Wedding Venues
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Photography Blog by Duncan Holmes

Wedding Venues

It's been a while since I updated my review of wedding venues. I've recently been undertaking a series of bridal themed photoshoots which has given me an insight into a wider range of venues around Scotland.

This country house is exquisitely furnished and equipped for a classic house party, catering is available from a local star chef so you can keep things small and intimate. If you want to invite a wider range of guests then an area has been set up for a marquee next to the house itself, giving you the best of both worlds. Certainly a venue with a lot to offer, but somewhat isolated and maybe not quite so child friendly with all the antique furnishings within the  house itself. Location wise it is perhaps a little further from St Andrews than you might think, though still within shouting distance, also not too far from Dundee.

I was fortunate to shoot at this castle last October. Half ruin and half home it incorporates a beautiful chapel under a heavy stone barrel vault ceiling, a small ante room, a next door function room and the main feasting hall. You basically bring your wedding to the venue, so catering, decor etc. may need arranging yourself. The Balgonie family are on site to provide you with help in planning the day. There's no accommodation here, but nearby towns and villages offer a range of options, and it's not so far that a coach from Edinburgh is out of the question.

Travelling down the M74 from Glasgow and just a couple of minutes from the motorway Springkell offers another unique experience within reach of the big city and nearby Gretna. This stately home is another family home that has one wing converted to provide a large ceremony room, dining room, bar and lounge as well as bedrooms for the bridal party. The venue can accomodate a fairly reasonably sized party and a marquee can be added to keep the evening guests  dry. The venue can arrange everything for you, or you can contact them for more tailored options. The secluded location also provides an ideal venue for couples seeking a bit more privacy for their big day. The main hall has a lovely tiled floor and furnishings and the staircase also offers a nice aspect. The front of the house provides a grand backdrop for photographs too.

Newhall, near Carlops
The house itself is available for very small parties, but most weddings will take place in a grand marquee next to the fairytale walled gardens. The estate also incorporates some holiday cottages that can accomodate the wedding party. It's only a short drive out of Edinburgh into this other worldly secret garden of an estate. Not necessarily high heel friendly though. The trails through the woods on the estate also provide an interesting location for photographs if you want to break out of the garden itself.

A hotel in the old vein offerring a grand ballroom, lounge, restaurants and bar. A small back garden provides a secluded spot for photographs of a bridal couple. Shots towards the hotel from the big lawn are often obscured by parked vehicles so it might be harder for a giant group shot unless shooting towards the foliage.. The hotel's rooms seem well appointed and staff is very attentive. The staircase provides a nice feature for pictures as well.

This old country house at Burnhouse makes for an interesting location. The tree lined avenue up to the hotel belies the modern furnishings and layout inside. An extension provides a modestly sized reception and ceremony area, with easy access to the bar and outside decking for photo moments. The main bridal suite can be divided into two rooms, or left open. Most of the mod cons are available to the guests and the hotel was a recent winner/nominee for the Vows awards, along with their wedding coordinator, Katy.

Another hotel with a welcoming and attentive staff. The staircase offers a few opportunities for indoor shots and the main bridal suite is vast and well appointed. A great location to sneak a few shots. The hotel has a modern extension for the meal and dancing but the main hotel building has a nice cosiness about it which the bridal party would enjoy too. The hotel building itself is quite attractive and there is a view across the fields around the hotel. If you prefer to arrive by helicopter they also have a landing pad!

Another stately home hotel conversion. They have a large modern function room hidden at the back of the main hotel and the downstairs bar and public rooms provide a nice informal gathering place for guests. The main stair case is large and good for medium sized group shots but not for huge groups, though the lighting and decor tends to catch out the unwary with yellowish paint and lighting. The bridal suite is nice, with a view out to the wider world around the Craigsanquhar estate. A tree lined drive also provides a nice location for photos if you get bored of the house itself. Staff were once again professional and attentive and the function room was ample for a good sized wedding party in the evening. It is not too far off the beaten track to St Andrews and has a welcome absence of gold themed memorabilia, which in this neck of the world can be tricky to avoid! 

This year's weddings should see me visting haunts old and new, so a chance to expand my venue reviews.



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