Cosy autumnal same-sex wedding at Auchen Castle with owl ring-bearer and grooms wearing Marc Darcy tweed suits

Conor Eglington & Harry Nowell

9th November 2021

Venue | Auchen Castle, Dumfries and Galloway
Photography | Willow and Wilde Photography

Two grooms walk outside on a misty day

“Harry and I started dating in 2016. I proposed to him in Phuket, Thailand, in July 2019. It was a really romantic setting at Promthep Cape. We had some cocktails and then I got down on one knee as the sun was setting.

Originally, we planned to elope to Niagara Falls in Canada. However, Covid meant we had to cancel that. We lost a lot of money, but we decided that we still wanted to elope closer to home.

The beautiful natural colours of Scotland in autumn were exactly what we had in mind for our wedding scheme. We visited Auchen Castle in Dumfries and Galloway in May 2021, and as soon as we approached it in our car, we knew it was the place for us. Even better, we could have all our guests stay with us and take over the place exclusively. We wanted to keep it intimate, so had just 24 of our closest friends and family join us.

In terms of budget, we didn’t ever sum up the total costs as we decided that if we were only going to do it once, we were going to do it properly.

Harry was the one with the initial vision about specific details. For example, we built our own ‘memories ladder’, which we decorated with photos of our grandparents who were no longer with us, and added candles, moss and acorns around it to bestow a cosy, autumn feel. We stacked blankets on tables in the hallway for the evening celebrations, and all of these were similarly decorated with moss, petals and acorns.

We designed a bespoke monogram and featured it across the signage that we created ourselves. It helped keep the aesthetic consistent throughout: rustic but sleek.

The ceremony room at Auchen Castle was beautiful. Some gorgeous floral arrangements and candles gave it everything it needed. Holly from florist Sprigs and Berries was awesome at suggesting what types of foliage and flowers would work in terms of colour and seasonality. She made the most impressive feature piece to sit on the fireplace. She broke it down into small arrangements afterwards for our guests to take home with them. So thoughtful.

My personal favourite keepsake from our wedding was a set of cufflinks my mum had made for me. My nan sadly passed away before the wedding, so she had cufflinks made that included her ashes. It meant that I had my nan with me all day.

I also got a painting done of Auchen Castle with the date of our wedding on it as a gift for Harry. It is now on display in our home for everyone to see.

Our mums walked us down the aisle into our civil ceremony. We also had an owl ring bearer. It was not at all necessary, but absolutely one of the best things we decided to have. It was such a beautiful, unforgettable moment as it swept in with the rings.

My dad, Dennis, had to catch the owl and unhook the bag from its leg. He ended up dropping the rings which raised some laughs and broke any tension. All the kids could have photos taken with the owl after the ceremony too, which went down a storm.

Trying to find two groom’s suits that didn’t clash and both matched our colour scheme was a challenge. We changed our minds, and then changed them back again! We finally decided on tweed three-pieces from Marc Darcy.

It was Harry’s idea to have us all seated round one big oval table for dinner. We forgot to seat ourselves on our table plan initially though; there always seemed something not quite right, but it took us a few weeks to realise our mistake.

We also lost a lot of our place cards of the morning of the wedding whilst we were setting up. They had slipped out of the folder, meaning a stressful few minutes running back up to our suite to find them.

We provided our own music for the reception. Harry had spent months making his perfect playlist for the evening. It was such a great night.

At the end of the evening, we supplied blankets and sparklers and all our guests went outside. We huddled together and watched an amazing fireworks display whilst our nieces and nephews played with the sparklers. It rounded off the day perfectly.”

Top tip: “Don’t expect everything to go exactly to plan – it probably won’t! On the day, you will be too busy to even notice. Also make sure your best man or woman is someone you can trust to help make your day run smoothly; we had the best friends around us all day.”

Venue Auchen Castle
Photography Willow and Wilde Photography
Groomswear Marc Darcy
Cake Fat Bottom Girls Cakes
Flowers Sprigs and Berries
Stationery All designed and made by the grooms
Favours Custom jigsaw pieces and candles from Etsy
Reception music DIY playlist

An owl perches on a handlers arma table and chairs set up in front of a fireplace which has been decorated with lots of flowersA piper plays in a moody Scottish castle interiorA groom and his mum walk down the aisleTwo grooms and their mums stand at the top of the aisle, one groom is kissing his mum's cheekA welcome sign asks guests to turn off their phones and camerasa close up of sparklersA sign explains the wedding's photo guest booka close up of two grooms holding handstwo grooms look at each other and hold hands while standing at the top of the aisleAn owl flies towards a man, preparing to land on his armtwo grooms laugh at the top of the aisle; the celebrant watches themTwo grooms kiss at the top of the aisle and a celebrant claps in the backgrounda groom signs the marriage certificatetwo grooms walk back down the aisle after getting marriedtwo grooms pose with glasses of champagne and an owltwo grooms kiss and their guests pose around them and throw confettitwo grooms crouch to speak to a very young girltwo grooms hold champagne glasses and smile at each othera close up of a cake decorated with flowers, foliage and icing dripsa table set for dinner, with a low floral centrepiecethe view of the surrounding countryside from inside the dining roomtwo grooms walk away from the camera in a wooded area

two grooms embrace beside a lochtwo grooms lean in for a kiss beside a lochtwo grooms pose with noses touching, building seen in backgroundtwo grooms walk towards the camera in a wooded area, smilingtwo grooms embrace in an autumnal woodland settingtwo grooms walk through a wooded areatwo grooms and two bridesmaids walk in front of Auchen Castle. One of the grooms in holding an orange flare and one bridesmaid if holding a white flaretwo bridesmaids wave white flares two grooms and two bridesmaids pose in the smoke from white flares in front of Auchen Castletwo grooms pose in front of a fireplacetwo grooms walk up a spiral staircaseTwo grooms pose with a wedding cake, pretending to cut it with a sworda man raises a glass to give a speech