Wedderlie House: Scotland’s newest wedding venue fit for a King
As I slowly approach the magnificent Wedderlie House I can’t help but admire the fiery orange, red and yellow colours of the leaves as they tumble to the ground. It’s been 10 months since my first visit to Wedderlie and having now visited this 16th century treasure in every season I can confirm it radiates beauty in each and every one.
It was a cold December morning in 2019 when I first spoke with the new guardian of an estate named Wedderlie House. Astonishingly and much to my annoyance I am unable to recall how and in fact where I came to learn of this new venue under redevelopment but I do recall the exciting and warm conversation exchanged between Jamie Raine-Fraser and myself.
Jamie officially obtained the keys to Wedderlie in April 2019 and immediately the estate started its elaborate transformation into an exclusive weddings and events venue. As a history graduate who specialized in architectural history in my final year of studies, I was beyond interested and fascinated to hear of Wedderlie’s colourful past. Steeped in history, Jamie advised Wedderlie was in fact gifted to the Edgar family by King Robert the Bruce in 1327! With links to one of Scotland’s most prolific historical figures, it quickly became apparent that this new venue was something special. Having facilitated countless events and indeed weddings within historic castles and mansion houses over the last 20 years, I was certain Saltire Hospitality could assist the team at Wedderlie House in creating beautiful and memorable events.
I’ve looked forward to each and every visit with considerable pleasure over the last 10 months but this particular visit differs slightly from those aforementioned. “Lord Wedderlie” himself has invited me to stay overnight and experience all that Wedderlie has to offer. This unexpected yet extremely kind and considerate offer was of course met with an immediate, “YES PLEASE!” Whilst it was hugely apparent even from my very first visit that this historic gem, when completely renovated, would become an extremely sought-after venue, I felt it only polite to accept this generous offer. I have seen considerable progress in both the land surrounding the house and indeed the outbuildings including the barn, cottages and the house itself and it really is an absolute privilege to be given an opportunity to enjoy all that Wedderlie has become.
As my car slowly progresses along the narrow road towards the imposing and yet enchanting structure, I notice that even with the leaves falling from the trees I am unable to see the castle that I have come to know so well over the course of 2020. As I seek to find even the tiniest glimpse of Wedderlie in the distance it makes me realise that this unique venue is obviously so exclusive, no one is meant to know of its existence, unless of course this up and coming venue is the preferred location for your forthcoming special event. To me the secluded positioning of Wedderlie undoubtedly makes it all the more appealing.
As I turn the final bend in the road the familiar view unfolds in front of me; equally as breathtaking as every time aforementioned. On queue my host appears out of nowhere to welcome me for this special visit.
As the purpose of this visit is to experience the venue as a prospective guest, I am delighted to hear I will be staying in the most elegant room in the house; the bridal suite. As I’m led up the stunning spiral staircase, my host carrying my overnight bag in hand, I experience the excitement and personal service that I have no doubt all guests will experience when being led to their rooms at the start of their memorable few days at Wedderlie.
This stunning room is flooded with natural light and big enough to swing a horse never mind a cat! With copious amounts of space this room is ideal for the morning of each individual wedding where bridesmaids and the mother of the bride can join in the excitement of the big day ahead. Equally so this romantic room will be the perfect space for couples to retreat to after an extremely memorable day and enjoy their first night together as newlyweds. As I drink in the classic decoration throughout the room I can see each and every element has been selected with great care ensuring the room is not only comfortable and functional but traditional and reminiscent of the style of furnishings one would expect in such a historic building.
As the light starts to fade my host invites me outside to enjoy the last hour of daylight on one of the estates newest features; the tennis court. Ideally positioned, the court overlooks the house creating a perfect backdrop for guests to enjoy one of the nations most loved sports. Having played tennis in my youth and having recently reintroduced myself to the sport earlier in the year, I needed no encouragement when faced with the opportunity of thrashing my opponent. Despite my competitive nature I felt it only appropriate to let my host win 3-2. I will let you decide whether or not you believe this outcome was intentional.
With plans underway to create additional recreational games and activities in the grounds surrounding the main house I have no doubt those lucky enough to visit Wedderlie will be entertained throughout the course of their stay.
Dinner and drinks follow and while I can’t fault the generosity of my host, I can’t help but imagine the next-level service that Saltire will bring to this diverse venue. Wedding breakfasts, rehearsal dinners, banquet breakfasts, midnight feasts and Hog Roasts fit for a King, I can see it all! With the tag line “Your day, your stay, your way”, Wedderlie’s set up will allow Saltire to create bespoke and delicious menus for each and every client.
As darkness descends on Wedderlie my host leads me outside for a small tour to see some of the most recent developments on the estate. “Love Island” lights have been suspended outside the barn creating beautiful soft lighting for those guests wishing to escape the celebrations for a breath of fresh air. It’s a calm night with no wind whatsoever and I can imagine guests spilling out of the bar and barn into this open space to catch up with old friends or perhaps share a glass of fizz with a new acquaintance.
Inside the barn additional accommodation is very near completion. My host explains 2 brand new bedrooms have been created in the Hayloft which are ideal for the groom, his best man and close companions. Complete with bathroom and kitchen/living area, the entire upper floor of the barn has been refurbished creating a comfortable and secluded space where old friends can enjoy one final “HURRAH!” before the forthcoming day unfolds. Although modern and sleek and perhaps not as spacious as the rooms in the main house, these rooms are finished to a high quality and still retain some of the original features of the barn.
Downstairs, the most recent developments to the barn are unveiled. Within the barn, the main bar and main indoor function/ceremonial space are both located. Significant work has been made in the bar which in days gone by was the old stable block. Walls have been painted and the bar countertops have been installed. Once again original features and woodwork have been retained giving the space a cosy and inviting feel.
Immediately adjacent to the bar is the main indoor space ideal for ceremonies and dancing. In recent weeks the dance floor has been laid transforming the area into a room and indeed events space. Wagon wheel chandeliers have been suspended from the ceiling and skylights repaired allowing just the right amount of natural light in. Whatever the cause of celebration, within this room memories will be made that will last a lifetime.
Whilst the best memories are always the ones that involve family and friends, I absolutely believe that the setting plays a vital part in creating these special moments. No-one can possibly deny that Jamie and his team have superseded expectations in terms of what Wedderlie could possibly become. Each and every aspect of Wedderlie has been given a new lease of life and for this very reason this magnificent estate is most certainly the ideal location for any celebratory occasion.
My tour of Wedderlie comes to a very natural conclusion as we return to the mansion house to the cosy and inviting bar; The Twa Phessies. Despite the fact this room is quite possibly one of the smallest in the main house I have no doubt, for some, this room will be the most favoured place in the entire estate. With natural exposed stonework the compact honesty bar features a stunning fireplace as well as beautiful bar countertops made from trees from within the grounds surrounding the house.
My host and I toast the incredible transformation of Wedderlie and all that it has become. Whilst the last 18 months of restoration and renovation are poignant to Wedderlie’s history the focus now shifts to the future and what this estate can offer to the events and hospitality industry. With a turbulent year drawing to a close Saltire Hospitality eagerly await 2021 as the future certainly looks bright alongside Wedderlie House.