A relaxed and intimate Spring Wedding at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

Today I am thrilled to share this relaxed and intimate Spring Wedding at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh with pretty hints of yellow.

Images were captured by Sarah at Fotomaki Photography.

Fotomaki Photography was founded in 2012 to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness.

Oh no wait, that’s Buffy.

Sarah is the principal photographer, and likes foxes, peanut butter, and being a very curious soul.

She relishes making clients’ lives easier and achieve this through her love of spreadsheets and to-do lists.

Fotomaki believes in positivity, karma, and confetti, and wants to bring happiness to your lives trusting that it will ripple forward.


Sarah says of the couples intimate Spring Wedding…


The lovely couple were referred by another photographer I’m friends with (Thanks Inga!).

Due to them living in Aberdeen we video chatted for our first meeting but as I have family up that way I was able to meet them IRL a month before the wedding on my travels back from seeing my family, which was fab.

I love meeting my couples in person so I can get to know them better and provide a more individual experience on their day.

Their intimate Spring Wedding was on such a lovely  day,  with perfect weather for the Botanics.

There was rain threatening but thankfully it didn’t really come to much at all.

All the non-Scots in attendance were freezing and I was in short sleeves and Alice in a sleeveless dress – proper hardy Scots.

Despite the challenges they faced with guests not being able to attend and the band having to cancel last minute they never let it derail their day and you could tell they were just so thankful that it was able to go ahead with most of their nearest and dearest in attendance.

Their gratitude really shows through in their images I think and I love that


I hand over to beautiful Bride Alice to tell us about the couples intimate Spring Wedding, and their love story…


How did you meet?

We first met at work, not long after I took up a new position there in 2018.

There was a spark of something, but the first time we really got to know each other was at a friend’s barbecue about a month later.

We basically flirted all night – I was trying my best not to make it too obvious to the other people there, and Matt was desperately hoping that this sudden lack of personal space meant that I was interested, and not just clumsy.

At some point a couple of frisbees were brought out, and let’s just say that the evening ended with a lot of laughter, and some footballer-quality rolling around in agony when Matt managed to miss a crucial throw from me that was, well…let’s just say ‘a little bit lower than ideal catching height’.

Tell us about the Proposal…

Rather than a big gesture it was more of a gradual discussion and merging of conversations over a period of time.

We asked a friend of a friend to make us an engagement ring after seeing quite a few that we weren’t really excited about, or were far too expensive.

It’s nice to know that we were able to support a local, independent artist in our wedding planning in that way (she made our wedding rings as well).

Matt however did go down on one knee to make it formal.

He also asked permission from my father first, but doing this by WhatsApp at a critical moment during a Manchester United football game on TV may not have been the best approach ever…

Tell us about your wedding planning journey…

Well, everything went well – we’d booked the venue ahead of time & found a photographer, and other things seemed to fall in place.

Then about a about a month before the wedding, when Italy and China were in pandemic lockdown and we weren’t quite sure what would happen in the UK, we started to have a few concerns.

We discussed whether we should postpone or whether to go for it and have a backup plan (Alice’s parents’ back garden).

Given that some guests had booked travel already and it was getting to the point of making final payments, we decided to go for it.

The next few weeks were touch and go, and I don’t think we appreciated how close we came until afterwards.

When FlyBe collapsed in February, one friend from Devon was unable to find another flight. Matt’s stepmother lives in the USA and was advised by her work not to go so had to pull out (thanks, American health insurance providers).

We thought that was the worst of the travel problems. We were wrong.

On the Wednesday night before the wedding, as some Chicago-based family and friends were at the departure lounge awaiting their flight, the USA instigated a travel ban for guests travelling from USA to Europe

So my brother, sister-in-law and two nieces along with one other couple (all on the same flight), had to make the decision at the departure gate whether or not they should travel.

We awoke on Thursday morning to messages saying that they were unable to make it. That was heart-breaking for everyone.

The girls (9 & 11 years) were going to be bridesmaids, and given they live in the USA, we don’t get to see them very much.

We rearranged the table plan, cancelled hair appointments and informed the venue about the changes. Then it got worse – by Saturday morning we’d lost about 15 of our 75 guests, including a few at the very last minute who couldn’t come because they had possible symptoms and were having to self-isolate.

At that point we gave up on the table plan!

And then two hours before the wedding, just after taking some family photos at home, all dressed up and ready to go, Alice noticed a message on her phone… from the ceilidh band. They also had to cancel because some of them were symptomatic.

A few quick phone calls later, the venue manager at the Botanic Gardens was on the case.

So, we went with a last-minute DJ instead. It didn’t quite go as planned, but Matt’s daughter rose to the occasion with a banging playlist and totally saved the day.

She’ll be reminding us that we owe her for years to come (she also multi-tasked as all three bridesmaids and ring-bearer as well as generally being in charge of everything)!

They say weddings are supposed to be stressful. To be honest, we don’t think we were ever close to freaking out or anything like that – most of the problems were totally out of our control so there didn’t seem any point in worrying.

The people at the Botanic Gardens were incredible, particularly Neil (venue manager) who tap-danced through the situation wonderfully even though the sky was pretty obviously falling in by that point.

The staff at the venue were great, and we only learned later that the dishwasher in the kitchen broke down at a critical moment.

Apparently they had to keep ferrying dishes to another building about a mile away (in a golf cart) to keep us in clean plates and glasses (we didn’t notice a thing!).

Any special touches/DIY?

As we were getting married in March, we asked the florist for spring flowers, including mini narcissus, but other than that, we left it up to her to make suggestions – she’s the professional, after all.

We were keen to try and think about not having too much waste, so she came up with the idea of having glass jars filled with small flowers on the table tops, and then spring bulbs in containers that guests could take home.

This meant that at the end of the night everyone could leave with either a small bunch of flowers or else some bulbs that were already growing.

it was lovely to receive photos for the couple of weeks after the wedding as these flowers started blooming, and many of those bulbs are now planted in friends’ gardens as a wee reminder of the day.

Looking back on the pictures taken by the photographers (who were both lovely as well as ninja-like in their mysterious ability to take photos without apparently being there – must be lessons from some magic school or something), the most obvious thing that stands out was an atmosphere of real, loving warmth.

Not just in the ‘bride and groom’ shots but in the candid group photos and the larger, formal group ones.

The people that couldn’t make it were missed, and missed badly. But it was definitely the people that made the day, and we count ourselves very lucky with the family and friends that made it.

From Alice’s friend (and ordained priest) Vanessa who held the ceremony, to Matt’s friends and colleagues Malcolm and Dave who gave an excruciating double-act best man speech, everyone made it memorable and joyous.

What was the theme of your Intimate Spring Wedding Day?

We didn’t have a theme or a colour palette for our intimate Spring Wedding.

We kept on saying to ourselves and to suppliers that we just wanted a low-key wedding – nothing too fancy, nothing too traditional, we just wanted the day to be a celebration of our love with family and friends.

In terms of colours, the nearest thing was ‘spring flowers’ for the flowers, and then non-traditional for cakes.

Matt wanted Black Forest Gateau and refused to accept that this option was no longer fashionable. He won. He doesn’t expect to win many more, but this one counted.

What was the best bit of your day?

We have so many! But if we have to pick one? Moments after the ceremony, the priest Vanessa asked the guests to stand and applaud ‘Mr and Mrs Aitkenhead’.

As soon as she said it (she knows us well) she realised she’d made a bit of a mistake.

Some people are traditional in that sense. We get that. It’s fine. We’re not. So my scream of ‘no, it’s Dr Hague’ and the assembled host’s hilarity seemed pretty much unplanned perfection.

Kind of seemed to set the tone for the next forty years, Matt suspects.

There’s a great photo of Vanessa laughing as she’s realised what she said, and Matt & myself exchanging a knowing glance.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Are we allowed to say ‘not have a wedding during a global pandemic’…?

What advice would you give to other couples getting married?

Just don’t sweat it. Some things won’t go according to plan. Mistakes are made. Some things will be beyond your control… (cue Global pandemic).

Let it all go and make sure to enjoy yourself. Also, if guests are arriving from elsewhere / abroad in the days before the wedding, book out a big room in a hotel or local bar or something and meet up with everyone the night before.

It’s a great opportunity to catch up with all the people you might not have seen for years. And it means that you’re not running around madly trying to catch up with everyone on the day.

We made sure lots of people booked into the same hotel, and had a great big pre-wedding (and pre-lockdown) hugfest. Definitely the way to go.

Wedding Suppliers

Photographer – Fotomaki Photography

Venue –  Royal Botanic Gardens – Edinburgh

Celebrant – Rev Vanessa Conant (friend of the bride & groom)

Wedding Dress –  Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner – preloved from Bliss Studio – Edinburgh

Cake Maker – Bibi’s Bakery

Florist – Roseparks

Rings – Megan Falconer

Make up – Moi Beauty Salon

Hair stylist – Raymond Edinburgh

Second Shooter – Lauren Stirling Photography


To Contact Fotomaki Photography

Website – https://fotomakiphotography.com/

Email – fotomakiphotography@gmail.com

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UK Wedding Blogger with an eclectic style based in Glasgow


  1. Reply

    Thank you Alison! Lovely feature of an awesome couple & wedding ♥

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