Always fancied the idea of tying the knot in the winter months? Nicole Conner has found ten romantic venues that’ll warm your heart
Back in the 1940s when Dean Martin first crooned ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, the old smoothie was hoping to persuade his beloved to linger a little longer with the promise of a roaring fire, good music and a tipple or two to keep the chill at bay.
Those romantic images are as appealing as ever (if we can just skip over some of the song’s dodgier sentiments…) and you can bring them to life across Scotland, where castles, barns and everything in between offer a cosy escape where you can tie the knot.
Marrying off season has other plus points, such as reduced hire costs and the chance to indulge in rich food and drink. We can’t promise snow, but we can guarantee style and drama at a winter wedding in one of these ten venues.
It’s during the colder months that Aikwood Tower in the Borders really comes into its own: the warm glow from the fireplace, twinkling candlelight and seasonal foliage work together to create an intimate setting.
The specially designed ‘Winter Wedding’ package includes accommodation for the bridal party, flowers, atmospheric lighting, food and drink (your guests can look forward to a glass of hot gin punch on arrival).
The package can be tailored to suit 40, 50 or 60 guests (from £11,500, £13,500 and £15,500 respectively). Additional decor can really top off the cosy atmosphere: how about festoon lights lining the driveway or storm lanterns showing you the way up the aisle?
You could also host a romantic candlelit dinner for your closest family and friends and organise a sparkler guard of honour for those all-important pictures.
The Preston Tower apartment within the castle can sleep up to 16 people, providing great on-site accommodation for the bridal party.
Rich, wood-panelled interiors, antique furniture and a ballroom whose walls are adorned with 2,000 pairs of antlers all make Mar Lodge an ideal setting for festive nuptials. The traditional Highland hunting lodge can be found in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, surrounded by pine forests and rugged glens, and provides an idyllic retreat for 67 guests to spend a weekend of wedding fun.
Up for some winter sports? The Glenshee ski centre is just 30 minutes away – think how nice it would be to retreat to the lodge’s warm, homely interiors after a day of fun on the slopes.
EDEN LEISURE VILLAGE
Picture a Christmas market-style wedding complete with street-food trucks and fire pits… Sounds dreamy, right? You could make it happen at Eden Leisure Village, a rustic venue just outside Glasgow.
It has plenty of spaces to host your big day: the Livery courtyard area is heated, as are the marquee and barn, so there’s no danger of guests feeling the chill. Atmospheric festoon lighting both indoors and outside creates a cosy environment, and you can dance into the wee hours under a canopy of fairylights in the main barn.
There is something about darker evenings and the glow of candlelight that makes winter so enchanting, and no one knows this better than the team behind Riddle’s Court. The A-listed merchant’s house in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town looks fabulous when illuminated by twinkling fairylights, candlesticks and lanterns.
Start early, though: there are panoramic views of Auld Reekie and the Pentland hills from windows which flood the reception rooms with natural light. “Step in from the cold to roaring fireplaces, mulled wine, beautiful chandeliers and hearty, award-winning food, all in breathtaking historic surroundings,” says marketing manager Fiona Sim.
The five-star establishment on the outskirts of Glasgow invites guests to swap the chill of a dreich day for lavishly decorated interiors; there, they can indulge in a feast prepared by Michel Roux-led chefs and dance into the wee hours under glittering chandeliers in the ballroom.
The fir trees that envelop the castle twinkle with the glow of fairylights, and Christmas decorations are up throughout the month of December, adding an extra touch of festive magic to your day.
The grounds and castle exterior are just as enchanting, especially when dusted with snow. The all inclusive Timeless package is specially designed for winter celebrations. Available seven days a week from October to March, it ticks many big items off the list: three-course meal, drinks for toasting, bouquets, evening buffet, cake and DJ are all taken care of. It starts at £4,995 for 50 guests.
In the winter months, Achnagairn Castle in Inverness-shire looks like something out of a fairytale, so if you’re after a romantic setting to tie the knot in, you’ll find it here. The grounds will delight your photographer too, regardless of whether snow has fallen. But the pièce de résistance is the grand vaulted ballroom which has an imposing fireplace at one end and twinkling chandeliers above.
Lean into the wintry vibes and dress up the warm interiors by dotting candles around for your ceremony, then dine and dance under a canopy of twinkling lights. “To decorate, mix whites and greenery for a woodland feel, or embrace the wintry setting by using deep reds to really wow your guests,” suggests the castle’s Tanya Lacey-Solymar.
If you thought barn weddings were only for summer, Bachilton Barn will swiftly change your mind. The Perthshire venue exudes rustic charm thanks to its exposed wooden beams, stone walls and vaulted ceilings, making it the perfect setting to tie the knot in any season.
Fairylights give the barn’s interior a toasty golden glow, and you could easily light lots of candles about the place to create an even more enchanting ambience. There are five cottages at Bachilton which the bridal party can reserve, as well as two yurts for a magical night under the stars – and all have hot tubs to keep the winter chill at bay!
WEDDERBURN CASTLE AND BARNS
You want grandeur? That exactly what you’ll get at Wedderburn Castle, a magnificent mansion in the Scottish Borders.
It has marble fireplaces, lofty ceilings, plush sofas and priceless artworks. The ballroom and dining room are lit by magnificent chandeliers, which can be brightened or dimmed depending on the atmosphere you wish to create.
“We have an enormous Christmas tree in the front hallway over the festive period,” says owner Cat Macdonald-Home. “It looks amazing next to the garland-adorned sweeping double staircase – perfect for brides wanting to make an entrance!”
Wedderburn Barns – a more rustic wedding setting that looks dreamy decked out in fairylights – lies on the castle’s grounds too.