Northern Star Review of Melville Castle
It astounds me that compared to Perth and Ayrshire we don’t have many great country style venues in Edinburgh. There’s a few dotted about the place, but not much in the way of the splendour and scale of say Mar Hall or even Fingast Castle. This makes the choice for couples who wish to marry near the capital a bit limited. We’ve got large hotels like the Balmoral and the Sheraton but city centre weddings aren’t for everyone. Firstly you WILL be sharing a hotel with tourists/business people and day trippers, and secondly, the majority of your photos will be indoors. Our photographers (bless em) love to shoot those moody indoor shots with brides descending down hotel stairs, I personally prefer seeing a tree or flower here and there, but that’s just my opinion!
Situated just outside Edinburgh, near Bonnyrigg and Dalkeith, Melville castle sits in some of the most stunning grounds you’ll ever see. A large grand drive sweeps up to the main building where the ample marquee feels like its being encircled by a forest, *massive trees that your (bless em) photographer will love. Inside the main house you immediately feel like you’re entering a 5* hotel, where ancient stone floors and artefacts are blended with classic modern decor. I did notice a harp only version of that tune from the British Airways ad’s playing in the lobby sound system which added to the ambience.
Medium to Large weddings are held in the marquee adjacent to the main house, and it’s of excellent size for weddings with 90+ guests. The dance floor is to the left of the main entrance and the band plays on a little raised stage which is a bit awkward as your not actually facing the audience, but any good band leader should be able to cope as this is normal in a marquee. The sound, again with it being a marquee is typically soft and bass heavy so a little extra time is needed to really tune the bands sound for the room, and have a listen outside to check the bass isn’t shaking the windows of the main building, most Edinburgh wedding bands think that turning the subs up to 11 means a better gig, NOT true! Get a balance, and your customers will love you for it.
There’s a lot of hoo-haa about the sound limiter in this venue, so let me tell you… IT’S NOT AN ISSUE! The problem with marquees is, they act like large bass collectors and like I said before, you just need to EQ things to sort the issue. The new owners have had a really good system installed that gives you a 10sec warning then a 10 sec countdown before shut off, and if any band/DJ can’t work with that then they need to re-asses their career choice! During our soundcheck we absolutely belted out some music and were never in danger of tripping the limiter. (Live angry drummer, 4k PA system, Big fat synths.. etc.).
We were performing for the wedding of Angelo and Kirsten, and I noticed the Italian flag as we entered the main gates, which I thought was a nice touch. Having arrived, the staff were all super nice yet efficient and we all worked together really well, specifically to get the sound right and to make sure the evenings event went smoothly. I met with the venue’s general manager and it’s refreshing today to meet someone with experience, and a nice management style that never made us feel in any way harassed.
At 11pm we had the most AWSOME fireworks I have ever seen at a wedding! a good 10 min display with some huge effect that left the guests in awe!
By 12am, everyone was fed, danced, watered and ready to depart. We had some lovely conversations with the guests outside who all had a great night and I think we have to give some credit to the excellent venue. So, dear readers, If you’re looking for a great wedding venue close to Edinburgh, with amazing grounds and awesome staff, check out Melville Castle.
Till next time…