When it comes to innovative business ideas it is hard to imagine a company specialising in elopements securing investment in the Dragon’s Den. However, an hour in the company of Lynne Kennedy would quickly change the mind of even the most sceptical investor.
Lynne is 48 and lives with her husband in a beautiful modern home in a tiny village near Plockton where generations of her family on her father’s side were born and lived. After leaving Plockton school, and then years of living in Edinburgh and London working in financial PR, she had a hankering to escape the rat race and return to her roots.
It’s difficult to say how Lynne ended up running a highly successful business organising and photographing elopements. The concept of couples running away to get married in a remote location seems a romantic notion from a bygone era but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Lynne can barely keep up with demand having photographed over 150 couples in the last two years alone.
To discover how she arrived at this serendipitous business venture its worth summarising Lynne’s career path. After completing a secretarial course she moved to Edinburgh aged 20 and found herself with a job in marketing with a financial services company. Four years later she moved to London and found work as an assistant to a top female financial advisor, followed by a move to a PR firm, working for some of the big names in financial services, and eventually to one of the top investment management companies in the City.
Although her career was going well, Lynne felt life in London was becoming a little monotonous and, with some savings in the bank she decided to blow the lot on year long mini world tour taking in places such as Russia, Mongolia, China, Tibet, India, southern part of Africa. Prior to travelling, Lynne had developed a minor interest in photography and during her travels she wrote a blog and took lots of photographs. This would later prove the spark that lit the fire of her unique elopement photography business.
Upon returning to London aged 35 Lynne realised the corporate world wasn’t for her anymore and she returned to the Highlands, not quite knowing where she was going next. The local newspaper, the West Highland Free Press was looking for a reporter and despite having no journalistic experience, Lynne got given the job. During her first year there the editor decided to serialise her travel blog and photographs, which resulted in a local couple asking her to photograph their wedding. However, Lynne was reluctant as she didn’t consider herself a photographer and certainly not experienced enough to photograph such an important occasion.
“The couple were adamant that they wanted me to take the photographs, even though I told them I was not a trained photographer and really not the right person to photograph their special day. However, I’m really glad they persisted because it set in stone a new career path for me and one which I absolutely love,” says Lynne.
As the photography side of her work began to take off Lynne decided to leave the West Highland Free Press and set up a business with the help of a grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Initially, she was doing more traditional wedding photography but in 2009 everything changed with her first official elopement commission.
“It was a couple from Iran who had been childhood sweethearts but had somehow lost touch. Many years later they bumped into each other at a party in Paris and immediately got back together. I just thought this was incredibly romantic. It was just the two of them on their own for their wedding and I just absolutely loved it. So, after that anytime anybody asked me to shoot an elopement I was like…’yes, absolutely.’”
Almost five years ago, Lynne re-branded as an elopement and intimate wedding specialist and the more she published on her website about elopements, the more demand grew and she has never looked back. Most of the time she’s now helping couples organise their whole day, recommending other suppliers and great accommodation options and restaurants for their wedding dinner as well as acting as a tour guide. “It’s nice for the couple not to have to worry about driving on their wedding day – they get to sit back and really take in the beautiful scenery as they are often only here for a few days. Plus, it means they can have a glass or two of champagne and not worry about driving!”
Skye is the big draw for couples seeking to get married in a remote, romantic location and Lynne has a number of secret locations where she takes her couples, away from the hustle and bustle of hotspots like the Old Man of Storr and the Fairy Pools. Although the scenery is always amazing though, the weather is something over which there is no control and it isn’t unusual for the time of the ceremony to be moved a few hours in search of a window of fine weather – something you couldn’t do with a large wedding event.
“I had a couple last year having a small ceremony and their boat couldn’t sail to Loch Coruisk because of the wind. Then we realised the afternoon, when their wedding was planned to go ahead, looked incredibly wet so with a few phone calls we brought the whole thing forward a few hours so that the couple could have their wish and be married outside in the magnificent Skye landscape. They were absolutely delighted and couldn’t believe something like that was possible.”
Lynne Kennedy - Skye’s Elopement specialist!
LYNNE KENNEDY PHOTOGRAPHY
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