With an eventful 700 years of history already to its name, Balgonie Castle is today carving out a reputation as one of the most desirable wedding locations in Fife.
So much so that the past weekend saw the medieval venue chosen once again as the perfect backdrop for a Leven bride and her Glaswegian groom to tie the knot. And the marriage of Andrew Fox and Karen Urban was the the 1200th such ceremony to take place there in the last 25 years.
“We always wanted a Christmas wedding and the chance to get married in a castle, so what better place,” said Andrew, shortly before the service in the Balgonie Chapel iluminated by around 200 candles.
The use of the building as a wedding venue has come a long way since the first couple said “I do” back in 1989 on the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ - the traditional start of the grouse shooting season on August 12.
But with costly ongoing maintenance and renovation demands, the Stewart family, which has owned Balgonie for the last 28 years, see the lucrative wedding market as a vital source of revenue for the upkeep of the historic building.
“Every penny we earn from hosting weddings is ploughed back into the building with no public funding or grants available. Hiring out the castle is our financial lifeline securing the future for this place,” said the Laird of Balgonie Raymond Morris.
A Balgonie Castle wedding even hit the national headlines back in 2009 when former baggage handler John Smeaton, who helped thwart a terrorist attack at Glasgow Airport, chose the Fife landmark to marry his American girlfriend Christy MacPhedran.
The castle is open to the public throughout the year.
Continuing to make history
King James IV, Mary Queen of Scots and Rob Roy MacGregor are all said to have visited Balgonie Castle during its 700-year existence.
As well as proving a popular venue for weddings, the castle has also been the location for a number of television and film projects in the past.
Most recently the Fife landmark featured in the hit US series ‘Outlander’ and also was one of the locations used when shooting the film ‘Fairy Flag’.