If you have ever looked at the options of where to elope in the UK, you’ve almost certainly seen beautiful photos of Skye. There are so many stunning locations for an outdoor wedding in Scotland, and Skye is one of the most popular. If you love beautiful scenery, wonderful food and the sea then SeaflowerSkye could be the ones to help you have a unique and relaxed Scottish wedding.
Please introduce yourself and your business.
SeaflowerSkye is a small, luxury, boat tour company, which operates daily out of Portree on the Isle of Skye. It is run by myself, Janice Cooney, and my partner Ewen Grant. We started our business together in May of 2018. We purchased The Seaflower, which is a beautiful forty foot catamaran, with the intention of providing our guests with a high end experience, that’s just a little bit different.
Ewen grew up on Skye but met me, an Irish girl, in Thailand while he was traveling the world. We moved to Australia together where we lived for three years. I was working as a nurse and Ewen was working in construction. It came time to move home so we needed to choose between life in Ireland or life in Scotland. It really didn’t take too long to decide that Skye was the place for us. Ewen is native to Skye and comes from a family with a long history of fishing shellfish. They have been fishing the local waters around Skye for over 45 years. As the hospital on Skye is small, with little job opportunities for me and construction work was minimal for Ewen, we needed to think outside of the box for employment. That’s when the idea of SeaflowerSkye began. We decided it necessary to showcase some of this amazing, local produce that Ewen’s brother and father both catch. What better way to do this than serve this beautiful, Scottish shellfish right on the water where it is fished.
We sail daily to the islands of either Rona or Raasay. They are scenically beautiful, remote locations which are steeped in history. Often our guests are the only people on the island during their trip. We serve our guests a lunch of freshly caught, local shellfish, salad, crusty bread and a glass or 2 of wine. We also cater for non-seafood eaters and anyone with dietary requirements. The lunch is usually enjoyed out on deck in the sunshine but can also be served inside the heated cabin if the weather should turn a bit ‘Scottish’! We then allow time to go ashore and explore the island, with the ruins of an eighteenth century Clearance village and the ‘Church Cave’ on Rona, or the brand new whisky distillery on Raasay proving to be most popular. Whatever the weather, one of the best ways to see Skye is from the water. We believe this is a truly unique and special experience.
What do you love about small weddings?
Having been present at both large traditional weddings and small, elopement style ceremonies, we really feel that what stands out between the two is the intimacy of the small wedding. Both styles are beautiful, but there is something very special about a wedding day being purely about the couple. We really enjoy helping two people to create their dream day and celebrate their relationship by making this special day their own. It is always an honour to be a part of such a beautiful day. People choose a small wedding or elopement for a variety of different reasons. Whatever that may be, a small wedding allows the couple to celebrate in a way that is personal to them.
How do you think couples planning a smaller wedding differ from those planning a big wedding?
Obviously every couple, no matter the type of ceremony, are massively excited about their wedding day. We feel that a couple planning a small wedding however, is more focused on the ceremony and the finer details of what the day means to them and how they want it to be. This may simply be because they have less people to think about in the planning process, and can spend their energy on making the day perfect for them.
Do you think more people are choosing to have a smaller wedding nowadays?
Small weddings have definitely increased on Skye in recent years. The law now allows people to be married in any location, so couples are free to choose their dream setting. We have only been in operation since May last year, however, we have been lucky enough to host a number of weddings and surprise engagements, with more booked for this year. Small weddings are becoming very popular for couples for many reasons and it is a pleasure to be a part of the process.
What are the main differences in the way you do business with a couple planning a smaller wedding?
It is lovely to get to know a couple during the planning process, and with a smaller wedding you are far more involved. We like to really get an idea of what the couple envision for their day and want their celebration to be. We work with couples from the minute they contact us, trying to get an idea of what they would like. We help with different aspects of the wedding. We help to select a destination, the food and drink that is served, the decoration and any other added extras that a couple may want. We would not have the opportunity to this for a larger wedding.
If you could work on any wedding, anywhere, for whom and where would it be?
Ewen wouldn’t mind me saying that the couple we would most like to work with is ourselves! We have been together for almost five years and because we decided to commit to running and owning our own business, certain things have had to go on the back burner. We talk about it often and would ideally get married in Skye. When you are lucky enough to live somewhere as beautiful as we do and have access to a boat like the Seaflower, then you really don’t need to travel far. The boat is our livelihood and has become our life really, so we can see ourselves having our own ceremony on it when the time comes.
Can you give an example of a tiny wedding you were involved with, and tell us what you did for the couple?
We are currently helping a lovely couple from Norway plan their elopement to Skye. We first met them on one of our regular trips during the summer last year. They had come aboard to celebrate their engagement, which had happened the night before. The couple got back in contact recently to enquire about getting married on board the Seaflower, which had come to mean quite a lot to them.
With the wedding not taking place until September 2019 and with them living in another country, myself and Ewen assisted them in organising transport from Glasgow airport to Skye. We also made suggestions and helped them to book accommodation for the duration of their stay. We put them in touch with one of the local registrars so they could work out the official side of their ceremony. Then we got down to planning the fun stuff! We have had many conversations about how they would like the boat decorated. We have a certain amount of decorations which we provide as standard on the boat, but I have supplied the couple with the numbers of local florists so they can get it just how they want it. We have also supplied them with numbers for local photographers. We have discussed food and drink and what they would like their wedding lunch to consist of. As we are the owners and operators of the Seaflower, we really do like to liaise with the couple and try to provide everything we can to make their dream day a reality.
What makes you unique in the service you can offer to couple planning their wedding?
With generations of Ewen’s family being from Skye, we are very well connected and find it easy to get our couples in touch with who they need to speak with. Ewen and I are in love with where we live and thoroughly enjoy our job. This makes us very enthusiastic to show couples the beauty of Skye and make it the most special day possible. We have been told on numerous occasions that we helped to make the entire planning process very easy. We are a young couple who understand that this is one of the most important days of your life. We are hard-working and willing to go the extra mile. Skye has become one of the top elopement destinations in the world and we think getting married on the water, surrounded by one of the most stunningly scenic backdrops is certainly unique. With elopements increasing and tourism booming here, it can be difficult to find a quiet, secluded spot all of your own. This is a luxury that SeaflowerSkye is proud to be able to provide.
Check out SeaflowerSkye’s website for more information about what they do. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re thinking of coming along to the Tiny Weddings Fair on 10th March then you can follow our event on Facebook, or sign up to our mailing list to stay updated. Preferential entry will be given to talks to those who have bought tickets in advance, so get your tickets now to save 50% off the price we’ll charge on the day. If you want to stay updated with the Tiny Weddings Fair, follow us on Instagram or on Facebook, or sign up to the mailing list.