When Andrew Crawley, 28, dropped to one knee and asked Erin McNamara to be his wife, there was only one place in the world that Erin wanted to marry the man she loved and celebrate their commitment.
Perched at the top of exquisite gardens in the heart of Perthshire at the foot of the Ben-y-Vrackie, Atholl Palace Hotel was the fairy tale wedding venue of Erin’s dreams.
After two years spent working in the hotel’s Lavender Spa and peering up at the grand splendour of the palace from her nearby cottage, 28-year-old Erin knew she would always return to this special place in the heart of Scotland to tie the knot.
She said: “When I moved up to Aberdeen I knew that I would one day return to Perthshire to be married in the charming and idyllic setting of Atholl Palace.
“I used to help with hair and make-up at many of the hotel’s weddings and I was always blown away by the care and attention each and every bride and groom received. I decided then and there that I would return to the hotel for my own special day.”
On Friday, 28 March, beauty therapist Erin and helicopter engineer Andrew sealed their love at a red, white and black themed ceremony in the hotel’s grand Bow Lounge, in the presence of 70 loved ones.
The couple met at school in Perth more than ten years ago but found romance gradually blossomed between the school friends just four years ago.
The day was a traditional family occasion, with fun, quirky details. Erin walked down an aisle lined with candles enclosed in delicate white bird cages wearing a Savannah dress by Romantica of Devon.
Her ivory princess style gown was worn with a sparkling two-tier veil and a blue hair clip which Andrew gifted to her on the morning of the wedding. Accompanied by his best man Martin and three groomsmen, Andrew donned a Hebriddean Heather kilt and smart grey tweed jacket as he made his commitment to Erin.
The bride and groom exchanged exquisite rings by the window of the idyllic Bow Lounge to commemorate their vows. Erin’s wedding ring is a bespoke ring by Smooch featuring pavo set diamonds to match her princess cut diamond engagement ring whilst Andrew’s ring is a unique titanium band featuring a slightly darker ring engraved with the couple’s names and wedding date.
After their vows were exchanged and Erin’s handmade red and black organza bags with tissues were handed out to emotional guests, the day got into full swing.
Erin said: “After the romantic ceremony we were treated to canapés, followed by some spectacular family photography in the unique palace gardens.
“As well as the real visual draw of the palace’s impressive gardens and spectacular turret suites, Atholl Palace also has great emotional significance for me.
“Pitlochry was my home for two years and holds a dear place dear in the hearts of my family. My Uncle’s ashes are scattered at nearby Ben-y-Vrackie so it was extra special for me to know he was looking down on all of us that day.”
The heart-felt day was filled with hours of fun, as 20 evening guests joined the happy couple’s celebrations.
Atholl Palace’s traditional circular Atholl Suite was the location of Erin and Andrew’s reception. Erin took this opportunity to change into a pair of old red converse trainers - one of her four ‘somethings’ from the day – just as the dancing got underway.
Edinburgh-based band Jammy Devils, serenaded the newlyweds with their own arrangement of ‘How Long Will I Love You’, as guests enjoyed a homemade sweetie bar and photo booth which included a number of fun accessories including wigs, moustaches and air guitars.
Erin and Andrew hired photographer Amanda Guard to capture their special day. The newlyweds opted for a staycation honeymoon, visiting the picturesque destination of the Lake District.
Erin concluded: “I had dreamt of having my wedding at Atholl Palace for so long as the stunning hotel is at the heart of both Scotland and Perthshire – two places I will always call home.
“The day was everything I had ever dreamt of and the team at the palace were there every step of the way to support Andrew and I. Andrew was brought a wee dram on the morning of the ceremony and I received an unexpected bottle of champagne. It was little touches like these that kept us our nerves at bay and made the day truly special.”