Getting married in a Scottish castle sounds like a great idea for many couples – especially those who choose to travel from overseas to get married in Scotland.
Finding a castle to get married in, or knowing how to plan it out, can be hard work though – which is where I can help!
Scotland has beautiful castles all over the country – many are still inhabited, many are tourist destinations – and some are in a state of ruin, but still a great place to come to visit. Finding the right castle to get married in can be hard work, but you should find some good recommendations on my list of top ten castles in Scotland to get married at below.
I’ve provided a few links to some wedding planners that I’ve worked with in the past. They’ll be happy to help lift some of the administrative burden of doing the paperwork required to get married in a Scottish castle.
I’ve also included some information on my wedding photography services – so if you are coming to Scotland, you’ll have great memories to take home with you!
First off – a quick overview to some of the things you may want to consider when planning your wedding, elopement or photo session in Scotland.
Many castles are privately owned
Many castles in Scotland are privately owned – so while it might seem like a great idea to get married in a Scottish castle, finding the right one can be hard work. Some castles are open to the public but usually by some form of special arrangement, or in certain timetables.
Many castles will allow you to get married or use the castle and grounds for a ceremony – but you’d need to arrange permission first. The rules are a little different depending on where you would like to go or what castle you would like to visit – get in touch for more information.
Some of them are really busy with tourists and can be hard places to get married at
Many of the castles that are great to visit are also some of the busiest tourist locations in Scotland.
Some castles can be booked for exclusive use either in part or in whole, such as Eilean Donan castle.
You’ll find that some castles are swamped with tourists – so while they may look beautiful, it can be hard to find the visual space to work with. We’d definitely recommend visiting some of these castles as a tourist – but finding somewhere else to have a ceremony and celebration with a little more privacy.
Some Scottish Castles are beautiful buildings in beautiful locations – but they aren’t always practical
There are a couple of modern castles in Scotland – but they probably aren’t the reason you want to be in a castle!
A lot of the older castles can be a little harder to get to, partly because they were designed to be a place of refuge and defence! Dunnotar Castle, for example, requires a steep climb down a cliff and back up in order to get to the castle. The private chapel can be a great place for a ceremony – but as it’s without a roof, you’d do well to have an umbrella to hand!
Getting Married in a Scottish castle can be expensive – but it doesn’t have to be
Usually having pictures taken at a Scottish castle would require getting permission from the owner or those who manage the castle and its grounds. With some locations, it is possible to shoot images with the castle in the background of your shots. This would normally vary by location – and sometimes with each season – but I’d be happy to offer more info on some of the castles that I photograph at more frequently.
Which castles would I recommend for getting married at?
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan is one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland and, with its proximity to the Isle of Skye, it’s also one of the most popular. The castle is available to book for exclusive use, although this is usually restricted by the opening times in tourist season.
There are also a few locations nearby that allow you to photograph with Eilean Donan in the background, away from the crowds of tourists.
If you’re looking to get married in a Scottish Castle, Eilean Donan is likely to be at top of your list!
Dunvegan Castle – Isle of Skye
Dunvegan is a beautiful venue, and the ideal place for a couple who want to mix the best of a unique castle environment with the rugged and beautiful landscape of the Isle of Skye.
Murthly Castle hosts just 12 weddings a year, making it a particularly special place for a couple who are looking for the most intimate of venues.
With beautiful grounds, including space for a marquee and a private walled garden, Murthly holds a lot of charm and special places for wedding photos. The crowning jewel of Murthly Castle has to be the private chapel, with a beautiful ornate interior.
Dunnotar Castle is located in Aberdeenshire and is a beautiful, large castle set on a cliff side. It is possible to get married at Dunnotar, although they usually only provide access to a restricted section of the castle, with the remainder open to the public.
Dairsie Castle is available to rent on Airbnb, and is a great space to bring together a small group of family and friends for a wedding in a Scottish castle.
Being located in Fife, Dairsie Castle is also a great location for a bride or groom who would like to make the most of a few rounds of golf at nearby St Andrews.
Dalhousie Castle is located in Midlothian, a short drive from Edinburgh. The castle provides a full hotel service, including the ability to get married in its private chapel space.
Culzean Castle is located on the Ayrshire coast and benefits from a large estate and a coastal location. The onsite orangery is a fantastic venue for small weddings – ensuring lots of light, and a protection against the Scottish weather all year round.
The Eisenhower Suite at the top of the castle is hired out for private use – with a range of guest rooms, lounge and dining spaces available to enjoy a real castle experience!
Although it’s more of a tower than a castle, Aikwood makes for a great space for anyone who would like to get married in a Scottish castle.
Beautifully renovated and furnished inside, Aikwood offers a great balance of comfortable space and old castle charm. The only bad thing about it is you won’t want to leave!
Located on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and with a view towards the Forth Bridges, Dundas Castle is one of Scotland’s premier wedding venues.
Beautiful grounds and an array of rooms make for a unique castle experience, with a small private chapel also available to host your ceremony.
Another beautiful castle that features an abundance of indoor space (ideal for planning around Scottish weather) and a small secluded private chapel in the grounds.
Blair Castle is located in Perthshire, en route to the Scottish Highlands. It features an impressive array of decor – including medieval weaponry adorning its walls, along with a huge collection of stags heads.
Fyvie has a range of spaces available within the castle, or the castle grounds, in which you can hold your ceremony or arrange to have some photographs taken.
Nestled in the heartlands of Scotland, Forter is well located to be within easy reach of the Central Belt of Scotland – or the Highlands and Islands.
Balmoral is one of the most impressive castles in Scotland – most notably because it’s still in use as the Scottish holiday home of the Royal Family – quite the claim to fame for those who want to mark their wedding day by getting married in a scottish castle!
While you can’t get married in the castle itself, you can get married in The Pipers Hall, or make use of the beautiful neighbouring Crathie Kirk (the Queen’s church) and head onto the surrounding castle grounds for photographs.
Other castles you might want to check out:
Castles that it’s hard to get married at – but are definitely worth visiting:
Edinburgh and Stirling Castle are both located in the middle of the cities whose names they bear. Popular with tourists all year round, it is possible to get married here – but you can expect to have quite a crowd of tourists hoping to join you – especially if you hire a piper!
Urquhart Castle is on the banks of Loch Ness – not far from Inverness. As one of the busiest tourist attractions in the Highlands, the castle is always busy, especially in the summer season. It used to be possible to hire part of the castle for weddings, but I believe they are no longer offering the service.
And some other castles that you may want to consider:
Get help with your plans – find a Scottish Wedding Planner to help you get married in a Scottish Castle
Planning a wedding in Scotland can be hard work – so having some help on hand from people who know the landscape (and the paperwork!) can be a great help.
Catrina Duthie is a wedding planner based near Glasgow in the central belt of Scotland. She works with couples from all over the world who are planning to get married in Scotland and would love to work with you too!
Emma is the owner of Timeless White – a wedding planning service based in Aberdeenshire and working with clients at weddings all over Scotland.
I’ve worked with both Emma and Catrina recently – which is why they are recommended here!
About the author
I am a photographer based in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. I shoot a range of subjects, but specialise in working with clients who are coming from overseas to visit Scotland. I also travel frequently each year – normally to the USA or South East Asia – and usually always with my camera.
You can view some of my Scottish wedding and elopement work here, or use the main menu to access my other photography galleries.
Got questions? Send me an e-mail – I’d love to hear from you.