You might want to take a look at how we bootstrap Spring in a standalone environment for a Swing-based rich client application, illustrated by the Spring Rich Client Project Petclinic Sample Application.
Basically, we have a framework class -- org.springframework.richclient.application.Applica tionLauncher -- responsible for loading the main context for the application; invokable via a simple bootstrap class with a main method. For convenience, we have a "ApplicationServices" service locator object with a static accesor for locating common singleton application services (like those for icon and image loading), typically looking up using the Spring application context (but we obviously favor dependency injection/wiring for most things, as you mentioned.)
Just curious: when you say standalone - what does the app's interface? command line driven? Swing app? other?
Core Spring Development Team