Consider yourselves creative types? Check out these arty and architecturally significant Scottish wedding venues that have designs on hosting your big day
If you’re the kind of couple likely to be found mooching around a gallery or soaking up a cool city skyline on a mini-break, chances are you’d like to set your wedding against a Scottish venue that’s artistic or architecturally significant too. Well, wouldn’t you know it: we have 11 of the best sketched out right here…
The North Rotunda, Glasgow (above and below left)
Glasgow has its fair share of notable architecture, but perhaps one of the quirkiest is the circular Category B-listed North Rotunda that sits in the shadow of the iconic Finnieston Crane. It was built at the end of the 19th century as part of a tunnel linking the north and south sides of the River Clyde. These days it’s a dining courtyard served by nine buzzy restaurants, run under the Cranside Kitchen umbrella, and is set to host its very first wedding this autumn. “The North Rotunda is completely unique and offers that inimitable ‘Glasgow wedding’ feel,” says Kaitlin Campbell, who manages weddings and events at the venue. “With various cuisines in-house, including Japanese, Italian and Greek, couples can select a menu from many of the city’s most popular hotspots.”
St Mary’s Wedding Space, Argyll (above right)
When it’s not in use as a recording studio, this charming converted church north of Oban in Argyll becomes an idyllic backdrop for elopements and weddings of no more than 15 guests. “We’re all about slowing things down, offering creative couples the perfect place to share their vows, unwind, embrace, unite their love and celebrate,” says artist Charlotte Smith, who owns and runs the place with musician husband Jamie. “Each gathering can be tailored to your every wish; no idea will be too large, no whim too far-fetched.” Most newlyweds opt to spend their wedding night in the Sitooterie, a cosy wooden cabin with a mezzanine sleeping area accessed by ladder, and no TV or WiFi. Disconnection bliss, if you ask us.
One of Glasgow’s most striking buildings and newest wedding venues, Citation was originally the city’s Sheriff Court and has been a landmark in the heart of the Merchant City since the mid-19th century. The B-listed sandstone façade is dramatic, and what awaits inside is no less impressive. “Citation’s exposed brick walls, wooden floors and fairy light staircase give the place a romantic vibe, while behind the iconic sandstone columns you’ll find a heated balcony that overlooks the Merchant City below,” says wedding manager Louize Hollywood. “As we are an exclusive-use venue, 50 is our minimum number of guests. For larger gatherings, we have ample room for up to 130 day guests and 200 in the evening.”
SWG3 is a multi-faceted events hub in Glasgow that hosts everything from club nights to pop-up restaurants, art shows to poetry readings – and, now, even weddings. “SWG3 has a range of blank-canvas rooms to hire, so each couple can bring their own creativity, style and caterer to whichever space they choose,” says commercial manager Meryl Gilbert. “Intimate weddings might make use of the Acid Bar, which can seat up to 50 for lunch, while our Photography Studio can accommodate bigger ceremonies of up to 100. There’s space outside for drinks and canapés afterwards, and photos can be taken on the roof of the complex, overlooking the Clyde.” If you really want to go for it with the guest list, consider the Warehouse (200 capacity) or the TV Studio (300 on round tables).
“We are not a dedicated wedding venue with a preordained set of packages – we want to work with our guests to ensure that their event is completely unique, reflects their personality and makes the most of the individual, quirky spaces we offer,” say the events team at Cheval The Edinburgh Grand. This plush, all-apartment residence can be found in the impressive former headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland on St Andrew Square in the heart of the city. Luxurious, intimate weddings (the maximum head count is 50) are what this newcomer to the capital’s wedding scene does best: “You could host a private dinner in the Directors’ Suite, a space that was once the luncheon room of the bank’s directors. It boasts period features, original fireplaces and accent wood panelling – all adding to the gentrified and romantic atmosphere.”
Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
Based in a quirky building that was once Edinburgh’s Infirmary Street Baths, the world-renowned Dovecot Studios is a fully operational tapestry studio and centre for contemporary art, craft and design. “We are an exclusive-use venue and our Weaving Floor can only be hired out a maximum of 12 times a year,” explains Claire McHardy, head of commercial and operations. “In many ways, this airy, light-filled space is a blank canvas, but the spools of wool in every colour lining the Weaving Floor provide magnificent pops of colour. The weaving looms are moved to the back of the room for weddings, but this also adds to the appeal of the space, as live art is progressing. We work with the best suppliers around Edinburgh to create magical experiences for all of our wedding couples and guests.” Versatility is woven into the fabric of Dovecot with the option to use other rooms, such as the Ladies Bath or Viewing Balcony, for different parts of the day.
Netherbyres House, the Scottish Borders
If bright, bold and modern interiors are your bag, set your sights on Netherbyres House, a new wedding venue in the Borders. “Our whole ethos is about being flexible, so if you prefer jugs of margaritas on the table rather than wine, we’re totally up for that,” says Sarah Lilley, owner of the Victorian mansion in Eyemouth. “Having been through the wedding-planning process recently ourselves, we try to make everything as straightforward as possible.” Every room, including each of the nine bedrooms, has its own colourful style and there are Instagrammable backdrops wherever you look. The Grand Hall, where indoor ceremonies are often held, has even been transformed into an art gallery with modern abstract pieces by Scottish artists adorning the walls.
Blackhouse Forest Estate, the Scottish Borders
The lovingly restored barn is the focal point for weddings at Blackhouse Forest Estate in the Borders. Complete with drystone walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and natural wooden beams, it is an eco-friendly and architecturally sympathetic transformation amid the verdant Yarrow Valley that can sit up to 60 guests (200 if in a marquee pitched on the paddock). “The 1,500-acre estate is fuelled by hydroelectric, biomass and solar power, with water taken from the hills and cleansed with UV light,” reveals owner Graham Allen. “We’ve also partnered with local artists and craftspeople to bring artistic points of interest to the estate – so far, we have native wildlife sculptures, a handmade willow arch for ceremonies, woodwork carvings and stunning original oil paintings.”
Òran Mór, Glasgow
Glasgow is full of old churches, so what makes Òran Mór, the former Kelvinside Parish Church, so special as a wedding venue? We’re sure many would say the stunning celestial ceiling mural in the Auditorium painted by Glasgow writer and artist Alasdair Gray, one of the largest pieces of public art in Scotland. It’s also capacious: receptions of up to 400 are possible. “We recognise that each wedding is unique, so we offer complete flexibility including bespoke menus and an accommodating approach to any request,” adds co-ordinator Pauline Muir.
The Fife Arms, Braemar
The Fife Arms is a former Victorian coaching inn in Braemar, Royal Deeside. After a restoration that included contributions from architects, designers, craftspeople, researchers and artists, many with deep ties to Scotland, it reopened in 2018 as a five-star hotel. “It offers a dramatic, art-filled backdrop for one of life’s most significant celebrations,” says the venue’s Louise Morrison. “To host a wedding in this remarkable Highland location gives you a personal canvas from which to draw inspiration from history, royalty, art and the landscape. We offer a bespoke approach to weddings, supported by a genuine commitment and attention to detail. Our dedicated events team have extensive experience of event planning and an excellent contact book of local experts.”
Cromarty Arts Trust – The Stables, The Black Isle, Inverness-shire
The Stables is a characterful A-listed Georgian building in a gorgeous rural spot outside Cromarty, about 35 minutes north of Inverness. Run by the Cromarty Arts Trust, its cobbled courtyard and the wooden beams in the ‘gallery’ mean it’s a match for rustic DIY weddings of up to 120. “We have no neighbours, so noise is not a problem,” says Gail Stuart-Martin, administrator of the trust. “For smooth running, we supply a member of staff who knows the place inside out, and, although there is no kitchen, there are basic amenities on the ground floor for your caterer.”