The book of love: lovely libraries for your big day

If there’s nothing you love more than losing yourself in a good book, why not let your wedding story begin in a gorgeous Scottish library. Here’s our guide to venues that’ll turn fiction into fact

Edinburgh’s Signet Library is a Georgian masterpiece with an extraordinary interior that can be hired out for glamorous, elegant receptions

Edinburgh’s Signet Library is a Georgian masterpiece with an extraordinary interior that can be hired out for glamorous, elegant receptions

Words by Gilly Furmage

From Jane Austen’s feisty heroines to the eternally romantic sonnets of Shakespeare, we all swoon over a good love story. If you and your significant other are the next Lizzy Bennet and Mr Darcy, a venue with a library could be the perfect backdrop to your I dos. With cosy fires and endless rows of your favourite tall tales, you could choose a grand, elegant library for the main event or use a snug book room to sneak off with your new spouse after the emotion of the ceremony. Scotland is full of historic hot spots, and whether it’s Tolkien or Thomas Hardy who tickles your fancy, we’ve got a venue for every bibliophile.

Mitchell Library, Glasgow

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The landmark Mitchell Library in Glasgow offers seriously grand surroundings for a wedding reception.

A magnificent building in Glasgow’s city centre, the Mitchell Library is one of Europe’s largest public libraries, with over a million items in stock – so you can get married literally surrounded by books. The stately and impressive main hall, which is full of ornate original features, can host up to 200 guests for a meal and as many as 300 for
a reception.

0141 353 8050, www.weddings.glasgowvenuehire.org.uk

Signet Library, Edinburgh

If it’s a grand, sumptuous backdrop you’re after, the stunning Signet Library would fit the bill. It is home to the prestigious Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet, an association of Scottish lawyers and one of the oldest professional bodies in the world. The Georgian building sits right in the heart of Edinburgh, just off the Royal Mile, and has an upper and a lower library. The former, with a long aisle, would work beautifully for the ceremony, followed by a drinks and canapé reception; while a grand staircase will lead you to the upper library, which can hold between 50 and 220 guests and has a PA system and dancefloor – great for an elegant yet fun evening do.

0131 225 0652, www.thesignetlibrary.co.uk

Balbirnie House, Fife

Balbirnie House in Fife is a beautiful stately home with a string of awards to its name and a very attractive library space in which to host a wedding

Balbirnie House in Fife is a beautiful stately home with a string of awards to its name and a very attractive library space in which to host a wedding

Winners of Scottish Wedding Hotel of the Year an incredible three years in a row, the Balbirnie House team are the experts when it comes to luxurious Scottish weddings. Their packages are full of fun perks like the use of a helipad, fairy-lit ballroom pillars, use of the summer barbecue equipment, festive décor in winter, a toastmaster and a banquet manager. Crucially, you can also have use of the library bar for the after-party. The Georgian property can host 216 for a wedding banquet and 250 for an evening reception.

01592 610066, www.balbirnieweddings.co.uk

Pollok House, Glasgow

The elegant Pollok House library, complete with original artwork, columns and fireplace, is a great place for canapés and conversation;

The elegant Pollok House library, complete with original artwork, columns and fireplace, is a great place for canapés and conversation;

Billed as ‘one of the finest twentieth-century libraries in Scotland’, the Pavilion Library in Pollok House is a wonderfully romantic location for a marriage ceremony. With regal columns and some of Pollok’s most treasured paintings, the library also has a Steinway concert grand piano that can be played to entertain guests and welcome the bride down the aisle. From the library, French doors open on to the opulent Parterre Garden, ideal for photographs, celebratory drinks or simply a wee stroll with your new spouse before dinner.

0141 440 7904, www.nts.org.uk/weddings

Loch Melfort, Oban

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Wood-panelled wonder at loch Melfort Hotel, nestled on the scenic Argyll coast near Oban

 

For a perfectly picturesque seaside wedding, Loch Melfort Hotel near Oban has sea views from every room, crackling log fires and a wood-panelled library. The library can hold up to 18 guests so would suit couples looking to have an intimate ceremony in front of their nearest and dearest. If you’d rather, you can hire out the whole venue for 150 people, and then scurry off to the library when you want a quiet moment to savour your day.

01852 200233, www.lochmelfort.co.uk

Haddo House, Aberdeen

An aisle with a view at the eighteenth-century Haddo House in Aberdeenshire

An aisle with a view at the eighteenth-century Haddo House in Aberdeenshire

A delightful country mansion near Aberdeen, Haddo House has been wowing guests since 1732. The decadent library and drawing room can host civil, religious and Humanist weddings. For the reception, guests could ceilidh up a storm in the Canadian Hall, or there’s the option of putting up a marquee in the extensive grounds for a larger gathering.

01651 851440, www.nts.org.uk/weddings

Ardverikie, Highlands

You might already know Ardverikie as Glenbogle, the setting of the much-loved TV series Monarch of the Glen. The stunning venue is now back to doing what it does best and is available for wedding bookings. The traditional library is lined with the family’s personal collection of books and is a great spot to have a cocktail or three, unwind after your ceremony and enjoy being lady of the manor for the night.

01528 544300, www.ardverikie.com

Drum Castle, Deeside

The recently renovated Drum Castle library, where you can have your ceremony surrounded by leather-bound volumes

The recently renovated Drum Castle library, where you can have your ceremony surrounded by leather-bound volumes

Make like Cinderella in this romantic 13th-century castle on the edge of Royal Deeside. Ceremonies are held in the exquisite restored library and guests can take in the sensational garden of historic roses, which colourfully showcases blooms from all around the world. The capacity is 80, although you have the option to plump for a marquee in the grounds if you want to invite more guests to an evening party.

01330 700334, www.nts.org.uk/weddings

Abbotsford, Borders

As far as historic libraries go, you can’t really beat Sir Walter Scott’s very own library within his grand, newly restored home at Abbotsford. The majestic venue was described by the novelist (whose works are responsible for naming Waverley Station and Heart of Midlothian FC) as a ‘romance in stone and mortar’. The majestic library, intricately detailed and home to 7000 rare volumes, will be sure to take your breath away. There is accommodation on site, and an intimate chapel.

01896 752043, scottsabbotsford.com

Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh

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Have your ceremony surrounded by Edinburgh’s rich history at the Royal College of Surgeons

 

The library in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is a beautiful oak-panelled room, ideal for an intimate wedding ceremony for up to 66 guests. This unique venue combines city chic, a rich history and classic surroundings.

0131 527 3434, www.surgeonshall.com

Blair Castle, Perthshire

Sitting pretty at the entrance to the Cairngorms National Park, Blair Castle is a great choice for couples wanting the Scottish Highlands experience. Its historic library can hold 40 guests and can be used for ceremonies or drinks receptions. 01796 481207,
www.blaircastleweddings.co.uk