Words by Roz Erskine
The tradition of using something old and something new need not apply just to the ceremony. We’ve compiled the best of Scotland’s historic and new/improved venues – now all you need is something blue
One of the highlights of marrying in Scotland is the abundance of beautiful historic venues. From Highland castles to Georgian hotels, these locations can add a touch of magic and provide glorious backdrops for pictures. Read on for some of the best available…
Making your vows in the prestigious and elegant Signet Library in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town is a truly memorable experience. The Georgian architecture and décor provide a beautiful setting for every style of wedding. The Upper Library features the famous Garnkirk Florence Vase, ideal for a dramatic floral centrepiece, while the Lower Library, with its long aisle, is the perfect setting for a wedding ceremony.
0131 225 0651, www.thesignetlibrary.co.uk
The Tudor-style Popinjay Hotel and Spa sits in delightful grounds in Rosebank village on the beautiful banks of the River Clyde. The Popinjay was originally a coaching inn and the 120-year-old main building lends a distinctive vintage atmosphere to the otherwise modern and well-designed interior. The boutique style and beautifully appointed ballroom is a dream location
for a wedding that will ensure an unforgettable day.
01555 860441, www.popinjayhotel.com
Fyvie Castle (pictured above) was built as a fortress in the 13th century. Now, it’s a romantic venue set in beautiful parkland with its own private loch. The magnificent interiors, whether in medieval stone or lavish Edwardian designs, are adorned with a fabulous art collection and provide a fabulous setting for ceremonies and dinners for up to 120 guests. A short stroll leads to the 19th century Racquets Court, a glass-roofed pavilion with a sprung dancefloor – perfect for ceilidhs. For a memorable end to your special day, the Preston Tower apartment in the castle’s east wing offers luxurious accommodation for up to 13 guests, making it the ideal venue in which to celebrate with family and friends.
0844 493 2182, www.nts.org.uk
This grand Georgian house on the outskirts of Montrose was built in the 18th century and sits amid 800 acres of splendid Victorian gardens and woodlands. The house is a wonderfully versatile space, with interconnecting rooms creating a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. The saloon and adjoining dining room are decorated with magnificent plasterwork dating from 1742, all carefully restored to their former glory. These rooms make a stunning backdrop for a wedding drinks reception for 100 or perhaps a wedding breakfast for 50. There is also a magical walled garden here that is ideal for a marquee, making the House of Dun a wonderful choice for a wedding on a grand or more intimate scale.
0844 493 2144, www.nts.org.uk
The 16th-century Brodie Castle is an iconic Scottish tower house that sits in 71 hectares of parkland between Forres and Nairn. Its elegant interiors offer an exclusive setting for intimate weddings. Host your ceremony in the bright and spacious drawing room, before enjoying dinner in the oak-panelled dining room. The converted stable block provides additional space for receptions and dancing for up to 56 guests. For larger weddings, the library can be linked to a marquee in the grounds. End your perfect day in the luxurious Laird’s Wing. Ideal for hosting family members or the wedding party, the seven-bedroom apartment offers spacious self-catering accommodation for up 14 guests within the castle.
0844 493 2156, www.nts.org.uk
Scone Palace occupies a unique position in Scottish history. It’s where the country’s rulers were crowned, including Robert the Bruce in 1306. The palace is regarded as a national treasure and celebrating your wedding day here is guaranteed to make you feel like a king and queen. From your arrival accompanied by a single piper to the romantic wedding breakfast with excellent food and service in the candle-lit Long Gallery, every step will be a memorable one.
01738 552300, www.scone-palace.co.uk
With its commanding position on the Crichton Estate in Dumfries & Galloway, the imposing Easterbrook Hall is a perfect venue for a wedding reception. It offers incredible flexibility, with a choice of rooms to suit your party size. Easterbrook’s elegant Art Deco surroundings and quality catering have made it a popular choice, and its award-winning gardens can be a stunning backdrop for photographs. Couples can exchange their vows in a civil ceremony in the gardens or inside Easterbrook, or in the beautiful Crichton Memorial Church on the estate, which can host traditional church ceremonies of all denominations.
01387 702020, www.easterbrookhall.co.uk
For over 700 years the graceful Lennoxlove House has been part of the East Lothian landscape, and a recent refurbishment has taken it to a new level of luxury, comfort and style. Set in a wooded hollow a mile south of the picturesque village of Haddington, with views over the Lammermuir hills, this is an impressive place to host a wedding. In previous centuries, Lennoxlove has witnessed invading English armies, many infamous deaths and marriages, and has, of course, a connection or two to Mary Queen of Scots herself. These days, Lennoxlove is available for exclusive use. Say ‘I do’ in the 14th century undercroft, the majestic Great Hall or a marquee in the grounds. With the freedom to personalise your wedding right down to the last detail, you can expect undivided attention, award-winning food, log fires, comfortable sofas and an authentic welcoming atmosphere.
01620 828619, www.lennoxlove.com
Thirlestane Castle is a fairytale venue that offers one of the most spectacular locations imaginable for a wedding. The State Drawing Room is licensed for civil ceremonies and can seat 100 people in comfort. Alternatively, you can exchange your vows in the tranquil rose garden. Follow this with a champagne reception in the oak-panelled hall and you’ll be on the way to a day you’ll never forget. The recently completed five-star Lauderdale Suite is included in the rental of the castle on the night of the wedding.
01578 722430, www.thirlestanecastle.co.uk
The beautifully restored 16th century Great Hall at Stirling Castle is considered one of Scotland’s most prestigious banqueting venues and it is a romantic setting for a wedding. Its dramatic raised dais area is perfect for an evening reception of entertainment and dancing. With its minstrels’ gallery and trumpeters’ loft, the Great Hall has all you need for a truly memorable wedding reception. The Renaissance splendour of the palace apartments form a stunning backdrop to the tranquil surroundings of the Queen Anne Garden. And, with magnificent views across Stirling, this is a perfect area for wedding photographs.
0131 668 8600, www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
0131 319 2039, www.dundascastle.co.uk
The romantic 15th century Murthly
Castle sits on the banks of the Tay near Dunkeld in Perthshire. Occupied by the same family since 1615, the castle is a warm and welcoming place that hosts just 12 weddings a year. Murthly’s chapel is decorated with exquisite frescoes and is a special place in which to exchange your vows. The ballroom, the music room or a marquee set up in the walled garden are all options for a splendid reception.
01738 630666, www.murthly-estate.com
From custom-builds to contemporary and state-of-the-art features and sleek fittings, new or refurbished venues have a lot to offer. Many of these have flexible reception options as well as fabulous locations. We’ve picked some of our favourites…
Archerfield has long been an impressive destination for a celebration but now it’s offering even more: the brand new and exclusive wedding suite at the Waterfront, right on the banks of the Firth of Forth, has glorious views of the estuary, to Fife and beyond. The state-of-the-art facility, which can cater for up to 200 guests, sits in 28 acres of landscaped gardens, creating a private haven for your very special day. The suite is effectively a blank canvas that can be decorated in the colour and style of your choosing for your wedding, making it exceptionally personal and offering a fine setting for taking wonderful photographs. Alongside the suite are three unique properties which together provide 24 bedrooms, including the historic 15-bedroom Archerfield House in all its 17th century splendour.
01620 897050, www.archerfieldgolfclub.com/events/weddings
This unique venue, nestled in the Bathgate hills in the heart of Scotland, has a spectacular location on Ballencrieff Reservoir that makes it a very special place for you and up to 140 guests. The wedding venue and restaurant have floor-to-ceiling windows that allow 270-degree views to the west over the calm surface of the reservoir, giving the magical impression that the room is suspended just above the water. Available for a full day’s hire, or just for a reception, the Vu will provide the ideal backdrop for stunning photographs and a truly memorable day.
01506 630808, www.thevu.co.uk
Bookings for wedding receptions at The Quay have rocketed since the venue was nominated
as a finalist for the 2011 VOWS awards. The recipe for this success is simple, according to Sharon McIntyre, the senior wedding
coordinator. “We care, it’s as simple as that,” she says. “The staff here know how important the day is for the bride, the groom and all the family, and they pull out the stops to ensure it is a day they will remember forever.”
The fantastic, purpose-built venue overlooking Musselburgh harbour, just five miles from Edinburgh, offers views out across the Firth of Forth. There is a choice of three great suites, ample free parking and several fantastic packages that will suit most pockets.
0131 665 1066, www.thequaycomplex.com
The Lynnhurst Hotel is a beautiful Victorian building in two acres of landscaped gardens in Johnstone, Renfrewshire. It has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, and now combines traditional grace with modern efficiency, making it a new and inspirational venue. Among the most dramatic improvements is the installation of a custom-designed light-up LED dancefloor that will have your guests dancing all night long to your favourite songs. Lynnhurst also offers more serene settings, such as a pond and bandstand, both gorgeous spots for capturing truly unforgettable wedding photographs. All-inclusive wedding packages are available, starting at just £44pp, which include food, drink and lots of invaluable extras, as well as a complimentary stay in the stunning bridal suite.
01505 324331, www.lynnhurst.co.uk
A tree-lined drive welcomes you to this impressive Victorian mansion tucked into 55 acres of parkland at Ingliston, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Grand features of the house combine beautifully with contemporary furnishings and a brand new refurbishment to create a luxurious retreat. Ceremonies can be held on the rhododendron-fringed lawns, not far from the photogenic patio, or in the glamorous ballroom. Accommodation includes a variety of suites for a touch of classic luxury.
0131 333 1275, www.handpicked.co.uk
This purpose-built conference centre belonging to Heriot Watt University is set in stunning parkland on the edge of Edinburgh. The gardens are an idyllic spot for photos and champagne receptions, while a range of function suites offering views of the woodland campus are available and can accommodate from 33 to 330 people. Guests travelling from afar can usually book en-suite accommodation on campus, and there are a number of packages available to suit most budgets – these include the support of the venue’s wedding coordinator.
0131 451 3115, www.edinburgh-conference.com
The Alona Hotel is set within the grounds of the idyllic Strathclyde Country Park and on the banks of the loch. It’s a four-star venue that specialises in tailor-made weddings, ensuring that you get exactly what you want for your special day. The Glasshouse restaurant and bar has a laidback atmosphere and its unique architecture and a custom-built atrium overlooking the loch make it a beautiful reception area. Smaller parties will enjoy the atrium area, which holds up to 40 people comfortably and also overlooks the loch.
01698 333888, www.alonahotel.com
As Scotland’s top residential meeting venue, the Beardmore combines the quality and standards of a four-star hotel with the service and focus of a conference centre of excellence. Sitting on the banks of the Firth of Clyde, near Glasgow, it’s in a great location for those looking to mix city convenience with idyllic views. The venue’s riverside pergola is in high demand and has made the Beardmore one of the most sought-after places to host an outdoor ceremony in the Glasgow region. The Beardmore also boasts the impressive Waterhouse – a bright, expansive room with doors opening on to a patio and gardens that lead to the River Clyde. This venue lends itself to a traditional reception and meal, followed later by an evening reception and buffet with dancing.
0141 951 6000, www.thebeardmore.com
Orocco Pier is a boutique hotel that can accommodate weddings of all sizes – from as small as four guests and up to 168 day guests (or even 220 for an evening reception with the new marquee facility). Whatever the size, all weddings at the hotel can be tailor-made to suit individual requirements. Fuchsia, the hotel’s own event space, has stunning views of the Forth bridges and can be opened up into an adjoining marquee. Both of these options are self-contained and private, with their own kitchen team and facilities. The chance to have a civil, religious or Humanist ceremony or a civil partnership outside at the water’s edge, either on the beach or the terrace, are just two of the alfresco options available. For more intimate ceremonies, the private decking area or gallery room are perfect.
0870 118 1664, www.oroccopier.co.uk