Weddings are one of the most magical experiences a couple can have in their lifetime, so it’s no wonder that so many want to capture the grand romance in a fairytale-like setting. Though this event is only the beginning of a marriage, it’s a celebration that can justifiably warrant exuberance and lavish expression. It’s also a great way to tie in history and cultural significance in an unforgettable way.
Scotland is home to many a wondrous castle, including the royal family’s summer getaway of Balmoral Castle. Though open to the public for guided tours from April to July, this 50,000-acre estate is not licensed for weddings. So, people are not allowed to sing their wedding vows within the hallowed halls of the renowned structure.
Thankfully, there is no short supply of magnificent castles that can still make you feel like a court of nobility on your big day. 77 Diamonds has noted that there are officially no more restrictions to how many people can attend a wedding ceremony or reception post-COVID within the region, so you can safely create an accessible wedding while making your dreams a reality. And if you’re diving into a truly traditional Scottish wedding, what better place to do so than in one of the best palaces and keeps across the country?
Credit – @edinburghcastle on Instagram>
Edinburgh Castle has famously been the image that comes to mind when thinking about Scottish fortresses. It dominates the skyline in quiet reverence, a symbol of the city’s fortitude and carrying hundreds of years of history in its gorgeous architecture. It is often regarded as a well-known attraction for history lovers, but it also glistens as a venue for lovers looking to tie the knot.
Sitting atop Castle Rock and its dormant volcano, the only fires that bubble now are the passions of roaring wedding crowds and newlyweds that want that extra pinch of elegance for their union. The castle only holds weddings from October 1st to May 31st, and it offers four different venues that cater to varied guest capacities or aesthetic preferences. The Queen Anne Building is the largest, with room for 120 ceremony guests or 170 reception guests. More intimate weddings are likely to book St. Margaret’s Chapel, with a capacity of 20 guests.
All venues, apart from the Gatehouse suite, are also wheelchair accessible. The castle itself is already a sight to behold with its intricate design, but the surroundings are also perfect for those much-awaited wedding photos. The Royal Mile is a popular thoroughfare that sees those coming from the castle go down various delightful local shops, interesting museums, and historic buildings.
View this post on Instagram
Credit – @fyviecastle on Instagram
The 15th-century architecture of Fyvie Castle really makes it look like it sprung right out of a storybook. You could easily picture one of Disney’s iconic princesses to stroll about its halls and grounds singing with gentle animals in perfect harmony. From the outside to the interiors, every area looks like a piece of art. It also doesn’t hurt that you see gorgeous work by Batoni, Raeburn, and Gainsborough adorn the walls.
A lot of folklore surrounds Fyvie, which only serves to add to its almost mystical nature. The History Channel does famously refer to the castle as one of the most iconic “haunted” structures across the British territories, but it manages to feel anything but eerie when draped with the stunning ornaments and decor that fill weddings.
There are three main sections that couples can use as a venue for their wedding. The castle itself has reserved areas for the ceremony, dining, and reception. The reception area holds up to 120 guests while the other two can hold up to 110. The Racquets Court, detached from the main castle, can handle a drinks reception and dance or ceilidh for 120 guests. If a couple wants to integrate dining, a maximum of 100 guests is imposed.
Finally, the largest space available is to simply hold the wedding on the grounds itself with the castle as the marvelous backdrop. The open-air option can cater to a marquee wedding with over a thousand guests, with additional setup necessary.
View this post on Instagram
Credit – @dunnottarcastle on Instagram
Couples that are seeking that extra dimension of drama and splendour will likely find the most satisfaction with Dunottar Castle as a wedding venue. Partially in ruins, the huge fortress overlooks the North Sea from a clifftop. All around it, plains of green brush billow in the wind.
The castle claims the line “Once seen, never forgotten.” This can be a fitting tribute to a memorable union that oozes lifelong romance only seen in so few stories. 160 feet below the castle grounds, waves crash all around and make a powerful image that would make any guest gasp in awe.
Once traversed by Mary Queen of Scots herself, the storied castle still feels like a stronghold hundreds of years past its formation. In a poll of thousands of Scotsman readers, Dunottar Castle came out on top among the most-loved Scottish castles. It’s not hard to see why it earned such a place in many people’s hearts. Ceremonies are permitted here between April to September for weather safety, but only a maximum of 15 weddings are held every year. Couples can hold their wedding anywhere on the castle grounds but only a maximum of 25 guests are allowed.
View this post on Instagram
Credit – @drumtochtycastle on Instagram
Drumtochty Castle is one of the most well-regarded castles in terms of wedding venues. The 19th-century structure sits within the hearts of wild woodland and has plenty of room to match different preferences or wedding styles. A wondrous creation of neo-gothic architecture, this is the castle to go to for a union that aims to honour heritage.
To describe the ornate interiors as dreamy may even be an understatement. Ceremonies can either be held at the St. Palladius church on the grounds or within the castle’s rooms, with a popular choice being the Gold Room. As you can gather from the name alone, this room is completely outfitted in classy gold shades, dressed in regality and accommodating natural light with ease. Evening receptions can be held within the Ballroom, which holds up to 120 guests and boasts stunning floor-to-ceiling windows.
The castle also benefits from its location within Aberdeenshire, so it’s only a half-hour drive away from the Silver City itself. There are plenty of amazing sites to see in Aberdeen, so you can truly create a fascinating destination wedding with other activities packed in.
Eilean Donan Castle
Credit – @1eileandonancastle on Instagram>
A list of castles perfect for traditional Scottish weddings cannot be complete without the Eilean Donan Castle. It’s the quintessential representation of picture-perfect construction and scenery, which is why it is often proclaimed as the most photographed castle in the country.
After crossing a bridge, guests are met with a towering 13th-century bastion that sits in the loving embrace of three sea lochs. Just a ten-minute walk from the quaint village of Dornie, it’s a treat to see this by the coast. There are plenty of amazing Scottish places to visit on a cruise, but you simply cannot miss out on Eilean Donan.
For weddings, it’s so perfect because of its drawbridge, surrounding mountains and bodies of water, and the setting of a small island away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. Ceremonies can be held at any time during the closed season, but only happen during the evenings when the castle is open to tourists. The majestic Banquet Hall holds up to 70 guests, making it the go-to for the actual ceremony. Other areas of the castle then make the perfect closeout for bigger receptions and intimate gatherings alike.