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26 Jan 2022

A unique wedding at Haddo House

A bride and groom stand kissing on a lawn in front of a grand stately home. A fountain is just behind them. The wind is catching the bride's long veil, blowing it away from her.
Leanne and Dave at Haddo House | Image credit:
‘They even cooked Lily her favourite duck dinner!’ is a lovely quote to hear after a wedding, but possibly even more so when we learn that Lily is a King Charles spaniel! Lily’s owner, bride Leanne, tells us more about the bespoke experience created for her and husband Dave at Haddo House.

‘We didn’t visit anywhere else – we only wanted to get married at Haddo House as it’s where Dave and I met and it’s our favourite place,’ says bride Leanne of the spectacular Georgian mansion in Aberdeenshire. ‘Initially, I didn’t think it would be able to cater to our small guest list of just ten people on an exclusive-use basis. But then I met Fiona at the National Trust for Scotland stand at a wedding fair. After telling her how Dave and I met, she made it her mission to ensure we had the wedding we really wanted. It was such a relief to know we could have our dream venue.’

Leanne and Dave had no particular theme in mind for their wedding day; they simply wanted to enjoy being in such a beautiful place. Their vision for their big day was for it to feel like a garden party that just happened to start with a wedding ceremony. It was also very important for Lily to feel relaxed and included in the proceedings.

Throughout the planning process, Fiona and the National Trust for Scotland wedding team kept in touch and helped where they could with wedding supplier suggestions, for which the couple were very grateful. ‘Despite the pandemic affecting her job, Fiona was always there to email and answer our questions and was unfailingly upbeat and positive, which stopped us from worrying,’ says Leanne. ‘We were also introduced to Rhona, another fabulous co-ordinator, around a month prior to our day, and to Demi the day before the wedding. When we met both of them, every concern we had and every question in our minds was settled.’

“We feel very lucky to have had the team’s support with planning, as nothing was too much trouble.”

The wedding party stayed in a local hotel the night before and then enjoyed exclusive use of the venue from noon until 10pm. ‘The house is simply stunning so we really didn’t need to decorate it,’ recalls Leanne. ‘All we added were a few flowers on the dining table. Apart from that, we let it speak for itself.’

Leanne continues: ‘We were able to choose whatever food we wanted and all dietary requirements were catered for, including that special meal for Lily! We supplied our own drinks so we could make sure everyone had what they really wanted, and the team kept our glasses full. We couldn’t decide on a dessert, so Joyce [the catering manager at Haddo House] made three!

‘There were lots of ways we were able to make the day personal, from taking photos all around the house to make it feel like a home from home, to having a playlist with all our favourite songs as the soundtrack to our day. We were given five-star service, but at the same time allowed to relax in private.’

A bride stands in front of a circular fountain in ornate gardens. Behind her and arranged around the fountain are four bridesmaids, all in pastel coloured dresses. They are jumping and holding their bunches of flowers in the air. They are laughing!
Leanne and her bridesmaids had fun with the wedding photography! | Image credit:

Leanne is very clear about why she and Dave chose to get married at Haddo House: she was won over by Fiona at the wedding fair. ‘She is so full of genuine excitement, a dedicated professional who was more like a friend than our co-ordinator. Her dedication to the National Trust for Scotland, her ability to put you at ease and listen to your every request – I couldn’t commend her more. The rest of the team also deserve high praise, but Fiona was the reason we got married at our dream venue. She made it happen.’

After spending a very special day with their guests, at 9pm Dave and Leanne bade them goodbye and went for a walk around the lake (with Lily in her backpack). Leanne smiles, ‘We were the only ones there and felt like we owned the place, before returning to a chandelier-lit house. It was just perfect.’

A black, brown and white King Charles spaniel sits on the train of a bride's wedding dress. The dog wears a small bunch of flowers, pinned to her collar.
Lily, the star guest | Image credit:

The National Trust for Scotland has a large portfolio of venues all across Scotland. From fairytale castles to country retreats, mountain glens to internationally acclaimed gardens – we have a place you can call your own. Get in touch with our weddings team and we’ll help you find the perfect place.

This article first appeared in Tie the Knot Scotland magazine.

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A bride and groom stand on smooth rocks beside a gushing river. Pine trees grow on the far bank and mountains can be seen in the distance. Image: Hannah K Photography >