Looking for somewhere unusual to get married? We’ve found Scottish museums, theatres, historical buildings and even a zoo…
1.. Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
This contemporary theatre on Greenock’s waterfront will appeal to creatives, arts lovers and anyone seeking a scenic spot for their big day. “We offer a unique option: couples can get married on stage, like they’re putting on their own show with their guests seated as the audience!” says marketing manager Eilidh Traquair-Young.
Don’t worry if you’re spotlight-shy; weddings here are flexible, so you could opt instead to say ‘I do’ off-stage in the Gallery Suite against a backdrop of sweeping views across the Clyde estuary. This is where you’ll have your meal and reception too (capacity 150 for the meal; 180 for the reception). Between times, there’s the Beacon Bar, an elegant drinks reception space with floor-to-ceiling windows.
2. The Engine Works, Glasgow
Cool, blank canvas, industrial: if these are your Pinterest search words, this versatile Glasgow venue is the one for you. “A recent couple had a intimate twilight ceremony which flowed seamlessly into a wonderful celebratory party with food trucks; another filled the room with grazing tables; one couple even had a Halloween theme, the options are endless…” says wedding and events manager Isla Wood. “I’ve always believed that buildings with a history and presence are the ones that can tell a story, and at The Engine Works you can have a truly customisable wedding that is unique to you.”
Exchange vows in the Outhouse (capacity 160), which is nestled in the private garden, then head to the industrially chic Engine Room (capacity 250) for your reception. You could dress the venue extravagantly, but low-key works too. “One of our most beautiful weddings was stripped-back, with uplighters surrounding banana leaves in tall glass vases,” says Isla. “It really works with that less-is-more approach.”
3. National Piping Centre, Glasgow
Sights set on a trad shindig with flashes of tartan and bagpipes aplenty? This venue, part of the national and international centre for excellence in bagpiping, brings Highland charm and musical heritage to the heart of Glasgow. Typically, the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception are held in the main auditorium (capacity 120), which has a dancefloor made for rip-roaring ceilidhs (an extra 30 guests can come along for a boogie in the evening).
Entertainment-wise, you’ll receive a complimentary piper as part of your package, and the musical fun doesn’t end there. “Your guests can sip drinks in our Museum of Piping, which showcases 300 years of bagpiping history, while learning about the bagpipes – they can even try out the practice chanter and pipes for themselves,” says Natalie Davidson, venue manager. How cool is that?
4. Riddle’s Court, Edinburgh
“Riddle’s Court is a wee hidden gem, tucked away just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile,” says Fiona Sim, marketing manager at the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT), which manages the venue. “It’s a building as beautiful as it is intriguing, and one whose story is intimately connected with that of the Old Town.” Most couples marry in the Geddes Room (capacity 60 guests), which has views out to the Pentland hills, before heading to the bright and airy Library Room (capacity 60 for a meal, but extra guests can come later on). Bed down in the King’s Chamber beneath 16th-century ceiling beams; you’ll sleep well knowing that SHBT is a non-profit, meaning your venue hire fee is invested back into important buildings and restoration projects throughout Scotland.
5. New Lanark, Lanarkshire
How about getting married at a UNESCO World Heritage Site? New Lanark is one of just six in Scotland, combining rich history (it was built as a cotton mill village in the 18th century) with abundant nature on the doorstep of the Falls of Clyde. Tie the knot alfresco on the Roof Garden overlooking the waterfalls, or inside the Musician’s Room, a characterful space with period features and a viewing balcony. Post-ceremony, gather in the hotel lounge for a tipple at the brand new cocktail bar or take a wander in the gardens. Once evening comes, it’s time for a knees-up in the Robert Owen Suite. “This dual-aspect room is a fully considered function space,” says general manager Cristian Baschir. “It has a dancefloor, a sparkle curtain backdrop and a full bar so all your guests can stay together in one place.”
6. Edinburgh Zoo Mansion House, Edinburgh
You won’t have to try very hard to entertain your guests if you get married at this Edinburgh venue – its menagerie of animals will see to that! All of the day guests at your wedding will be granted entry to Edinburgh Zoo, meaning that during lull periods they can take a stroll among the lions, giraffes and penguins. But this venue isn’t just for animal-lovers. The 200-year-old Mansion House (capacity 100 during the day; 140 at night) is a seriously elegant wedding setting in its own right, with a turret, stained glass window and abundant period features (intricate plasterwork, antique fireplaces, oak panelling – it’s a real beauty).
7. Belladrum Temple, Beauly, Inverness (below left)
Capture the festival wedding vibe in an authentic way by getting hitched at Belladrum. Every year thousands of music lovers flock to this family-run estate near Beauly, Inverness, for the annual Tartan Heart Festival, but few realise it can also be hired year-round for weddings.
“At present, our main venue for ceremonies is the beautiful candlelit family temple (capacity 30 seated guests, with room for an additional 40 to stand) which sits on a wooded knoll at the centre of the estate,” says owner Joe Gibbs. The nearby walled garden has plenty of space to pitch a marquee or tipi if you have a larger evening guestlist, and there are also plans underway to convert the estate’s distinctive clock tower and steading into a stylish reception venue for up to 150 guests. Watch this space.
8. The Dougarie Boathouse, Isle of Arran (above right)
“When couples come to view the Boathouse, they fall in love with the beautiful location and stunning views over the sea,” says Malin Stewart, event coordinator at this charming venue on Arran’s west coast. It’s little wonder. The interior is as special as the setting, combining rustic furnishings with luxe touches and ceiling trestles wrapped in fairylights.
Marry outdoors for a beachy vibe or inside the Boathouse by its vast windows. There’s room for 80 to attend a ceremony and meal, with the option to hire a marquee for the lawn if needed. This number extends to 130 for drinks and evening guests, but small weddings are welcome here too – the Boathouse feels cosy and inviting whatever the size of your celebration.
9. Mackintosh at the Willow, Glasgow
If everyone says you’re an iconic couple, you’ll need a suitably iconic venue to match. Mackintosh at the Willow on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street could be the answer: the last surviving tearooms designed by the legendary Charles Rennie Mackintosh, this Art Nouveau masterpiece has been impeccably restored to how it looked when it first opened in 1903 (but with modern amenities). Leaded-glass doors, colourful chandeliers, ladder-back chairs and geometric motifs are among the distinctive design details you’ll see throughout the venue’s five unique spaces.
Although technically there’s room for 120 people, it’s best for wee weddings with up to 40 guests. “That way, you could have your ceremony in our Billiard Room – a dark, moody and masculine space – and then go downstairs into our Salon de Luxe, which is more glittery and opulent,” says Isabella Scott, marketing and events manager.
10. The Harbour Chapel, Dunbar
When it comes to atmosphere, it’s hard to top the grandeur of a church – and this converted chapel has it in spades. Harbour Chapel, next to a working harbour in Dunbar, combines the majesty of an 18th-century church with the flexibility of a contemporary venue. “Couples love the notion that they’re partying in a church, and that they can give speeches from the pulpit,” says owner Fiona Veitch. “They also like that we don’t insist on packages.”
The venue is typically set up as a chapel for the ceremony (there’s room for 80 guests) and then turned around for the evening celebrations (when an additional 50 people can come), with plenty of time to wander down to the harbour for photos. You’re free to organise your own suppliers, but the venue has a fantastic curated list; everyone raves about the preferred caterer’s food!
11. Restoration Yard, near Edinburgh
Heart set on an outdoor wedding? Do it in style at this super-romantic venue in the grounds of Dalkeith Country Park, just outside Edinburgh. You’ll say ‘I do’ in a breathtaking 18th-century orangerie as your guests watch from the lawn. Weddings here are bespoke, so get creative. “We’ve had ice-cream trucks, cocktail huts and a garden-party-themed wedding where we did scones with clotted cream and Pimm’s,” says the venue’s Asha Banerjee. “Whatever you want, we make it happen!”
The light-filled Kitchen restaurant is the setting for your meal and party (capacity 80 for the former; 100 for the latter), and you’ll have it, as well as the lawn, for your exclusive use. “Restoration Yard is unique – you have so much space and it really has the wow factor,” adds Asha. “I think that’s what our couples really love about it.”
12. Corsewall Lighthouse, Stranraer
Wedding planning can often make you feel lost at sea, so why not hold your special day at Corsewall Lighthouse and keep the rough waves at bay? This incredible building dates from 1815 and looks out to the Mull of Kintyre and even (on a clear day) to the Irish coast.
It specialises in small weddings, and boasts an award-winning restaurant that serves up the best of local fare so you and your nearest and dearest can tuck into five courses of high-quality cuisine. But our favourite thing about Corsewall has to be how fab it looks in photos, day or night. Shine on!
13. Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh
With all the hours of planning you put into your wedding, the day could well end up being a masterpiece. Do it justice and host your wedding at Jupiter Artland, an expansive outdoor space between Edinburgh and Livingston populated by pieces of thought-provoking modern artwork.
“Jupiter and its 100 acres of woodland, meadows and sculptures by world-class international artists can be fully enjoyed,” promises events manager Catriona Blair. “Our weddings always include use of the Artland and the sculptures for out-of-this-world photographs, and your guests can explore for themselves with a drink in hand.”
We’re obsessed with the swirling ponds and geometric hills, though we’re not sure how wise it would be to attempt to traverse them after a few glasses of fizz…
14. National Mining Museum Scotland, Edinburgh
Bit of a history buff? Why not make your own kind of history by marrying in a genuine museum. Once a working colliery, the National Mining Museum Scotland in Newtongrange is a fine choice, and will give your guests plenty to talk about, as manager Quonya Huff explains: “This authentic venue is a mix of Victorian architecture and industrial style. The brickwork, vast arched windows and unique features all contribute to its charm.”
15. Roulotte Retreat, the Borders (below left)
Travel deep into the heart of the Borders countryside and you’ll find yourself face to face with seven colourful French roulottes – hand-crafted Romany-style wooden caravans. Roulotte Retreat (left) co-owner Avril Berry knows her venue, near Melrose, is ideal for weddings: “Ceremonies can include ancient traditions, like jumping the broom or handfasting. We also host twilight ceremonies, with the couple surrounded by lanterns and candlelight.”
If you choose to host a reception there too, switch to the Studio, an eclectic 1950s timber building with a wood-burning stove. Guests who nab one of the roulottes and stay over will be enchanted by the eco hot tubs and the fire pit. Bliss.
16. The Secret Herb Garden, Edinburgh (above right)
If you’re a boho bride craving a venue with bona fide eco-credentials, allow us to point you in the direction of the Secret Herb Garden (right), just outside Edinburgh. It has a relaxed, organic vibe, with a fabulous natural look thanks to its lush, overgrown greenery.
The owners are committed to making every wedding unique, and can help you with flowers, favours and even your cake. On top of all of this, they can even distil a special gin as a lovely memento (if you can stop yourself drinking it all on the day, of course).
17. Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
Take a walk on the wild side at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth: your guests can marvel at a real iceberg, stroll through a yellow submarine or even enjoy drinks in a tropical rainforest – what better way to prepare yourself for a destination honeymoon. Just be sure to humidity-proof your hair before the rainy season!
18. Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy
Think you’ll need space to breathe on your wedding day? Highland Safaris can help. Its venues are surrounded by a colossal 250,000 acres of Highland Perthshire and can only be accessed by Land Rover. We adore the look of the Hilltop Marquee, which can accommodate up to 60 guests. Come sunset, you’ll get stunning shots with the dramatic Schiehallion as the backdrop.
19. Fingal, Edinburgh
This unique exclusive-use venue has been permanently berthed in the Port of Leith since 2019. It’s a ship named Fingal and it has an elegant ballroom that can accommodate up to 60 guests and a standout sweeping staircase for photo ops.
Your guests can retire to the premium cabins, while you and your new spouse enjoy the luxury of the Skerryvore Suite. As head of hospitality Andrew Thompson explains: “Fingal is like no other venue in Scotland. The craftsmanship and design, inspired by the ship’s provenance and heritage, coupled with the best of Scotland’s larder, will ensure our guests’ experience is truly memorable.” This is one venue we can get on board with.
20. Eden Leisure Village, Glasgow (below left)
A country wedding might seem like a far-off fantasy for city-dwellers, but not where Eden Leisure Village is concerned. This exclusive-use venue is just 14 miles from Glasgow, but boasts a marquee, barn and glamping pods. Manager Janet Gracey says: “What makes us unique is that we are a rustic country glamping site that doesn’t compromise on the quality of its weddings.”
21. Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop, Dumfries and Galloway (above right)
Gretna Green might just be Scotland’s most romantic spot. Its Famous Blacksmiths Shop has seen any number of elopements since 1754, when the local blacksmith would conduct marriages over his famous anvil. “Become part of our ongoing story and join the thread of romantic history when you marry at Gretna Green,” says the venue’s Stephen Crichton.
22. Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
We like a versatile venue, and Dovecot Studios is nothing if not versatile. Like the Old Dr Bells Baths, this is another former Victorian bathhouse that’s been given a new lease of life – since 2008, it has been a fully functioning tapestry studio – which can now be booked for your wedding.
Director Celia Joicey explains the appeal: “As a landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design, Dovecot is a unique venue for weddings and celebrations of any size or style. The world-renowned tapestry studio is in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, and offers a host of creative possibilities for making your event distinctive and memorable.”
23. Summerhall, Edinburgh
If you and your other half met at university, you might be looking for ways to pay homage to your academic roots. Step forward Summerhall, Edinburgh’s former veterinary school and now a cutting-edge arts venue. With its large windows, wooden display cabinets and charming balcony, the Dissection Room makes for a unique reception room (and often hosts bands and plays during the Festival).
“Summerhall is a powerhouse of energy and creativity,” says head of events Sarah Cheung. “Our goal is to provide you with everything you need to make your special day as individual and imaginative as you are.” Just leave the forceps and textbooks at home.