A foray on Airbnb led foodies Celeste and Tony to Springkell House, where they hosted a fun-filled wedding wed with 29 of their loved ones

Celeste Jones and Tony Casim

10th July 2023

Venue | Springkell House, Dumfries and Galloway
Photography | Pocket Square Photography

“Tony and I stay in California and after we got engaged on my birthday, we started looking at venues near home in the States. I felt that the costs they were quoting us were just not worth it.

Inspired by a friend who got married in her backyard, I decided to turn to Airbnb. I started to look for a house to rent where we could do something low-key with our closest friends and family. From there, I accidentally strayed onto the platform’s ‘castles’ tab – and ended up looking at venues in Scotland! We’re so happy we did…

Springkell House was within our budget. As we had only 29 guests, everyone would be able to stay on-site with us for three days. We didn’t need to add too much else to the venue, so we didn’t have a ton of other vendors to communicate with – handy when we were planning a wedding from 5,000 miles away!

The venue was grand and spectacular, but we always had in mind that we were essentially planning a big party with a lot of our favourite people. We kept an organised timeline of when we needed to have things booked, decided, and budgeted. James and Fiona at Springkell also supplied a lot of sample itineraries for us to follow which was helpful.

Tony and I had a bit of a learning curve with the terminology and array of celebrant options available in Scotland. We wanted ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’ to reflect our backgrounds and amazing interfaith minister Rev. Hazel Jane helped us do exactly that. She suggested we incorporate a ring warming and drink whisky from the quaich which we loved.

The morning of the wedding, Tony and I had a full Scottish breakfast together in our room. Then Tony chatted with our guests while I got ready with some friends in our room. I felt nervous but excited. The ceremony was unforgettable. We each walked down the aisle as a trio of musicians from Arta String Quartet played – Tony to ‘All of the Lights’ and me to the ‘Best Part’ – but our standout moment has to be our vow exchange.

We are big foodies and love to travel and eat. It was really important for our meal to include traditional Scottish food and locally sourced produce. I think Tony would have had everyone eating only haggis, but we did give people other menu options too!

We made a pre-wedding trip to Scotland three months before the wedding. That meant we were armed with the information that our guests would need to make the most of their trip. We wanted to provide an authentic Scottish experience for our guests who have never been to the UK, so we compiled a list of activities that we did or liked on our own holiday, including sampling Springkell’s scrumptious afternoon tea.

The aim was to keep everything fun for everyone who attended, us included.

I know weddings can be stressful, but we wanted to avoid that as much as possible. In line with that approach, we didn’t have any planned speeches, just a designated time where people could stand up and speak if they wanted to. Because we didn’t have a wedding party, there was no structure to them – just heartfelt words and toasts from our loved ones.

Neil Jarvie at Pocket Square Photography was there to capture it all. We were looking for a personable photographer and as soon as we spoke to him on a video call, we knew he would be a perfect fit for our day.

After our dinner, we had dancing, an evening buffet, cake and more dancing! James from Top Tunes Disco was a brilliant DJ. We gave him a substantial list of songs and he played so many of them, but by 11pm we were all exhausted and called it a night!

We used Polaroid cameras for our guest book. All the guests snapped a selfie and put it in an album alongside a handwritten message. It ended up being more special than I could have planned for – the perfect keepsake from the most wonderful day. Our one wish was that our wedding in Scotland could’ve lasted longer!

Top tip “To other couples planning a wedding overseas, I’d say communication is key and recommend that they keep on top of following up with suppliers and making note of what platforms the exchanges are on,” suggests Celeste.

Venue Springkell House
Photography Pocket Square Photography
Interfaith Minister Rev. Hazel Jane
Bride’s dress Jenny Yoo from BHLDN
Makeup Danielle Dickson Makeup Artist
Hair Pauline Kankolongo, Ntrly U
Groomswear Suit Supply
Groom’s hair Tommy Takali, Tak Glasgow
Rings Midwinter Co.
Cake Cake Fairy Boutique
Flowers Waterbeck Floral Design
Favours The Biscuit Barn
Stationery Designed on Canva
Ceremony and drinks reception music Arta String Quartet
DJ James Cairns, Top Tunes Disco
First dance ‘I Found You’ by Alabama Shakes

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