Kerry and Ross were looking for somewhere special to tie the knot in St Andrews when they found Earls Hall Castle

Kerry Gillespie and Ross Carstairs, now Mr and Mrs Carstairs

1st July 2023

Venue | Earls Hall Castle
Photography | Chronicle Photography

There’s really nothing better than being in the right place at the right time. When Kerry and Ross started to plan their big day, they were keen to find a venue in St Andrews that was new both to them and to their guests – not an easy thing to do in a small seaside town. But, right on cue, Earls Hall Castle announced it was going to start hosting weddings – and the rest is history.

“We were looking for something different that had the wow factor,” smiles the bride. “Ross and I have a lot of friends who’ve got married over the past few years, all in venues in and around St Andrews; we wanted to avoid all those places and have ours somewhere that would be just as much a surprise for our guests as it would be for us. 

“Earls Hall fit the bill perfectly. Most of the people we invited didn’t even know it existed, and as the castle is not open to the public, and can only be accessed for private events, none of them had been inside the grounds before. I’m probably biased, but I think it’s the most beautiful wedding venue I’ve ever seen.”

The couple made an almost instant booking at the wedding fair (“As soon as we walked through the gates, we knew it was the one for us”) and then got straight on to planning the bash for 110 guests (plus an extra 40 at night).

“When we made the booking, in October 2021, Earls Hall had only just started promoting itself for weddings and events. That meant we had no trouble securing our dream date. We live really close to the castle, and often go for walks on a route that passes it – we’ve always loved having a nosey over the wall and seeing how beautiful it is. We didn’t set out to find a venue so close to our home, it just turned out that way.

It was ideal for us, as the vast majority of our guests either live just a taxi ride away, or have friends or family very close by who they could stay with.”

Kerry and Ross were able to use different parts of the venue throughout the day: they held the ceremony in the walled garden, the drinks reception on the lawn where they had canapés and games, and the meal and dancing in the marquee. “It was a smooth transition,” says the bride approvingly.

The venue hire package gave them exclusive use of Earls Hall Castle grounds and the marquee, plus access the day before to set up and the day after to collect belongings. It also included a choice of ceremony areas, all furniture, crockery, cutlery, glassware and linen, plus the existing decorations in the marquee. The couple brought in Scott’s Catering Services, who cooked up a delicious three-course meal – and even installed a cocktail tap with three tipples on offer for guests to enjoy.

The bride says the venue staff were instrumental in helping make this a dream day. “Not once did anyone say no to us,” recalls Kerry. “They were so accommodating with everything we wanted to do, and went above and beyond to make sure they could fulfil every single one of our requests. Scott Dougall definitely deserves a hundred special mentions – he wasn’t just the person in charge, or the wedding coordinator, he actually became a good friend to us throughout the planning process, which made the whole thing even more special.”

With a day that included a ceremony conducted by ‘The Scottish Celebrant’ Paul Browett, a fun drinks reception with games, singing waiters and a party with top tunes, would the couple change anything?
“Absolutely nothing. We just wished the day hadn’t gone by so quickly!"

Venue Earls Hall Castle
Chronicle Photography
Wedding Dress Eva Lendel from Pretty Woman
 Shoes and accessories The Little Pearl Company
 Bridesmaids dresses ASOS
 Flower girl dresses JJs House
  Groomswear Slater Menswear
 Celebrant / officiant The Scottish Celebrant
 Cake Sandra's Cakes - St Andrews
 Menu/Catering Scotts Catering Services
 Flowers Lopiez Florist
 Stationery Made by bride on Canva and printed by Digital Printing UK
 Favours Scratch cards
 Venue decor Scotts Catering Services and Lopiez Florist
 Engagement/wedding rings and jewellery Earnest Jones and Beaverbrooks
 Ceremony and drinks reception music Spotify playlist
 Reception music DJ Ally Bongo
 Other entertainment Singers Secreto
 Hair and makeup Kirsty MacPherson Wedding Hair and Makeup 

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