After a romantic surprise proposal at the beautiful waterfall at Burn O’ Vat near Aboyne in April 2015 we both agreed that we would like to plan a wedding later the same year. The first task on our list was to identify a venue for our reception. We viewed a range of options including hotels which provided wedding packages, but as soon as we walked into Coo Cathedral we were both smiling and knew it was the venue we dreamed of. The restored barn undeniably deserves its grand title, with beautiful stones arches, natural light flooding in through the enormous windows and a stunning vaulted ceiling. It is on the other hand very much a blank canvas, and while we loved the rustic charm and could envisage the end result, our only apprehension was how we could pull it all off.
After sending enquiries to a few catering companies, I soon received a call from Suki at Hudson’s. I was delighted to speak to someone who sounded as enthusiastic about our wedding plans as ourselves and full of wisdom and suggestions. We were put in contact with Alan Ewen – the in-house ‘Coo expert’ and were impressed by an immediate offer to meet with us in person. Alan took time to get to know what we wanted, but was also experienced enough to make helpful suggestions about catering options we had not thought of that would work best for our venue. From the outset Hudson’s had a ‘can-do’ attitude and the 5 month time frame we had set between engagement and wedding never phased them!
Although wedding packages may seem like an easy option, we really enjoyed the opportunity to make sure every detail was suited to our tastes. At every stage Hudson’s made the planning process a breeze and also fun – not only did they make sure we were happy with the menu, but they organised furniture hire for us and even let us select our favourite teabags and mints for after dinner!
It was perhaps no surprise that I loved wedding planning – I’d be the first to admit that I like to organise, I love a bit of crafting and I’m undoubtedly in my happy place when surrounded by all things pastel! A bit of a perfectionist too, I was determined to make all 140 wedding invites myself and in the months leading up to the big day there was rarely a day went by without the postman delivering fresh supplies of ribbon, organza and lace. When the day before the wedding finally arrived it was magical to see everything finally coming together including lots of beautiful roses, thousands of fairy lights and some 200m of handmade white lace bunting kindly sewn by a family friend. A little tip for any brides-to-be with similar ideas – don’t underestimate how long decorating a venue can take, particularly bunting which has become a running joke in our family after we all spent many hours to get it hanging perfectly!
We were blessed with a beautiful sunny and dry October day and were delighted that so many friends and family travelled to celebrate with us. We had a wonderful wedding ceremony at King’s Community Church in Aberdeen, had some photos taken on the beach and then made the journey to Aboyne. It was important for us to have the service at our home church and this was made possible because we could fully trust Alan from Hudson’s to open up Coo Cathedral and have everything ready for guests. The team did a superb job on the day of serving our guests and everything ran like clockwork. We went for a buffet of items cooked on the BBQ then served inside including utterly delicious monkfish, venison sausages and steak. This was followed by a scrummy selection of desserts served on platters to the table and all dietary requirements were carefully catered for. Numerous guests commented that the food was the best they had ever received at a wedding.
We were delighted to have our live ceilidh music played by a group of friends, and we also got on the stage ourselves to play a dance for our guests since normally we both play as part of Phase 4 – a wedding and party band based in Aberdeen. Several of our evening guests said that Coo Cathedral looked like a fairy-tale castle when viewed from outside in the dark, and for us the day very much was the happiest ever after we could have hoped for. We are both really grateful that we stumbled across Hudson’s Catering early in our planning and would recommend them without any hesitation for your special day.
Photo credit: Eilidh Robertson Photography