Our Wedding at Harburn Barn – How to Plan a Barn Wedding in Scotland!
Just an hour outside of both Glasgow and Edinburgh, Harburn Barn is a gem of a venue nestled in the countryside of West Calder. We held our little wedding there back in January ’22 and it turned out to be the most beautiful and perfect day we could have ever imagined. But planning a barn wedding in Scotland – especially in a totally DIY blank canvas venue like the Barn at Harburn – is a BIG job. So I’ve popped together a little guide to make planning your Scotland barn wedding a breeze! Hopefully this will give you some inspiration and also some great suppliers to use too.
The beauty of The Barn at Harburn is that it really doesn’t need a lot of decorating. It’s a stunning venue as it stands and the perfect place for a Scotland barn wedding. When we booked Harburn Barn we loved the fact that it was a blank canvas venue that allowed us to do whatever we wanted with the space. I found a few things a little tricky at times with the venue being very slow on email and near impossible to get hold of my phone! But if you plan ahead – which is easy to do – then you’re golden. We planned our Scotland barn wedding in less than 6 months from finding Harburn Barn online in August and tying the knot the following January!
Our wedding was on the smaller side with 34 day guests and around 45-50 in the evening and I would say the barn at Harburn is perfect for parties of this size. We didn’t feel squished (and there was plenty of space for a good ceilidh!) but we also didn’t feel like the venue drowned us either.
We hired the cottage that comes attached to the venue and I can highly recommend doing so. It makes the whole experience so much easier as you can stay there the evening before, get ready there in the morning and you don’t have to go to far if you wanted to stay there on the night too.
I’m not going to add prices here because things vary & change so much, but I’ll link to everyone we used so you can easily grab an up to date price.
Sometimes the most time consuming part is finding a place to start in a sea of suppliers, so hopefully this will give you a starting point at the very least! But also if you like the look of our wedding, feel free to copy and just book them all for ease.
List of Suppliers we used for our Scotland Barn Wedding at Harburn Barn
Photos: McLellan Photography
I feel like our photos speak for themselves – we absolutely adored our photographer. Martin was so helpful and professional right from the start and was such a pleasure to shoot with on the big day. He captured all of our special moments perfectly and he has such a relaxed and beautiful style. He comes highly recommended from us and we adore all of our photos. He even did a brilliant job as the light started to fade with our sultry lit venue.
Martin managed to get some incredible candid photos of our guests without anyone even knowing he was there as well as setting up some lovely more staged family photos too. 10/10!
Video: One Shot Films
Again, this little teaser speaks for itself really! We booked a videographer as a super last minute thing after umming and ahhing over it for months. It’s a big expense but in our experience it is 100% worth it. There’s just so much of the day you miss as the bride and groom. There are so many things and people to see that you simply can’t take everything in during your wedding. We spent the majority of the day looking at each other, so being able to see everyone else and watch our ceremony and listen to the speeches again on video is priceless.
One Shot Films were so personable and kind right from day one and they even sent us a little congratulations present ahead of our big day which was the most beautiful touch. Adam and Kinga are a fantastic team who really care about their clients and telling each individual story in a beautiful way.
Table & Prop Hire: Virginia’s Vintage
The Barn at Harburn comes with the ever-coveted chiavari chairs and also tables for your guests included in the hire price. However the tables provided were round and needed to be covered with linen so they didn’t quite match our rustic aesthetic. We decided to hire some long bare wood trestle tables from Virginia’s Vintage hire for around £300 and they really did make a big difference. Virginia’s were so easy to work with dropping the tables off at the venue before we arrived and whisking them away the morning after without us even seeing them do it!
They have a lovely range of props and were a breeze to hire – a real gem of a find.
Band: JimJam Ceilidh Band
Another amazing hire were our Ceilidh Band – Jim Jam Ceilidh Band. A young band of talented musicians with a great mix of modern and traditional songs. We hired Jim Jam to play from around 6pm-10pm and then paid extra to have them run a ‘disco’ from 10-12pm and they were absolutely brilliant.
With a fun and personable caller getting everyone (even the non-scots!) up on their feet and a great sound from all the instruments they were just fantastic. Hearing their music drift from the barn and across the grounds as I popped back to the cottage for a cup of tea and a breather is a memory that’s sunk right in for me. The cheers of our guests, that traditional acoustic sound – beautiful.
We chose the 4 piece band and they arrived on time, set themselves up and just started doing their thing! They were wonderful – hire them now before they book up!
Caterers: Regis Banqueting
When we booked the Barn we could only choose from a list of three food suppliers for our wedding and Regis were the most budget friendly on the list. Mass catering – unless you pay A LOT for it – is never super fine dining, so we were working with what we had on this one. They are well versed with the venue so that was a huge help and they do have some nice dishes to choose from on their menus.
I personally found Regis quite tricky to converse with as I was speaking to a different person each time and wires kept getting crossed. Their prices also kept changing which made it difficult to finalise things as we went along but again, we got there in the end. We paid for their tasting menu session at the head office which was a big help as we ended up changing a few of our choices after that so I’d say it’s worth doing.
We chose to provide the drinks for our reception and during the meal, which even with the corkage fee worked out a lot cheaper than their packages, but we did hire them for the bar in the evening. This was a little basic and we had a few issues with the card machine at one point but luckily one of our guests saved the day and everyone was suitably watered!
Overall they weren’t my favourite supplier as they were a difficult one to organise in the run up but they did the job. The waiting/bar staff however were SO lovely and super friendly on the day – very helpful indeed and apart from the glitch with their card machine everything ran smoothly.
Wedding ‘Cake’: Mousetrap Cheese
We’re both savoury people so we decided to forgo the traditional wedding cake in lieu of a cheese tower! We only had around 50 people in the evening so we didn’t need anything huge and we found this ‘Freya’ selection from Mousetrap Cheese for around £100. The cheese was DELICIOUS and it went a long way too. We simply picked up some crackers from sainsburys to serve alongside it and Regis were brilliant at setting it all out once we’d done the awkward ‘cutting the cake’ photo!
They deliver UK wide and you can order ahead of time and schedule the delivery just in time for your big day. They’re flipping brilliant and we’re 100% ordering from them again when we do our next wine and cheese night. We took the leftovers with us on our minimoon to the lakes (with the leftover wine too!) and very much enjoyed it in front of the fire in our newly wed bubble. Not a crumb of cheddar was wasted.
(We also had a DIY doughnut wall that I bought on amazon and picked up the doughnuts from Greggs for less than £20 – you can order them in advance. People loved it!)
Table Decor and Room Decor: DIY
Etsy, Amazon and Canva were my best friends for our table and room decor! I designed and printed our table name cards and stationary at home and propped up our table numbers on some little wooden easels I found on ebay. The rest was faux eucalyptus from amazon with some fairy lights and a few fern branches we cut down from a friends garden to liven it all up a bit. We went serious DIY and it was the BEST idea! The tables looked beautiful and didn’t break the bank at all…which meant more money left over for a nice bottle of bubbles on the top table!
Flowers: Eternity Florist London
I chose to have dried bouquets for mine and my bridesmaid’s flowers so they could be kept and displayed for years to come. I found a lovely florist on Etsy who designed the perfect bouquets for us that fit our budget and looked beautiful with our rustic barn theme. They’re now proudly displayed in our living rooms to remind us of that beautiful day.
Hair: Megan Neely
I loved Megan from the moment I contacted her – so personable and a joy to be around. She created three stunning hairstyles for me and my two bridesmaids that lasted all day long (even with those strong Scotland winds and lots of dancing!). It’s a big yes from me!
Check out this post for an easy to follow tutorial on how I did my Bridal Makeup!
My mum made my wedding dress! We worked together over 5 months to design my dream dress and she brought it to life one stitch at a time. It is and always will be my most treasured piece of clothing – I love it so much!
We did however visit a beautiful wedding dress shop in Staffordshire called Wedding Belles Love where we had the most wonderful day trying on dresses for inspiration and drinking champagne! They allow you to take photos and have a gorgeous selection of dresses from Stella York – well worth a visit.
Oh, and my wedding shoes were converse which was the best decision I made for the whole wedding – no sore feet for me!
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Top Tips for planning a barn wedding in Scotland at Harburn Barn
Ok, we did it. We planned an epic wedding at Harburn Barn and it really was the most perfect day. So here are some of my top tips to make your Scotland barn wedding dreams come to life at Harburn.
- Understand that you’re on your own. This is a totally DIY venue and they really don’t help you with much at all. Their representative is very hard to get hold of so be prepared for that and give yourself lots of time. We even did our walk around by ourselves in the run up to our big day with keys left in a lockbox…when they say DIY, they mean it! Ask for photos, video tours and write a list of any questions you have so you can email them over in one go to get the best out of your communication.
- No real candles unless they’re in jars and away from any guests which is tricky in a small venue like this. We found some fabulous artificial flame candles that looks INCREDIBLY real – perfect for lining the aisle and then popping on tables afterwards.
- Watch out for the rules around confetti – they get a little funny about it being used inside but it can be done if you choose the right stuff! Read your contract carefully and ask any questions you need ahead of time via email.
- It’s worth paying extra for the cleaner the next day – no-one wants to be hoovering and emptying bings when they’re in their newlywed bubble! There are also lots of rules around leaving the venue a certain way and some tricky wording in the contract, so to avoid any confusion we paid for the clean up and were able to drive away the morning after worry-free.
5. Harburn Barn a dog friendly venue so if you have fur-babies you can have them included in your big day! Our dog Toby was ring bearer and totally stole the show! …and yes, he’s wearing a kilt. It’s this one here and he looked very smart!
6. It’s a little tricky to find the venue so make sure to direct your guests to the right entrance as the estate is large. It could also be pretty difficult to drive there in the snow as its down a lot of windy country roads.
7. There are places indoors for photos and more options if you hire the cottage (which I would highly recommend doing). We were so lucky with the weather on our big day and even in winter the grounds are beautiful. You don’t always need to go peak summer season for a gorgeous Scotland barn wedding…and the hire fees are cheaper off peak too.
8. The venue comes with the ever-coveted chiavari chairs and a catering kitchen. There’s parking for guests and there are tables (albeit not the most elegant looking) to use included too. There were three high chairs for little ones available, and in the summer you can open up the doors and utilise the beer barrels for standing tables outside (or roll them inside in winter). Double check with your rep which decorations are actually included on near the time of your wedding as we found two extra faux olive trees, an easel for standing our welcome sign on and a wooden arch that we didn’t know were there! It saved us some pennies on extra decor hire too!
9. Our registrar Debbie was from West Lothian council and she was AMAZING!!!! So so lovely and such a joy on the day! She called us ahead of the big day to find out more about us and explain the extra things we could add to our ceremony like handfasting and readings to make it more personal. We were going to book a private celebrant but we’re so glad we didn’t as Debbie was absolutely PERFECT.
Decor Inspiration for The Barn at Harburn
Some of the bits we placed around out venue to decorate and make it feel like home….
There was a wooden arch left by another couple that I was able to borrow for the day. I decorated it with fake foliage from Homesense and some leftover tulle from my wedding dress. All-in this cost about £50 and i’ve been able to re-purpose the foliage around our house.
You can ask the barn if that arch is still there. They were a bit wishy washy about it when I enquired but hopefully they’ve kept it for other guests to use too. If not, you can buy floor standing full sized arches on Amazon that assemble when you get there for a similar look!
I also made this wedding hoop with my dad for under £40 by spray painting a hoola hoop gold and attaching some foliage! My dad made the stand for us and we used it at various times throughout the day. I have it in my office now and it makes me smile every time I look at it. You’d never know it was just a hoola hoop and some fake roses!
In-front of the top table I just used faux eucalyptus garlands and battery powered fairy lights to jazz up the railings and attached them with cable ties.
The chairs just had some tulle left over from my wedding dress tied in a knot and some fresh spray tied with twine – simple but effective!
Hessian fabric was laid on the table with my eucalyptus garlands, some foraged evergreen branches from a friend’s garden, little wooden discs from etsy, fake candles and empty wine bottles with little cork lights. Our table names and numbers were all made on canva and printed on card at home, propped up on some little wooden easels I found online.
I found a second hand mirror on facebook marketplace and a friend with a cricut machine made us some vynl to stick over it as a welcome sign. The table plan was made on canva and printed at home and attached with twine and some mini pegs from hobbycraft!
I must admit, I really enjoyed making out little DIY finishing touches for the wedding. Not only did it save hundreds of pounds but it made it all feel so incredibly special and there was very little waste. We had a game of Jenga for our wedding guest book and people wrote their messages on the pieces. A date night ideas jar that people could add to and a little selfie station with an iphone on a tripod and one of my ring lights from the office so people could record little videos!
We also collected old digital cameras from friends and family and popped those on the tables with some photo prompts to get some candid shots which were a lot better quality than disposable cameras and didn’t come with a fee to get them developed.
Our favours were bottles of beer brewed by my dad with labels I made myself along with some charity forget-me-not seeds from The Alzheimer’s Society in mini plant pots I painted with a friend over tea and cake in the months leading up to the big day. We wanted to find a way to give something back to a charity close to both of our hearts and the seeds were a perfect way to do that. Most of the big charities have their own wedding favours with the proceeds going to great causes, so that’s a great idea if you don’t want to do the usual miniature bottles of booze.
Our wedding was so relaxed everyone had an amazing time. It was so personal, so ‘us’ and it honestly couldn’t have been more perfect. Weddings are such a personal thing and Harburn really does allow you to create the day you’ve always dreamed of.
I really hope this post has helped in some way and you’ve picked up some tips or some inspiration for your barn wedding in Scotland. I wish you the best of luck and fun planning and many years of happiness with your new spouse!
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