Celtic elopement inspiration at the Secret Herb Garden

Today’s styled elopement inspiration is a collaboration with Natalia Swiader, and is one of my favourites to date, not least because of the gorgeous setting: The Secret Herb Garden!

The Secret Herb Garden is one of Edinburgh (and Scotland)’s most unique wedding venues, and one of my favourites. It’s a herbery and greenhouse – not to mention a legitimate working gin distillery (The Old Curiosity Gin) – and is surrounded by super cute animals like alpacas, llamas and goats, so you can see exactly why I love it as a stunning escape for elopements and intimate weddings. We wanted to show it off in its full glory with a stylish, modern take on Scottish wedding traditions!

Perfect details by talented local suppliers

Anne and Alex got ready in The Tub, a beautiful barrel room with wooden floors, before going on to the ceremony in the Greenhouse. Green and luscious in the summer, it provides a more muted but no less beautiful backdrop in the winter, which MUA Olga Kotsman emphasised with warm, autumnal tones in Anne’s makeup and hair, and Cathie at Snapdragon used in her huge foliage-heavy bouquet, studded with big blooms in blush pinks and deep reds.

Anne’s lace dress from Gwenne Wedding Services also had a blush layer, which we matched with Alex’s rust-coloured tweed jacket from Davison Menswear. Laura Patrick also utilised golden wax seals and leaves to finish off her beautiful calligraphy stationery set, in mint and teal hues and tactile, marbled paper. The low winter light streaming through the glass finished
everything off perfectly, too, infusing everything with a warm, golden glow.

Scottish Celtic rituals in elopements

You might recognise a couple of the rituals featured, but if you don’t, feel free to gather round, because I’m about to explain them in more detail. First up, we wanted to show a handfasting ceremony, which can be a legally binding ceremony in Scotland. It involves binding your hands together with cord or rope, which symbolises the fact that you’re joined together in body and in spirit (and, did you know it’s where the phrase tying the knot comes from?) We used some stunning symbolic handfasting cords from Ceotha, who makes totally bespoke cords, allowing you to choose your own colours, materials (after all, they’re going to be on your hands!), decorations and knot types too.

Another element of handfasting ceremonies is drinking from the quaich, a two-handled cup of friendship and love. Drinking from it together symbolises two families coming together – it can be drunk either just by the couple or the couple and their family too. We also chose to represent an oathing stone, which is where you say your vows with your hands over a stone. This harks back to an ancient Celtic custom of setting an oath in stone, because it in turn casts your vows to stone and immortalises them forever.

These Celtic traditions – and some more, which I’ve written about here – are perfect for any type of wedding ceremony, but particularly small, intimate weddings and elopements, because it really is an involved, communal activity that brings people even closer together.

If you’re planning your intimate Scottish wedding or elopement and want your traditions captured forever, please do give me a shout!

Whether you’re thinking about an elopement at the Secret Herb Garden or another stunning place in Scotland – get in touch to see how I can help you create the elopement that is perfect for you.


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