From a traditional Scottish piper to a four-minute fireworks display, couple Lilly and Jack surprised their friends and family with an entertainment extravaganza on their big day

Lilly O’Connor and Jack Coolahan

Saturday 2nd September 2023

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

(Photo: JS Coates Wedding Photography)

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.”

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

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