This couple put their own twists on a traditional castle wedding at Dundas Castle

Emma Thorley & Jonathan Gillon

28th May 2022

Venue | Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church and Dundas Castle, Edinburgh
Photographer | Ryan White Photography

a bride and groom laugh in the grounds of their wedding venue

“Jonathan and I had been together two years when he proposed at sunset in Megève in the French Alps, the day after Valentine’s Day in 2020. We weren’t in a hurry to get married, so thankfully avoided the Covid wedding chaos.

I’m a doctor, so we selected a date based on my shift rotations and off we went to look at venues. My family church is Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, so that was always going to be where we had the ceremony, but I fell in love with the idea of a castle wedding that reflected our heritages (mine Scottish; Jonathan’s English). When we visited Dundas Castle, we were blown away by the setting and its brilliant staff.

I have always been obsessed with Suzanne Neville’s dresses, so it was my dream to have a wedding gown from her label. I adored the full experience: the first sip of champagne at the store with my mum and sister; trying on many dresses; all the many fittings and finally collecting the dress. I even got to meet Suzanne herself at my toile fitting which was wonderful.

I’ve loved the colour Cambridge Blue since my university days, so searched for bridesmaid and flower girl dresses in this tone. Jonathan wore tartan trousers in his family’s MacLean tartan and the ushers in matching ties.

We had lots of other details that made our day us. Mairi MacSween Designs made us gorgeous wedding stationery featuring illustrations of our venues; we had personalised Tobermory wedding favours with tartan bows (Mull is where the MacLean clan are originally from); we had personalised straws and prosecco for the vintage red Routemaster buses between venues and, lastly, served our favourite champagne, Veuve Clicquot, for the drinks reception.

We stuck with some wedding traditions, others we broke. Stick: we had a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, then Jonathan and I separated off to opposite wings of the castle, so as to avoid seeing each other.

Twist: I was keen to do a speech alongside the groom, best men and father of the bride. We thought it worked really well and helped to balance out the speeches.

Getting ready in the morning with my mum and bridesmaids was magical. I’ll never forget walking down the aisle on the arm of my dad to see Jonathan patiently waiting at the altar. I’d arrived late after getting makeup on my dress!

We hired Jonathan’s favourite car, a 1969 British racing green Jaguar E Type, for the drive to Dundas Castle. My dress needed to be re-steamed after squishing into it for the journey from the church.

Our aim was to book a photographer who’d focus on taking natural photos of the day and the 147 guests. We didn’t want too many posed photos. Ryan and Lina were fabulous and just so lovely to have around – they felt more like friends than wedding photographers.

Hats off to our videographer Craig Heaslip too. He was so much fun to work with, and we absolutely love the film – especially all the wonderful drone footage.

Our band Whisky Kiss offered us a discount for playing at Dundas as it’s their favourite venue. They were incredible all night. We got thrown into the air on everyone’s shoulders following the first dance – and then spent most of the next two hours without our feet on the floor!

Our first dance was to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. It was the song playing when Jonathan proposed, but we swiftly followed it with Belter by Gerry Cinnamon to get everyone onto the dancefloor.

Instead of a gift list, we asked guests to bring a bottle that was special to us or them. Some of my parents’ friends got us a bottle of whisky from the distillery where they were when my parents announced they were pregnant with me, and friends from university brought our old favourite drinks. Our house is definitely now well stocked…”

Top tip: “Make sure to plan well in advance as many suppliers get booked up very early. We split the planning mainly between our interests. I had a focus on flowers, dress, cake etc, while Jonathan took care of the food, alcohol and music.”

Ceremony venue Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church
Reception venue Dundas Castle
Photography Ryan White Photography
Minister Rev. Sandy Forsyth
Bride’s dress Suzanne Neville
Bridesmaid dresses Ghost London
Hair and makeup Laura Gray Hair and Makeup
Flower-girl dresses Monsoon, finished with a hand-sewn sash made by the mother of the groom
Groomswear Kinloch Anderson trews;
SirPlus waistcoats;
Ede & Ravenscroft tails
Cake Liggy’s Cake Co.
Catering Heritage Portfolio
Church flowers Sarah Menzies Flowers, the bride’s aunt
Reception flowers The Stockbridge Flower Company
Stationery Mairi MacSween Designs
Favours Tobermory miniatures
Drinks reception music Roddy the Piper
Reception band Whisky Kiss
Evening catering Wood Oven Wonders Pizza Van
Filmmaker Craig Heaslip
Transport The Red Bus

wedding stationery with an illustration of Dundas Castlethe groom getting readythe bride having her makeup donea bridesmaid pours the bride a glass of champagne while they get readythe bride being helped into her dress; the bride holding her bouquetthe bride in a white carflower girlsbridesmaids in pale blue dresses waiting outside the venuethe bride making her way into the venuethe bride and her dad walking down the aislethe bride and groom and their groomsmenthe bride and groom hold hands at the top of the aisle. Bridesmaids stand in the backgroundan aerial view of the guests in the church; an aerial view of the bride and groom walking back down the aislethe bride and groom walking back down the aislethe bride and groom and their guests outside the churchthe bride and groom kissing, standing with their guests outside the churchthe bride in the white wedding car; the groom smiles at the camera wearing sunglassesthe bridesmaids carry the bride's train while they walk past a vintage bus a 1969 British racing green Jaguar E Tyoe and a vintage routemaster red busthe bride and groom in the Jaguarthe bride and groom kissing in the Jaguarthe bride and groom pose next to the Jaguartwo vintage red Routemaster buses outside Dundas Castlethe groomsmen and groom pose in the castle groundsthe bride and groom pose with some guests in the castle groundsthe bride poses with her bridesmaidsthe bride and groom smile at each other in the castle groundsthe bride poses alone; the bride and groom pose framed by an archwaythe bride and groom walk on the castle's roofthe bride smiles at the camera while embracing the groomthe bride and groom share a laughthe bride and groom are piped into the receptionthe reception space set up for dinnera four-tiered wedding cake; a close up of the table decorationsTobermory miniature whisky favoursthe bride giving a speech; the groom giving a speechguests laughing at a speech; one of the best men delivering a speecha toastguests laughingthe bride wipes away a tear during the speechesteh bride getting ready to toss the bouquetthe bride and groom with their gueststhe bouquet tossa guest catches the bouquetthe bride and groom kiss on the dancefloorthe bride is carried by guests on the dancefloorthe groom is carried by guests on the dancefloorthe bride and groom during a ceilidh dancethe bride and groom during the cake cutting