekend down on Loch Eck.
Back at Creggans a group of us grabbed a drink and went through to the Reception Room. We had to decorate the space where we would spend the evening eating and dancing. A gang of us had fun making up paper stars and attaching them to the curtain poles. Getting all the vases out and ready for the flowers the next day. Unwrapping chocolates (and eating a few of them!) and some other decorative items. Soon though we discovered that we'd run out of fish wire which we were using for the stars. After a few drinks and some chats we decided that it was time to call it a night.
Soon it was SATURDAY MAY 17, 2008. Our big day had arrived. Woo hoo, so exciting!!! Downstairs, the breakfast room was full of bodies enjoying a Scottish
fry up. After being fueled, it was back to the function room to get it all set up. Everyone had tasks to do, someone went off for fish wire, someone else to collect the flowers from Mum's house. Some made stars, whilst others blew up the helium balloons. Ribbon was attached to the balloons and they were wrapped around stones and put in the centre of the tables. The stars were all hung off the curtain poles. My cousins set up the sound system and the boys put up a white panel on the wall for the photo slideshow. The flowers arrived and the centrepieces were made up. Chocolates were put on the table along with wedding confetti. Place settings were all set out and according to the table plan board, the photo place cards were set at their respective places. Favor bags were put by every glass and soon it was all ready, everything looked great due to so many helping hands.
At this point Mike and some of the boys had gone round to Inveraray to the whisky shop. I ran upstairs and had a shower before heading over to my Mum's house. Many of the girls
came round to enjoy a glass of bubbly with me as I got ready. I twisted my hair into ringlets and our friend Suzanne did my make-up. Our friend Georges did some video camera work before going back over to Creggans to capture some moments on film of the boys getting into their kilts whilst having a glass of whisky all at the same time!!! Mum and Don's house was milling with bodies, it was great. Gran and Aunt Anne arrived with my gorgeous bouquet. They had gone to Millcroft to pick it up (and some sea holly for the tables). Millcroft is a lavendar farm - the highest one in the UK (www.millcroftlavender.co.uk). Mum and Don are friends with Isobel, the owner. Isobel had very kindly made up my bouquet. It was just perfect, sea holly and roses. As soon as Mike proposed, I knew that I wanted sea holly for my bouquet.
Soon it was time to get into my dress. I was getting into it just as Derek the photographer arrived (www.derekprescott.co.uk). Once I was laced up in my dress the girls left to go and get themselves ready. I got some photographs taken down by
the Loch with Alan and Mum. Then it was time to leave. The ceremony was at 4pm and we didn't want to be late, no point - less time to party afterwards. We headed out to the car which was looking great,it was decorated with flowers along the roof rack and on on the coat rack in the back.
Driving round the edge of the Loch we could see the pier outside Creggans in the distance. I could see tiny figures starting to gather and could feel the knots of excitement starting to wriggle around inside me. We pulled up in the car park at Creggans and were greeted by Robin the Minister, Derek and our good friend Mike who was dressed in his kilt and armed with his bagpipes. He was going to pipe through the gardens and down to the pier. Mum helped me out the car, which was tricky with volumes of material and tulle. Once composed and relatively calm, it was time. Mike reeled the bagpipes up and the notes boomed out over the Loch. I had goosebumps from the perfection. Alan gave me his arm, which helped steady my wobbly legs and we walked
along the path by the side of the hotel out to the front. We crossed the road, Mike halting traffic whilst simultaneously playing the bagpipe. We had an amazing vista at the top of the hill leading to the pier, all our friends and family, the loch and mountains surrounding us and my husband to be - smiling and waiting. Then it was time to concentrate so as to not fall down the hill on the way.
The ceremony was great. Robin conducted it in Old Scots which was very apt considering the atmospheric setting. I had to listen hard as the paparazzi were out that day. Lots of cameras were rolling, that's what happens when many of your good friends are from the entertainment industry. It's great though as that special moment will be on tape and we'll have it for the rest of our lives. Before we knew it, we were husband and wife. The paperwork was signed (correctly I may add, although this became a bone of contention at a later date) and hugs and congratulations rang out. We even had two onlookers at the top of the hill. Bypassers who noticed the events and stopped
to enjoy it all. As our guests ambled back up the hill to enjoy a glass of bubbly. We went down to the shore to take some photographs against the loch and rocks along the water's edge. Mum and Don came for a few photographs before heading back into Creggans. Here they began a different type of guest book. A blank canvas which had everyone's stroke (even Matthew, our youngest guest at 7 months old). Mum and Don are both artists and teach art classes. They often attend weddings or other functions and they've become well known for this creativity.
After our photo session was finished by the loch we went back up to see everyone. We mingled for a while before joining Mike's Mum, Dad, Annie and Deke in the garden to take a few more photographs. Whilst all this was going on, our guests were drinking bubbly and enjoying the grand piano being played beautifully by Charlotte's cousin Andrew, who often plays the piano at weddings. Then it was in to put the final marks on the painting - well, it did have to be us who finished it off after all!!! Before we knew it, it
was time to get dinner rolling. Mike piped us into the room. The staff at Creggans were brilliant. They were seamless in getting the food out to everyone and topping up wine glasses without us ever really noticing that they were there. Don started of the toasts/speeches welcoming everyone and giving an insight to the McPhunn's bar, which is the public bar at Creggans Inn. There is a story of a man called McPhunn who stole sheep and was hung in Inveraray on the other side of the Loch. His widow, whilst on the boat going over to collect his body thought she saw him hanging at a window. She was nursing at the time and mixed her milk with whisky and put the liquid into his mouth. He was revived and since he couldn't be hung twice for the crime lived happily for many more years.
After receiving our official "toast" couple from Don it was time for Frank's speech. He kindly welcomed me to the Hennigar family and I was presented with a lovely present. My brother Alan then gave his speech. He remembered my Dad, who very sadly wasn't here to enjoy this amazing day with
us all. Alan said that the two of us probably would have preferred that Dad was around to give me away, as much as I would have loved that I couldn't have had a better person at my side. He is a great friend as well as a top notch big bruv. Alan very kindly regaled the story from my childhood of when our dog Bounce accidently peed inside my welly boot at a dog show. Nice one :) Our good friend Frank made a speech with thankfully didn't give away any of Mike's past antics, of which I'm sure there is many!!! Instead he mentioned the brilliant time he was having in Scotland and he showed us some of the local dialect that he'd picked up since he arrived.
Then it was time for Mike's speech. Georges of course, was rolling the camera at this point and very nearly ran out of film. 22 minutes it lasted. Well, what do you expect when a boy is filled with joy when he marries his one true love. Or should I say, a time when he had the floor all to himself, so took full advantage of the situation. Charlotte's
other cousin Steve showed off his skills with his magic balls, which seem to spin and twirl on air. Soon it was time to clear the tables away and the ceilidh band came in to set up for the dancing. We had our first dance to Stan Rogers - a good Nova Scotian song that we both love "45 years". We also cut our two cakes - yes, we were very lucky and had two. Not many people can say that!!! I think everyone had fun with all the reels and jigs that we did for the next couple of hours. It was certainly fast and feet and limbs were flying around the dance floor. Time past by so quick and at midnight it was time for the band to leave. We put on our own tunes and whilst some people headed off to bed a gang of us stayed up until the wee hours. We sucked the life out of the helium balloons and giggled and laughed at the silly voices. We chatted and had fun until we could do it no longer.
We manged a couple of hours sleep before getting up and heading down for breakfast.
We spent the morning saying our sad farewell to our friends. Many were off on new adventures, around Scotland, down to England or even to Paris. We tidied away all the decorations and after lunch with Mum, Don, Bill and Sheri it was nearly time to go. We dropped off bags at Mum and Don's house and then drove back to Paisley. That evening we had fish and chips over at Lesley's house. Then it was time for bed and some much needed sleep.
Monday was our last day in Scotland:( We drove through to Edinburgh to meet up with Mike's Mum and Dad and Annie and Deke. We got there late afternoon and it was a gorgeous sunny day. We had a few drinks in the hotel's bar and were lucky to meet up with James, Jenn, Jim, Carol and Tona who were all also in Edinburgh. We all went to a Mexican restaurant on Cockburn Street for dinner. Soon it was time to drive back through to Glasgow and to make sure that we were all packed for the next morning. We were leaving early.
After our goodbyes to Gran, we dropped of the hire car
and then that was us. On our way. We flew into Toronto and then had fun getting back over to Vancouver as Westjet had 4 planes hit by lightening and there were a lot of cancelled flights. We ended up going through Calgary and made it home just before midnight.
We grabbed some sleep, then unpacked and re-packed. Then it was time to head to Hawaii. That'll be our next blog.
We had the most amazing wedding. It was a brilliant week and the day was just how we imagined. Easy going and lots of fun. We want to thank everyone who made it to Scotland and who came out to spend the day with us and also many thanks to all the best wishes that have come our way. We very much appreciate it :)
Bye for now and lots of love,
Mr and Mrs Hennigar xxx
Also, many thanks to Sheri who took many of the photographs of us at the ceremony. I handed my camera to her in the morning and loved going through all the photos in the evening.
There are more photos below