Mar Lodge Estate: 10 Reasons To Choose This Scottish Wedding Venue
Mar Lodge Estate is another classic National Trust for Scotland wedding venue.
And this one’s pretty unique, given its positioning right in the centre of the Cairngorms National Park.
I had some friends get married here some years ago, and although I was not in attendance myself, they came away singing its praises.
The 19th century lodge really is quite fascinating, and I recently drove out there on a mission of reconnaissance.
It’s a beautiful drive, and well worth the journey.
Now given my new found knowledge, I would like to share with you what makes this place one of the most unique wedding venues in Scotland.
Let’s take a closer look at what a Mar Lodge Estate wedding would be like.
Mar Lodge Estate Location
This really is a location without compromise, and must be one of the most westerly wedding venues in Aberdeenshire.
60 miles along twisty roads to the nearest city, although Braemar village is only 3 miles away.
But once you arrive, you will find the most spectacular scenery imaginable.
Mar Lodge Estate really is the perfect place for a highland wedding.
And despite the drive being long, your journey will include relaxing views of the River Dee, and the Linn of Quoich, Queen Victoria’s favourite picnic spot.
Everyone should make this pilgrimage at least once.
Mar Lodge Estate Setting
Mar Lodge Estate is open to the public all year round.
However the actual lodge is used as self catering accommodation, with public access only at certain times of year.
What this means for you is, you can take over the entire lodge exclusively, for the whole weekend.
This will include no less than 5 apartments, plus a variety of public rooms, all for you, your family, and your friends.
You can live like the aristocracy for a few days!
Mar Lodge Estate History
As you would expect from a National Trust property, Mar Lodge Estate has an interesting history.
There have in fact been three Mar Lodge’s.
The first built in the 18th century by William Duff, was damaged by floods and subsequently demolished.
The second was built in a different location, but was also destroyed, this time by fire.
The current lodge was constructed in 1895 for the Duke and Duchess of Fife.
Her grandmother, Queen Victoria, laid the foundation stone.
Would you believe that this one nearly burnt down too, but was repaired after extensive fire damage in 1991.
The National Trust for Scotland took over in 1995.
If you choose to make use of the stag ballroom, it’s worth knowing it was designed for staff balls, and moved to its current location in 1898.
It retains most of its original features.
Originally built as a highland sporting estate, Mar Lodge is equal parts beautiful and interesting, both inside and out.
The 19th century building is comparatively modern, when compared to other National Trust properties.
And to me eye it looks really nice, especially in the context of the entire estate.
Once you get inside, you will find many period features, with the wood panelling in the great hall a special treat.
And just wait until you see the stag ballroom.
Mar Lodge Estate is also the home of BBC’s Winterwatch.
Mar Lodge Estate Accommodation
The entire Mar Lodge Estate can accommodate 61 guests.
There are five self catering apartments within the lodge, with a maximum capacity of 31 people.
You also have the bunkhouse which can sleep 12 people.
Should you require further accommodation, then there are two 4 star cottages on the estate, which combined can provide 18 guests with beds.
The cottages have magnificent views over the River Dee and Glen Ey.
Additional accommodation can be found in Braemar, and daily servicing of rooms is possible if required.
Mar Lodge Estate Ceremony
There are two room options for your ceremony at Mar Lodge Estate.
The great hall or the drawing room.
Framed by stain glass windows, the great hall gives your guests a great view, as you exchange vows on the balcony or the grand staircase.
This room can accommodate 40 people seated, or 120 people standing.
If you need something bigger, the bright and spacious drawing room, filled with family portraits and heirlooms, can accommodate 90 people seated.
It has a grand piano, which has been used to entertain royalty, and can be played to welcome the bride.
Religious, civil, and humanist ceremonies are all welcome, and outdoor ceremonies are possible too.
Mar Lodge Estate Reception
Mar Lodge Estate offers you plenty of options, when it comes to your reception.
Grand and sumptuous or intimate and relaxed; it’s all possible.
Firstly there is the great hall, drawing room, and library.
These three interconnecting rooms are perfect for welcome drinks, and champagne and canapes after the ceremony.
The dining room, which is elegant and traditionally Scottish, can seat 40 guests for an intimate dinner.
Then there’s the craggan ballroom, which is beautifully appointed, and can seat 70 guests for dinner.
If neither of these rooms are suitable, then go for the stag ballroom, which is decorated with 2,500 stag antlers, and dates back to the victorian era.
It’s perfect for sumptuous banquets and ceilidhs, and can seat 160 guests for dinner.
A marque somewhere on the estate is also possible.
Mar Lodge Estate Grounds
The grounds at Mar Lodge Estate are vast.
29,000 hectares, which accounts for nearly 7% of the Cairngorms National Park.
Get ready to spend the weekend surrounded by ancient forests, rugged peaks, wild rivers, and rolling glens.
There are no less than 15 Munros on the estate, which include 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the UK.
It really is the most scenic and wild land you can imagine, and will leave you with lasting memories of the classic highland landscapes.
I always talk about the need to consider your photographs, when selecting a wedding venue.
Most country locations will provide you with beautiful backdrops for your pictures.
However Mar Lodge Estate offers you something truly unique in this respect.
The landscapes here, really cannot be found in many other places.
And as a result, your photos will be original and amazing.
Mar Lodge Estate Unique Feature
There really is a lot to do outdoors at Mar Lodge Estate, and if you are staying for a few days, it would be worth taking advantage.
For the wildlife lover, the pine woods are home to red squirrels and pine marten.
Crossbill and black grouse are found in abundance, and if you are lucky, you may even see some golden eagles.
In terms of hill walking, this area is without equal, and guided tours can be arranged in the summer months.
Or if you are looking for something less strenuous, there are a number of low lying woodland walks along the banks of the river.
Sports can also be arranged, with clay pigeon shooting and archery available, and for the really adventurous, deer stalking, grouse shooting, and salmon fishing.
Whatever you choose, be sure to bring a camera.
Mar Lodge Estate Wedding Prices
For accurate Mar Lodge Estate wedding prices, you should contact the venue directly.
Their wedding packages can be tailored to meet your specific needs.
However to give you an approximate Mar Lodge Estate wedding cost:
- Exclusive use of Mar Lodge Estate (sleeps 43), price £14,000.
- Exclusive use of Mar Lodge Estate (sleeps 43), price £12,000 (does not include Stag Ballroom).
- Mar Lodge (ceremony & reception), price £7,000 (does not include accommodation).
- Mar Lodge (ceremony & reception), price £5,500 (does not include accommodation or Stag Ballroom).
- Stag Ballroom (reception), price £3,500.
The prices above are for a summer weekend.
Winter and midweek weddings could cost less.
Mar Lodge Estate Conclusion
So those are my 10 reasons you should consider Mar Lodge Estate as your wedding venue.
Of course everybody has different tastes and opinions.
However if you are looking for complete isolation, in unparalleled Scottish beauty, with everything onsite, in a lodge fit for royalty; then Mar Lodge Estate just might be the place for you.
Whilst you are here, you should take a look at some of the other wedding venues in Scotland, featured on White Rose.
You can also find Mar Lodge Estate’s website here.
Good luck with your wedding planning.