We visited the newly opened Craigard for a couple of nights to find out if you can combine castle grandeur with cosy intimate vibes

Right off the bat, when someone says ‘castle’, we all think of ‘grandeur’ – both in decor and in size. But what if we told you that you could have your very own private wedding in a castle, without needing a mile-long guest list and all the expense that comes with it?

a Scottish wedding day couple holding hands outside a small castle-like building

Newlyweds Sophie and David loved having their very own castle for the weekend (Photo: Chloe Jane Wedding Photography)

Craigard, newly opened at the lovely Carrick Castle Estate in Lochgoilhead, has all the traditional grandeur you’d expect from a large stately home in Scotland, but it’s paired with the cosy comfort of having everything and everyone all together under one roof.

So, of course, my immediate answer to seeing all this for myself for a two-night stay was, don’t mind if ‘I do’! 

Besides ensuring I had my bags packed and my groceries planned (the accommodation is self-catering and a wee bit far from the shops), I also made sure to inform my lovely personal chauffeur (and partner) Luke that he would be coming too.

A car is essential for getting around Argyll and Bute, and the views were wonderful as we drove there on a gorgeous sunny day. 

two glasses of champagne by an outdoor hot tub overlooking a mountain and lochside view

Cheers to the stunning views of Carrick Castle and Loch Goil from Craigard’s hot tub (Photo: Bill Baillie)

Craigard is a few miles south of Lochgoilhead. You can’t miss it – you’ll see the large lodge and barn on the right and, shortly after that, Carrick Castle on your left. Back on the right-hand side, a small plaque spells out ‘Craigard’ next to a gated entrance leading up a private gravel path. 

I’ve lived in Scotland for a good seven years now, but I’m still always blown away by its coastlines, countryside and epic mountains. It does an excellent job of grounding me, forcing me to lower my sky-high tense shoulders and breathe in the fresh air.

So I totally get the idea of marrying in the midst of all the best Scotland has to offer. (And this was before I even spotted the view from Craigard’s log-burning hot tub.)

As soon as Hannah cast her eyes over the ample grassy spaces, surrounding woodland and lochside views, she convinced the owner it would be a sublime spot for those true-love declarations

Upon arrival we, like all lucky Carrick Castle Estate couples, were greeted by Hannah Mellet, who runs the estate with her husband Darius.

While she guided us through Craigard’s living rooms, en-suite bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, up the sweeping staircase (making me wish I’d borrowed a floor-length dress with a train so I could walk slowly down it), through the honeymoon suite and up to the pretty private chapel (where all the wedding magic happens), Hannah shared a bit of background on how Carrick Castle Estate came to be the established venue it is today. 

a barn venue filled with tables and chairs plus floral displays and table settings

From laid-back farm-style to a vintage-themed grand affair, the barn can be decked out any way you like – Hannah and Darius even have a range of decorations tucked away for you to borrow if you’re not sure where to start (Photo: Shelley Richmond Photography)

Seven years ago, she and Darius were living in South Africa, and thinking about moving back to Scotland with their family. That’s when they stumbled upon an advert placed by the estate’s owner looking for two individuals with their exact skill-sets to run the place – her a people-person and great planner, and him a passionate environmental conservationist.

Fun fact: the estate’s lodge (which can sleep 16) wasn’t purpose-built to host weddings, but as soon as Hannah cast her eyes over the ample grassy spaces (ideal for an outdoor ceremony), surrounding woodland and lochside views, she convinced the owner it would be a sublime spot for those true-love declarations.

Later, the neighbouring castle-like structure, now known as Craigard, was abandoned mid-renovation by a previous owner, but Hannah and Darius took over the project so they could expand the range of weddings offered by the estate.

As Luke and I admired the William Morris wallpaper, the tweed curtains, antique bed frames and dressers, as well as the very modern bathroom and kitchen, Hannah explained that Craigard “wasn’t designed to be a home away from home” but a comfortable yet lavish space full of traditional finishings – a lot of them bought when the contents of a Welsh castle were put up for auction.

You can check out even more of Scotland's best castle wedding venues here

The Mellets strive to establish a family-feel relationship with their soon-to-be-wed couples. Hannah is there with you every step of the way until you’re walking up the aisle. Darius will take you and your photographer for a spin in his vintage Land-Rover Defender to get those ‘off the beaten track’ photos you’ll cherish forever.

And even Christiaan and Luka, their ten and eight-year-old sons, step in to introduce Carrick Castle’s beloved alpacas to guests.

A selfie of a man and woman stood in the rain under a clear umbrella, beside an image of a small chapel set with a long candle-lit dining table

Left: A clear winner! Craigard’s classy see-through umbrella kept Emma and Luke dry as they toured the grounds; Right: Craigard’s private chapel can host your ceremony and then transform into a dreamy dining scene – styled here by Vanilla Rose Flowers and Studio A Design (Photo: Bill Baillie)

A wedding at Craigard is not just one day; it’s a great weekend to really get everyone involved in this most special occasion. And if it’s the place for you, you’ll know just as quickly as Hannah and Darius did when they first set eyes on the estate.

Hannah put it best when she said, “First prize is a nice sunny day.” But, rain or shine (we had plenty of both during our stay), the magic of this corner of Argyll and Bute is impossible to wash away.

While we cosied up at the fireplace and challenged each other to games of billiards, we could only imagine how incredible it would have been had we brought ten of our loved ones with us to fill the empty bedrooms and join us at the grand dining table.

What are our options for getting married at Carrick Castle Estate?

With accommodation for 12 guests for three nights and a wedding for up to 24 guests, gather your nearest and dearest for a cosy celebration amid the scenic setting of Craigard.

The property has six en-suite bedrooms (five doubles and one twin), a hot tub, outdoor BBQ area, an antique billiards table, private chapel, viewing tower plus chairs and tables for the ceremony and wedding meal.

On a DIY self-catered basis, the hire fee is £5,200 this year (£5,250 in 2025 and £5,300 in 2026). 

For a fuss-free day, why not consider Craigard for an elopement? You could be promising forever within as little as 29 days. 

The team at Craigard at Carrick Castle Estate are excited to share that their previously purely DIY venue now offers a brand-new all-inclusive package.

Designed to host intimate weddings over four days/three nights, the new 24-person package includes the venue and accommodation (for 12 guests), ceremony officiant, photographer, catering and drinks, flowers, on-the-day stationery, wedding cake, and the full wedding planning services of their exclusive planner, Savannah from Mademoiselle Weddings, for a total fee of £17,787.

With accommodation for 34 guests for three nights and a wedding for up to 120 guests, this set-up is ideal for couples with lots of friends and family who are eager to party and offer a helping hand.

The spacious barn will come equipped with tables, chairs, lighting and event toilets, leaving the design and decor finesse to your desire.

Loved ones can spend their down-time pottering about the Annex (which sleeps six), Whisperwood (sleeps 12) and the Lodge (sleeps 16), which also boasts spa facilities, a grand piano and a pool table.

On a DIY self-catered basis, the hire fee is £13,550 this year (£13,950 in 2025 and £14,400 in 2026).

All of the above plus an additional 12 overnight guests (46 in total), catering and beverages, wedding planner and coordinator, venue styling, photographer, flowers, stretch tent, alpacas, a drive in the estate’s Defender, welcome baskets for guests and set-up plus cleaning.

The all-inclusive hire fee is £52,600 this year (£57,900 in 2025 and £63,600 in 2026).

the exterior view of an open barn with curtains pulled aside and hay seating just outside

Fallen in love with the country feel and lochside views of Carrick Castle Estate, but can’t quite narrow the guest list down to Craigard’s maximum of 24 people? Measuring 18m x 18m with a separate 5m x 6m catering area, the estate’s rustic barn could be the solution (Photo: Eilidh Robertson Photography)

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