Real Wedding – Fraser & Rowan McDonald – 4th November 2023

We kicked off the November weddings on a very mixed dry and wet day for Rowan & Frasers beautiful wedding. The byre was beautifully decorated with some stunning floral arrangements from Jill at Something Special Flowers. Their day was filled with so much entertainment from the Ritz Trio playing some jazz throughout the drinks reception and Drums n Roses setting the mood in the evening!

Below you can find out what the couple got up to throughout their wedding journey and any challenges they faced…

Firstly a little bit about you.

How did you two meet? 

Despite both going to Aberdeen University at the same time, and having lots of mutual friends, we met officially back in the spring of 2018 down in London where we both live and work. Our first date was in a cocktail bar, and we hit it off right away. By the end of 2019 we bought and moved into our lovely wee home in Clapham together, and the rest is history!  

Where did you get engaged?

We got engaged in the March of 2022 in Central Park, New York. We had gone there to celebrate Rowan’s 30th, and Fraser popped the question by the rowing lake in a quiet spot. We didn’t tell anybody until the next day just to enjoy the exciting engagement bubble all to ourselves – which we would highly recommend to any newly-engaged couples. 

Finding your venue and planning the wedding

What was it that first attracted you to Kinkell? Was there something that stood out when you knew it would be the perfect place for your special day?

We spent a few days sussing out a few barn style wedding venues in Scotland. Fraser is from Kilmacolm, and Rowan grew up in Edinburgh but her parents are now in Pitlochry, so we were fairly open to location. Kinkell wasn’t actually on our initial list, but while we were in the area looking at some other venues, we decided to drop in to just check it out. It was a Friday night, and the Byre was looking magical.  

After a very friendly and very helpful tour from Sophie, we both walked out of the venue, got into our car, looked at each other and said ‘it’s the one!’ and turned round and went back in to immediately book it. There was something about the lighting, flow of the venue, and ambience that we both loved.

Tell us a little bit about planning your wedding. Where did you start?

It was quite challenging planning a wedding from the other end of the country initially. We did a lot of our research on Instagram and reading reviews, which is where we found the majority of our suppliers. We also spoke to Kinkell to get an idea of some of their preferred suppliers and also ended up choosing some outside of their list which we felt gave our wedding its own unique look and feel. A lot of the hard work was at the beginning, and then there was a lull once the suppliers were booked up.

As we both have quite full-on jobs and were very busy in the weeks leading up to the wedding, we decided to enlist the help of Lyndsay from Clementineweddings on a ‘final weeks’ package, which helped A LOT! Lyndsay supported with supplier coordination in those weeks, as well as giving us some tips and thoughts which really helped us perfect our day.

How did you decide on a colour theme or style?

We gave the ‘romantic, classic, luxurious, elegant and cosy’ brief to our suppliers, and Jillian at Something Special Flowers absolutely nailed it. She was our florist and stylist and we worked with her to create our vision, which could not have been more amazing. Initially we felt that because we were having an autumn wedding, we should be going for oranges, browns etc – but actually it wasn’t what we wanted and went for the colours which we loved – blush pink, ivory, green, pops of burgundy and gold undertones. Our advice for couples is not to just go for something because ‘you feel you should’ or due to the season. Pick whatever you want, it’s your day!

Is there anything you wish someone had told you about before about planning a barn wedding?

It’s a lot of work compared to a package venue, but ultimately that all pays off and will result in the most amazing wedding! Our day was super personalised and detailed to reflect us and our style, as well as make our guests feel valued and special. The atmosphere and ambience you can create at Kinkell is so unique. A few of our guests said it was one of the most unique and special venues they’d ever been to!

Was there anything that was really important to you both to have?

Good music and ensuring the Byre was styled and decorated to a high standard, while reflecting our tastes. We had a jazz band, a ceilidh, classic covers and even surprised our guests in the evening with the Drums n Roses pipers and drummers! That was hands down one of the best decisions we made.

We also made a huge effort to personalise a lot about our wedding to us and our guests; from family wedding photos in the entrance space, polaroid photos as name places, and Rowan’s family minister conducting the marriage ceremony – it all felt very special. 

The Big Day!

Tell us about your wedding day, what are your highlights and favourite memories?

Our wedding day was an Autumnal November day. We had 116 guests join us at the Byre and it really was the best day of our lives. 

Fraser’s favourite memories: seeing Rowan in her dress walking down the aisle, and partying the night away with all our family and friends. The moment the Drums n Roses came on and surprised everybody was definitely a highlight!  

Rowan best memories: I will never forget the moment I arrived at Kinkell and saw how special it all looked with the candles, flowers and twinkling lights, I felt surprisingly calm but at the same time excited that I still had the whole day to come. I also loved listening to the speeches which were all amazing, and the morning getting ready with the girls – it was an event in itself! 

Have you any advice for other couples that are planning their wedding? 

  1. Try to keep remembering what it is all about and do what is important to you. The day will go by in a flash, so make sure you make decisions you’re happy about and not to please others. Don’t sweat the small things, and do what is within your means.
  1. Get a decent photographer and videographer. We did spend more on these suppliers than you maybe need to, but we don’t regret a penny of it. Looking back at our photos and video has been so much fun, and we will have them forever. We almost didn’t get a videographer and that would have definitely been a regret! We also think our photographer Ross Alexander is the best in the business. 
  1. Stop worrying (and talking) about the weather, and seriously don’t bother checking in the lead up. We thought we were due a full day of rain but it was dry for our photos in the end which was perfect.  You won’t care what happens on the day as you will be so happy, and Kinkell is the perfect venue to have your guests inside all day anyway. 
  1. Go on honeymoon (or a mini-moon) immediately after if you can, we flew two days after the wedding and it was amazing to decompress and continue the high. 

How is married life treating you? 

It’s been two months since we tied the knot, and in that time we spent three weeks on honeymoon, and then came back to Christmas – so it’s been pretty epic! The post-wedding blues have thankfully not hit, we’re just excited to be in a new chapter and looking forward to what is next. 

Supplier shout outs:

PhotographerRoss Alexander (second shooter Martin McLellan)

Minister: Reverend Canon Mike Parker

Florist & styling – Jillian Page – Blair Florist/Something Special Flowers Blairgowrie

CakeA Bonnie Wee Cake

Lighting and Sound – Stephen Leslie Lighting

BarEvent Bars St Andrews

Stationery – Emily @ emdesign 

Wedding Planner – Lyndsay @ Clementine Weddings

Videographer – Drew and Tracy @Jstmarried

Day BandRitz Trio

Evening BandThe Jets

Piper – Paul the St Andrews Piper

Surprise BandDrums n’ Roses

CateringRegis Banqueting 

Make-up artistRae Mathieson & Kirsty Suttie

Hair – Mel @mhm_styling & Karolina Panek-Simpkins

DressMaggie Sottero

VeilGillion Million

KiltMacgregor and Macduff

Wedding party accommodationHawkswood Country Estate