A circus themed pre-wedding bash at Barnbougle Castle that wowed guests and got the party started

Roll up, roll up! In the second of our four part series on weddings with a difference, Patricia-Ann Young speaks to a wedding planner who planned a welcome party that saw an Edinburgh castle transformed into a big top for the night

dancers dressed in circus costumes on the dancefloor

“The bride Esme was an absolute dream to work with,” shares Melanie Helen, wedding planner and managing director at Cranberry Blue. “It was clear from my very first conversation with Esme that she’s a very creative person who naturally likes to do things differently – music to my ears!”

“The couple had a lot of guests flying in from overseas, so the pre-party at Barnbougle Castle was the perfect opportunity for people to catch up in a relaxed but really fun environment before the formalities on the Saturday. Esme wanted to have something surreal and fun with a bit of an eerie twist. Once we had the venue, we discussed a few ideas for the overall theme, but in the end we both felt that a vintage circus vibe would be perfectly suited to Barnbougle.

“We wanted to create a fully immersive atmosphere where guests could wander through the castle, exploring it at their leisure and dis­cover­ing quirky performers and entertainment in every room. We wanted them to be wowed from the moment they arrived and to feel as though they’d been transported back in time and were going backstage at a vintage travelling circus.

“Everyone was invited to ‘spin the wheel’ – whichever colour you landed on, you were given a corresponding crystal which unlocked further experiences: whisky tasting; crystal healing; a special drink that turned pink with a drop of ‘magic elixir potion’; gold-leaf champagne cocktails; or a one-on-one illusionist experience.

“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Consider the guest journey all the way from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave. Your event should be a feast for the senses – not just how things look, but how they feel, taste and even smell: these will all wow your guests and contribute to creating lasting memories.”

Styling & Planning Cranberry Blue Events
Venue Barnbougle Castle
Photography Matt Porteous
Lighting & production Bespoke Event London
Videography HD Moments
Entertainment Black Rabbit Project
Marquee Arc Marquees
Caterer Wild Thyme
Draping Draping Bliss
Cake Hall of Cakes
On the day stationery Emily & Jo
Invitations Intricate Creations

the exterior of Barnbougle Castle at sunsetBarnbougle Castle lit up in redthe entrance to the wedding venue decorated like a big top tenta woman in a burlesque costume performing with fireburlesque performers in Barnbougle Castle's librarya carousel in the grounds of Barnbougle Castleguests ride a carousela bar area with a hot air balloon centre piecesigns welcoming guests to the partya burlesque performer poses in a hallway; a cake with lots of tiers decorated in a circus themedancers dressed as angels and tigersa ferris wheel decorationcircus performers in the tentcandy apples and other dessertsguests ride the carousel

Videography HD Moments