Jennifer MacDonald


Castle wedding in Aberdeenshire

My Journal

Dunnoter castle. Ruin castle perched ontop of a cliff in Aberdeenshire

Let’s talk about castles!

So, you are planning a wedding in Aberdeenshire and want a castle? Well Aberdeenshire is a beautiful part of Scotland with an abundance of castles. Fun history fact – The county was once home to the ancient Pictish kingdom of Fortriu and there are hundreds of castles to choose from!!

A castle offers a unique location and make the most incredible wedding photographs! I had a castle wedding in Aberdeenshire so I’m bias. I’ll explore some of the reasons why you should choose a castle wedding, some of my favourite castles. Plus I’ll share some tips on how to make sure your day runs smoothly.

At the end of the post you’ll find links to my favourite castles as well as my favourite vendors I love to use in Aberdeen and around Scotland.

Bride dancing at wedding with a DJ

Reasons to have a castle wedding!

  1. A castle wedding in Aberdeenshire especially, are becoming increasingly popular across Scotland, as couples like you want to make the day unique. There are many reasons why you might choose a castle wedding such as the location, history and flexibility a castle can offer. Most people find they can’t resist the allure of these historical buildings.

2. A castle is so often filled with so much character, history, antiques, cool stuff haha!!! which makes it very special for your wedding Some castles you can rent out for a number of days. This is great so that guests can stay on the location. You don’t need to worry about bussing guests all over the city! Everything is in one location, ceremony, food, dancing, singing and you can be as LOUD as you like, as there is no one around!! This is great if you are planning fireworks or a loud band! 

3. If you’re looking for a unique castle wedding experience, it’s definitely worth considering, in Aberdeenshire alone there are over 200+ castles!! Options ranging from medieval ruins to modern day luxury. The possibility of what you can do is endless.

However, there are some things to consider before booking your venue: will the venue have enough space? You’ll need tables and chairs, but also somewhere for guests to sit down while they’re waiting for their food. Is it possible to get married in an outdoor spot without having rain spoil the day? Are there any restrictions on what kind of decorations can be used inside or outside the castle grounds? Do you need a separate caterer or is it supplied in house. You need to consider all of these options and weigh up the different costs.

Engagement photo of couple at Dunnotter Castle in Aberdeenshire

1. Ceremony at a castle

Quite a few castles have their own chapels you can use, or a beautiful drawing room, or often a stunning garden for a summer outdoor ceremony. Saying I-do surrounded by beauty and history can definitely make for a unique ceremony. Bonus of having your ceremony in the castle is most of the houses have historical artefacts so you don’t need to dress the location the surrounding can add to the dramatic nature of your ceremony. This is a picture of me St St palladius church in Drumtochty.

black and white Wedding photo at wedding ceremony at Drumtochty Castle in Aberdeenshire

2. Activities for your guests.

With such a big day, it’s important to ensure that your guests are entertained. It’s always good to have some canapes for them to snack on!!

But what’s also fun is:

  • A photo booth with props (always a fan favourite plus comes included with most of my big packages)
  • Face painting or balloon animals for the kids.
  • Ice cream van on a hot day
  • Giant lawn games like jenga or ring toss

3. Getting the best wedding photography.

I always recommend having an engagement shoot prior to your wedding, if that isn’t possible that’s ok! But it’s a great way to become more relaxed infront of the camera so you don’t need to worry about it on the day. But we can also have a zoom or FaceTime chat. Go for a coffee/wine 😉 haha. GET to KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAHER!! That is Key! This means that both you and your photographer will know each other a little more. You will be so much more relaxed and confident. Make sure you’ve made a list of what’s important to you to capture on your day so nothing is missed! If you want to read more on photography I wrote a blog post here about wedding timelines which my couples love

4. Weather.

Summer is mostly great in Scotland, but be sure to check the weather for that time of year, being in Aberdeenshire or more specifically Scotland rain is so unpredictable and as a result, annoying. Click the link below for the weather history for that time of year.

You can search historical data and find out what day will have the least amount of rain. BUT…. don’t worry if it rains, if you are planning a castle wedding in Aberdeenshire they’re are so many indoor spots to have your wedding photos! So basically do not stress!!

5. Light.

If you are planning on getting married outdoors, pleas check the sunrise and sunset time to see when you have optimum light to take wedding photos outdoors. In Aberdeenshire you the benefit of light being almost 24hrs! When I stay late at your wedding I sometimes take you out around 10pm for that twilight romantic light. It’s stunning!!!

MY FAVOURITE CASTLES (Finally get to the good stuff!)

black and white Wedding photo at wedding ceremony at Drumtochty Castle in Aberdeenshire

Drumtochty Castle

OK so this one is a little biassed…. I got married here! My husband and I wanted a venue that people could stay at. I wanted somewhere that everyone could relax and spend time together. This castle is located in auchenblae, Aberdeenshire and is rated the no 1 wedding venue.

We had 3 glorious days at Drumtochty Castle, the day before, the day of and the morning the day after. It has a beautiful chapel St Palladius, and we could bring our own minister. There is so much space and I also hired my favourite ceilidh band bahookie as dancing was key for me! I also wanted somewhere that was disabled and wheelchair friendly for my grandmother. It wasn’t 100% accessible but it was the best overall! Immerse yourself in the magic of Drumtochty castle, experience the atmospheric surroundings, majestic interiors and breath taking views.

Photo of Drum Castle outisde where a wedding could happen

Drum Castle

Located in Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, Drum castle can also be a fantastic place to have an elopement style wedding. Within the castle, the beautifully restored Library is an elegant setting for all styles of religious and non religious ceremonies. In addition, nestling in the grounds and surrounded by remnants of the ancient oak forest, Drum’s 16th-century chapel is available for religious ceremonies as well.

During spring and summer, the Garden of Historic Roses is a feast for the senses: a kaleidoscope of colour, and sweet with the scent of flowers from around the world. This is a wonderfully romantic setting for alfresco weddings, wedding photography, drinks receptions or a relaxing stroll before being seated for the wedding breakfast in the castle’s richly appointed Dining Room.

For larger wedding receptions, you can hire a marquee which can be erected in the grounds.

Crathes castle photo

Crathes Castle

An idyllic Scottish castle wedding venue

What could be more romantic than spending your wedding day surrounded by winding staircases, turrets and towers, all set in manicured grounds with an enchanting walled garden?

Exchange your vows in the Golden Garden with the castle as a backdrop, or in the castle’s Great Hall itself, with delightful views over the walled garden. The opportunities for amazing wedding photography are almost endless here! Afterwards, sip champagne as you enjoy a game of croquet or tour of the castle before being piped to dinner in the Great Hall or Horsemill.

For larger weddings, a marquee can be erected in the grounds.

Engagement photo of couple at Dunnotter Castle

Dunnotter Castle

What a place! Dating back to 900AD , it’s famous for saving the crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell in 1650’s. Ok I won’t go on and on about history but it’s fantastic. A breath-taking and stunningly unique setting for the most memorable of days, Dunnottar Castle is an idyllic and enchanting venue to host your wedding ceremony. The most wildly romantic setting, the stunning clifftop views and iconic ruined castle creates a magical location for your precious occasion.

From the curved archway of the Smithy to the charming chapel, using the ruin as a backdrop or head down to the beach with the fabulous ominous clifftops! Wedding ceremonies can be conducted in any location within the Castle grounds.  The spectacular views across the North Sea and the historical ruins create an exceptional setting for wedding photography, creating the most magical moments!

William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II, all graced the Castle with their presence.

Castle Fraser

Regarded as one of Scotland’s grandest tower houses, Castle Fraser offers peace and tranquillity amid over 120 hectares of beautiful gardens and open woodland. Situated south of the River Don in Aberdeenshire, this spectacular castle spot for a wedding is also only 20 minutes to Aberdeen.

A beautiful stone spiral staircase leads you in, the Great Hall is the principal room used for celebrations within the castle. With high ceilings, this bright and spacious room enjoys natural light from three large south-facing windows and accommodates up to 70 guests. For more intimate weddings, the castle has a variety of options available.

Outside, the secluded walled garden offers a beautiful setting for your wedding photography and alfresco dining.

For larger weddings, a marquee can be erected on the east lawn, with the castle providing a spectacular backdrop, particularly when floodlit in the evening.

Whether your dream wedding is grand and sumptuous, intimate and relaxed, religious, civil or humanist, we guarantee outstanding service and memories you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Photo of Fyvie Castle location where a wedding marquee to be placed

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie caslte holds significant memories for my family. My grandmothers aunt used to live in the cottages on the estate, and her brother used to work here. This place holds a sentimental spot within my family. I have to take at least one trip to Fyvie every year.

A Fyvie Castle wedding in Aberdeenshire would definately be picturesque and fairytale like. Adorned with masterpieces by Raeburn, Gainsborough and Batoni, the castle’s elegant gallery and interconnecting drawing room provide a glorious setting for drinks receptions, ceremonies and wedding breakfasts.

From the castle, a short stroll through the grounds leads to the racquets court, a glass-roofed pavilion with a sprung dance floor, perfect for ceilidhs and evening receptions. Even the vegetable garden in summer would make some beautiful wedding photos.

For larger weddings, you can hire a marquee to be erected on the south lawn, with the castle providing a spectacular backdrop, particularly when floodlit in the evening.

It almost goes without saying that the opportunities for stunning wedding photography are endless!

Photo of Cragievar Castle backdrop for wedding photos

Craigievar Castle

If fairytales were real, all castles would look like Craigievar! This elegant pink tower is spellbindingly beautiful, sure to enchant you and your guests alike. You and your partner will feel like royalty on your dream wedding day. Walt Disney used Craigievar as inspiration for Disney’s cinderella castle. So if that’s not fairytale like I don’t know what is!

My only issue with Craigievar os, as stunning as it is for a ceremony you do then need to bus people for a reception, but as far as I’m aware you can have drinks outside, but being in Scotland you run the risk of rain…  BUT it is just so darn beautiful!!!

kid running around in Haddo House

Haddo House

Ok ok not classed as castle but so beautiful! I have such a special connection here, my great great Grandfather was a groundskeeper here. I also remember every other year at school we used to get bussed out here for the day. With a fantastic tea room, this was always a great place to visit in Summer as kids.

Inside Haddo House, the Library and Drawing Room can host wedding ceremonies, whilst the beautiful chapel in the grounds is available for religious ceremonies of all Christian denominations.

The striking Palladian exterior, pretty terraced gardens and surrounding country park with lakes and woodland all offer a wealth of opportunities for gorgeous wedding photography.

The public rooms are available for drinks receptions which have also played host to royal and famous dignitaries over the years…..

From the house, a short stroll through the grounds leads to the Haddo Hall. Inspired by Lord & Lady Aberdeen’s first trip to Canada in 1890, it’s an ideal spot for ceilidhs, dancing and the evening’s festivities.

For larger weddings, you can hire a marquee to be erected on the Lower Lawn, adjacent to the Haddo Hall.

Castle weddings are definitely a favourite with Scottish wedding photographers!

Brides with her bridemaids getting ready

If you’re looking for a truly special location for your wedding, then there’s no better choice than a castle in the heart of Aberdeenshire. With so many castles in Scotland, there’s something for everyone. I wish I could list more but I think that’s another adventure for another summer…. perhaps just castles of Scotland road trip haha!

A castle offers the perfect backdrop for your photos, A castle offers many rooms to use as the ceremony space or reception hall. You could even have your ceremony outside if you wish and then invite guests back inside to continue celebrations.

You can also take advantage of beautiful grounds which make excellent photo opportunities as well! Some castle are in the middle of the highlands in which case you can take advantage of the dramatic scenery.

In conclusion castle weddings are ace!

With so many stunning venues and beautiful castles to choose from in Aberdeenshire, there are plenty of reasons why you should hold your wedding at a castle. Not only will it be an amazing day for you and your guests, but there’s also the added bonus of being able to take photos in some of Scotland’s most beautiful locations. I hope you have found this helpful, and informative and like my fun fun photos from my castle adventure around Aberdeen in summer 2022! Below you will find some links to all the castels as well as a list of my favourite vendors.

So if you love my work and would like to enquire about having me photograph you Scottish wedding, click here

Jennifer MacDonald at Liminal Wonderland profile picture
Jennifer MacDonald of Liminal Wonderland

About the Author: Jennifer MacDonald at Liminal Wonderland loves anything sci-fi and a guilty pleasure of Gilmore girls re run, has a love of baking and gin, and spends her free time hanging out with her husband and toddler that keeps her active. She is a wedding photographer based in Melbourne, Vic specialising in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce natural, emotional wedding photography for fearless lovers.


I travel to Aberdeen from 27th June to 12th September every year. We can chat via Zoom and discuss your needs. But Why hire someone who doesn’t live in Scotland full time, how do you trust me…. well I’m from Aberdeen, my family still in Aberdeen, I have lived there most of my life, I love Aberdeen, plus by 2027 (wow that feels weird) I’ll be permanently based back in UK. YAY, I know Scotland like the back of my hand, and I know the best spots that no one else does for photos 🙂

Drumtochty Castle –

Drum Castle –

Crathes Castle –

Dunnotter Castle –

Castle Fraser –

Haddo House –

Craigievar Castle –,drinks%20receptions%20inside%20the%20castle.

Favourite Vendors

Flowers – Kim Dalgleish

Make up – Jo at rewild skinscare –

Gowns – Magnolia Lane bridal

Photography – Well me of course

Kilts – Georgian dress hire –

Wedding cars – Silver city wedding cars –

Catering – Wild thyme –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *