James Maynard is now the General Manager at Winton House but he first heard of Winton House as a wedding client. Julie Britee, Winton’s Sales Manager, told him about the job vacancy for the post when he came to the house for a second site visit for his planned wedding. By coincidence, James and his fiancée, Suzanne, were looking for an opportunity to move to Scotland.
“Suzanne and I were living in London when we decided to look for a Scottish venue to get married in. Suzanne is from Falkirk in Scotland but had not lived there for 12 years. I’m from Leeds and then Camberley in Surrey. “We searched the internet for options using good old Google with keywords like ‘large venue’, ‘castle’ and ‘venues with character near Edinburgh’. “Then one very cold and wet June weekend we flew up and visited 8 venues out of a long list of 50 we had researched.
“We went to venues in East Lothian, the Borders and Stirlingshire – Dundas Castle, Hopetoun House, Lennoxlove and Gean House – before deciding on Winton House.
“We chose Winton because it offered exclusive use and personal service, and had a warm welcoming atmosphere from the open fires and the people we met. It felt like a family home that could hold all our families and be able to enjoy the space, even if the weather was bad! “Suzanne and I invited 84 friends and family from as far afield as the States, Austria, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Australia. We hired Winton for the whole weekend with two overnight stays in its 8 bedrooms.
“We were married in a church in Falkirk, before being driven to Winton House in a 1920’s Mark IV Jaguar from Ecosse Classic Cars. A lone piper welcomed us from the tower, before we sipped Champagne at our reception on the oval lawn. Photos were taken by David Loney Photography on the front lawn and by Sir David’s Loch below the terraced gardens.
“Dinner was a formal affair in the dining room created by Winton’s longest standing chef, Elizabeth Young. The retro menu included prawn and langoustine cocktail, Winton steak pie accompanied by colcannon, and East Lothian cranachan with raspberries and Glenkinchie malt whisky (yum!). Speeches were followed by tea and coffee with homemade shortbread and tablet. The evening was finished off in traditional Winton style with a ceilidh in the ballroom.
“The icing on the cake was a surprise 21CC Fireworks display over the loch below the house. “At our family breakfast in the Cabinet Room on the last morning, we were joined by Sir Francis Ogilvy, owner of Winton House, to hear what we had been up to. “Everyone commented on the house’s beautiful setting, exclusivity, warm ambience and style: a great team at a great venue. No wonder our friends were so keen to get an invitation!”