When Katriona and Lewis Cameron decided to transform their enchanting 2,000 acre Perthshire estate into an all-purpose wedding and events venue they wanted to offer guests something different – the chance to create events which could span an entire weekend.
With weddings in particular taking hours, months and often years to plan and with guests often gathering from all across the world to celebrate, the Camerons wanted to give happy couples the chance to fully immerse themselves in their wedding weekend through a bespoke range of exclusive services and experiences tailored to take them from Friday through to Sunday.
“We want to give our couples options so they feel they can really stretch out and enjoy the whole weekend with as little or as much involvement from us as they’d like,” explained Lewis. “If some of the party want to have a clay-pigeon shoot, do some archery or have a horse ride we can organise that or if they’d like a welcome dinner or lazy brunch for up to 18 in the Lodge overlooking the loch, we’ve got it all here on the estate.”
And good news – it’s not just weddings that Cardney Estate is offering. Whether it’s a birthday or other special occasion, a corporate or charity event, a concert or any kind of celebration, the flexible set up and multitude of spaces can accommodate both intimate groups or larger parties – all for private use.
Awarded £50,000 from Perth and Kinross’s LEADER funding to diversify their original mixed sporting and farming business and make it more sustainable and to convert one of the traditional farm steadings to create the stunning events venue, Cardney Estate officially threw open its doors to the public for the first time in summer 2019 with international singer-songwriter, local resident and friend Dougie MacLean doing the ribbon-cutting honours.
For wedding ceremonies, the options are endless. Whether it’s a lochside or woodland wedding ceremony a couple are craving or whether it’s inside, in the Old Mill, the beautifully converted steading where thoughtfully preserved simple stone walls and original beams bathe in natural light to create a breathtaking and original rustic space with all the modern comfort trappings, Katriona and Lewis believe that Cardney Estate has everything to make a special occasion unique.
“One of the things couples have really liked about the way we do things is that they have the chance to put their own stamp on things. We have kept our décor simple so couples can add their own personal touches if they want,” says Katriona.
“And because everything at Cardney is close by, happy couples don’t need to spend too much time away from their guests for photos. The arrangement of our steading buildings and the closeness to the lochside and woodland area mean that couples and their guests can spend as much time together as possible. At the end of the day, isn’t that what makes a wedding special?”
Doing things “your own way” is very much a theme for events at Cardney and Katriona believes it’s one of the reasons that 80% of couples viewing the property then go on to book their wedding at the estate.
“We’d found that many wedding venues use their own suppliers but we like giving couples the chance to choose the suppliers they want although we can of course offer them advice if they require it,” Katriona says.
Cardney Estate’s beginnings
Originally a shooting estate, Katriona inherited Cardney Estate following the death of her father. As a girl, she’d spent many happy years here and as a young woman she divided her time between the estate and helping with her dad’s other business interests.
After meeting Lewis, the couple moved to Cardney where, alongside raising their two children, they continued to offer a range of countryside pursuits for guests but the more time they spent living nestled in the Perthshire hills, the more they realised Cardney had the potential to be much more than just a shooting and farming estate.
It was while attending a rustic, barn-style wedding that Lewis had his ‘Eureka’ moment. A joiner by trade, Lewis had the experience and building know-how to realise the potential of Cardney’s collection of farm buildings. Better still was the realisation that, with all of its other attributes – a stunning loch and woodlands just a stone’s throw away from the buildings – not to mention the estate’s proximity to the A9 – Cardney wasn’t just a viable option for weddings and events, it offered something other rustic venues couldn’t.
“We realised we had something unique here,” Lewis explains. “And once we had worked out the logistics, the ideas just kept on coming. I’ve been known to wake Katriona up in the middle of the night because my head was full of new ideas. She usually made me wait until the morning though to listen to what I had to say,” he laughs.
Looking at the estate and its layout now it’s evident that those ideas have not only come to fruition, but they’ve been bolstered with a practical and thoughtful precision – from the location of the fairy light-strung bar in the central courtyard to the stunning fire-pit and seating area and from the comfy sofas in a chill-out room above the bar area to the exquisite powder room.
“People like that we are so centrally located – a perfect in-between for guests coming from up north and those coming from the south or further afield,” says Lewis. “We’re on the Highland fault line so we have the beauty of the hills and are nicely secluded but we’re only 12 miles from Perth and four from Dunkeld.”
Cardney is changing the face of traditional country estates and by doing so the Camerons are responding to the needs of a modern clientele by helping curate bespoke events and wedding experiences for guests which are sure to create memories lasting a lifetime.
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