Real Scottish Weddings - Glen Tanar Ballroom
Glen Tanar Ballroom
Caspian & Freddie's wedding day felt like going on an adventure. It was my first "destination wedding" where I'd be staying the weekend since the pandemic. With my gear packed in the back and at least 4 outfit options for the 4 potential seasons we may get in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, I headed up the M90 towards one of the most infectiously happy weddings of all time.
Glen Tanar is a beautiful part of Scotland, with it's lush natural woodland and peaty rivers and streams. Just next to Aboyne, Caspian's hometown, the Glen Tanar Ballroom is a magical place to be married with wide open spaces, wildflowers and of course the chance to exchange vows under the cranial remains of thousand stags.
If are you looking for a beautiful Scottish wedding venue with a huge outdoor space for your wedding photography, then definitely book your wedding at the Glen Tanar Ballroom!
I feel incredibly lucky as an Edinburgh wedding photographer to be able to travel all over Scotland for new & exciting wedding venues. It was safe to say I was really excited for my first time at this beautiful countryside wedding venue.
After a delicious breakfast at The Boat Inn, I headed straight to the Ballroom to capture the gorgeous little details of the table setup & styling. I loved their intimate, personal touches to the table - library card place settings representing Caspian's work at the National Library of Scotland, tables named after their favourite locations from films & TV shows, with explanations as to why these places meant to much to them. Though I'm not sure I was mentally prepared to go from having mead with Merry & Pippin in the Green Dragon to Will Graham & Hannibal Lecter!
Also on the tables were gorgeous hardbacks of books like Narnia's Prince Caspian and The Lord of the Rings as well as gorgeous paper flowers made out of sheet music. It was so personal and so geeky - I loved it!
With the details done it was time to hop in the car and meet Caspian & Freddie for a little morning prep at one of the nearby cottages. Hanging out with their wedding party as they got ready, their mounting excitement was clear for all to see.
Their details were to die for - stunning fragrance bottles, beautiful rings, a gorgeous flower crown for Caspian, pocket watches and awesome shoes.
Freddie was in trews with Caspian in a kilt, with a gorgeous lace fly attached to add that little something white.
One of the shots that we'd planned before the wedding was a first look with both sets of parents. With Freddie's parents arriving slightly later than anticipated (looking at you Robin - just kidding!), it was a mission to get everyone in place for this private moment without the other guests getting sneak peeks themselves. The outfit reveal was such a lovely moment to capture - the love and pride on their parents faces just says it all!
Heading back towards the ballroom wasn't possible with the arrival of the coach full of wedding guests, meaning we had a spontaneous pre-ceremony couples portrait session down by the bridge. There's something really special about this time - minutes before being married, all that anticipation as you are about to make your commitment to each other. All that happiness is soaked up by the camera along with the gorgeous scenery.
In the Ballroom itself, Caspian & Freddie's friends & family were gathered, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the wedding party and of course the happy couple themselves. One of their friends was on piano, playing a beautiful rendition of Concerning Hobbits - so fitting for the shire-like atmosphere at Glen Tanar.
Their ceremony was a lovely mix of religious and Scottish traditions - it felt so personal to them both. Friends stood up to give readings, Freddie cried during the vows (several times I think). Their respective wedding parties behind beamed gloriously throughout it all. A quaich ceremony cemented the marriage - and Freddie's love of whisky I think.
After the ceremony I lined everyone outside the doors for what might be the confetti shots to end all confetti shots. It kick started what was an awesome drinks reception outside in the sunshine. Everyone was in such high spirits with the sun out, the champagne flowing and the atmosphere was buzzing.
Groups gathered around tables, played with the giant battleships on the lawn, and even lying down on the grass soaking up the sunshine. With group shots rifled through, it was time for Caspian & Freddie's couples portraits - but not before we took a jaunt with their wedding party up to the wee loch. Along the way we got some lovely group shots - including one of my favourites from the whole wedding. The joy and animation on everyone's faces - plus the backlighting from the sun - made for such a fun shot.
At Glen Tanar we were absolutely spoilt with lighting and locations for couples portraits. Fortunately the woods were midge free, allowing for a more enjoyable and relaxed experience as we stopped at various points along the path to get some intimate & romantic shots. I have to say that Caspian & Freddie are effortlessly in love. They were natural in front of the camera - it was as if I wasn't even there at all.
Back at the Ballroom it was time for the speeches.
Caspian opened with a heartfelt speech about their time growing up in Aboyne, the support network of their friends and the life changing moment they met Freddie. Next up it was Freddie's turn, whose speech was so ingrained with love for Caspian that I'm sure there were more than a few tears welling up around the room.
Caspian's Dad made the room laugh with his poetry-style rhyming speech while Freddie's mum spoke of the pride and love she felt for both Freddie & Caspian. The Wedding Party's speeches brought the jokes and the anecdotes - enriching the love story of Caspian & Freddie from the eyes of those closest to them.
By the time the meal was over, a stunning, soft evening light was falling over Glen Tanar which was perfect for more couples photos.\
It was a spring dream - blossom in the trees, bright yellow daffodils littering the lush green tall grass, golden hues beaming down from the sky. When you have such colour & vibrancy, it would be a crime not to head out and take a moment away from the party and with a couple like Caspian & Freddie, capturing these beautiful scenes was all the more special.
As the tables were cleared and the band began to set up, the guests poured out into garden again, lethargic from the great food and and enjoying the last of the sun. It was that perfect kind of lazy summer evening - with everyone relaxed and joyfully happy. Also I have to shout out to the Elden Ring & Witcher 3 crew who were totally fine with me overhearing their conversation and barging in on it!
No wedding cake? Donut miss out on this moment! I apologise, that was the best pun I could come up with.
These delicious looking donuts went down a treat with the wedding guests - it took a real strength not to steal one for myself!
After their "donut moment", Freddie & Caspian took to the dancefloor in what Caspian had described to me minutes previously as a "bit of a shuffle." What I saw was more than that - smiles beaming as they looked at each other, this was a moment they'd remember forever.
There was so much love in their eyes as they held each other, dancing as if they were under the twilight skies of Middle Earth or Narnia.
A ceilidh kicked off the evening - with many of the guests having an amazing time figuring out where their hands were supposed to go in the Gay Gordons. These always make for some fun photos - the more confused the guests are, somehow the better. In between ceilidh dances, the band rifled out the hits - with David Bowie getting everyone on the dancefloor and allowing Freddie to display some interesting dance moves.
And so it came to the end of the night. There was still another few minutes left before sunset - to the untrained eye, a little too light for the backlits they wanted. But with a little creativity, would you even notice that these shots were taken in broad daylight? In the words of Caspian when they saw these photos - "Witchcraft!" Or maybe just a reaalllly fast shutter speed.
When I left Glen Tanar that evening, I think I brought a little of the joy of Caspian & Freddie's wedding back home with me. Editing their day brought back fun memories - the laughter, the joy, the excitement and emotion. It was an electric kind of love that I was so happy and honoured to photograph.
A feeling quite simply put in one word. Beloved.
Feeling inspired for your very own Aberdeenshire Wedding?
If you are planning your very own Scottish wedding then you'll want to check out Freddie & Caspian's suppliers.
Wedding Venue: Glen Tanar Ball Room
Flowers - Sakura Florist
Catering - Hudsons Catering
Wedding Band - The Apollos Group
Donuts - The Kilted Donut (Edinburgh)
Caspian's Outfit - The Edinburgh Tailoring Company
Freddie's Outfit - St Kilda Kilts
Wedding Rings - Sophia Hargreaves Jewellery & Sheila Fleet Jewellery