Rachael Barlock
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Scotland

WOAH. One of my best friends got married....in SCOTLAND a couple of weeks ago!!! Not only was I lucky enough to go, but I got to stand up as a bridesmaid for her! I took a shitload of photos and I'm gonna try to highlight some of my faves. The trip was a week spent with amazing friends and families of the bride & groom doing all sorts of activities, and it ended with the best wedding EVER on Saturday. The trip will def be split into more than one blog post, so hang in there--imma cover a lot of info! 

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DAY ONE
Traveling + Champagne
I wanted to do the cheapest flights possible for this trip, and I knew I'd likely want to travel a bit outside of Scotland after the wedding week, so I booked the 'get there' flights before I even thought of getting home. My cheapest option was to fly from Detroit to London-Gatwick with a layover in Reykjavik, Iceland via WOW airlines. Then I took a British Airways flight from London-Gatwick to Edinburgh, Scotland. Though cheap, WOW makes you pay for everything: larger seats, luggage (I checked a bag and took a carry on as well as my personal item). It's super cheap to fly within the UK using a UK airline, so that was cool. WOW also doesn't have TVs or serve any drinks for free, just FYI. Fine with me because I planned to snooze. 

Okay so Detroit --> Reykjavik --> London --> Edinburgh = a longgg couple of travel days. Then the estate where we stayed, Kingairloch Estate, was about a 4-hour drive from Edinburgh. Everyone arrived at the Edinburgh airport on Monday morning, and we hopped on a couple of charter buses for the drive to the estate. We stopped for groceries + booze for our week, since the estate is kind of remote. 

 
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Obvi stocked up on vegan snacks. Sainsbury's had vegan rice pudding, yogurts, and yummy vegan cheeses for me, and it ruled. I snacked so hard every night. 

 

Okay, but when we made it to Kingairloch, we were greeted with champagne and got to say hi to our lovely friends and their families who were hosting us! Ya girl got champagne drunk + passed out on the floor on night one. Oops. 

DAY TWO
Adventuring + Puking
Good morning = puking my guts out, but at least we all had our own bathrooms at our cottages! FYI I was with some friends at the Steadings house, one of the many rentals on the estate. It has a big ol' family room, a full kitchen, laundry room, and 4 bedrooms w/ bathrooms. AKA AH-MAZING. 

The Steadings has cute mugs that say 'I'd rather be at Kingairloch'. Obvi I bought one. 

The Steadings has cute mugs that say 'I'd rather be at Kingairloch'. Obvi I bought one. 

View from the Steadings. 

View from the Steadings. 

We got to choose from a buncha activities on the estate. I opted for the wildlife tour for the morning. We rode throughout the estate with two ecologists who live there as they shared a ton of tips for spotting and a lot of great stories. We saw deer, sheep, golden eagles (!), otters (!!), big ol' goats, and a bunch of cool birds. Hangover was mostly cured by this time. Especially when I got to just sit + chat with Megan (bride) and her gram. 

My gurl. 
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So glad I brought my Tevas. Wore 'em every day. 

So glad I brought my Tevas. Wore 'em every day. 

After lunch I watched some less hungover friends do clay pigeon shooting, then took one of the bikes on the estate back to the Steadings. 

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This is John & Rob, who were instructing the shooting. They were both amazing! Rob is married to Katrina, who manages bookings at Kingairloch. Everyone working there & celebrating with us was PHENOMENAL. This is starting to sound like an ad for the estate, but seriously, they made our week so spectacular. And how cute are they?!

We had a group bbq with lobsters and fish and vegan options (woo!). The bbq was out near the water so we explored, found lotsa bb crabs. Dave ate a worm. We slapped the bag. Then we all went back to our houses. My house had more booze & played cards against humanity. I went to bed early so I could secretly watch another episode of Altered Carbon that I'd downloaded on my phone. I forgot to mention there is NO SERVICE & NO WIFI at the estate, so it was both amazing and frustrating! 

Caught the whole icing process. V elaborate set up and execution. 

DAY THREE
Harry Potter + Mallig
For day three, half of the group hopped on the charter bus with a packed lunch and drove an hour or so to the Jacobite Steam Train, which is the friggin HOGWARTS EXPRESS! Seriously, it was the actual train used in the films. 

It was super hot in Scotland (we all packed for like 50 degree weather of course), so the train ride was a bit miserable in that regard, but they had chocolate frogs (not vegan), and a little HP themed store. We played Euchre and listed to some old Scottish men singing, and had a blast. 

We stopped at a park to eat our packed lunches. Tevas again :)  

We stopped at a park to eat our packed lunches. Tevas again :)
 

Megan telling me there are chocolate frogs available. She got Dumbledore and the rest of us got Hufflepuff - of course. 

Megan telling me there are chocolate frogs available. She got Dumbledore and the rest of us got Hufflepuff - of course. 

DAY FOUR
Boat Tour + Tobermory
The next day, the same half of the group got on 3 chartered boats with packed lunches and we headed on a boat tour that stopped in Tobermory! The boat ride was great, and we got to learn about the groom's family's history in the area. Saw some seals, drank some wine, took terrible photos. 

Adventure outfit: thrifted chef pants + belt, tevas...again. 

Adventure outfit: thrifted chef pants + belt, tevas...again. 

Judy + Warren, Megan's Parents aka hosts with mosts. 

Judy + Warren, Megan's Parents aka hosts with mosts. 

Tobermory on the Isle of Mull was wonderful. Cutest little shops + bars. A famous street cat that we got to witness growling at a pup. I bought a ceramic mug for a friend. 

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Sophie + Andrew: New friends + housemates! 

Sophie + Andrew: New friends + housemates! 

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One of the other boats + frenz. 

One of the other boats + frenz. 

DAY FIVE
Highland Games + Stag and Hind Night
We're nearing the of the week, but also the most exciting part -- the wedding! Before Megan + Tom could get married though, they had to prove who had the better friends in a Highland Games Tournament!

It was soo much fun -- coming from someone who is v. competitive. I was on the bride's team, and we excelled at: apple bobbing, haggis throwing, welly tossing, knife throwing, an American-Gladiator-Esque baton battle, AND the puzzle games. We killed it and obvi got first. 

Let's acknowledge how amazing Megan's grandma Janice MacNeill is -- casually throwing knives like a pro, giving her sons throwing advice. 

Let's acknowledge how amazing Megan's grandma Janice MacNeill is -- casually throwing knives like a pro, giving her sons throwing advice. 

 
Slack-lining like we didn't completely mock this hobby in college. 

Slack-lining like we didn't completely mock this hobby in college. 

This game was weirdly difficult. You had to stack the tubes in numerical order but there were rules like a large couldn't go over a smaller or something. Megan nailed it for our team. 

This game was weirdly difficult. You had to stack the tubes in numerical order but there were rules like a large couldn't go over a smaller or something. Megan nailed it for our team. 

Badass Grandma on the groom's side. 

Badass Grandma on the groom's side. 

We took our gaming very seriously. Tom + Dave proving their Groom + Best Man bond. 

We took our gaming very seriously. Tom + Dave proving their Groom + Best Man bond. 

The day everyone made fun of my paraben-free sunscreen, but were v happy to use it. It was like 85 degrees -- IN SCOTLAND. wtf. 

The day everyone made fun of my paraben-free sunscreen, but were v happy to use it. It was like 85 degrees -- IN SCOTLAND. wtf. 

After they announced the winners (us), we split into gals + guys for Hind + Stag night. The ladies went to the Boat House Restuarant on the Kingairloch property, and Judy + Brittany had an EPIC night planned for us. 

The evening was Harry Potter themed + started with Professor MacNeill + her assistant allowing the sorting hat to put us into houses. I was Slytherin, so obviously this hat was a fake. I made them re-sort me, but still got the same result. 

With my fellow slytherins, we had to solve riddles + puzzles that were both HP + non-HP related. We didn't win, but the winners got Bernie Bott's beans + some HP accessories. Super fun. That night was our last before the BIG DAY. 

DAY SIX
Wedding Day
We got up early, met at the main house, had mimosas + breakfast, and started getting ready. We took pics, the ceremony was beautiful + made me cry, then we got down to business: dinner + dancing. The Scottish band taught us traditional Scottish dancing, and I've never seen so many people participating at a wedding. It was SO FRIGGIN FUN. 

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Truly the best wedding of my life. All the frenz looked amazing, we had so much fun, and sweated our asses off. Thanks Megan + Tom for such a memorable trip! 

xo