Rich’s 5 favourite wedding venues in Scotland

If you’re still in the process of choosing the venue for your wedding, it can be very difficult to pick the best option out of the thousands of choices.

I realise that I’m one of many people doing a “top 5 wedding venues” list, but as a wedding bagpiper I get to see both the front-facing and the behind-the-scenes sides of each venue.

I’ve selected these venues based on two things – location and uniqueness. They’re in no particular order, merely listed here as a means to recommend them to anyone who needs some guidance.

So here we go, here are my 5 favourite wedding venues in Scotland.

The Signet Library, Edinburgh

Right in the heart of the capital’s Old Town, this stunning venue sits nestled between the Supreme Courts and the Registrar’s Office, tucked behind St Giles cathedral towards the top of the Royal Mile.

Signet Library Lower

Lower Library

Signet Library Upper

Upper Library.

 

To see it from the outside, you wouldn’t immediately assume it was a luxury events venue, nor would you appreciate just how fantastic it is inside. Once you enter the unassuming doors to the library, be prepared to be astonished by the two gigantic and lavishly decorated Upper and Lower libraries that sprawl seemingly into eternity.

The venue is actually a Scottish solicitor’s library and is home to the WS Society, and one of its many charms is that all of the books are beautifully displayed in neatly arranged stacks around the libraries.

Complete with hidden doorways, grand stairwells and stunning portraits of important figures of times gone by, the building is reminiscent of Hogwart’s from Harry Potter (perhaps J.K. drew some inspiration from this building?)

The location of the venue is an absolute treat and certainly provides a plethora of backdrops for photographs both inside and outside the venue. With the beauty of the Royal Mile right outside and a wide selection of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks within a short walking distance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were having your pictures taken as part of a wedding magazine shoot and not just a civilian wedding!

However, be prepared to be the focal point for Edinburgh’s hordes of tourists who are keen to snap a photo of you on your big day as the front door leads right into the city’s main tourist thoroughfare!

The army of staff are extremely attentive, friendly and helpful, and will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure your day runs like clockwork.

Find out what I can do on your big day > 

St. Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow

This 18th century former church in the eastern end of Glasgow’s Merchant City area sits in the centre of a large town square, and is now a multi-use events venue. It’s a hop, skip and a jump away from both Glasgow Green and the city centre’s main attractions.

Conveniently, should you find yourself in the unlikely situation that you need to acquire a last-minute bridal gown, then Karen Elizabeth Bridal is right next door to the venue.

Wedding venue Glasgow

The interior of St Andrew’s in the Square

Being as it’s an old church, it has a very large open space inside with a second tier spanning around three sides of the building. It has a grand staircase that leads up to its front doors, which are covered by the impressive pediment that sits atop giant columns.

The interior is as you’d expect from a former church; grand, lavish and cavernous.The roof is supported by giant columns, and the church’s many windows spill daylight into the central space.

What I especially appreciate about this venue is that everything is comfortably contained within its footprint, and there’s plenty of space for people to move to in between proceedings. Some venues are limited in space and when there’s a lot of guests it can often feel like they’re all living in one another’s pockets, but not here.

Up on the second tier, there’s ample space for a bar, a candy cart and any other sugar-based attraction you may want at your wedding, leaving plenty of space downstairs for the staff to rearrange the room ready for your evening meal.

Located in the venue’s basement is Cafe Source, which serves food, drink and coffees, and is well isolated from the hullaballoo upstairs. As a large cavernous space it does get quite noisy with lots of people, but that certainly adds to the venue’s atmosphere.

On a personal note, as a wedding bagpiper, it’s always great to play in a venue with acoustics that really resonate the sound of my instrument!

Find out what I can do on your big day > 

Cardy Net House, Lower Largo, Fife

This venue is tucked away on the east Fife coastline and overlooks the beautiful Largo bay. From this building you are literally a stone’s throw away from miles of beach. The building is a refurbished fishing net factory and has subsequently been converted into a multi-use venue whilst retaining every inch of its industrial charm.

Cardy Net House, Largo

On sunny days at the Cardy Net House it’s advisable to wear shades lest you look displeased…

Its south-facing patio doors and balcony offer a wide view of the surrounding areas and across the Firth of Forth into Lothian. It also has a large grassy garden space alongside its lengthy tree-lined driveway which is fantastic for outdoor ceremonies. Of course, given its proximity to the beach, it’s also ideal for a beach ceremony on sunny days.

What makes this venue especially unique is that it’s not a wedding venue per se, but is a multi-purpose residential venue with a very large open area inside including a large kitchen space. This makes it an ideal place for couples looking to have a more relaxed wedding and take care of all the catering aspects themselves.

The venue is also equipped with several bedrooms for various guests and the couple to stay in. In addition, given its relative detachment from the neighbours, it can comfortably enable the party to continue well into the wee hours (within reason!).

Even better, the venue has a free public car park right beside it, so there’s no shortage of parking for your evening guests, though I can’t speak so confidently about the day-time!

Find out what I can do on your big day > 

The Inn at Lathones, near St Andrews, Fife

This adorable little venue is an old coaching inn on the route between St Andrews and Largoward in Fife. The venue makes full use of its collection of buildings on the site, and has retained the character of its roots.

Equipped with modern-day apartments around the perimeter of the building, the older thatched-roof buildings of the Inn contain a small restaurant/bar and the event space in its old stables at its centrepiece, resplendent with real fireplaces which are perfect during winter weddings. It really does have a lot of cosy charm and is evocative of the pub from Burns’ Tam O’Shanter.

This is unfortunately the best photo I have.

This is unfortunately the best photo I have.

Unlike the other venues listed here, this is a better venue for smaller, more intimate weddings.

As the main buildings date back quite some years, there’s not a lot of space to move in and around the main building complex. The doorways are narrow and short, and as a bagpiper I certainly have to limbo to fit below the doors. That said, it’s a small price to pay for what is a stunning little venue.

As it’s also in the centre of north-east Fife’s farming land, it makes for stunning photo opportunities with miles of open countryside providing a fantastic backdrop. With Largo Law and the Lomond Hills off in the south-west, and the hills behind St Andrews in the north-east, you really are spoiled for choice. That said, on the less clement days, the interior of the venue has unlimited options for photo locations.

Find out what I can do on your big day > 

The Byre at Inchyra, near Perth

Another larger venue, this refurbished byre at the rear of Inchyra House in Perthshire is just exquisite. Tucked away along a lengthy tree-lined driveway in the hills overlooking the River Tay, this venue is a very short distance from the bustling A90 but is completely secluded and tranquil. As you approach the venue you pass small fields and grazing paddocks with various livestock, including some very friendly horses that are keen to see what all the fuss is about.

Reaching out from either side of the grounds of this Georgian mansion are acres of stunning green countryside, well-kept gardens and a plethora of visually stunning photo locations. To the side of the mansion is a contemplation garden, which is guarded by a wicker archway and looks like the entrance to the Secret Garden.

Rich at Inchyra House

Me in front of Inchyra House in September 2014. Image courtesy of Angus Findlay Photography and Design

The interior of the Byre during a concert performance. Not the best photo.

The interior of the Byre during a concert performance. Not the best photo.

Home to the Inchyra Arts Club, this state-of-the-art performance venue plays host to multiple events year in, year out, including weddings. The building is an impressive blend of old rural country life and modern equipment, featuring a modern well-furnished kitchen, dressing rooms, professional audio and lighting equipment and a beautiful interior decor that seamlessly melds old and new together.

The Byre's main doorway. Although the wooden doors are closed on it, there are two large glass doors that spill natural light into the room.

The Byre’s main doorway. Although the wooden doors are closed on it, there are two large glass doors that spill natural light into the room.

Rich at the Byre at Inchyra

Me performing outside the Byre at Inchyra, July 2014. Image courtesy of Crieff Photography.

The interior is beautifully fitted with bare-stone walls, exposed timber roofing and stone flooring. The tables are large solid wood pieces that hark back to mediaeval banquets, whilst the large byre doorway on the front spills natural light through the modern glass doors that cover it.

In addition to the venue’s many credentials, couples also have the option of spending the night in the refurbished servants’ cottages, which sit immediately across from the Byre itself in the shadow of the mansion itself.

So there you have it, my 5 favourite wedding venues in Scotland. I hope this has been helpful to you!

 

Find out what I can do on your big day > 

Until a little later,

 

Rich

 

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