Actress Amber Skye Noyes and her now husband Ryan Casarella met in the bustling Lower East Side of New York City over 12 years ago. While the two lived in the same building, they didn’t have much else in common as she was pursuing a career in acting and music and he was about to start medical school… but their attraction to one another was undeniable. We have all the details of how the two met and fell in love that we’ll get to in a bit!
When planning their wedding, the couple knew after COVID that guests would be wanting to travel, which is exactly why they decided to have their wedding in the Scottish Highlands! The bride had been traveling to Scotland over the past ten years and loves how mystical the country feels…PLUS Ryan is a huge scotch whisky fan, so it wasn’t too hard to convince him that Scotland would be the perfect place to celebrate.
Drumtochty Castle fit the vibe the couple was going for and was as magical as ever. To achieve the Deco Chic meets Mystical Forest feel they were aiming for, they enlisted the help of the planning team at Timeless White Weddings to bring their vision to life! Florist Kim Dalglish constructed 10’ real birch trees on the tables (which made the whole venue smell incredible!) and stylist Emma Mallen at Duchess Seera, brought in 1920’s inspired items like gramophones and typewriters that set the Gatsby tone and had guests swooning! Prepare to be swept up in all the details that Nigel John captured. Let’s get into it!
The Start of the Celebration
The day before the wedding, the couple kicked off the welcome celebrations with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and falconry, followed by a Medieval Féte of a welcome party in the castle courtyard the night before the wedding.
“I knew I wanted to wear my favorite color, green, as part of our celebrations. I fell in love with this Vampire’s Wife dress as soon as I saw it. My hairstylist Kimberly Logie crafted the most beautiful medieval-looking braid for the welcome party, which if it were up to me, I would rock everyday!”
Amber handcrafted mystical sun and moon banners to hang for the event, which paired well with the colorful bunting that floated above the courtyard, which was made from recycled saris. An ancient Gaelic love song was performed in between speeches and whisky tastings, and the medieval tone of the welcome party felt like a colorful, joyous ACT I to the Castle celebration! We love to see it!!
One thing everyone knows about grandiose events… surprises can occur that no one plans for: The day everyone arrived to Scotland for the wedding, the Queen suddenly passed away at Balmoral castle, which was just down the road from the wedding venue.
“We all felt humbled by the magnitude of the timing and many of us were able to see her final procession In Edinburgh. Whatever cute “royal” wedding notions we thought we might be having by getting married in a castle in the UK were getting quickly checked by the real royal protocol itself. To be honest, we weren’t sure how we might pivot to such a celebratory wedding, but as any viewer of The Crown will tell you, The Queen loved Scotland – a unique love affair in its own right- and so we knew she would probably want us to celebrate each other after many covid years apart.”
A Wedding at Drumtochty Castle
The two knew they wanted to have a big celebration when it was safe to gather after COVID, but first, the couple opted for a small ceremony in 2020 – on the steps of the old tenement building on the Lower East Side where they had met and lived 10 years earlier. When choosing a venue, it was important to the couple to actually spend quality time with guests after many Covid years apart.
“We knew people would be wanting to travel after years at home, so we found this incredible venue in the Scottish Highlands, Drumtochty Castle, that had a variety of spaces and rooms to entertain guests over the course of 3 days.“
The couple invited 100 of their favorite people to join them at the castle and between all the quirky castle rooms and cottages on the property, everyone was able to stay on the grounds. The couple recalls it was nice for guests to not have to deal with cabbing home throughout the 3 days and different friend groups actually got to hang out and become new friends! Another reason why we love weddings!
The bride shares that the most meaningful part of her outfit was her shoes, and as it happens, they were green wedding shoes! 😍
“My dad passed away suddenly in 2018, and I wanted a way to honor him and his side of the family, so I wore a pair of vintage FRYE shoes (my 2x great grandfather founded the company in the 1860’s), so it was like he could be walking me down the aisle.”
Amber wore a gorgeous vintage nightgown to get ready for her big day.
For the wedding dress, Amber wanted it to feel elven and mystical.
“I chose a Berta tulle dress with tiny trailing crystal leaves and flowers. The train was so dramatic but it still felt feather-light. I wanted to add my own spin on the dress, so I worked with Venchy Couture in New York to design a hooded cape with an illusion bodice underneath the dress so I could have multiple looks throughout the day. The delicate hood was detachable so I could have the illusion of a hooded veil during the ceremony– I felt like a mystical queen! We also designed a tartan overskirt for a regal Scottish moment that I changed into after dinner.”
Forever loving a tiara moment!
“Instead of matching bridesmaids dresses, I asked my best gals to wear something vintage inspired. They all put their own unique twist on it, which I loved!”
The ceremony was at the ancient St Palladius Chapel on the Castle Grounds, so Amber rode with her gals to the Chapel – in a vintage green 1930s car! Luckily, the skies were sunny – a gift in Scotland!
A Ceremony in a Medieval Chapel
Amber walked down the aisle to George Fenton’s Main Title of the Ever After Soundtrack – her favorite childhood movie.
The couple included an ancient Celtic Handfasting tradition as part of their ceremony.
Our favorite moment was at the end of the ceremony, we had a bagpiper and drummer sneak into the back of the church. After we kissed and said “I do!” The bagpiper triumphantly began to play “The Skye Boat Song” and it broke the enchanting spell of the mystical ceremony and caught everyone by surprise! The bagpipes filled the church up and it perfectly sealed the moment while letting guests know it was time to party!
The rural 19th-century castle isn’t haunted, but the couple joked that it could have been the perfect setting for a real-life game of CLUE! Thankfully it did not, but the couple had other ideas in mind to add dramatic flair to the wedding!
“One of our favorite dates in our early days as a couple was NYC’s immersive theatrical production of Sleep No More, a unique take on Shakespeare’s Scottish Macbeth where guests aren’t just spectators but are almost characters in the vintage world and are encouraged to touch the décor and dress fabulously. We thought it would be so much fun to have our friends and family feel transported back into time – with our wedding as the storyline. We wanted the sitting rooms of the castle to feel like the 1920’s and the church and the ballroom to feel like a mystical, ethereal forest. We hid little crystals in the rooms and had some low-key mystery scavenger hunts happening throughout the 3 days. We encouraged guests to dress in Deco-Chic (with a healthy dose of tartan) for the event and our guests went all in!”
After the ceremony, the couple hopped in the car to have a few moments together before the cocktail hour. The perfect reminder to take a few minutes for just the two of you during your wedding day!
How the Two Fell in Love
“I was pursuing my acting and music career by running around to auditions and performing at the local nightclubs in our downtown neighborhood when I noticed my brother, who lived in the downstairs unit of our old tenement building, had a cute new roommate: Ryan. He didn’t seem very practical to pursue when I learned we had very different personalities and Ryan was about to start Medical school out of state.”
But soon the pair began a courtship after constantly bumping into each other in the hallway.
“He would always support me at every one of my performances in the city and always felt like a safe harbor in the midst of the chaos of the city. I never had anything to prove to him – and that is what caught me off guard! I could just be myself with Ryan, no matter what we ended up doing together, he is always just so relaxed which is a good foil to my high energy.”
Ryan turned that cool and collected demeanor into a career as an ER doctor, and after graduating residency, the couple finally was finally able to make a big move across the country together from NYC to Los Angeles in 2019. They had only been there a few months and were so excited to start a new chapter on the West Coast, and then Covid hit.
“Working as an ER physician during a pandemic was not what I had anticipated the first year out of residency. I was really called to task, but I’m glad I could help people during a dark time.”
At the end of 2020, the couple took a road trip to North Carolina where Ryan proposed on a misty fall day on the shores of Lake Fairfield, at Amber’s dear childhood summer camp, Merrie Woode. SO romantic!!
A Gatsby-inspired band was waiting to welcome guests back at the castle, where a downtown abbey cocktail hour was kicked off.
The couple’s young daughter Ainsley accidentally fell fast asleep right before her flower girl moment earlier at the ceremony (aww!) but when she heard the vintage Gatsby band begin, she was ready to get the cocktail hour started!
Amber had tartan wraps for all the guests for their stay at the castle which were a big hit and kept everyone warm in the crisp autumn air.
The Dreamy Newlyweds + Their Reception!
Every great celebration needs the right attire! For the wedding day, Ryan had a gorgeous green Marc Allen tux custom-made, and he later changed into a kilt for the evening festivities.
A song from the Narnia soundtrack welcomed guests into the grand ballroom, which had been transformed into a regal forest, with 10’ trees on all the dinner tables. After dinner, there was a brief “intermission” for guests to change into their evening look (and refill on cocktails) while the couple snuck away for more photos.
Amber couldn’t decide on the headpieces she wanted to wear, so she switched out the crown for an elven-inspired headpiece after dinner.
Soon after changing into their Scottish looks, (Ryan in his kilt and Amber her Tartan overskirt) the Ceilidh began, which is a traditional Scottish group folk dance led by a caller.
After hours of dancing, The rest of the night faded into the wee hours of chatting and laughing by the fireplaces in the drawing rooms.
“I think some guests wandered outside for some 2 am croquet. After all, the entire castle was ours (the staff went home after 10, save for “ol’ Dougal down the road, if we needed him!”
All The Vintage Details
The bride’s love of music informed the spaces in a unique way: She made special playlists for almost every moment of the 3 days that were playing from hidden speakers throughout the venue. A mix of cinematic orchestral scores, mystical Celtic vibes, and late-night Yeah Yeah Yeah’s inspired rock!
“I wanted guests to feel like they were in a movie, so I soundtracked every moment from the moment they checked in at the castle, to breakfast in the dining room, the cocktail hour, and all the way into dinner.”
We love how the guests took the deco flair dress code memo to heart!
Guests were encouraged to touch and interact with the 1920’s themed décor for an immersive experience. You know we love this glove bar!
Ryan has a passion for cocktails and worked with a local company to craft the most incredible deco-inspired botanical cocktail menu with quirky names. The showstopper was the “Isle of Skye” Cocktail, with a misty Heather Tea-infused cloud that landed on top of each glass.
Amber saved one last mystical 1920’s beaded dress for the end of the night. Looks so fun to twirl in after a few cocktails!
Their Mini-moon in the Scottish Highlands
After the wedding, Ryan and Amber had a mini-moon in the Scottish Highlands where they ended their trip up in the rugged hills of Isle of Skye with another photoshoot. We love a post-wedding photoshoot! Such a great opportunity to get a few more magical photos in your wedding attire in a new location.
The bride hiked up the hills in Sylven boots made by founder Casey Dworkin, a friend of the couple.
Amber shared with us that she left her bouquet up there on the Isle of Skye, to honor that she had ventured there 10 years earlier as a brave young woman in search of herself. And now it was so meaningful to come back to her favorite place in the world, with Ryan by her side as a married couple – and to wear her dress for a second time!
“I felt so incredibly lucky in that moment.”
Congratulations to R+A, and best wishes! Hats off to the fabulous team who made their dream wedding possible!
photography: Nigel John // venue name: Drumtochty Castle, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK // event design: Emma Mallen at Duchess Seera // planning: Emma Matthews and Louise Donald at Timeless White Weddings // florals: Kim Dalglish // wedding dress: Berta // wedding dress boutique: Lovella Bridal // hairpiece: Aya Ben Yaacov // bride's shoes: FRYE // bride's ring: Marquis tri stone ring by Cesar Munoz at D&R House of Diamonds // getting ready robes: Vintage // hair stylist: Kimberly Logie // makeup artist: Jacquelyn McPhee // groom attire: Marc Allen // groom's shoes: FRYE // groom's ring: Cesar Munoz at D&R House of Diamonds // videography: Anthony Jolie // calligraphy: Ellis Paige // handmade details: Recycled Sari Bunting by EcoOctopus // catering: Platter and Pop // cake: Steph's Cake Studio // specialty rentals: White House Crockery // music: Killer City Sound // officiant: David Galbraith // cocktails: 10 Dollar Shake // mini honeymoon photography: Andrew Rae // hooded cape and tartan overskirt: Venchy Couture // Gaelic Vocalist from The Medieval Fete: Àdhamh Ó Broin // Guests Tartan Wraps: Something B // Fire pit: Fire Pit Scotland // Piper: Calum Lawrie // Gatsby band: Rhythm Kings
What a fabulous location and the photography is just stunning