During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vogue’s goal is to use our coverage to celebrate responsible wedding planning, feature a love story, and shed light on the questions engaged couples are now asking.
For those planning a wedding planning, make sure you comply with all applicable state and local laws, guidelines, and CDC recommendations to ensure safety and reduce the risk of forgiving and transmitting COVID-19.
Elle Mie-Jin McPherson-Yoon wore a bright orange shift dress when she met Angus Tweedie at a 1960s-themed party hosted by their mutual friend, Angèle Donà dalle Rose, designer at evening wear label Angie Power London. It was the first night of a weekend-long affair in Venice, Italy, and Elle admits it was “hard to miss”. At that time, Angus and Elle traveled often. They started coordinating goals so they could see each other as best they could. “It all sounds surreal when you consider that our life now revolves around the house,” Elle muses.
After three years of long-distance dating between London and Toronto, Angus suggested fittingly at the arrival gate of Toronto Pearson International Airport. “He wanted to surprise me at home, but I found out and convinced my mother to let me come with her to pick him up from the airport,” says Elle. “We didn’t expect him to call our bluff, however. He got off the plane wearing a black tie and sat on one knee at the arrival gate to the applause of the audience. Well played!”
In January 2020, they jointly selected their wedding location in the Scottish Highlands, and then Elle returned to Toronto to prepare for her upcoming move to England. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Elle and Angus weren’t able to meet again until August 2020. Still, they were able to keep their original wedding date and venue.
“For a long time we felt like we were in limbo. The virus and government policy information developed quickly, which made it very difficult to come up with an appropriate plan, ”says Elle. “It was confirmed a month before our wedding date that we would be allowed to have a group of 20 people, and knowing that this means our parents and Angus’ siblings can attend was the greatest relief. We had very open and honest conversations with our suppliers and our venue which allowed us to pan very quickly [if need be]So we decided to stay on course, ”says Elle. “We didn’t feel that rescheduling would give us any extra security and since our wedding predicted my move to the UK, we were determined to push this milestone forward and see our future together positively.”
The decision to hold a micro-wedding on its original date instead of postponing it was bittersweet because while they were immensely grateful to find a way to marry, it effectively meant they had to cancel invitations for three-quarters of their guests. “To this day, I have been overwhelmed by the understanding, support, and encouragement from our family and friends,” says Elle.
“I feel like my experience in planning the wedding can be defined by two time periods: Before Covid and After Covid,” adds the bride. “I really enjoyed the planning process, BC! I would consider myself both creative and organized, so planning a wedding was definitely in my wheelhouse and I felt comfortable doing it myself first, armed with an excel spreadsheet and my mom as the ultimate sounding board. “
The wedding has always been intimate with personal details – although, to be fair, when Elle and Angus started planning, they thought 80 was intimate. “The aim of the game was to absolutely pamper those present, like hosts from a bygone era,” said Elle. “I lived in Manhattan and my first references for the wedding came from some of my favorite places in The City: Bemelmans Bar and The Waverly Inn, where Angus and I have dinner with our closest friends every time we visit.”
Mount Street Printers designed invitations inspired by those for Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball that set the mood. Their venue, The Fife Arms, Braemar, which houses a museum art collection curated by Hauser & Wirth, was an easy choice as they combined their shared Scottish ancestry with studying the bride’s art history.
It was there that Elle was introduced to her event coordinator Louise Morrison and restaurant manager Jasmine Bowles, who knew the place and the venue inside out and became the couple’s greatest allies. “Our original plan was to have exclusive use of the hotel and all of its rooms,” says Elle. “With 46 rooms that are individually furnished to reflect a different theme, we couldn’t wait to connect our guests with their accommodations! Guests would arrive on Friday and depart on Sunday after experiencing a weekend of local entertainment, food and drink. The highlight would be our ceremony and reception of the black tie. “
As was to be expected, the planning of “AC” was all about panning. “We had about a month to shrink our wedding down to 20 and change our plans,” says Elle. “The Fife Arm team have worked tirelessly to ensure the appropriate security measures are in place, while adhering to the latest government guidelines and maintaining the spirit of the event and its high standard of hospitality. We’ve scaled down our room bookings, secured private use of a partially outdoor area within the hotel, and mobilized our families to quarantine ahead of the event, including my parents who flew two weeks early to do so. “
With encouragement from family and friends who were no longer able to attend, and the key changes Louise and Jasmine had tactfully made, Elle was able to focus on the personal details. “In view of the state ban on music – goodbye, first dance! – and a dance floor, knowing that this was not safe, we decided to instead fill the evening with events that match our interests, ”she explains. “All bets are void now when it comes to format – and I think this will be a positive thing for those planning weddings in the future!”
After a short welcome dinner on Friday, the guests (the couple’s parents, Angus’ siblings and some friends of the family) spread to their rooms, where a bottle of The Macallan Whiskey and a brochure with their program for the next day was waiting for them a PSA kit – including Elle’s favorite hand sanitizer from Dr. Bronner. The next day they had the opportunity to enjoy room service and explore the surrounding Cairngorms National Park.
On the morning of the wedding, the bride received flowers from home, notes from friends, and was allowed to sneak out for a short walk before the ceremony. “I will always appreciate the quiet time with my parents and that morning FaceTime call with my best friend Brittany in the US,” says Elle.
The bride admittedly took a great chance on her dress. “After seeing a photo of the 2017 Viktor & Rolf Diagonal Cut tulle dress, I tracked down a pattern in my size and sent it straight to me without seeing it,” she says. “I felt like it was a modern take on the ’90s wedding dresses that I admired – parent trap, anyone? – and I knew it was. I couldn’t have had better foresight if I had tried as the lockdowns started soon after and dress production was delayed for many months. “
When the reality emerged that her wedding would be reduced to a group of 20 people, she considered downsizing her dress. But in the end she loved it too much to let it sit in her closet. “Wearing the original dress that day made me hopeful about the future,” she says. “It also filled the day with a solemn tone and went wonderfully with the neo-Gothic church where we got married.” Angus wore his Kinloch Anderson family tartan kilt with a tweed day jacket and Kate Macpherson sporran.
On October 17th, Elle and Angus were married in Crathie Kirk, Ballater, known as the place of worship of the British royal family, when they reside at Balmoral Castle. During the ceremony, the string quartet played Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” while Elle and Angus signed the register – a nod to the favorite show Schitt’s Creek – and ABBA’s “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” as Das Bridal couple immersed themselves as husband and wife. “Those moments of ease were invaluable,” notes Elle. After the bride and groom were released from church, they took photos under a beautiful flower arch from local florist Coo Hill, who combined locally eaten elements with fresh fall flowers, thistles and dried maple leaves. Elle’s sister-in-law, Helen, caught the bouquet from Lily of the Valley and prevailed over the tough competition. Then the couple were brought to their reception in an arched Land Rover.
Upon returning to The Fife Arms, guests gathered for an outdoor cocktail hour in the courtyard, surrounded by cozy fire pits, while Elle and Angus took photos and changed into their reception attire. “I was expecting to wear a party dress in the evening, and when our wedding turned into a micro-wedding, it made even more sense to wear a dress that reflected the smaller size and location of our reception,” says Elle. Emilia Wickstead’s Cruz Mini Dress went perfectly with his oversized bow. Angus also changed outfits, wearing an Ede and Ravenscroft tuxedo with a Turnbull & Asser shirt. He has fitted Hermès cufflinks, a nod to his wife, who was born in the year of the horse.
For the table landscape, Elle was delighted to have her talented friend Victoria FitzRoy’s illustrations on the menus, reprinted by Mount Street Printers, and disrespectful details like chocolate cigarettes (by Rebecca Gardner), silver bowls filled with chocolate almonds disguised as almonds ( rococo chocolates) as well as lampshade hats and animal masks hidden near place settings. A tasting menu was served by Chef Marcus Sherry, showcasing local Scottish ingredients and paying tribute to Elle’s Korean and Canadian heritage.
Instead of dancing, the couple sliced Victoria Sponge Cake and topped off the evening with a whiskey tasting from The Macallan and fireworks. “I honestly wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision about our wedding plans by the time we got to our reception,” admits Elle. “For me, the deal maker saw how much our parents enjoyed themselves. Due to limitations, our seating plan only allowed us to sit at a table of six with our parents and I will always cherish this evening that I spent with them. Time seemed to slow down for us, and we cherished every moment. “