Written by Laura Bell. Photography by Zeudi Hinds.
A chance meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, first brought Bermudian Alyssa Emery, 26, and 38 year-old Paul Mackay from Kilbride, Scotland, together. “I was only up for the weekend to fit central heating in my flat,” explained Paul, a freelance graphic designer. “On the Sunday my friend came around to take a look at the job and postponed it, which suited me fine as my other friend was leaving his job at the Brunswick Hotel. He was Alyssa’s manager. I popped in to surprise him and celebrate his last shift. It was me that ended up surprised when I clapped eyes on Alyssa!”
The couple got engaged on June 23, 2016, and were wed just over a year later on Thursday, July 27, 2017, at St. Peter’s Church. Bringing together their individual cultures and traditions became the theme of the day.
”We had an old traditional Thursday afternoon wedding as my parents did 34 years ago—complete with a church ceremony and a horse and carriage,” explained Alyssa, currently a college student who lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, from the age seven until she was 19. ”We also wanted to have traditional Bermudian food such as mac and cheese, fish and cassava pie. This was important because both my Floridian and British friends could see the culture that I grew up with and have heard so much about. Also having the wedding solely in the Town of St. George was important because it’s where I was born and where my parents and grandparents live. “And, of course, we had to include gombeys!”
To incorporate the groom’s Scottish heritage, the groom, his son and his best man wore traditional formal kilts, they hired a bagpiper and flew the flag of Scotland over Fort St. Catherine, the reception site.
“The family name Mackay is a Scottish clan from the far north of the Scottish Highlands,” said Paul. With his clan’s tartan for inspiration, the couple’s colour scheme—turquoise and dark purple with silver accents—was an easy choice. “We originally thought of a night and day theme as our initials were to become AM and PM,” said Paul. “This suited our favourite colours—Alyssa’s vibrant, fresh turquoise contrasting my deep, moody purple taken from my clan’s modern tartan.”
One tradition that easily spanned both cultures was drinking, said Paul. “Drinking was the most celebrated tradition that smoothly blended between both fun-lovin’ mental cultures!” he laughed.
The most amazing moments of the day included ”the touching yet humorous ceremony and also the sand ceremony blending Paul, my stepson, Zeno, and I as a family,” said Alyssa. “And also having my friends from overseas who were able to attend.” Paul’s best moments included seeing Alyssa for the first time (“She is an absolute stunner!” he said), having his son Zeno play an important part on the day and his best man who helped him throughout the day. “He was a right hoot from start to finish. Seriously, Dave Critchell was an amazing support for when things were starting to get real.”
“Our traditions are important to us because we both come from very patriotic countries, and therefore it was great to see a blend throughout the festivities,” concluded the groom.