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!