Gillian & Mark's offbeat lite transatlantic wedding

May 15 |

We teased some of the awesome details of this wedding a while back. Now we're showing the whole story of the homemade dress, the planning on Skype, and the classic style.

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Photos by Nikki Mcleod

The offbeat bride: Gillian, TV Production Assistant

Her offbeat partner: Mark, Political communications guy

Date and location of wedding: St.Salvator's Chapel, St.Andrews, Scotland, UK — May 28, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: He's a rural corn-fed American from military school, and I'm a quirky Brit in Scotland. We planned the wedding across the ocean using Skype, which came with extra challenges. We got married in a very traditional, all-inclusive venue, but it made the transatlantic planning so much easier.

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We were able to add our own details: my mum made my dress, my veil, the little bridesmaid's dresses, and her own outfit! My sister-in-law, who was maid of honour, made her own dress and I didn't even see it until the day of the wedding. I designed the invitations. My aunt made our cakes and had to drive them halfway up the country two days before the wedding in the back of her Mini Cooper.

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Tell us about the ceremony: It was a traditional Church of Scotland ceremony which was led by the same reverend who had married my mum and step-dad. We had friends read a couple of beautiful poems that had been written for the Royal Wedding: The Vow by Wendy Cope and A Lang Promise by Jackie Kay (read in Scots by a big, burly Scotsman).

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Our biggest challenge: Mark and I met at university in the UK, but since graduating have been separated by the Atlantic, which is really inconvenient to say the least. We spent many hours deciding wedding details over the web and working out what was important to both of us. Coordinating people all over the world was a huge task with the cakes, the bridesmaids, the dresses, and the groom all coming from different places.

The biggest decision was which country to get married in and where to live afterwards. Getting married in Scotland was important to me, but it has meant we have been apart since then while I wait for my visa to move to the U.S. Spending our first year of marriage apart is heart-wrenching, but the memories of the wedding and our beautiful photo album have kept us going.

My favorite moment: The process of having my mum design and make my dress for me was really special. She loves dressmaking as a hobby, and I always knew I wanted her to make it for me. We worked really well together. I told her I wanted a really simple mermaid style dress that looked a bit like a vintage swimming costume, and had fantastic blue netting underneath. She gave me exactly that.

As both the chapel and venue are seriously ancient, confetti was a no-no, so my mum and I made "yay" flags for our guests to wave as we left the chapel. They were made using old fabric from the attic like bits leftover from my old high school prom dresses, and even from my mum's wedding dress! They were nice little mementoes with memories attached to each one.

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My funniest moment: Two friends crashed our wedding! Years ago I had joked with them that if I ever got married they'd have to track down where the wedding was and crash it. I had totally forgotten about it until I walked out of the chapel with my new husband and spotted them waving "yay flags." Our photographer caught the exact moment I spotted them and realized I'd have to explain the pact to Mark, which was hilarious.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: Plan your wedding with your husband, find out what's important to him, and share the experience. All the debates are totally worth it when people ask you both who designed which bit of the wedding. Mark chose all the flowers and the card for the invitations for instance, because they were important to him. Plan it together, even if you have to do it over Skype!

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A Month of Mixbooks:
As part of our partnership with Mixbook, this couple has been given a free wedding photo book to show off their wedding photos. We'll be featuring some of these Offbeat Bride Mixbooks in a few weeks!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. How exciting to see this featured! It was a fabulous wedding (though I do hate how Flickr compresses the portrait orientated images in the slideshow….. another reason why I don't use Flickr normally!!

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  2. Ay Gillain!
    My scottish, handmade dresses, transatlantic skype planning wedding twin – I miss talking to you on the tribe!
    I hope immigration is going well for you, I've been in America for over a year now and I'm loving it :-)
    Loved seeing your wedding and photos featured here, HUGE congratulations again to you both
    X

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    • Hey Mich! I am still here :)

      I'm glad it's all working out for you! My arm is sore from vaccinations and I have my embassy interview in a matter of days. Not long now until I'm reunited with hubby, hopefully!

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    • I am still here :)

      I'm glad it's all working out for you! My arm is sore from vaccinations and I have my embassy interview in a matter of days. Not long now until I'm reunited with hubby, hopefully!

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  3. What a beautiful Church! All of it, so lovely

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  4. seriously GORGEOUS!
    hope all goes well with immigration and you have a long and happy marriage!

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  5. Absolutely fabulous! SO gorgeous! Congratulations :)

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  6. I'm always a fan of a Scottish wedding and this one is particularly excellent! My favorite part, though, is the AMAZING Art Deco/Scottish cake! So fun and gorgeous. I totally understand the woes of waiting on that all important visa and I'm very glad that these lovely pictures have been such a comfort :)

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  7. Wedding snap! We got married in the same venue and had our reception in the same venue too – although the university chaplain has changed since this wedding took place, and we had someone different. :-) Always wonderful seeing the tradition of St Andrews and all the beautiful weddings!

    FABULOUS cake, by the way.

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  8. This is really inspiring. I'm in a trans-atlantic relationship as well, and I can only imagine how painful it is to live apart even after marriage! I'm glad that you will be together soon! Your wedding is beautiful!

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  9. Having your mum make your wedding gown must have been so special for you both – and what a fab job she did too!

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  10. Beautiful venue and dress, I'm so impressed the bride's mom made it!

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  11. You both look so gorgeous! This may convince my fiance to go with the kilt he is considering. We are also from different countries and will be spending our first 8 months of marriage apart, but it is nice seeing other couples make a go of it even with all the distance. Congratulations!

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    • I hope he does choose the kilt! The English and American chaps in our family were hesitant at first, but decided to try them on in a hire shop, and then hired them on the spot. It's a great excuse to wear an outfit they might never get the chance to again (and girls love it).

      Best wishes for your marriage. We are coming to the end of our stint apart. It's not easy but it can make you stronger as a team.

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  12. Hi Gillian, I'm an American in a transatlantic relationship with a Scotsman! We're planning to marry in Scotland and eventually come back to live in America. Is it typical to have to wait a whole year after you're married to get a visa to come to America?? That's scary!

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    • Hi M, it takes about 10-12 months to get a spouse visa yes. We would have been separated for less time if we had chosen to apply for a fiancée visa and married in the USA.

      If you've not read into the visa process yet I'd recommend looking at visajourney.com, it's been a huge help for us. Take a while to consider what works best for you. Before we did any wedding planning at all we spent a few months deciding our options.

      Also if you click my name on this post you can see a bit of our experience of the process. The blog hasn't been updated since September but I have my embassy interview in a few days and I'll hopefully update it again soon!

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  13. Thanks for your reply, Gillian!! I'll be sure to check that site out. I think I may try living in Scotland first. We've just started looking into the process, so we have lots more reading to do. Good luck with everything! Thanks again, M (Maria)

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  14. Favorite wedding EVER! Everything is perfect. Sorry you to are a part for now.

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