Wedding Venue Spotlight – Balfreish Barns

As a wedding planner in the Highlands of Scotland, it is important to keep visiting venues to increase the options that I can suggest to my clients. This week I discovered an exciting new Scottish wedding venue. Balfreish Barns. Although I usually work within the Cairngorms National Park, I decided to venture out a little further towards Inverness when I heard that there was a rustic barn available to hire for weddings.

Well, what can I say, I loved it. Balfreish Barns is located near Nairn in the Highlands of Scotland. It is owned by Isobel and Martin, and is a fantastic rustic venue ideal for couples out there who wish to create their own rustic, boho wedding.

The Long Barn at Balfreish getting set up for a wedding
Credit: Katie Grainger

Isobel likes to keep the number of weddings low each year. This ensures that couples get the absolute best service, with plenty of time available to set up and no pressure to clear out before the next wedding.

Isobel says, “We feel Balfreish Barns is a very special venue. All the couples who get married here are different, but they have one thing in common – they want a wedding with a difference!  They are fun loving and full of ideas.  Some, for example, decorate the barns with festoon lighting, others have fairy lights and some have both. It doesn’t matter – it all looks great and it is their choice. Some have picnic tables and BBQs, some have pasta vans and others choose fine dining.  That is what Balfreish Barns is all about, individuality and choice.  They make it their own!”

Walking around the barns during my visit, the place conjured up all kinds of images in my mind of what can be done with such a beautiful, rustic blank canvas. A wedding planner’s dream!

For the ceremony itself there is a stunning garden full of flowers, a grass aisle, and beautiful corners for photos. The gardens are also peaceful and relaxing for a wander and a bit of time out.

There is the Long Barn for a large indoor wedding ceremony. It can also seat 70 – 90 people on long tables for the wedding breakfast and evening entertainment afterwards. 

For smaller weddings of up to 50 guests there it the Cow Shed. This is a gorgeous ‘shed’ adorned with comfy seating and fairy lights. It can also be a lovely relaxing area to escape the main party and chat in a more peaceful setting.

Then there is Hamish’s Tavern. An old bull pen, named after one of Isobel and Martin’s dogs, now serves as the bar area complete with fridges, a freezer for ice, and a home made bar.

Finally, there is a Games Room for guests to take some time away from the rest of the celebrations to play a game of pool or darts, indoor games, or simply have a quieter chat with friends or family away from the crowds.

And if this isn’t enough to tick all the wedding venue “must haves”,  there is also a courtyard with firepits for an outdoor BBQ, or cosy chats late into the evening.

As part of the wedding package, there are also portaloos provided for guests, kitchen facilities for caterers use and there is a store room full of extras that can be used to decorate the barns such as an upcycled Prosecco bar, old farm props, outdoor furniture and blankets for when the evening gets cooler.

Couples are free to decorate as they wish and should they want to have an extra day on site for an after party, they are more than welcome.  Also, should the couple not want to do the clearing up themselves, this can be done for them too. Both come at an additional cost.

Having visited Balfreish Barns, I for one, can’t wait to work with couples, helping them create their unique, magical wedding there. 

Katie Grainger, a fabulous photographer who has worked at the Barns previously, says, “What a venue! I absolutely fell in love with it.

The open layout with the various barns being used for the bar, dancing, eating, games etc is just fantastic. It allows for such a relaxed atmosphere where people can mingle and come and go as they please. This combined with the rustic charm of the buildings, the log stacks, the fairy lights against the old stone walls, the beautiful grounds for the ceremony…it’s a photographer’s dream!

a bride outside the barn at Balfreish in the Scottish Highlands
Credit: Katie Grainger

I love capturing the natural laughter of the day, the emotional hugs and the giddy excitement of friends & family, so the multi faceted layout of Balfreish lends itself perfectly to that! I can scoot around the gardens & barns without needing to be intrusive, allowing me to capture the natural reactions of the guests as the day unfolds.”

This venue is definitely going into my Little White Book of Wedding Suppliers.  It may be a little outside the Cairngorms National Park, but it is definitely worth the adventure.

Take a look at the website, and if you would like to chat with me about the possibility of Balfreish Barns for your wedding venue, and would like someone to help you with the organising, please contact me via my website

Balfreish Barns is a jewel of a venue, one that oozes visions of ‘rustic’, ‘creative’ and ‘magical’.

My thanks to the following photographers who permitted me to use their photos for this blog:

Katie Grainger
Steven Gallagher
Claire Ball Photography

If you are planning a wedding in the summer months click here for my blog all about this.