Summer’s gone and the temperature is falling, but we’re looking forward to cosy nights in, Eskimo kisses and exchanging vows by the fire
Winter’s not coming – it’s already here. No offence to the Starks, but we’re actually pretty excited about it – the roaring fires, the toasting marshmallows and the excuse (not that we need one) to snuggle up with our beloved. Summer has always been the most popular season for a sunny w-day, but there are lots of advantages to tying the knot when the temperature drops. You’ll score the best deals for a start, and there’s a big incentive to indulge in the most decadent food and drink you can imagine.
“As beautiful in winter as it is in summer, Cameron House offers an idyllic backdrop to your perfect day,” comments the venue’s Gabrielle Roscamp. “Set on the banks of the loch, the five-star resort is surrounded by snow-capped hills and frosted waters during the colder months.” If the award-winning venue catches your eye, you’ll benefit from being able to take up the winter wedding package. “You’ll save 20%, meaning from £89 per person you’ll enjoy a three-course wedding breakfast, a piper to welcome guests, a master of ceremonies, evening buffet, stunning suite with views of the loch for the bride and groom, and much more,” adds Gabrielle.
If you’ve ever set foot in Achnagairn Castle, chances are you’ve fallen madly in love with the grand fireplace that sits proudly at the top end of the vaulted ballroom. Couples from far and wide have exchanged their vows right here at the Inverness-shire venue, many of them because they too adored the wonderfully romantic backdrop it creates – come rain, hail or shine. The ballroom is already festooned with hundreds of fairy lights, filling the space with a golden glow, but you could make the place even more bewitching by dotting candles around.
For Winton Castle, snow-dusted weddings are nothing new – the romantic Scottish Renaissance castle has previously hosted several Christmas weddings. Opt to tie the knot here Nov-Feb and you’ll be “greeted at the front door by glowing fire pits, and inside by roaring fires and the friendly Winton team,” says the venue’s Christopher Lamotte. Winton’s winter wedding package extends beyond November and December into January and February 2018, when couples can invite between 80 and 120 guests to enjoy a complete Scottish wedding for just £9,500.
When the weather takes a turn for the worse and the days and nights become colder, nothing quite beats a cosy day and night indoors with your loved ones. If this sounds up your street, the decadent interiors of Prestonfield, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, are just the ticket. Rich and theatrical red furnishings will envelop you in a warming hug. The lavish looks are complemented by the tempting seasonal menus available. Morel consommé with thyme gnocchi followed by venison with smoked garlic velouté, spinach and pickled rhubarb sounds deliciously wintry.
It can be tricky to keep warm in the winter without piling on the layers. Thankfully, at Aikwood Tower, you’ll feel as snug as a bug in a rug, as Vicki Steel at the Borders venue explains: “The big fires within our huge stone walls, lots of twinkling lights and candles, and the furs on the floors in all our bedrooms and Great Hall all lend themselves to creating a wonderful cosy feel for a wedding.” Aikwood Tower offers a tree and decorations for the December’s bookings, and your guests can enjoy hot gin punch while you have your pictures taken.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
It’s not just the Christmas market in Princes Street Gardens that brings people to our country’s capital city in winter. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is also a draw. Bethany Hunter, senior wedding planner at the venue explains: “The Royal Botanic Garden offers a variety of memorable venues, with the manicured garden providing you with a tranquil and peaceful backdrop for your big day.” Take advantage of the venue’s seasonal package, where you and your guests can enjoy a three-course menu as well as benefit from exclusive use of the Caledonian Hall and Pavilion.
Deep in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Caves is an enchanting spot. Though perfect for a wedding whatever the weather, the underground grotto really comes into its own during the colder months of the year. “In the winter, The Caves provides a magical and welcoming historical backdrop with its many flickering candles, twinkling fairy lights and state-of-the-art in-house LED lighting,” explains Caroline Gray at the venue. And it’s not just the surroundings that score points: “From mulled wine to hog roast banquets, our menus offer plenty of options for a warming winter wedding,” she adds.
Rustic and picturesque, Bogbain Farm offers brides and grooms a quintessential barn option in the Highlands.
“Our award-winning venue is set in the rolling hills of the Inverness-shire countryside overlooking the city of Inverness, the Moray Firth and onto Ben Wyvis,” says the venue’s director, Jo De Sylva.
In the Highlands, you’re almost guaranteed a flurry of snow in the winter months, so you can bet your bustle that you’ll snag amazing pictures against white-clad hills.
And if you begin to feel the chill? “We light our big wood-burning stoves for guests to congregate round during winter weddings,” adds Jo.
Mercure Inverness Hotel
If you’re keen on marrying at the Mercure Inverness Hotel in November, December or January, you’re in for a treat. The wedding team offer couples the option of booking the venue’s White Diamond package, which gives you and 40 day guests an event to remember. You’ll get mulled wine, the idiosyncratic winter tipple, on arrival, plus a three-course meal, a glass of wine to wash it down with, sparkling wine for the toasts, an evening buffet for 60, a DJ, photo booth and Gatsby-themed party buckets for the night, all for £3,000.
Rosslea Hall Hotel
For a venue like Rosslea Hall Hotel, winter is one of the most romantic times of year to tie the knot. And if you really want to mark the date, you can exchange vows on Christmas Eve, Hogmanay or New Year’s Day! If you’d rather keep your wedding separate, there’s the option to marry at the Helensburgh venue in November to January and benefit from the Winter Wonderland package. You’ll get the opportunity to ride in a horse-drawn carriage and wear a striking white cloak to continue the theme, with your ceremony and reception room decorated in true festive style. There are many other benefits, but the cherry on the cake has to be the snow machine!
Inglewood House and Spa
“As soon as you set eyes on Inglewood House, you know you have arrived somewhere special,” confirms Steven Campbell of the venue near Stirling. If it’s chilly outside, step indoors and you’ll be enveloped in the warmth and staggering beauty of the Jacobean mansion house. “During the winter months, our roaring log fires and rich wood panelling create a convivial and cosy atmosphere for your wedding,” he continues. There’s the option to bring your ceremony and evening reception forward to make the most of winter daylight giving you more time to celebrate.