This Valentine’s Day, a romantic getaway will be just a dream for most of us. But one thing’s for sure – when it comes to dream destinations, Skye is top of the list for many loved-up couples. So much so that our island has become something of a mecca for those wanting to tie the knot.
Skye wedding photographer Lynne Kennedy is someone who knows more about this than most. We’re big fans of Lynne’s evocative and intimate photos in stunning settings. So we asked her if she would share with us some of her secrets from behind the lens.
SW: More and more people are choosing Skye as a wedding destination. Why do you think so many couples fall in love with our island?
LK: Skye has always been a romantic and magical place. But social media has undoubtedly played a big part in its recent surge in popularity. On Instagram and Facebook, people see beautiful photographs of couples getting married outside in these epic landscapes, and it has a big impact. There’s another reason too: getting married in Scotland is not difficult, and you can do it pretty much wherever you want. So people who live in countries where the only choices are a church or a government office do find the Scottish option quite refreshing.
SW: You specialise in ‘elopements’. For those of us more accustomed to traditional weddings, what is an elopement exactly?
LK: In years gone by, couples eloped from England to Gretna Green (the first town across the Scottish border) when they were otherwise not allowed to marry. If they were too young or the parents did not approve of the marriage, they did it in secret and ‘eloped’.
These days, while there are many couples who do keep it secret, others just want to keep it small. They do inform their parents or family and just say, ‘Look, we don’t want a big wedding for whatever reason, so we’re going to elope, just the two of us.’
A true elopement is just two people with strangers as witnesses – usually that’s the photographer and perhaps a piper. But sometimes a couple will bring some friends or their parents as witnesses, or they may want their immediate family to be there. So in the wedding industry, we now use the word ‘elopement’ for anything up to around 10 people. After that, when you have say 10 to 20 or 30 people, it would probably be called an intimate wedding. And last year, as a result of Covid, people coined a new term: micro wedding.
Elopements are very intimate. The whole focus is just on you and your partner, and you don’t have to worry about anyone or anything else. You can be 100% present in the moment, with no distractions.
SW: All your work is outdoors. What are the challenges of working in the Scottish weather?
LK: The weather is definitely the biggest challenge of being an elopement photographer and the most used app on my phone is the XC Weather app! On occasion, we have moved a ceremony from morning to afternoon, or vice versa, if the weather isn’t looking great for the planned time. On very rare occasions we’ve moved the ceremony to the day before or after, but that is in extreme circumstances. Most of the time you just have to go with the flow. And if a couple is choosing Skye or the Scottish Highlands in general, they are usually very aware that the weather could turn a little wet and windy.
From a photography point of view, unless it’s seriously torrential rain, you can still shoot. Indeed some slightly rainy and windy shots can be great for adding drama. Another challenge, believe it or not, is full sun. As you are outside, there is no hiding from it and the sun can cause issues with harsh shadows. So I normally prefer to shoot earlier or later in the day – which has the added bonus that there are usually fewer people around. To be honest, if I had to choose one or the other, it would be for an overcast day rather than a sunny day!
SW: You’ve been photographing weddings and elopements for almost 14 years. Any unusual requests in that time?
LK: Nothing too bizarre but I’ve had a cat as a bridesmaid, and lots of dogs as ringbearers. And recently, in Elgol, a lively little horse decided to join in the ceremony!
SW: And finally, do you have a favourite Skye wedding location?
LK: Yes, I do – and it’s somewhere that so far has remained very quiet so I’m not going to say where it is! But to be honest, pretty much everywhere on Skye is going to guarantee a great picture. Sometimes you’ll just be driving along the road from one part of the island to another and the light becomes spectacular. So you get out and do a picture right at the side of the road, and the light at that particular time just makes it a wonderful shot.
Check out Lynne’s beautiful website for more stunning Skye weddings captured on camera. And if you’re planning your own special day, you might just find that our Skye Wedding Shawl comes in handy – wherever you choose to tie the knot!