Perched on North Berwick’s pristine coastline, this spacious hotel caters for warm and friendly weddings, great and small
If you’re dreaming of seaside nuptials, you’d be hard pushed to find a venue more appealing to beachy brides and grooms than the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa. As soon as the invite came through, I had my bucket and spade packed quicker than you could say ‘sand in your toes’.
The hotel, situated in the quaint town of North Berwick, didn’t disappoint. It’s so close to the coast, you can hear the waves crashing from the en-suite bathroom. On arrival, an attentive member of staff showed us up to our suite, whose vast, turreted vista of the golf course greens, white sands and islands of the Forth had us under a spell from the minute we walked in.
The suite is just one of the many options for a bride’s big day base (each has different layouts and features – I was shown another suite with a fairytale four-poster) and it was comfortable and well appointed, with ample seating and space for ballgown, beauty squad and best girls to assemble.
After settling in, we made our way downstairs to the Craigleith restaurant, where regional executive chef Ross Bootland was busy preparing a menu-tasting session for us, which comes as part of the hotel’s current all-inclusive wedding package. The food was sublime yet wedding-friendly (I can’t imagine fussy eaters turning their nose up at free range chicken in woodland mushroom sauce) and is created using ethically-sourced, high-quality ingredients.
Once we had polished off the wedding menu, we were whisked away for serious pampering at the hotel’s soothing spa. The setting is the epitome of escapism: think candlelight, tinkling piano music and the lingering scent of Elemis essential oils. I challenge any bride or groom to sink into a deeper state of relaxation than I did during my full-body massage.
There are plenty of alternative treatments, which you can squeeze in on pre-wedding trips to the hotel for your menu tasting or to show family members around (a couple of pre-prepared excuses for you just in case – you’re welcome!), including a facial and back massage that leaves skin glowing. Spa packages start from £45 per person which includes access to a Relaxation Room – a space to lounge about in to prolong the effects of your treatment – and steam rooms, saunas and a blissful heated indoor/outdoor pool.
The next day, I met with special events executive Leah Herbert to take a tour of the events facilities, which comprise the wooden-panelled Library (for smaller weddings of around 24 guests), the Drawing Room (for gatherings before and after the wedding) and the main Bass Rock Suite (which can cater for up to 150 guests).
Leah has seen a rise in budget-conscious couples marrying mid-week at the hotel, with their guests quite often staying on for a full week to make a holiday of the wedding. In the run up to the wedding, she encourages couples to meet with her and visit the venue as much as possible, to tackle any problems head on. Tying the knot is no longer about one day, she says. We can’t help but agree: at this hotel at least, a mere 24 hours would never be enough.
The Macdonald Marine Hotel’s All Inclusive Wedding Package (£4999 based on 70 day guests and 100 evening guests) includes room hire for the wedding breakfast, red carpet welcome with piper, three-course wedding breakfast, overnight accommodation in the honeymoon suite, special accommodation rates for wedding guests and three-course menu tasting for bride and groom.