Medieval magic at Forter Castle

Amanda and Josh met through a shared passion for all things medieval. They both regularly attend renaissance festivals where they live in North Carolina so it made total sense that their big day would be a celebration of this. The wedding at the enchanting Forter Castle in Angus, complete with royal feast, was a fitting day for Lord Josh and Lady Amanda (titles courtesy of their best man as a wedding gift!).

Tell us about your journey as a couple…

We attended the same renaissance festival for years and had only spoken at a distance. In October 2019, Josh was managing the axe throw stand. I am the Axe Queen! It is my favourite activity at faire. Josh gave me all the axes I could throw that day and we finally got to talk. We fell in love over the fall festival season and haven’t been apart since.

After dating long distance, Josh moved to Raleigh to be with me in March 2020. We spent lockdown together, and after a year we knew we wanted to get married. Our planning started with us designing our rings.

What was your favourite part of the wedding planning?

I [Amanda] loved designing my gown and everyone else’s garb with a custom sewist, Elizabeth Caddy. Elizabeth made my dress and everyone else’s attire in the wedding party. She is also one of my best friends and the lady in red in our wedding photos!

Why did you want a humanist ceremony and which celebrant did you choose?

We chose a humanist ceremony as we wanted to honour and include Celtic traditions in our wedding. Our celebrant was Denise Morton. We felt a connection with Denise because her profile on the Humanist Society Scotland website discussed ancient rituals like handfasting and ring warming that we could use in our ceremony. Once we met her over video chat, she immediately picked up on our spirituality and gave us the wedding we dreamed of!

Amanda, Josh and four wedding guests wearing medieval style dresses in various colours stand with celebrant Denise during the ceremony. Denise wears a full length blue hooded cape. They are in a room at Fortar Castle with a fireplace behind them and traditional book case to the side.

What was your favourite part of the ceremony?

Being surrounded by our loving friends in a beautiful castle with a ceremony that was extremely personal to us. It was very important to us to honour Celtic traditions. We were able to do that throughout the ceremony. The ceremony had poetry (Stardust by Lang Leav) as well as some symbolic gestures. Denise led our guests through a ring warming ceremony, then myself and Josh through the handfasting ritual. Finally, we had the entire wedding party included in the jumping of the broom!

What was your favourite part of the whole day?

Marrying each other and dancing together to the wonderful Four String Quartet afterward. Four String Quartet were very helpful with our personal music selection and they brought the celebration we wanted to life.

Amanda and Josh sign the marriage schedule. They are both smiling at the camera. A member of Four String Quartet is seated behind them playing music.

Your photographs are absolutely fabulous. Who did you choose and why?

We chose Iain Struthers as we loved his work, it’s amazing! His stunning photos speak for themselves. He set us at ease and really helped us enjoy our day.

With hindsight, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Unfortunately, there was a natural disaster in the highlands the weekend we arrived. Forter Castle lost power and our driver could barely get out of his driveway to come get us in Edinburgh. There were so many trees down that we couldn’t check in to Forter Castle on Monday when we were supposed to. We took refuge at Fonab Castle and everyone there was so kind to us and helpful. The owners of Forter Castle did everything they could to make sure we could get married there. They got the power back on Tuesday and we were able to check in and have our wedding on Wednesday. We would have loved to have that Monday there because Forter is so lovely! Everything else was perfect.

And finally, any advice for other couples?

Plan ahead but be ready to pivot if you have to. Enjoy the process. It all goes by so fast!

Huge congratulations Amanda and Josh, and thank you for choosing Humanist Society Scotland!

The wedding party sit in front of an old traditional bookcase. They have their hands under their chin in a thoughtful pose.

Links to all suppliers recommended by Amanda and Josh:

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