Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

How to use this blog

This blog is structured as a series of questions and under each posting, I've provided what I hope will be helpful advice for you in planning your humanist wedding. All of the posts are on one page, but each one has been condensed in size, so to read the full details, just click on the post title or 'read more'. When you get to the end of the post, just click on 'home' to get back to the full page of posts. If you're interested in a particular subject, you can also click on the list to the left or you can do your own search by using the box below.

I've started with a short video clip, so happy watching, happy reading and happy wedding planning!

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Can we get married in a Castle?




Of course you can! A castle wedding can be really special, offering a wonderful sense of history, a romantic atmosphere and often a very picturesque setting. 

There are quite a few lovely castles in this area, of varying sizes and dating back to different times. It depends whether you want something medieval or modern, large or small, grand or rustic. The choice includes:



Stirling Castle
It's very grand of course and wedding ceremonies can be accommodated in the Great Hall, the Chapel Royal or the Queen Anne Gardens.


(photo by Jill Cherry Porter)


Plane Castle
This lovely little castle is situated near Airth and for a smaller wedding, it has a nice rustic and homely feel to it. 
  




Culcreuch Castle
This is in Fintry and one of my favourites. Lovely inside, lovely outside and lovely staff!




Glenskirlie Castle
At Banknock, they do weddings beautifully and it's another of my favourite places to work because of the excellent and very friendly staff. I'm sure they'll make you feel very welcome too - and by the way the food is superb!






Broomhall Castle 
at Menstrie is also a great venue and the staff (Gavin especially!) will really look after you! It has a very relaxed feel to it and I love conducting weddings there:









STOP PRESS: In 2014 Doune Castle was used as a location for the filming of the US TV series 'Outlander' and it may well be used again in the future. That means that there may be periods during the year when they unfortunately won't be able to accept wedding bookings, so please check with Historic Scotland

I happen to be biased because I also live in the village, but I think that Doune castle is very special for a wedding for a number of reasons:
  • It's in a lovely setting for a start, but it's also very convenient for access because it's so close to Stirling and only 5 minutes off the end of the A9.
  • It's an imposing building, but not too grand and formal
  • Given that it dates back to the 14th century, it is remarkably well preserved and unlike some castles, it actually has a roof!
  • There are several different parts of the castle that are suitable for a wedding ceremony - the Great Hall, the Lord's Hall and the kitchen for example:


(Doune Castle, Great Hall)


(Doune Castle, Lord's Hall - photo by Martin Pettinger) 


(Doune Castle, kitchen)


  • The courtyard outside is nicely sheltered and a great place for your photos afterwards


And if the weather isn't so good (as if that would ever be the case in Scotland in the summer lol!) there are lots of lovely spots inside the castle for photos.



(Pictures by Martin Pettinger)


(picture by Jen Owens)

  • Inside the castle feels really special - it's cool, tranquil and atmospheric
  • The acoustics for live music (piper, fiddle or clarsach in particular) are wonderful
  • The wonderful Historic Scotland staff who run the castle are always obliging and helpful
  • For those of you out there who are Monty Python fans, much of the film, 'The Holy Grail' was filmed at the castle! That connection just adds another element of fun to your day - you never know, you might hear the clop of horses hooves during your ceremony! Don't worry if you do because it'll just be the tourists borrowing the coconut shells from the shop to re-enact scenes from the film!

There are a few disadvantages, as there are with any venue:
  • Unlike at Stirling Castle, you can't have your reception there, though you can serve drinks afterwards
  • There's a cobbled path up to the castle and then steps (now renovated) to get into the Great Hall, so any elderly guests or those in stilettos need to take extra care. 
  • There will be other visitors wandering around the castle (though the staff always make sure that the ceremony itself is undisturbed and they do it really well - I've never had a problem!)
  • As with other Historic Scotland properties, candles are sadly now banned, but as this will prevent damage to precious stonework and antique furnishings, you can understand why.
I really can't think of any other disadvantages! It's a great place to get married and a great place for me as a Marriage Celebrant to conduct ceremonies. 



Other Castles in the area include:

Castle Campbell, Dollar






If you decide to book the castle for your big day, you might want to consider the following local venues for your reception afterwards:


The Roman Camp Hotel in Callander
The Dunblane Hydro

Victoria Hall Dunblane
Old Churches House in Dunblane
The Dunmar in Alloa
The Royal Hotel at Bridge of Allan
The Park Lodge in Stirling
The Stirling Highland Hotel
The Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling
The Albert Halls, Stirling

Old Churches House, Dunblane

There are local pubs, hotels and halls that would be suitable for a smaller reception too. And if you're looking for accommodation for you or your guests, there are plenty of B&Bs around. Try:

Glenardoch House in Doune
The Woodside Hotel in Doune

The Red Lion in Doune
The Stable in Doune 
Mackeanston House a couple of miles outside the village
Hillview Cottage a mile or so outside the village

There are quite a few lovely self catering cottages and houses in the area too. For example:

Lochend Chalets at the Lake of Menteith

Kilbryde Castle near Dunblane
The Cardross Estate holiday cottages near Port of Menteith
Nether Glenny Cottages, Port of Menteith

And if you fancy somewhere a bit bigger to accommodate a group of friends and family, try:

Newholme House in Stirling (accommodates 10-12)
Burnside House at Deanston (accommodates 8)
Gargunnock House in Gargunnock (where else?!) which is owned by the Landmark Trust (accommodates 16)
Plane Castle by Airth (accommodates 18)
Altskeith House at Kinlochard (accommodates 22)


This is a lovely area to stay in and Doune is a very central location for exploring the Trossachs. 


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