Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Joining Two Hearts and Two Families

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Joining Two Hearts and Two Families

view of Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness
The bride wore white, carried a traditional wedding bouquet of almost white roses. The groom waited for her at the outdoor altar in the manicured garden of Scotland’s Guthrie Castle.  The traditional twelve sponsors, 6 godmothers and 6 godfathers (less the 2 pairs who were not able to attend) comprised the wedding entourage. That’s as far as the Filipino wedding traditions went at April and Clint’s beautiful and memorable wedding at Guthrie Castle in Scotland.

Bill and Carol, Richard and Erin,
Clint and April, Gilda, and Grace at Alnwick Garden
The groom wore a kilt and a minister performed the ceremony (although without a mass).  Both the mother and father of the bride gave April away to Clint. There were no secondary sponsors of bridesmaids, groomsmen, nor were there three pairs of wedding attendants for the lighting of the candles, placing the veil, or looping the cord around the couple. There were also no traditional children participants, males for arras and ring bearers and females for flower girls. During the wedding reception, no doves were released, the bride’s bouquet was not tossed, nor was there a search for the garter.

the couple's very happy jump shot at Alnwick Casle
Even without these Filipino traditions, the fairy tale wedding was an outstanding affair. For not only were two hearts joined in marriage but their families bonded well as the couple so wished in their vows.  Each family is scattered far from them among the US , Canada, and the Philippines. To accomplish this, Clint and April booked the entire ‘Downton Abbey’ish Guthrie Castle for 3 days and 2 nights for them, close friends, and principal sponsors. On the first day we had an afternoon tea welcome, a bbq dinner, and bachelorette and bachelor parties. A traditional English breakfast, the garden wedding ceremony, garden cocktails, wedding reception and party, and a night cap ended the second day.

breakfast before the Highlands Tour
Blair Athol Tour in Pitlochry
On the third day, after another English breakfast, we were picked up at 10 for the exclusive family tour of the Scottish Highlands.  Day 1 was a trip to Inverness, its capital after a short stop at Dunkeld , lunch at Pitlochry and tour of the local whisky distillery, Blair Athol. Fortunately, we did not overdo ourselves in the tasting part at the end. At Inverness we enjoyed a local dinner at Givrans and stayed at a lovely B&B for the night. Our Tour Guide, Dave Ladd was not only so knowledgeable about all our questions but was so entertaining there never was a dull moment!

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness stop
The next day started early, too, for we had many stops to make. First was Urquhart Castle for some spectacular scenery of Loch Ness. And then we joined a boat tour in a determined search for Nessie! Alas, no one was lucky enough to spot him but we got great images of the legend and the artist’s rendition of him. From there we had lunch at another village where there was cashmere shopping to do.  Then it was on to Glencoe, scene of the terrible 1692 massacre of the Clan MacDonald. In the evening,  most of us were dropped off at Dundee except for Raffy and TJ, Clint’s cousins, who had flights to catch at Edinburgh. The next morning Claudine and Arnold and their four kids also left for flights in Glasgow.

at The Forth Bridge, west of Edinburgh
The smaller group continued on a tour of Edinburgh en route to Newcastle with Mike O’Neill, the affable Scot whom my BFFs Jingjing and Ann and I had used for our own tour around Edinburgh and the trip to the castle. He also brought them back, together with my daughter Trisha and her girls Krishna and Yeye, to the city for their flights right after breakfast in the third day. We stopped at old The Forth Bridge, a breathtaking red cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, 9 miles west of Edinburgh built in 1890. In Edinburgh we visited the Elephant House, birthplace of Harry Potter, Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile, the Sir Walter Scott Monument, and feasted on hog roast at Oink (very similar to the Filipino lechon)!  

Gilda and I at Edinburgh Castle
Oink, Oink!
By evening we were in Newcastle where April and Clint had prepared a bbq feast at their backyard. The following day was a grand tour of Alnwick Garden and Castle where scenes of the Quidditch match and the chase for the elusive snitch in the Harry Potter movie were filmed. Our driver also took us to Bamburgh Castle, the coastal town of Seahouses and the Farne Islands of puffins, and the beach of Tyne. Finally, we went home to a dinner of pasta, mussels, and a cheese and bread platter. The next day we all decided to give ourselves a rest and had a lunch to dinner party cum marathon karaoke session at the home of the couple’s BFFs.

at the deck of Bro Den and Sis Marie's home
Did April and Clint achieve their objective of bonding their families? It was a week of being together from July 1 to 8, from the wedding at Guthrie Castle to their home in Newcastle. We were not in our comfort zones but shared some spectacular scenes and we ate, shopped, sang, danced, and had loads of fun together for our babies, April and Clint. We also found for ourselves brand new friends for a lifetime:  the charming Pijuan clan, headed by Gilda and her brood, Grace, Cristina, Erin, Francesca, Ferdi, Richard, Raffy, and TJ and the couple’s BFFs Bro Den and Sis Marie and Bro Anthony and Sis Nicole! What more can any couple ask for in a wedding, traditional or not? Two hearts and two families were definitely joined!


  1. Sounds like quite an event! Also pretty impressed that I'llaactually got off the ground!
    Congrats to you and to your daughter.


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