Because of Covid restrictions, Allie and Cait went from a wedding of 100 guests, to one with just two witnesses.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do for work and fun?
My wife and I are recent graduates from the University of Edinburgh. Allie graduating in Chinese and Russian, and myself in Linguistics. Allie is currently completing her second degree and running her art business Allie Bear Art while working as a trainee Early-Years Practitioner. I’m gathering experience for my master’s in Speech and Language Therapy. We both speak French and enjoy French TV, music, and literature. I also have a passion for Latin dance, having danced for four years, and help run Edinburgh University Salsa Society. Music is also a hobby for both of us, with Allie being a singer/songwriter and myself a Jazz trumpeter. However, our biggest passion is activism. We recently co-founded (with others) Racism Unmasked Edinburgh. A community supporting east and southeast Asians following the rise in hate crimes since the start of the pandemic and fighting against racism.
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
We have been together for just over three years. Having met through our activism work when Allie ran a campaign for the United Nations 16 Days of Activism. We first met for what was supposed to be a quick coffee. But we couldn’t stop talking and ended up spending over twelve hours together and, even then, neither of us wanted the date to end! Since then, our dates just got longer and longer. Finding we never got bored around each other, and we quickly fell in love.
Aside from your wedding, what is your favorite memory together?
Our favorite memory is hard to pick, as we have had so many incredible times together. But there was one day, on our first holiday as a couple in Portugal, which sticks in both of our minds. Early in the morning, we took a cab to a small beach which is famous for its beautiful caves. The main cave, which is a gigantic cavern with a massive skylight, is only accessible by water. So we swam about 200m around the cliffs to get in. The cave was beautiful beyond belief. The weather was perfect, the food we had was delicious, and it was just truly a perfect day. We were blissfully happy from start to finish and cannot wait for more holidays together.
Tell us about the proposal.
For our first anniversary, Allie whisked me away to Prague for a romantic weekend. We had already decided, months before, that we wanted to get engaged. And we had actually picked out our rings together!
Allie suspected that I would propose in Prague, as we are notoriously bad at ever keeping anything from each other. But what she didn’t know was that I had saved a small nougat box that she bought me on our very first date and that I had converted it into a box for her ring. At 4.16 pm, exactly a year after we first met, I got down on one knee, overlooking all of Prague, and asked her to marry me.
Why was wedding planning so stressful?
The lead up was stressful beyond belief! We had initially booked a venue for 100 guests but, following the outbreak of COVID-19, we quickly realized that this would not be possible. As the wedding got closer and closer, our guest little was gradually forced down from 100 to 30, to 20, to 14 and then finally to 2. Despite these setbacks, we couldn’t bear the thought of waiting any longer to be married and ended up eloping with two of our best friends as witnesses.
Talk us through your wedding day.
Our ceremony was incredibly early, at 9.30 in the morning. So we began hair and makeup at 7 am, had a quick breakfast, and got a cab to the city chambers. The wedding ceremony had us both weeping throughout and was so beautiful it almost felt like a dream. Although it was hard not having all our family and friends there, we really appreciated having no distractions or social pressure. It really felt like the focus was 100% on our love for each other, without at all performative.
After the wedding, which was streamed on zoom for our family and friends, we had the photoshoot with our incredible photographer Sinead. The rest of the day was spent in our hotel suite. Eating a ridiculous amount of food, drinking champagne, dancing, and taking polaroids.
Three of our best friends surprised us with a 20-minute long video that they had compiled from short videos sent to them by all our family and friends. A beautiful surprise that had us in absolute bits from start to finish and made our day even more special.
Advice for other couples planning a smaller wedding?
We would thoroughly recommend adapting the ceremony as much as you can until it feels completely perfect. We found that the personalized ceremony, and the vows we had written ourselves, were some of the most important things in the day. Despite not having our parents present, we also read poems they had sent us. Which made them feel more included and valued.
If you choose to stream the wedding for people who cannot be there, we would recommend asking the virtual guests to dress up as if they were there in person. There is something psychological about getting ready for an event that made our virtual guests feel more included and present.
And, most of all, don’t be afraid to do it exactly your way. Other people will have their opinions, but your wedding is the time that you deserve to be completely selfish and focus entirely on what you both want.
What’s plans for the future?
We are planning on having a big wedding and party once it is safe to do so, with as many family and friends as possible. And, we cannot wait to celebrate with everyone we love, however long we have to wait before this can happen. We are both figuring out potential future careers, but we are both young (23 and 24) and are well aware that we have a lot to learn. We both love change and new adventures so, whatever happens, we know we will enjoy it together.
Photography by Sinead Firman
Accessories Vintage family heirlooms, Anthropologie
Catering Victor Hugo Edinburgh, Sichuan House Edinburgh, Maki and Ramen
Ceremony Venue Edinburgh City Chambers, Royal Mile
Gown Boutiques Zara, Warehouse
H&MU Caitriona de Lacy
Stationery Allie De Lacy
Wedding Rings Cartier