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9 Jan 2019

Love is all around

Wedding at Culzean Castle
Michael and Louise at Culzean Castle & Country Park

Whether your dream wedding is grand and sumptuous, intimate and relaxed, civil or religious, we offer a wealth of romantic venues across Scotland for couples to tie the knot.

From grand castles, royal hunting lodges and beautiful stately homes to more unusual settings like the medieval Brig o’ Doon in Alloway, there’s a wide variety of stylish spaces, steeped in history and heritage, in which you can make your vows.

We promise that you’ll be able to find your perfect spot among our internationally acclaimed gardens, thousands of hectares of wild landscapes, and dozens of unique and unusual properties – just like Chris and Allan, and Michael and Louise.

Chris Whitehead and Allan Auld married at the Georgian House in Edinburgh:

Chris Whitehead and Allan Auld, married at the Georgian House

It was our 10th anniversary and we were sat in the Luton Hoo Hotel in Bedfordshire enjoying an extravagant Sunday lunch to mark the occasion’ said Chris.

As I sipped my gin & tonic and looked at Allan across the table, I just casually said what I was thinking at that precise moment: “I think we should get married”. He agreed and that is the story of our engagement – simple but from the heart.

We immediately started thinking about venues, as we wanted to secure our date as soon as possible. Originally, we were set on a church wedding but weren’t aware of the restrictions on same-sex couples: there is currently only one church in the UK that facilitates same-sex religious weddings.

Luckily, we happened to know a vicar – Reverend Oliver Brewer-Lennon – who is part of the Scottish Episcopal Church and offered to conduct the service for us. So, we moved on to looking for a private venue and that’s when we came across the Georgian House.

“It was the right size – we were only having 40 guests – warm and welcoming, had a superb central location, and was grand but not too fancy. It was perfect, and we fell in love with it right away.”
Chris Whitehead and Allan Auld, married at the Georgian House

‘As we walked in to speak to the venue wedding planner, Sheonagh from the National Trust for Scotland, I felt slightly nervous: being a same-sex couple you never really know how people will react, but everyone was very accepting. I remember saying to Sheonagh: “Just to check, you know that it is the two of us that are getting married and not someone else?”. She laughed, we laughed, and she very casually said “well of course”, then we moved on to the next topic. It was at that point that I knew the Georgian House team and venue was right for us.

‘We had our wedding on 19 May 2018 and it was perfect in every way. I’d recommend the Georgian House to any couple: it is magnificently adaptable, exudes grandeur and transports you into another world. But in fact, I’m sure all the National Trust for Scotland’s wedding venues are steeped in Scotland’s rich and vibrant history, providing an experience that is unforgettable.’

Michael and Louise Morran married at Culzean Castle & Country Park in South Ayrshire:

Michael and Louise Morran, married at Culzean Castle & Country Park

‘On a late summer evening in Birmingham, we met in a jam-packed bar where we both just happened to have stopped with our respective friends. Little did we know that five years later from that very day – Sunday 26 August 2018 – we would be getting married’, said Louise.

‘We live in Cheltenham, England, but Michael was born and bred in Scotland. We got engaged when we were up visiting his family for Christmas 2017. Michael surprised me in the most beautiful way.’ Michael interrupted: ‘Yes, but she almost ruined everything! I’d wrapped up a card which I quickly stopped her from opening and asked her to save it for the end. By the time she got to it and read “Merry Christmas, to my Fiancé” I was behind her on one knee with a ring in my hand. It really was such a special moment.’

Being up in Scotland with Michael’s family, the newly engaged pair couldn’t wait to start wedding planning. Louise said: ‘Michael has a big family, so we knew Scotland was where we were going to tie the knot. We had fallen in love with the iconic Culzean Castle & Country Park on previous trips and, when asked about venues, we instantly recalled its beauty.

‘We were meant to be heading back down south after New Year, but we couldn’t leave without a quick visit. The wedding planning team at Culzean were terrific and managed to fit us in before we jetted home. After only moments of being there, it was decided: Culzean Castle was the venue for us. Rising majestically from the Ayrshire clifftops set in a large country park, Culzean is so much more than a castle and quite honestly we couldn’t have imagined getting married anywhere else.’

Michael and Louise Morran, married at Culzean Castle & Country Park

‘Helen and Donna from the National Trust for Scotland were amazing from start to finish. We knew that planning a wedding from the other side of the country wasn’t going to be easy, but because of them, it was as if we were right next door. At Culzean, we were made to feel that our wedding was one of a kind and not just a package deal.

Michael added: ‘Everything from the ceremony to the accommodation was flawless. The ceremony room was completely circular and had panoramic views looking out towards the stormy sea. It was a typically dreich Scottish day, but that just made it even more magical and enchanting for us.

‘We even got to stay in the castle, following the wedding in the Eisenhower suite located on the top floor. The suite compromises six rooms, each embellished with opulent Georgian décor with a different view of the Ayrshire coastline from every window – it was the most majestic end to a charming day.’

Louise laughed: ‘I won’t forget the looks on the faces of our guests, especially those that are from England. For many people it was their first time in Scotland and it’s fair to say the venue was a crowd pleaser – everyone was completely in awe of the place.’

“With its idyllic views, sublime setting and enamour - Culzean is so much more than a castle. We would recommend it to any couple planning their special day.”
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