Got your heart set on exchanging your vows in the sunshine or clinking champagne glasses to the chirrup of birdsong? We list a dozen of the best spots for getting married outdoors in Scotland, including wedding venues in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeenshire, East Lothian, Perthshire, Ayrshire, Midlothian and Loch Lomond
Myres Castle, Fife
As much as we love the castle (which dates from 1530 and has ten double bedrooms to host you and your loved ones for a proper weekend-long knees-up), it’s the grounds at Myres that have really caught our eye. Up to 160 guests can watch the two of you exchange vows under the branches of the ancient copper beech tree – which, although it was planted in the 18th century, isn’t the oldest tree on site; that honour goes to a Spanish chestnut on the front lawn, which was supposedly planted by the one and only Mary Queen of Scots herself.
There’s also the option to marry among the fragrant rose beds in the formal walled garden, or under the stretch tent in the hidden lawn. Safe to say, there’s much to ad-myres (sorry) at this Auchtermuchty gem.
Broxmouth Park, East Lothian
If you want a Scottish outdoor wedding, you’ll always run the risk of bad weather forcing a last-minute change of plan. That doesn’t mean you should write off the idea, however: you just need to be tactical. Broxmouth Park is a smart option for sunseekers, as its Dunbar location puts it in the middle of a fine-weather micro-climate – this stretch of the east coast regularly records some of the highest hours of sunshine in the country.
Impressively, of the 20 weddings hosted at the venue last year, just one experienced rain. Our top pick for the ceremony itself is under the 500-year-old Cedar of Lebanon tree, which was greatly admired by none other than Queen Victoria during her visit in 1878. Pack your sunglasses and your factor 30: looks like we’re going to Dunbar.
Cluny Castle, Aberdeenshire
It’s hard to believe that the grounds, however lovely they may be, could compete with the sheer fairytale wonder of Cluny’s architecture, but you know what? They just might. With acres of wooded parkland, a tree-lined driveway and a pond (ideal for gorgeous shots of you and your love reflected in the water), even Disney would struggle to dream up a more picture-perfect setting.
This exclusive-use venue in Aberdeenshire has accommodation for you and 26 loved ones, so you can enjoy the storybook fantasy that wee bit longer. Bagsie the highest room in the tallest tower!
Jupiter Artland, Midlothian
This Edinburgh sculpture park has a strong claim to being the most arty wedding venue in Scotland. “Jupiter Artland’s outdoor areas offer so many unique options for your day, which means there’s an area to suit all tastes,” promises sales and events manager Catriona Blair.
“The Cells of Life [eight sculptural mounds and a connecting causeway that surround four lakes] provide a large and impressive backdrop. But if small and intimate is what you’re looking for, try the Temple of Apollo. And our Rose Walk is definitely a spot to consider if you want really elegant surroundings.” Only couples who get married at the site are permitted to take wedding photographs there, offering an extra degree of exclusivity.
House for an Art Lover, Glasgow
“We have the benefit of being a city venue in the beautiful, leafy Bellahouston Park in Glasgow’s south side,” says Lynn Stevenson, sales and events executive at House for an Art Lover. The building, by the great Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is the major draw but the grounds are pretty amazing too.
Besides a quirky sculpture trail, there’s a walled garden in which your photographer can get snap happy whatever the season, whether it’s in full bloom in spring and summer, in all its autumnal glory, or under a fine layer of snow should you be lucky enough to have a true white wedding.
Culzean Castle, Ayrshire
Perched on a cliff looking out towards Arran, this Ayrshire pile is famed for its scene-stealing architecture and dreamy location – but couples who are bowled over by the building itself may be missing a trick. The vast estate is equally majestic, with wooded parkland meeting miles of sandy, craggy coastline.
With such a big area to work with, it’s no surprise that Culzean can host a large party (up to 500 guests can celebrate in a marquee on the lawn). But there are plenty of smaller spaces, too, thanks to the extravagant former owners putting up 40 buildings in the grounds. Among these are an ice house and an orangery, where you can steal away to say ‘I do’ surrounded by citrus trees, blossoms and up to 100 guests.
The Hermitage, Perthshire
A forest hideaway near Dunkeld in Perthshire, The Hermitage should be on the list of every couple looking for a rustic venue with a difference. Take shelter under the grove of Douglas firs that tower above a clearing by the river’s edge, or, for smaller ceremonies, there’s Ossian’s Hall (which can fit 25 to 30), dating from the 18th century and looking across to the stunning Black Linn Falls.
The venue remains a popular tourist attraction, so the National Trust for Scotland, which owns The Hermitage, typically only allows the hall to be shut to the public for one hour, including the set-up, ceremony and photographs.
Norton House Hotel, near Edinburgh
“Norton House Hotel & Spa sits among 55 acres of beautiful private grounds,” says Kirsten King, assistant sales and revenue manager at this long-established Edinburgh favourite. “You reach the hotel up the long tree-lined drive through the estate, past wonderful manicured grounds and stunning countryside views. From our quirky wedding swing under a huge old tree to our modern ‘LOVE’ letter backdrop outside the Garden Suite, we have many different areas for couples to choose from, either for the ceremony or the photographs.”
And if the weather takes a turn for the worse, help is at hand: “We have large umbrellas that we can provide to the couple and their guests if it’s a wet day. The entrance and walkway to our Garden Suite is covered, though, so you can get pictures taken here while staying dry.”
But let’s try to be optimistic: what if your prayers are answered and it turns out to be a scorcher? “We do recommend that guests bring sunscreen in the summer – the weather is often very hot!”
Blair Castle, Perthshire
The grounds of this stunning castle in Highland Perthshire cover an impressive 2,500 acres. The ruined St Bride’s Kirk is one of the venue’s standout features, and would make for a romantic (and, crucially, somewhat sheltered) ceremony location for up to 30 guests. For receptions, there’s the West Lawn, which Catriona Sutherland, head of marketing for Blair Castle and Atholl Estates, describes as truly unique: “It’s popular with our couples since it has the beautiful backdrop of the castle itself.”
But that’s not all: “Alternatively, the nine-acre Hercules Garden is a private, enclosed space with standout features, including a quaint bridge, all on the castle’s lands. There’s also our lodge weddings – they’re private and totally bespoke to each couple, all within our beautiful setting. To make the most of all that outdoor space, we can also offer guests unique experiences while staying with us – Land Rover safaris, fishing and castle visits, for example.”
It might not be the Bahamas, but we reckon the bonnie banks can hold their own against far-flung beach locations any day, especially with a venue as well thought-out as Lodge on Loch Lomond. “We have two outdoor ceremony spaces (seating approximately 150 people each) that are connected to each of the wedding suites – both are pretty unique in that they lead to Luss beach and have the wonderful views of Loch Lomond all around them,” smiles the Lodge’s Sandra Cunningham.
“We aim to host all wedding ceremonies at these outdoor spaces, weather-permitting – we make a call with regards to the forecast one hour ahead of the ceremony.” If the couple prefer an indoor ceremony, or if the sun breaks through later in the day, there’s still plenty of opportunity to take photographs by the water’s edge. Sing it with me now: “Oh, you’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road…”
Rufflets St Andrews, Fife
Fife is a real favourite for couples marrying in Scotland, and for good reason: not only does it have some truly spectacular venues, it also benefits from being one of the sunniest corners of the country. All the more reason to opt for an outdoor wedding, then.
“We have ten acres of grounds around the hotel, including woodland, a formal manicured garden, an orchard and a kitchen garden,” explains Louise Turner, conference and events manager at Rufflets. “The woodland area in the lower garden has two burns running through it and some really beautiful mature trees. No newlyweds ever leave without being photographed on the famous stone bridge.”
Anyone interested in a more rustic look will adore the kitchen garden, while those thinking of marrying in April and May will find the orchard full of apple blossom. The fun and colour needn’t end when the sun sets either: “Our gardens are ideal for couples who want to include a fireworks display as part of their day,” adds Louise. Talk about going out with a bang.
Hamilton Park, Lanarkshire
Big hats, lots of fizz and getting the gang together to make some fabulous memories: weddings and a day at the races have a lot in common, really. So it’s no surprise that Hamilton Park, a working racecourse, can turn its hand to weddings so well.
“Beautifully manicured lawns and sweeping views create a truly magnificent backdrop, with the Parade Ring marquee set in the middle of the grounds,” explains marketing manager Susan Hogg. “The park is available all year round for photographs and, with our expert ground maintenance team on site, the lawns are always photo-ready.”