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How This Bride Planned Her Own Micro-Wedding in the Scottish Highlands

After downsizing their wedding, this couple married at the church where the British royal family worships when they’re in residence at Balmoral….

Elle Mie-Jin McPherson-Yoon was wearing a bright orange shift dress when she first met Angus Tweedie at a 60s-themed party hosted by their mutual friend Angèle Donà dalle Rose, the designer of the eveningwear label Angie Power London. It was the first night of a weekend-long affair in Venice, Italy, and Elle admits she was “hard to miss.” At the time, Angus and Elle both traveled often. They began to coordinate destinations so that they could see each other as much as possible. “This all sounds surreal, considering our lives gravitate around the home now,” Elle reflects.

After three years of dating long distance between London and Toronto, Angus fittingly proposed at the arrivals gate of Toronto Pearson International Airport. “He had meant to surprise me at home, but I had figured it out and convinced my mom to let me come with her to collect him from the airport,” Elle says. “We had not, however, expected him to call our bluff. He stepped off the plane in black tie and got down on one knee at the arrivals gate to the applause of onlookers. Well played!”

In January of 2020, they selected their wedding venue in the Scottish Highlands together, and then Elle returned to Toronto to prepare for what she thought was her imminent move to England. But because of the outbreak of COVID-19, Elle and Angus weren’t able to see each other again until August of 2020. Still, they ended up being able to keep their original wedding date and venues.

“For a long time, it felt like we were in limbo. Information on the virus and government guidelines was quickly evolving, which made it very difficult to formulate an appropriate plan,” Elle says. “A month before our wedding date, it was confirmed that we would be allowed a group of 20, and knowing that this meant our parents and Angus’s siblings would be able to attend was the biggest relief. We had very open and honest conversations with our vendors and our venue, which enabled us to pivot very quickly [if need be], so we decided to stay the course,” Elle says. “We didn’t feel that rescheduling would provide us with any additional certainty, and with our wedding predicating my move to the U.K., we were adamant about moving forward with this milestone and remaining positive about our future together.”

Deciding to go ahead with a micro-wedding on their original date, rather than postponing, was bittersweet, because while they were exceedingly grateful to have a pathway to marriage, this effectively meant they had to cancel invitations for three-quarters of their guests. “I am, to this day, overwhelmed by the understanding, support, and encouragement of our family and friends,” Elle says. 

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“I feel like my experience planning the wedding can be defined by two time periods: Before Covid and After Covid,” the bride adds. “I really enjoyed the planning process, BC! I would consider myself both creative and organized, so planning a wedding was definitely in my wheelhouse, and I felt comfortable tackling it myself, initially, armed with an excel spreadsheet and my mom as the ultimate sounding board.”

The wedding was always going to be intimate with personal touches—although, to be fair, when Elle and Angus first started planning, they thought 80 was intimate. “The aim of the game was to absolutely spoil those in attendance, like hosts from a bygone era,” Elle says. “I used to live in Manhattan, and my first references for the wedding stemmed from some of my favorite places in The City: Bemelmans Bar and The Waverly Inn, where Angus and I have dinner with our closest friends whenever we visit.”

Mount Street Printers designed invitations inspired by those for Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, which set the vibe. Their venue, The Fife Arms, Braemar, which houses a museum-worthy art collection curated by Hauser & Wirth, was an easy choice as it combined their shared Scottish ancestry with the bride’s studies in art history.

There, Elle was introduced to their events coordinator, Louise Morrison, and restaurant manager, Jasmine Bowles, who knew the location and venue inside out and became the couple’s greatest allies. “Our original plan was to have exclusive use of the hotel, and all of its rooms,” Elle says. “With 46 rooms, individually decorated to reflect a different theme, we could not wait to pair our guests to their accommodations! Guests would arrive on Friday and depart on Sunday, after having experienced a weekend of local entertainment, food, and drink, the highlight of which would be our ceremony and black tie reception.”

As one might expect, planning “AC” was all about pivoting. “We had roughly a month to scale our wedding down to 20 and modify our plans,” Elle says. “The Fife Arm’s team worked tirelessly to ensure the appropriate safety measures would be in place, while adhering to the most up to date government guidelines and maintaining the spirit of the event and their high standard of hospitality. We scaled down our room booking, secured private use of a partially outdoor space within the hotel, and our families mobilized in order to quarantine before the event, including my parents who flew down two weeks early in order to do so.”

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With the encouragement of family and friends who could no longer attend, and the major modifications tactfully handled by Louise and Jasmine, Elle could focus on the personal touches. “Given there was a government ban on music—goodbye first dance!—and a dance floor as we knew it would not be safe, we opted to fill the evening instead with events aligned with our interests,” she explains. “All bets are now off when it comes to format—and I think this will a positive thing for those planning weddings in the future!”

Following a brief welcome dinner on Friday, guests (the couple’s parents, Angus’s siblings, and a few friends of the family) adjourned to their rooms where a bottle of The Macallan whisky awaited them along with a booklet including their program for the following day along with a PPE kit—including Elle’s favorite hand sanitizer by Dr. Bronner’s. The following day, they were given the opportunity to enjoy room service and explore the surrounding Cairngorms National Park.

On the morning of the wedding, the bride received flowers from home, notes from friends, and got to sneak out for a quick walk before the ceremony. “I will always cherish the quiet time spent with my parents, and the morning FaceTime call I had with my best friend Brittany in the U.S.,” Elle says.

The bride admittedly took a big chance on her dress. “After having seen a photo of the 2017 Viktor & Rolf Diagonal Cut Tulle Gown, I tracked down a sample in my size and had it shipped to me directly, sight unseen,” she says. “I felt it was a modern take on the ’90s wedding dresses I grew up admiring—Parent Trap, anyone?—and I knew it was the one. I could not have had better foresight if I had tried, as lockdowns began shortly thereafter and dress production was delayed for many months.”

When the reality hit that her wedding would be scaled down to a party of 20, she did consider downsizing her gown. But, ultimately, she loved it too much to let it sit in her closet. “Wearing the original dress on the day made me hopeful for the future,” she says. “It also imbued the day with a celebratory tone and suited the Gothic Revival church we married in, beautifully.” Angus wore his family tartan kilt by Kinloch Anderson, with a tweed day jacket and a sporran by Kate Macpherson. 

On October 17th, Elle and Angus married at Crathie Kirk, Ballater, best known for being the place of worship for the British royal family when they’re in residence at Balmoral Castle. During the ceremony, the string quartet played Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” while Elle and Angus signed the register—a nod to favorite show Schitt’s Creek—and ABBA’s “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” as the newlyweds recessed as husband and wife. “Those moments of levity were priceless,” Elle notes. After being piped out of the church, the bride and groom took photos under a beautiful floral arch by local florist Coo Hill, who combined locally foraged elements with fresh autumnal flowers, thistles, and dried maple leaves. Elle’s sister-in-law Helen caught the Lily of the Valley bouquet, beating out the tough competition, and then the couple was escorted to their reception in a bow bedecked Land Rover.

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Upon returning to The Fife Arms, guests gathered for an outdoor cocktail hour in the courtyard, surrounded by cozy fire pits while Elle and Angus took photos and changed into their reception outfits. “I had anticipated wanting to switch into a party dress in the evening and, when our wedding became a micro-wedding, it made even more sense to change into a dress which would reflect the smaller scale and venue of our reception,” Elle says. Emilia Wickstead’s Cruz Mini Dress was the perfect fit with its oversized bow. Angus also made an outfit change and wore a tuxedo by Ede and Ravenscroft with a shirt by Turnbull & Asser. He accessorized with Hermès horse cufflinks, a nod to his wife being born in the year of the horse.

For the tablescape, Elle was delighted to feature her talented friend Victoria FitzRoy’s illustrations on the menus, printed again by Mount Street Printers, and irreverent details like chocolate cigarettes (from Rebecca Gardner), silver bowls filled with chocolate almonds disguised as olives (from Rococo Chocolates), and lampshade hats and animal masks hidden near place settings. A tasting menu by Head Chef Marcus Sherry, which showcased local Scottish ingredients and honored Elle’s Korean and Canadian heritages, was served. 

In lieu of dancing, the couple cut into their Victoria Sponge Cake and capped the evening off with a whisky tasting hosted by The Macallan and fireworks. “I honestly was not sure if I had made the right decision regarding our wedding plans until our own reception,” Elle admits. “The deal-maker, for me, was seeing how much our parents enjoyed themselves. Because of restrictions, our seating plan only allowed us to sit with our parents as a table of six, and I will always treasure that evening spent with them. Time seemed to slow down for us, and we cherished every moment.”