Venues - Carberry Tower, East Lothian
By Brian Wilson, Scottish Wedding Photographer, Edinburgh
Venue: Carberry Tower, Musselburgh, East Lothian, EH21 8PY
Contact: Wedding Co-ordinator
Telephone (Local): 0131 665 3135
Telephone (Amazing Venues): 0330 333 7222
"Choose Carberry Tower for your big day . . . and we'll make sure it's perfect.
We offer civil ceremonies and receptions in our romantic Scottish castle. With its rich history and 35 acres of landscaped grounds, Carberry Tower is the fairytale wedding venue in Edinburgh you've been dreaming of. Our team of in-house wedding experts create bespoke wedding days to remember. From the intimate to the extravagant, we'll help you plan your perfect ceremony, banquet and reception."
I've been to Carberry twice in the last couple of years to shoot weddings. It is a fabulous venue, historically significant with a connection to Mary, Queen of Scots and the Scottish Reformation of the 16th century. The Tower of the name is no longer the most visible part of the house as its been extended and rebuilt over the centuries and now offers a 19th century, Scots-Baronial style.
The approach from the West Gate is awesome: a long straight, tree-lined drive with the house framed at the end of it. There are extensive grounds, more pasture than garden, and a lake that's more reed-bed than duck pond.
The most significant features for a wedding are the south-facing Rose Garden and The Princess Elizabeth Lounge on the first floor with wide Grand Staircase curving upwards from the ground floor. The Music Room (pictured above, not set) can be used for photographs.
I shot Hilary and Duncan's wedding here in July 2012 and it showed how Carberry could come to the aid of a bride at the mercy of Scottish summer weather. First of all it had been raining solidly and continually for a week before and their wedding day was no different. Their ceremony was in Carberry's Chapel about 100m from the main venue, but that meant a bridal walk through pouring rain and puddles. The outside Rose Garden for the post-ceremony champagne reception was off-limits ... unless the guests had scuba gear with them! It was under a foot of water. Bizarrely, the fountain (on the left in the picture below) was completely dry.
All the wedding photos were taken inside, so the stairs, Queen Elizabeth Lounge, Music Room and other first-floor rooms came to our aid. It's a relatively easy venue for photography but requires flash. I used RF-flash in soft-boxes to fill in the light for the formals and used bounce and reflect for reportage during drinks.
The Princess Elizabeth Room
The dining room, a.k.a. The Ceilidh Hall is used for dining and dancing and it's here where Carberry has what I think is it's only, albeit minor, flaw. The room has a low-ish ceiling; normal height for many hotels, but for a historical building that has 5m ceilings elsewhere it makes low-light shooting with bounce flash 'interesting'.
Pros: Historic castle venue; ideal for a medium-sized wedding; exclusive use; has a chapel on-site; has bedrooms for overnight guests; decent photography venue offering choice for indoor and outdoor shooting.
Cons: Country venue requiring guest transport (cars ideal); can be difficult to find!; ground-floor layout requires guests to move around during set-up/break-down.