Entertainment levels soared at this Cluny Castle wedding

Lilly O’Connor and Jack Coolahan

2nd September 2023

Words | Amy Shearer
Venue | Cluny Castle, Aberdeenshire
Photography | JS Coates Wedding Photography
Videographer | Blue Ridge Films

The newly-weds watch a red and purple display of fireworks go off in the night sky

For all the tales you hear of endless venue searches that drag on for months and months, we also come across many couples who somehow manage to strike gold on their very first attempt. Step forward, Lilly and Jack, for whom the stars aligned at the fabulous Cluny Castle in Aberdeenshire.

“Our venue search was surprisingly brief, as after visiting Cluny, every other venue we’d considered just couldn’t compare,” explains the bride with a smile. “The castle’s unique charm and beauty set the bar so high that it quickly became the only place we could envisage hosting our special day.”

She and Jack had been hoping to find a place that “combined the elegance of a chapel for the ceremony with the convenience of hosting the reception in the same location”. They also loved that the castle was steeped in tradition, yet adaptable for a modern celebration.

Joining the couple for the day were 80 of their nearest and dearest, almost all of whom made the trip up from London. Their close family, bridesmaids and groomsmen booked into the venue for a two-night stay as well.

Lilly says many elements, such as a four-minute firework display, helped make this an unforgettable day: “Our celebration was truly vibrant and joyful, thanks to our fantastic singer, Moni, who had everyone singing and dancing from dinner until the very last dance. The marquee on the front lawn gave us a stunning view of the castle, enhancing the party atmosphere. And in the evening, we had the castle lit up in our chosen colour, purple, creating a beautiful and unique backdrop.”

“Its unique charm and beauty set the bar so high that it became the only place we could envisage hosting our special day”

The couple opted for Cluny’s catering, drinks and evening buffet packages and were very happy with how much scope they had to make it their own.

“The team gave us extensive opportunities for personalisation, allowing us to tailor our day to suit our preferences,” recalls the bride. “We were able to set up lawn games during the canapé service, which was so much fun. For decor, we had the freedom to place flowers both inside and outside the castle. The staff were highly receptive to our ideas.”

In fact, the couple say their day would not have been possible without the Cluny staff. “The team, led by owner Cosmo, were incredibly accommodating, ensuring our every need was met with a personal touch. Their attentiveness and genuine care for our wellbeing throughout our stay made us feel exceptionally valued and taken care of,” adds the bride. “Special mentions are certainly due for Natalie and Jill, Cosmo, and Michael the butler, who even prepared breakfast the day after the wedding.”

With lots of surprises for guests such as a traditional piper and a special photobooth, the couple say they wouldn’t change anything about their day: “Overall, our wedding was incredible, and we cherished every moment. There was a beautiful harmony in how everything came together, making it a day we will cherish forever.”

Wedding Dress Couture & Tiaras Bridal, Burgess Hill
Bride’s shoes Magosisters, Etsy
Groom’s shoes Larkin Mid Tan Leather Brogue, Marc Darcy
Bridesmaids’ dresses Ever Pretty
Groom’s suit Chigwell, Blue Tweed Check Three-Piece, Marc Darcy
Groomsmen Edinson, Navy Sky Check Three-Piece Suit, Marc Darcy
Page boy’s outfit Max, Children’s Royal Blue Three-Piece Suit, Marc Darcy
Father of bride and step-father of groom Max, Royal Blue Three-Piece Suit, Marc Darcy
Celebrant/officient George Euan Dargie Glen
Cake Cakes by Kirsty
Menu/catering Hickory Catering
Marquee Elegant Pitches
Flowers Hay’s Flowers
Makeup Francine Ray
Hair Hair by Hannah
Hair extensions Milk and Blush 
Nails Ewell Village Nails
Fireworks NJE Firework Displays
Bagpiper Thistle Piping
Singer and entertainer Moni Tivony
Magic mirror Fabby Fotos
Transport R.S Coaches (for guest hotel transfers)
Table plan DIY by Lilly using a secondhand mirror and template from DgtStudioDesigns, Etsy
Hymn sheets Canva
Service sheets Zazzle
Table names Template from Etsy, edited on Templett

Bride in gown with floral headband and pastel bouquetBridesmaids' faces of excitement and emotion as they see bride in her dress for the first timeBride's father smiles during his first look at her in her wedding dressBride and her father show happy emotion next to each otherFather walks with his daughter, the bride, arm in armBride has walked down the aisle on her father's armBride and groom grin at each other at the altarBride and groom share their first kiss holding hands while everyone claps and smilesBride and groom, now husband and wife, walk out of ceremony with flower petals thrown at themOverhead view of bride and groom funneling out from their ceremony to have flower petals thrown at themThe marquee set up for a wedding reception including flowers and round tablesSeating chart including destinations on a large mirrorNewly-wed couple pose hand in hand, the groom leaning into the bride's faceNewly-wed couple walk hand in hand down a forrest pathBride and groom stand in front of a large red wall covered in framed Vogue magazine coversBride and groom relax into each other on beige couch in an open libraryBride and groom look away from camera next to a close-up of a shelf of library booksBride and groom stand in front of unlit fireplace and a wooden piano in a large green roomBride and groom stand outside the grandeur of Cluny CastleNewly-wed couple are welcomed into their marquee reception by friends and familyBride and couple speak into microphone together while guests read off a cardBride and groom couple laugh, holding onto each other in a field of grassBride and groom stand on the lawn outside Cluny Castle and their reflection is visible in the pond in front of themBride and groom cheer as they get ready to cut into their three-tier wedding cakeBride and groom slow dance surrounded by other couples also dancing in the marqueeBride and groom wear prop hats in front of photobooth screen made to look like wooden panelingThe newly-weds watch a red and purple display of fireworks go off in the night skyThe newly-wed couple stand ahead of their guests, as they all tilt their heads up to watch the fireworks in the night skyA ground-level view of the bride and groom watching red and purple fireworks

Looking to feel as lucky as Lilly and Jack when it comes to planning your big day? Here’s how to choose the right wedding venue for you

Plus, enjoy more of our swoon-worthy real weddings