Where do we begin with Marissa and Dylan’s awesome Isle of Raasay wedding weekend? The atmosphere, the energy, the fun, the love were all here in spades for their unique and adventurous Scottish island wedding day! These two outdoorsy adventurers were torn between a just-for-two mountain elopement wedding in Scotland and a relaxed and larger wedding weekend — something just for them, or an opportunity to spend time with their dearest friends and family.
They found the perfect balance between all these things on the Isle of Raasay! Raasay is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a small and peaceful island just a short car ferry journey from the much more well-known, and much busier, Isle of Skye. While Skye draws thousands of visitors each summer, the Isle of Raasay feels like you’re stepping back in time. We drove the length of the entire island during the height of summer and we only encountered two other cars! It was the perfect place for Marissa and Dylan to gather their closest friends and family for a long weekend of hiking, exploring, feasting and merry-making…with a Scottish wedding ceremony thrown-in along the way!
Helping M & D to realise their day was the fantastic Sam from Hitched in the Highlands, whose seamless planning skills allowed their wedding weekend to run super-smoothly. We were also joined on the day by the ever-charming Simon and Gregg of Cinemate Films, who captured video alongside our photography — all the wedding cheerleaders you could ever need!
Read-on to see how Marissa & Dylan’s amazing Scotland island wedding weekend unfolded…
Marissa and Dylan invited their guests to spend time with them at Raasay House, a beautiful hotel on the island, which became the focal point for their festivities. This historic property is set amidst gloriously verdant gardens, with amazing views across the sea to Skye, super-friendly staff and mouth-wateringly good food. It’s a special place that has quickly become one of our favourite Scottish wedding venues for a small and intimate wedding celebration.
DAY ONE: ADVENTUROUS MOUNTAIN COUPLES SHOOT SESSION
Marissa and Dylan’s Isle of Raasay wedding weekend kicked-off with a group-hike on Friday morning, before M & D carved-out some time to spend with us on the neighbouring Isle of Skye. We spent a relaxed afternoon together, exploring in the mountains of Skye and capturing some atmospheric couples photos along the way. Having a couples photo shoot session, just the two of you, in advance of your wedding day is a great way to capture some epic shots amidst the mountains. You can also explore locations that might be a little bit too much of a stretch for some of your more elderly guests to get to on your wedding day itself!
Planning a couples shoot the day before your wedding is also a great way to settle any pre-wedding nerves. It’s an opportunity to centre yourselves on each other, enjoy some peaceful time together, and get comfortable in front of the camera in advance of your big day. We typically find that scheduling a couples shoot the day before your wedding tends to work better than the day after, when you can feel a little partied out after all of the excitement, emotion and (late-night dancing!) of your wedding day itself.
Once we landed on the Isle of Skye, it was just a short drive to the Quiraing, which has to be one of the most unique landscapes in the UK. We spent a fun couple of hours exploring the area with Marissa and Dylan. It’s always super-fun to introduce our couples to some of our favourite places, to laugh and swap stories, and to capture some epic photos along the way!
On a practical note, if you’re planning a couples shoot the day before your wedding, it’s a great idea (and opportunity!) to have a second outfit to wear. Partly to preserve the excitement of seeing your partner in their wedding clothes for the first time on your wedding day itself, and partly because your clothes may well get dirty during your couples shoot. You will want to be fully free to embrace the moment and be spontaneous during your couples session, which 100% includes not worrying about getting your clothes dirty! So having two outfits is a great idea.
After their Scottish wedding weekend, Marissa & Dylan shared with us how much they had enjoyed the relaxed and intimate time that they spent together in the mountains. In fact, they said that it was one of their favourite parts of their entire weekend! It just felt very them. Having this time together in a setting where they felt most at home really calmed them, and set them up for all the excitement and emotion of their wedding day itself. If you’re planning a fun Scottish wedding weekend with a gang of your favourite people, we honestly can’t recommend a day-before couples shoot enough!
As the light faded, Marissa and Dylan headed back to the Isle of Raasay to rejoin their wedding guests for some welcome drinks (an excellent tasting session of Raasay’s own whisky) and a hearty dinner on the eve of their wedding. If you’re celebrating your Scottish wedding with a bunch of guests, we highly recommend all staying together in one place. We find that this creates a really great dynamic and a relaxed and fun house-party vibe. It also means that your guests don’t need to worry about getting home at the end of the night. Uber is non-existent in these areas, and taxis are expensive and hard to come-by when you’re staying in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands and Islands! Having everyone stay in one place, so that you can all totter upstairs to your beds at the end of the night, makes things a lot easier from a logistical point of view.
DAY TWO: WEDDING DAY
Marissa and Dylan’s Scottish wedding day dawned quiet and still. The Isle of Raasay had an air of calm serenity, and there was a sense of excitement and anticipation as everyone woke-up, had breakfast and began to get ready for the day. Marissa and Dylan had deliberately scheduled a mid-afternoon ceremony, to allow for plenty of relaxed time in the morning for everyone to enjoy a leisurely start to the day. The morning light in Raasay House was just to die for! We really love capturing weddings in atmospheric, historic properties like these.
Marissa and Dylan chose to get ready separately, and then have a private ‘first look’ and an intimate vow exchange in a historic ruined chapel location in the grounds of Raasay House. Having a personal vow exchange can be a beautiful thing to do if you are inviting guests to your wedding ceremony, but still want to have a super-intimate moment with just the two of you on your wedding day. We find that couples feel liberated to express themselves more freely when there are no other guests present, and perhaps share their deepest feelings for each other in a way that they might not feel able to with a crowd of friends and family looking-on.
After Marissa & Dylan’s ‘first look’, it was wedding ceremony time! Their family and friends gathered to be escorted to their woodland ceremony location by a local piper. There’s nothing like some bagpipes to add a truly Scottish feel to your wedding day! There was something very atmospheric and ageless about seeing Marissa and Dylan’s assorted ‘clans’ assembled in the woods!
Marissa and Dylan chose to incorporate a traditional Scottish handfasting into their wedding ceremony. This is an age-old tradition that has been a part of wedding ceremonies in Scotland for centuries. Instead of exchanging rings, couples bound their arms together with pieces of ribbon, lace or cord. It’s from this symbolic gesture that we derive the phrase to “tie the knot”.
After their heartfelt and emotional Scottish wedding ceremony, it was time for Marissa and Dylan to celebrate with their friends and family. Raasay House laid-on the most delicious spread, beautifully decorated with flowers from the hedgerows and gardens around the house. The views from the Raasay House lawn, across the Narrows of Raasay to Skye, are pretty hard to beat. It made the perfect setting for some post-ceremony cocktails, as guests began to get into the party mood!
As the afternoon wore-on, Marissa, Dylan and their guests moved into the cosily decorated tipi. Scottish florist extraordinaire, Wild Gorse, had beautifully decked-out the space with a warm, autumnal palate of terracotta and burnt orange flowers. Perfect for a rustic and bohemian Scottish September wedding. The vibe was long trestle tables and hearty sharing platters, which made for a really fun, family atmosphere. It wasn’t long before the toasts and speeches were in full swing!
Marissa and Dylan’s closest family and friends gave a brilliant round of speeches (all of them without notes!) that were by turns heartfelt and hilarious, with just the right amount of embarrassing stories thrown-in! It’s always so fun to see couples and their guests having a brilliant time in the evening, and to capture the whole range of spontaneous reactions and emotions on show.
After dinner, there was a pause in proceedings while the dishes were cleared and the tables were pushed back for dancing. We took this opportunity to steal Marissa and Dylan away for some quiet time by the sea, to enjoy the last of the light. In the whirlwind of a Scottish island wedding day, we really encourage couples to carve-out special moments for themselves, to have some quiet time together and take a bit of a breather. Otherwise, your wedding day can disappear in a flash, and you can look back on it in the weeks and months afterwards, and feel that you didn’t take a moment to pause and absorb it.
There’s such a soft and gentle atmosphere on the Isle of Raasay, completely different to the bustling Isle of Skye. This is especially true in the evening, as the light starts to turn blue over the mountains. Combining the amenities and hiking possibilities of Skye with the peaceful, get-away-from-it-all tranquility of Raasay felt like the perfect combination for Marissa, Dylan and their guests. As we strolled along by the sea, taking some candid photos, we really felt that Marissa and Dylan had been able to create a unique and special Scottish wedding experience.
By the time we returned to Raasay House, the tables had been cleared aside to make way for the evening festivities. The Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band had arrived and were busy tuning-up, and everyone was in the mood to party! The dancing kicked-off with a mash-up between a traditional Scottish ceilidh and a riotous Jewish hora (a nod to Dylan’s family heritage). The result was pretty wild, and definitely set the tone for the evening. If there’s one thing that we know about Scottish island weddings, the dancing is guaranteed to be enthusiastic and energetic… if not always perfectly in time with the music!
Kind words from Marissa & Dylan:
“We cannot thank The Caryls enough for helping to make our wedding weekend perfect! Katy and Jim are so lovely and easy to get along with that we felt immediately at ease. They simultaneously were able to blend seamlessly into the background during the wedding itself while also being on hand at a moment’s notice to step in and help out. Their eye for beauty and light completely shaped our entire weekend, from picking the perfect ceremony spot (in a way we could not have imagined ourselves) to highlighting all the hidden lovely features of our venue (Raasay House and its surroundings) that would otherwise have been overlooked. We wish we could live the whole experience over and over again, and will fully be asking Jim and Katy to join us again when we next renew our vows (who knows, might have to be an annual event since it was so much fun!) Thank you both for EVERYTHING!”
As night fell on the Isle of Raasay, we left Marissa, Dylan and their wedding gang to party until dawn. On a remote Scottish island with no neighbours to disturb, you really can dance the night away to your heart’s content! Choosing the perfect venue for an intimate Scottish island wedding day can be hard. But, having travelled all over Scotland, we think that a wedding on the Isle of Raasay is hard to beat. Especially when you combine it with an adventurous couple’s shoot on the Isle of Skye. Marissa and Dylan really did prove that, with a bit of organisation, you can have the best of all worlds on your wedding day!
If you are planning a Scottish island elopement or wedding, on the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Raasay – or elsewhere, do get in touch! We would love to hear about your plans!