• Intimate & Modern Destination Wedding In A Scottish Castle

    Jen and Jeff travelled all the way from the USA with their closest family in tow for an intimate, Scottish soiree filled to the brim with personal, chic and unique details.

    Their venue was a fairytale castle in the picture perfect surroundings of Duns, Scotland.

    In contrast to the grand, historic nature of the venue, Jen and Jeff chose a modern and quirky colour palette of emerald green and orange accented with grey chevron stripes.

    As a nod to their love of travel, they used postcards for their place settings and seating chart as well as including a whole host of traditional Scottish details from tablet favours to the tartan clad cake and even a Scottish dancing performance!

    Thoughtful details to watch for include: hand made itineraries complete with hankies for ‘happy tears’, ribbon wands for a fun send off, an adorable ‘first look’ blind fold and ribbon wrapped pashmina’s to stave off the brisk, Scottish chill.

    Lisa Dawn Photography captured so many ‘tug at your heart strings’, beautiful moments I had a very tricky time editing this wedding down to the images you see before you!

    The Venue

    We didn’t even see our venue in person until 2 days before the wedding.   We brought over chair covers, sashes, napkins and some DIY items filling an entire suitcase!   We accented our ceremony with pieces we found at Ikea and Sainsbury’s locally.

    First Touch

    We didn’t want to actually see each other before the ceremony but we did a “no peeking” where we were able to be with each other and say a few words while he wore a blindfold right before the ceremony.   This almost didn’t happen because we were running a little behind but thankfully our photographers made it happen and we got to share a few minutes soaking it all in without ruining the tradition of not seeing your bride beforehand.

    The Ceremony

    We aren’t religious so it was important for us to find readings that meant something to us and weren’t generic and overused.  We read LOTS of poems and ideas found on the internet but nothing seemed to fit.  The Bride found this wonderful children’s story along the way called The Lovely, Love Story about two dinosaurs falling in love and it fit us perfectly including the shopping bits.  We even used the book as our guestbook for our family to write a quick note to us on our wedding day.  

    We also wanted to do a reading about what “marriage” meant to us and used Marriage Fulfills the Dreams and Love Two People Share by Glenda Wilm.

    We incorporated a warming of the rings where they were passed around to each of our guest to make their own wish/blessing for us before we gave them to each other.   We included those not with us by acknowledging them in our program and the Bride included her grandparents pictures on her bouquet.

    The Flowers

    Flowers were difficult because we were coming from overseas and wanted to be able to keep the bride’s bouquet after the wedding and getting real flowers back through customs would have been a nightmare so we went the route of fake flowers but we didn’t want them to look too fake!  The bride’s mother made the bouquets using big Dahlia flowers from Pottery Barn with accents of hydrangea’s for the Brides and then just hydrangea’s for the Maid of Honor’s bouquet.

    The groom didn’t want anything too floral for his buttonhole so a simple single fake flower was used with some greenery to keep it simple.  Since we were planning from afar we never were able to meet with a florist face to face so our flowers for our Wedding “Breakfast” (Dinner in the US!) were determined via emails!   We asked for tall statement pieces using simple white floral and to be mindful of budget since we would just have to throw them away the next day.  Our florist did a wonderful job and we absolutely love the look she came up with for our day.

    DIY Projects

    Where do we begin?  We made our programs, menu cards, place cards, welcome notes, itinerary, reserved seating signs, door hangers for everyone to find their room in the castle, and ribbon wands.   We also created a welcome bag for every room that included lots of little DIY touches from us with custom water bottle labels, personalized golf balls, golf tees, umbrella’s with a note about being in the rain with someone you love, Suitcase covers for Altoid Tins, Luggage tags, toiletries and more. With our invitations, we had the guests fill out a Mad Libs-style RSVP card that we made into a frame which displayed everyone’s responses including advice and wishes for the Bride and Groom.


    We wanted something to encompass Scotland so we went with Scottish Tablet from Loch Leven Tablet Company.  Donnie worked with us via email to create the custom box with Thistle, Royal Pride Tartan ribbon and our names with the US date (he did give us grief for this!)

    The Food

    We had canapés but we have no idea what they were because we never had a chance to sample any but we are sure they were delicious and enjoyed by our guests while they watched some Scottish dancers.    Our Wedding Breakfast was not Haggis, only because we have some picky eaters in our family, instead we had Mixed Green Salad, Roast Beef Filet with Dauphinoise Potatoes in the Great Hall.   We completed the night with an amazing Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting from Lick’s Bakery complete with the brides’s grandmothers family tartan.

    The Wedding Music

    Music is something we both love and again an area of our wedding that we wanted to have personal touches.  The bride’s sister walked out to traditional Canon in D by our Harpist but the Bride came out to Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles done instrumentally by our harpist and it filled almost everyone’s eyes with tears.    During the signing of the marriage schedule we used a song, Married Life by Michael Giat Cocchino, from a movie that is loved by us both as one of the best animated love stories ever (Pixar’s UP).  The bride had also given the groom Grape Soda Cuff links earlier that day for his suit that represented the gift the girl gave the boy in the movie.   Our Recessional was the Beatles “All You Need Is Love” as it seemed the only fitting song for us to walk down the aisle together with!

    While we didn’t do a first dance in Scotland, we did do a reception back in the States where our first dance song was Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind”.  The Bride danced with her dad to The Rolling Stone’s “My Girl” and the Groom danced with his mom to The Beatle’s “In My Life”.

    Sigh. What little girl hasn’t dreamt of marrying their prince in a castle?!


    We loved how Lisa Dawn Photography captured the essence of the day and not just portraits and their work was just breathtaking.  We communicated via email and the husband and wife duo were wonderful so we immediately booked them and stopped our search.  We couldn’t be happier with our decision.  Lisa and Scott felt more like family spending the day with us on our wedding day and we almost never noticed the cameras until we got the pictures back to prove they actually were there documenting the day.

    Favourite Moment

    This is a really hard one for us to answer, but we have had fun discussing what we both loved about the day and its so hard to pick a favorite because we have so many good memories from the few moments we got to exchange words before the ceremony to the few minutes we had alone watching our families enjoy the dancers before dinner to lighting off Chinese lanterns with our families into the Scottish night.  We couldn’t have asked for a better and more memorable day and we loved every minute of it even though it seemed to fly by.

    Advice for other couples planning their weddings:

    Remember to make it about you.  We spent a lot of our time focusing on things we wanted to incorporate because they meant something to us and we didn’t make the day about what we thought people expected and because we did that, we had a unique and memorable day that our families enjoyed just as much as if it had been traditional.

    Many thanks to Lisa Dawn Photography for sharing these beautiful photos with us today and to Jen and Jeff for sharing your wedding and advice with us!

    Photographer: Lisa Dawn Photography / Bride’s Dress: Allure Bridal Style 8850 in Ivory/Light Gold / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bride’s Necklace and Bracelet: Cezanne / Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff Style 188 / Groom and Groomsmen’s Suits: Suit by Alfani RED / Groom and Groomsmen’s Ties: Tommy Hilfiger / Groom’s Socks : Express Men / Venue and Catering: Duns Castle, Duns Scotland / Scottish Dancers: Provided by Duns Castle, Duns Scotland / Hairpist: Julia Somerville / Flowers: Fiona Gourlay, Duns Scotland / Cake Baker: Lick’s Bakery, Edinburgh Scotland / Invitations: Plume Creations / Rest of the Paper Goods: DIY by Bride and Groom
  • Eloise

    Such a beautiful wedding, there are so many sweet details! Love the ‘no peeking’ blindfold idea! Congratulations to Jen and Jeff xoxo 

  • Such a pretty wedding. Love the orange and green…and all the pretty details!

  • This is AMAZING! A Scottish castle? Such a fairytale wedding!!! LOVES!

  • Love the tartan! I recently found out that my family has a tartan too – so random ;-) 

  • where did you get the adorable sporran card holders?

    • Lisa Dawn

      Hi Michael, the sporran card holders were key rings, so double up as favours! Such a good idea, I think you can find companies online. I was lucky enough to sit with everyone and take one home! Lisa (photographer)

    • Jennifer Berkel

      They are keyrings!  We worked with Niall MacGregor at http://www.sporrankeyrings.co.uk/ and he shipped them to us in the states very quickly.  Highly recommend!

  • Wow, this is incredible!!

  • So Hollywood travelling all that distance to be married in a Scottish castle – great they got the weather for so many beautiful photos too!

  • Amanda

    What a beautiful wedding! I found this page while looking for pictures of Allure 8850. I ordered the ivory/light gold without seeing it in person, and I’m panicking worrying if it’s going to be too dark. Is your dress light gold too? It looks stunning on you!

    • Jennifer Berkel

      Yes I bought the Ivory/Light Gold. Its a beautiful champagne color. I hope you love yours as much as I loved mine. I got alot of compliments on it at our reception back in the states. The hardest part was finding jewelry to go with it, because the embellishments were silver and sparkly and then you had the sash that was the champagne/light gold color. Enjoy your day!!

  • Pingback: DIY Larmer Tree Gardens Wedding()

  • Jan

    Hello I absolutely love your wedding. Would you mind sharing with me the size of the wedding ie number of guests and cost of such a wedding. I’ve always wanted to get married in a Scottish castle but we will be on a small budget. My email is sweettangytangerine@gmail.com.

    Thank you

    • Aaron

      Similar to Jan we are looking to get married in a Scottish castle but are on a small budget as well. We are working with a few castles to get an idea of a price but love everything you posted about your wedding. Would love to be able to ask you a few questions if you are available.

      • Jennifer

        Duns Castle has an online website and their contact Heather can help with what their current pricing is. I’d be happy to share any of the vendors we used as well, all will be able to quote you based on your specific needs. We used Dun’s Castle own Florist- Fiona Gourlay and she did an amazing job. For Cake we used Lick’s Bakery in Edinburgh and he brought it out to the castle and it was BY FAR one of the best cakes we have ever had, we wish we would have gotten a bigger one so we could have had some left over! Photographer was Lisa Dawn Photography and they traveled to Scotland for our wedding, they were fantastic, we loved the photos and the price was much more reasonable (even with travel) than the local photographers around Duns. We used Julia Somerville as the Harpest booked through Wedding Music Scotland. I wouldn’t recommend this as she was very unprofessional and caused a lot of headaches the day of the wedding telling us she didn’t have transportation (luckily the castle owner (super nice guy) picked her up from the train station. And lastly, the Favours were by Highland Favours. Donnie is the Contact there, he was amazing and the favors were loved by everyone! Everything else we pretty much did on our own, we either made it and brought it over with us or we used pieces we found at Ikea and a local grocery store to supplement with. If you have more questions let me know jenniferberkel@gmail.com

    • Jennifer

      See my response below. We had 17 people staying at the castle (+2 for dinner)


There is always plenty more to come - subscribe now and never miss a thing!

Enter your email here: