It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so grab your hat and scarf and let’s take a tour of cosy Scottish winter wedding venues
If you’re hankering after a white Christmas, your best chance of finding it is likely to be up north, and we’ve decided where we’d like to camp out and wait for Santa. Achnagairn Castle, a stone’s throw from Inverness, looks utterly splendid with a dusting of freshly fallen snow: we’re already picturing ourselves being photographed as we traverse the grounds in our gown and furry cape.
And that’s before we even get onto the castle’s hygge-style interiors. “Rather than a glass of fizz, you could welcome your guests with a warming spiced mulled wine to sip with tasty and traditional haggis bonbons,” suggests owner Gillian Lacey-Solymar.
“We have a stunning fireplace that makes an ideal backdrop for pictures as well as a lovely setting in which to tie the knot.” If you need to heat up after braving the cold – after a fireworks display in the grounds, perhaps – take a romantic dip with your new spouse in the whirlpool bath in Achnagairn’s deluxe castle suite. Ahhh.
When budgeting for your wedding, it can seem inevitable that your dream day will remain just out of financial reach – that’s why special deals like Midlothian’s Dalhousie Castle’s winter offer, starting at £3,500 for 30 day guests, are so appealing.
“What could be more romantic than a castle wedding, particularly during the magical season of winter?” asks Kym Mundy, wedding and events manager. “Dalhousie will envelop you in its majesty, cocooning you in its historic fortitude, accompanied by a backdrop of flickering candles, sumptuous sofas and rich tapestries.”
We’re crushing hard on the extravagant festive decor, as shown above: now all we need is a sledge, some reindeer and a chubby, white-bearded husband. Ho, ho, ho.
Atholl Palace Hotel
Atholl Palace was originally established as a Victorian health spa, and if the long, dark nights have got you in need of some pre-wedding TLC, you could definitely do a lot worse than head to Perthshire. Indulge in a hydrating treatment to banish dry, cracked skin, then float down the aisle feeling like a new woman.
The hotel’s impressive façade will make a worthy backdrop for your fresh look, and you’ll be entitled to a discounted rate for ceremony room hire between the months of October and April. Two birds, one stone springs to mind.
If you’re entering the 2020s still fantasising about the 1920s, make tracks to Bearsden’s Boclair House, an Art Deco dream that would impress Gatsby himself. You’d fit right in wrapped in a faux-fur stole, but you might be surprised by how affordable this vision of sophistication can be, thanks to the Manorview Group’s Timeless package.
Available across the group’s portfolio of venues, the all-inclusive offer is valid from October until March, and covers 50 guests for a three-course dinner, plus extras like a wedding cake and flowers, all for as little as £3,950.
“Winter weddings are that little bit different, and when Boclair is surrounded by frost and snow, it takes your breath away and makes the day truly magical,” promises wedding and events co-ordinator Jennifer Diamond. Be there in a jiffy, old sport.
Wedderburn Castle and Barns
Has the central heating war between you and your other half got you concerned about your carbon footprint? You won’t have to fret about it here in Berwickshire – Wedderburn recently installed a ground-source, eco-friendly heating system, so the castle is toasty all year round without having to burn fossil fuels.
And that’s not all it has to recommend it. “Wedderburn is a really special place to host a winter wedding – each of the reception rooms has a superb fireplace that helps to give an event a real wow factor,” says director Cat Macdonald-Home.
“From the start of December we also have a massive Christmas tree in the magnificent entrance hall, and the striking double-staircase can be garlanded with traditional red and gold decorations, or with whites, silvers and greens for a more contemporary feel.”
There’s a lot to be said for winter in the city: what’s more enjoyable than stealing away from the cold for a warming glass of red in a steamy pub, surrounded by patrons filled with the goodwill of the season.
If you’re similarly inclined, you’ll likely have frequented one of Glasgow’s top watering holes, Òran Mór, which doubles as a stellar wedding venue.
Sitting at the top of Byres Road in the west end, this former church hosts scores of weddings each year, but it really comes alive in the chillier months, when the interior gets a fantastically festive makeover.
“Our couples are welcome to use our candelabras, which create the perfect cosy and Christmassy vibe, as well as our in-house coloured up-lighting, which can be personalised to meet your colour scheme,” explains the venue’s Pauline Muir.
Plus, with a 15% discount on weddings between December and March, you’ll have more dolla to splash on celebratory Bucks Fizz, wethinks.
Aikwood Tower might have been a fixture of the Borders for the best part of five centuries, but, if its new winter package is anything to go by, now is the time to get acquainted.
There are a number of all-inclusive packages available between November 2020 and March 2021 to tempt couples. For example, you’d be looking at £8,000 for 40 of your nearest and dearest, including exclusive use of the venue, two nights’ accommodation for ten people, wedding planning service, a seasonal wedding breakfast with prosecco for toasts and wine for dinner, alongside a generous floral offering.
Plus there’s also the option to upgrade where you please – perhaps you’d fancy a cocktail for your loved ones, or extra styling props? You’ve got it. Looks like Christmas has come early to Selkirk.
Rosslea Hall Hotel
It’s hardly a secret that the best part of Christmas is the food (the gravy! The stuffing! The pigs in blankets!), and that’s why we’re confident that Rosslea’s festive wedding menu, available throughout December, will be right up your street.
Treat your guests to a roast (beef, turkey or gammon), plus a trio of puddings (Christmas, bread-and-butter and sticky toffee). Wash it all down with Baileys hot chocolate and you’ve got the recipe for a crowd-pleasing, heart-warming affair. With all that good stuff, use of the snow machine is the angel on top of the tree. Happy hols!
You can’t deny that winter in Scotland is a beautiful thing. “When you look out over the Tweed Valley to the white-capped hills, it’s enough to make anyone fall in love,” muses Peebles Hydro’s wedding co-ordinator Vikki Gordon.
“We have a stunning balcony that offers views over the countryside, and when the snow falls it makes it extra-special – it’s everyone’s go-to spot with their photographer.” The spa venue is also currently offering a stellar winter package priced at £3,800 for 2019–20 and £3,900 for 2020–21, covering 50 day and 30 evening guests, as well as a £500 bar tab.
While you’re there, check out the hotel’s newly launched gin distillery and school, where you can learn more about the production process and sample the results. They do say alcohol warms you up…
Have you got 2020 vision? Dundas Castle certainly has. To commemorate this extra-special new year, the five-star venue on the edge of Edinburgh is offering couples a whopping 20% off the facility fee for the first three months of the ’20s.
“There is nothing we like more than welcoming couples to our home to celebrate their big day,” enthuses owner Sir Jack Stewart-Clark. “The castle is particularly atmospheric in winter, providing the most romantic setting for a wedding.
We’re so pleased to be able to offer this exclusive deal to celebrate the hope and optimism that comes with the dawn of a new decade.” Add log fires and a spectacular fireworks display to the equation and you’ve got a day that will delight your family and friends as well as your bank account.
This majestic venue is a Perthshire landmark, and it only gets more gorgeous in the last quarter of the year. “Scone Palace is a truly resplendent setting for a winter wedding,” agrees Heather McArthur, sales and events manager.
“The grand State Rooms with their cosy fires and flickering candlelight create a wonderfully romantic backdrop for your special day.
If you happen to get married in December, you’ll enjoy the Palace when it is spectacularly decorated both inside and out with twinkling lights and festive decorations.” Anyone for some carol singing?
It isn’t just what’s on the inside that counts: you’ll also want to find somewhere with a landscape that will be breathtakingly transformed with the arrival of Jack Frost. “The 550 acres of Archerfield Estate look idyllic on a clear winter’s day, and make a truly magical backdrop for your wedding photos,” says Kirsty Brown, events manager at the East Lothian venue.
“Our dining room reaches new heights in the winter with warm burgundy walls and views out over the crisp lawn, while the Mansion House is a welcoming spot for a drinks reception, with its winding stone staircase and beautiful chandeliers.”
For larger celebrations, the purpose-built Waterfront can fit up to 200, and even has patio heaters installed so you can take a breather between dances without getting chilly. Plus, couples who want to hold their wedding between November and March can book the Waterfront for a reduced price. Hear, hear.