George & Heloise got married on Coll in May 2016, they have been kind enough to share some of their experiences of planning a Coll wedding with us.
We absolutely loved our experience of getting married on Coll. It afforded us much greater control over the organisational aspect and we could have it just the way we wanted. That’s really where An Cridhe comes into its own. There wasn’t anything that we had to leave out. Having access from the day before gave us time to sort out the layout and decorate it just the way we wanted – in our case this included hanging 1000 origami cranes from the ceiling!
Before we got going on the planning in earnest, we did have questions and a few concerns about the practicalities – would a little island community be able to accommodate all our guests and could we have all the usual trappings you would expect? However, as we worked through things it seemed like nothing was an issue. In fact, a lot of it worked out much better than we could have imagined.
In terms of accommodation, our tip would be to plan well in advance and, if possible, try to avoid June to August which is the busiest time on the island. We used a combination of Coll Bunkhouse, Hebridean Centre, Hotel, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation.
Getting a good band was our next priority. We were happy to see that, aside from some extra costs for travel and accommodation,l the bands were positive and generally enthusiastic about an island wedding. In the end we went with Hector’s Heroes and they kept the party going well into the small hours!
Catering was something we knew would be in safe hands as there are caterers on Coll who had previously catered for large events. The facilities at An Cridhe are excellent for weddings as caterers have access to a large commercial kitchen with loads of space for preparation and serving. Using a caterer allowed us to decide on the menu and get as much of the ingredients as possible from Coll businesses, with a langoustine and squat lobster starter sourced from local fishermen, and Grishipol lamb for our main. The food was an absolute highlight for many of our guests and we know this because they told us so! Not to mention the fact that it cost us a lot less than most of our peers who had got married at hotels, we definitely feel we were very lucky with the food and drink.
Flowers were sourced from the mainland and arrived on the Friday which meant we had plenty of time to lay them out and decide where to put them all. The staff at An Cridhe were really helpful in this regard, clearing space in the hall so that we had lots of places to display flowers.
We opted for a humanist ceremony and, after speaking to the landowner, we settled on one of Coll’s many stunning beaches as the location. We hired chairs from An Cridhe and set up a couple of mini-marquees in case shelter was required. In the end we had a beautiful sunny day and a backdrop of sparkling blue waters, golden sands and views across the sea to the mountains on Rum. We did have a plan B of having the ceremony at An Cridhe if the weather had been terrible, but thankfully that wasn’t needed!
For the evening reception, the party at An Cridhe is right in the village so most guests could walk home.
With some of our guests staying on Coll for more than one night, we also had great support from the other businesses in the village – particularly the Coll Hotel and Island Cafe. That really sums up our island wedding experience. Everyone was so friendly and helpful to us and all of our guests and we got so many comments about the positive and welcoming atmosphere from everyone who attended.
Our photographer has also written a blog about our wedding.