“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Saturday 3 August 2013

Fairy Tale Wedding at Drumtochty Castle (Part 1)

It is difficult to imagine a more magical setting for a wedding than a stunning 19th Century Scottish castle, hidden away in a wild woodland glen, so when we received an invitation from our friends to attend a Drumtochty Castle wedding we were thrilled to accept. 

(The entrance to Drumtochty Castle...erected in the year 1812)

...but first let me set the scene...

A crumbling Gothic pile in Scotland has been restored to its former glory, thanks to the efforts of a local lad of humble origins. Charles Anderson's life story is worthy of a 19th century romance. Born on a small croft in Aberdeen, he was one of six children. He became an apprentice engineer working on oil rigs in the North Sea, but it was inventing a machine that helps to extract crude oil from the ocean floor that made his personal fortune. Having gone from rags to riches, Charles Anderson then went from croft to castle, with the purchase of Drumtochty Castle in 1997. For while the story of Charles is a rise and rise, the exact opposite was true of the 200 year old neo-Gothic castle 30 miles south of Aberdeen. In the course of its decline, it had ruined its four previous owners. When Charles Anderson bought Drumtochty the roof had all but collapsed, the stonework was black with neglect and apparently rats jumped in and out of holes in the walls. Overgrown trees tightly huge the castle. There was no plumbing, central heating or kitchen to speak of. It was hardly the ideal home for Charles' wife and four children.
The first job was almost literally to dig the castle out of the trees, then to give it a good clean. Charles was quoted £100,000 to sandblast the castle but he thought that was too expensive so he hired someone to abseil up and down the castle with a steam cleaner. It took six months but only worked out at about £5,000.
Having cut down the trees Charles planted 50,000 new ones on the 350 acre estate. He also set about removing the miles of rhododendron bushes planted by the original aristocratic owners of the castle.
They had grown out of control and were starving the local wildlife of its natural habitat.  
He then turned over two of his acres to a trout loch, and started to rear red deer. 
Having been first and foremost a family home, the overall feel is quite unlike anything you would find in a National Trust property. 
The property was built for entertaining and therefore Charles decided to rent out the castle for private functions, in particular weddings. Scottish castles have become ultra-chic locations for weddings but it is also a perfect venue for a corporate get-away, team building event or conference as it is both secure and secluded. Drumtochty Castle is a truly unique setting to wow the corporate clients. 
In the tranquil surroundings of the castle, its the perfect place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle...or as in our case the 120 packing boxes that we have been swamped with since we arrived back in our new (old) home.   

(some of the above details were obtained from Catherine Moye...The Telegraph)

(Note the Piper playing as we entered the castle)

The undeniable romance of Drumtochty is heightened by the prospect of short liveried carriage ride out of the castle gates to the Episopalian church of St. Palladius where the wedding ceremony can be performed. 

But if you prefer the marriage can be held in the reception rooms, in the castle grounds or by the loch. 
Spring, summer, autumn or winter, the castle is captivating at any time of the year. 

This is the rear of the castle...now how stunning is that? 
For obvious reasons I wasn't snapping photos constantly during the day as I want to protect the happy couples privacy, plus I was so busy enjoying myself that I basically forgot! 

So lets head inside shall we and I'll show you around...

After the beautiful wedding ceremony at St. Palladius Church, we returned to the castle to enjoy champagne in the regal reception rooms (or outside on the lawn) whilst the quartet played...and the bride and groom where whisked away to have their photographs taken.

The restoration of the castle is truly amazing... 

The reception room on the morning after the wedding. 
During the wedding reception this room was full of family, friends and guests who had traveled from the four corners of the world. 
It was a very international affair.

After champagne and canap├ęs we entered the magnificent ballroom where tables sparkled with the finest crystal, china and cutlery. We enjoyed a sumptuous banquet, fine wines and the best service all under the expert watchful eye of Ewan Kirkpatrick (General Manager). Nothing went under his radar and he truly is an asset to the smooth running of any event that is held at the castle.

The ballroom can comfortably cater for one hundred and twenty dinner guests. 
I do have photographs of the hall but as you know I don't like to post any photos of people without their permission so you'll have to take my word for it...everyone looked stunning. 

Smaller and more intimate weddings can be held in the elegant dining room. 

Our supper was served in here later in the evening (buffet style) 
Stovies were a huge hit but then they are a very popular Scottish dish. 
(More about them possibly in a future post)

After a beautiful wedding banquet came the wedding speeches and toasts. 
There wasn't a dry eye in the house...

Here's another quick peek around the castle, but I don't think my photos do it justice. 
It is a stunning castle that has been lovingly renovated to a high quality. 
The regal staircase...

The magnificent window on the staircase...

There's a games room for guests to unwind and relax...

There are two sitting rooms...so plenty of room for guests to chat, chill and generally mingle from the main ballroom. 

Now I've set the scene, I feel this post has taken up so much time that I'll split it into two parts...plus it will give me time to edit and collate the rest of the photos. I hope you don't mind ;D

Hey...the suns shining again so my garden calls...

Enjoy your weekend everyone...I hope to see you again soon. 


  1. Wow Neesie! What an amazing place Drumtochty Castle is, and what a great blog. Loved the story of the guy abseiling down the front of the castle sandblasting away!! How lovely for you to have had such a special event to enjoy on your return home.
    Looking forward to flying over to your place again soon for tea and stovies!
    Wren x

    1. It was pretty special I have to say Wren. If you want a fairy-tale wedding then a castle in Scotland is the place.
      It was wonderful to leave the ciaos and packing boxes to stay in such luxury, even if it was only overnight!

      I'm going to have to try making stovies. No doubt when I do they'll be a post about it! ;D
      They are really popular here, so you can imagine there was nearly a public outcry when they ran out, but thankfully a new huge pot arrived within minutes to satisfy everyone in order to carry on dancing the night away!

      Enjoy your weekend...stay cosy and I'll pop over to see you as soon as I can.

  2. Hmm, looks a bit nicer than my apartment, I have to admit! Glad you had a good time there, really wonderful place! Valerie

    1. Hey Valerie...it's a bit nicer than my place too. In fact most peoples I suspect! ;D

      I'm glad you enjoyed taking a peek and there'll be a few more photos as soon as I get my act together.

      I hope you're having a stupendous Sunday! :D

  3. wow, thats amazing! Like a fairy tale!

    1. It was indeed Laurie...I don't think anyone could have wanted more. Well maybe the sun to shine but other than that it was perfect ;D
      There'll be a few more photos soon.

      Have a wonderful Sunday whatever you're doing...have fun!

  4. It looks so different inside than I would have imagined. I didn't expect it to be so modern and fancy inside. I thought it would be a bit dark, not very colorful and more simple. But, I've never been in a castle before. This is very eye opening. Thanks for sharing the photos. I'll look forward to the next post to see more. :-)

    1. It was very fancy as you say (hehe) ;D
      I'm so happy that I was able to take you to your first castle. Stand by for more photos once I get organised.
      It's been a busy weekend so they'll be with you asap.
      You may even get to peek at the bride and groom :D

      I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.
      Thanks so much for popping by...see you again soon

  5. Fab place to hold a wedding! Your pics are wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Nan, but I was disappointed with my photos.
      It was because it was a little dull and also the inside lighting wasn't very bright. Very atmospheric but not the best for photos. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!!

      Personally I don't like to use flash photography and try very hard not to use it, but sometimes it's out of my hands.
      At least you got to see inside ;D

      Are you having a super Sunday? I hope so...see you again soon.

  6. Beautiful post Nessie & wonderful photos...Stuff that fairy tales are made off.. such beauty...Lots of Good luck to the new Mr & Mrs.....Hugs May x x x

    1. Thanks May,
      It was just like a fairy tale. The bride and groom looked perfect and so much in love. It was a privilege and a treat to share their day.

      There's a few more photos to come in Part 2 and you who knows you might actually see Mr and Mrs! ;D

      Hugs to you too. xoxo

  7. What a gorgeous venue for a wedding! Thanks for sharing! Moving is such a pain. You'll soon be sorted though and it will be like you never left. ((((hugs))))) xxoo

    1. It was indeed Marie,
      I just wished I had the opportunity all those years ago to have a wedding set in here. ;D
      We're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, thankfully.
      It's very surreal and we all keep getting flashbacks to our time spent here :D
      Have a great week...with hopefully lots of sunshine!
      Hugs to you too

  8. What a place to have a wedding, even just being there as a guest must make you feel what it would be like to be lady of the castle and estate. It must have bern a wonderful day for the bride and groom, and for the guests.
    What contrast, my youngest granddaughter was married on Friday in a registry office with a little party in her new ma-in-law's garden ..... Her choice. The lovely thing is that each couple will have happy memories and a wonderful life together.
    I enjoyed reading about the castle, and particularly the abseiling.

    1. Well being a guest was wonderful because we could just relax and enjoy the whole experience. We didn't have to worry about anything...all our needs were catered for ;D
      I think my hubby did get carried away with it all especially when he put on his kilt! Swanning and swishing around like the Laird!
      I think the bride and groom had everything they could wish for and now have wonderful memories and fabulous photographs to treasure.
      It was so different to my wedding all those years ago.
      But that's a whole other story which I might talk about in Part 2. There again I might not!

      I suppose as long as the bride and groom love each other then it doesn't matter where or how they get married...in whatever way they want as long as it works for them.
      We've just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary so obviously all that went wrong on our day didn't matter in the end.

      Thanks for stopping by...I hope to write Part 2 later today but my plans keep changing.
      We're making the most of the light summer days at the moment.
      I hope you're enjoying your days to the max!
      Catch up again soon xoxo

  9. nice. i like it when a place actually lives up to its marketing! What a wonderful wedding it must have been..and as you say, a wonderful escape for you!

    1. Drumtochty Castle certainly did that in my book. With travelling back to the UK it was something that I was looking forward to and thankfully I wasn't disappointed.
      It was perfectly timed for us...escaping all the packing boxes for a few days was certainly a treat.
      Thanks for popping over Julia...it's always great to see you.
      I hopefully will be back to join in with the WOYWW fun soon.
      In the meantime have a great week :D

  10. Wow! That would most definitely be a dream wedding. I love all the photography you've been working on lately. I hope you're all settled in your new place. Blessings!

    1. Hehe...Hi Arnoldo,
      Yes it was very dreamy. I'm so happy to hear that you've liked the photography because I've been bothered by it.
      I need to get my trusty old broken camera back out and play. It never lets me down. It's had a good rest, so we'll see if it can still produce the goods! ;D
      Settling in a little more with each day. We feel very privileged to have such a fantastic new (old) home to live in once again.
      It was a good decision. Now I just have to get back to my art asap!
      Blessing to you too

  11. How romantic for a wedding! But just to visit and eat a sumptuous meal would be something. I love the history of the place and that it has been saved and restored. Hard to believe what shape it must have been in when he bought it! Gorgeous now, though. :)

    1. I'll try and see if I can obtain any of the old photographs showing just how bad the castle was before the restoration. I've seen the stable blocks where we stayed for the wedding and it's quite something...they were really in a terrible state.
      Heaven knows what the castle looked like.
      I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. I'm trying to get to Part 2 today, so watch this space! ;D
      I hope your week is going well...I'll try and pop over to see you soon xoxo

  12. I like this castle and your photos, what a striking window at the top of the stairs and the pretty church where the wedding was held. How fortunate you were to be invited and then to share these photos with us. How sad for the previous owners that the castle had to be sold but good it is fully restored.

    1. It was my pleasure on all accounts Terra,
      We didn't know if we would return to the UK from Melbourne in time for the wedding...so when that all fell into place, it was an added bonus.
      A great entry back into Scottish life...plus we were able to visit our family in England before heading up here.
      It was a win win situation and I'm happy that I could share it all with everyone ;D
      It is a little sad thinking about the previous owners but the current owners have certainly done the castle proud! You can almost feel that its happy how things have turned out.
      Thanks for popping by and I hope you enjoy Part 2 which is coming your way soon xoxo

  13. Argh, I don't know why but your posts are taking ages to come through. This only came through today, must be cos you are so far away now!! The castle is just stunning, I can imagine how beautiful the wedding was. It would seem that the beautiful scenery and castles make up for the freezing cold of winter there. I've nearly finished doing your card, there will be a little teaser on my post today (he he).

    1. I know that feeling Von because one that I follow is always at least one post behind when I visit them.
      I'm assuming you get notification of my post by email. That's how the late one comes to me...but I haven't a clue as to why?
      Maybe someone out there will be able to answer our query if they read this?
      Anyway I'm just glad that you come to visit no matter when it is ;D
      Hey Von...let me tell you it's not cold here! REALLY! I know you'll find that hard to believe but it isn't...well not yet anyway.
      I've just been to peep at your card...I was never good at not looking...but I couldn't see a thing!
      You really didn't have to make a card but I'm so thrilled at the thought that your card is coming all this way. I'll be watching for Postman Pats van coming up the lane soon. Well that should be Postwoman Pat actually as our postie is a woman.
      Have a fabulous week and I'll email soon.
      Toodleloo for now xoxo


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