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As photographers we need little encouragement to go on a road trip. When we received an invitation to the launch of Cardney Steading as a wedding venue we jumped at the chance to drive north and see what the story was.

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The road to Cardney Steading

Starting in the centre of Edinburgh Sinéad, Romina and I, with two coffees and a tea, some questionable music choices (by me) and a sense of adventure we set off towards Dunkeld. The trip up the A9 as we meandered through more and more dramatic scenery was adding to the anticipation for the launch. Romina pointed out that our road signs for deer are hilarious which got Sinéad and I wondering what on earth Italian deer signs look like. I was rather hoping they’d be some sort of high fashion affair with deer in expressive clothing or giving a “blue steel” look. I’m informed they’re just different, not weird. By the time we hit the single track road leading to the venue we were excited to arrive and after an hour and a half driving and lots of coffee consumed, greatly appreciating the proximity of a toilet.

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Cardney Steading is located within the hills around Dunkeld, next to a beautiful lake. The scenery is breathtaking and the perfect setting for a wedding.

First impressions

Our first impression – from our visit to the toilets – was that this was a very nice venue. The quality of a toilet is a good way to look at a place. A luxurious toilet space, as is found in Cardney Steading, shows the high standards and customer service they aspire to. However, we where here for more than a nice comfort break. We took a quick walk around the courtyard and bumped into Lewis. Lewis and Katriona, the owners, had spent the last few days getting everything finished off for the launch. Lewis had literally been finishing the painting that morning. We discovered they already had bookings for weddings, even before the venue was finished, and that was no surprise. It is such a nice place.

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The layout

The wedding venue is laid out as a series of farm buildings joined together around a beautiful courtyard. There is a large ceremony space, a dedicated bar area and a dining and dancing hall. There’s even a cute chill out room above the bar accessed by an iron spiral staircase. All the important areas are covered so there’s no reason to worry about the typical Scottish weather. This place works for both rain and shine as we discovered when the heavens opened immediately after the the close of the speeches for the launch.

Outside there are lots of cool areas too. A fire pit with log seating, a lake and woodland trails. It’s got everything one needs for a wedding all in the one place. Perfect!

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A wedding photographer’s perspective

After the speeches Sinéad, Romina and I walked around to examine the photography aspects of Cardney Steading. We liked that there was plenty of natural light and space. There were lots of interesting features to the décor and it felt cosy and homely. It really suits the intimate diy wedding but offers a lot for couples who want to get married without too much decoration fuss too. Outside there are endless options for both formal and couple portraits. The hills in the area offer that wild Scottish landscape background, the lake is a beautiful feature right on the doorstep too. Add to that the woodland paths and you have everything a photographer needs for natural wedding portraits. I particularly like the indoor lighting, which is warm and inviting, not those cold LEDs that we keep running into. It’s well thought out and a big attraction for a wedding photographer. We all felt that it would be exciting and inspiring to photograph a wedding here and we’re sitting at our desks waiting with baited breath for the first enquiry to come in s with the label “venue: Cardney Steading”. We’ll have to draw straws to who goes there first since we’ll all want to do it.

Conclusion

The three of us agreed if you aren’t including this on your list of must see wedding venues then you’re missing out on a gem. The owners are really nice, the location is charming and the venue is cosy and inviting. The wedding photography will be stunning and guests will be talking about being here to everyone they know. It’s on our list, that’s for sure.

Words by Dan & photos by Romina