Aussie-based Scot Caitlin and Essex boy Jono’s high-energy, once-in-a-lifetime celebration included dancing flower men, ceremony shots and a crowd-pleasing sax performance

Caitlin McGurk & Jonathan Olejnik

23rd September 2022

Venue | Macdonald Crutherland House Hotel, East Kilbride
Photography | Gary James Photography

“Our engagement was like something out of a movie. We were on holiday in Italy and Jono rented a private boat on the Amalfi Coast at sunset to propose. It was so beautiful!

I am from Salsburgh in North Lanarkshire and Jono is from Essex, but we have lived in Australia for the past five years. Covid stopped us getting back home to the UK for three years. During that period, we considered getting married Down Under, but I am so glad we held off and got married in Scotland surrounded by our nearest and dearest – especially as Jono loves Scottish parties!

As our families are spread out, we wanted to find a venue where everyone could meet the night before the wedding, catch up and mingle. Macdonald Crutherland House Hotel couldn’t have been better in this regard, as it’s a hotel with a bar and purpose-built wedding and function space. We had 85 guests both day and night.

Laura Lockhart at the hotel is a superstar and I cannot thank her enough. She was like a bridesmaid to me on the day. I am a control freak, and I can imagine I am hard to work with at times, but Laura took it all in her stride and was there whenever I needed anything.

The day’s other right-hand woman was my mum. She loves getting crafty, so did all the aisle decor, candles, lanterns, centrepieces, favours and stationery.

To be honest, we didn’t really set a budget. We had no idea what to expect, as I had only been to one other wedding previously.

George McLean at Fuze Ceremonies is the best. He was so great over Zoom getting to know us before the wedding and helped us put together a ceremony that really reflected our personalities.

Our ‘flower men’ made an entrance at the start of the ceremony throwing confetti and dancing around, which kicked things off in the right upbeat tone. Then for our handfasting gesture, we ‘took a shot before we tied the knot’! (You can read more about the story behind their ceremony here.)

We think our photography and video package with Gary James has to be the best wedding bargain we got. Our photos and highlight video are out of this world. We wanted someone calm and relaxed that wasn’t going to make us pose in an outdated or unnatural way. I had spotted things on Instagram I wanted to try out and Gary and Rachael were so open to my ideas. We adored working with them – they are so great at what they do!

Guest RSVPs proved to be the most stressful part of the wedding. Deep breaths were required, haha! In the end, our perseverance was worth it. We had guests from all over Scotland, Ireland, England and Australia, many of whom had never met before, but everyone just bonded like they had known each other for years. It was such a good atmosphere.

We had to show our non-Scottish guests that we know how to throw a party. I couldn’t resist booking a saxophonist and Matthew Ruddy really kicked things off in style before The Upbeats took over and filled the floor all night long with an up-tempo and eclectic set, closed – of course – with the obligatory Loch Lomond. Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur was our first dance song.”

Top tip: “There are so many different ideas and ways of doing things out there, so it can feel overwhelming at times. Go with what is right for you as a couple. Book the big things that are most important to you first, then everything else should fall into place.”

Venue Macdonald Crutherland House Hotel
Photography and filmmaker Gary James Photography
Celebrant George McLean, Fuze Ceremonies
Bride’s dress Grace Loves Lace
Bridesmaid dresses David’s Bridal
Hair Amo Capelli
Makeup Laura Hart Beauty
Groomswear ASOS
Cake Special Days Cakes
Flowers Mhairi Me Flowers
Chairs and ceremony arch LBS Event Design and Wedding Planner
Photobooth and light-up letters Red Events
Additional venue décor, stationery and favours The bride’s mum
Saxophonist Matthew Ruddy
Reception music The Upbeats Wedding and Events Band

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