Fiona and Sacha Ponniah were married at Winton House, a wedding venue in East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh, in late March 2015. This is their story of how their wedding went, which they’ve kindly provided.
Why did you choose Winton House for your wedding?
“Winton is a beautiful venue inside and out, surrounded by amazing grounds. We loved the fact that there were various different rooms which our guests could explore and enjoy.
“Rae filled us with confidence on the very first day that we met her. She was completely calm and in control throughout the build-up and on the day, which was invaluable. Nothing was too much trouble!
“Another key factor for us was that, unlike many of the venues we looked at in East Lothian, Winton could accommodate all our guests inside the house for dinner and dancing, without the need for a marquee.”
You can find out more about using Winton as your wedding venue here.
What was the format on the day and over the weekend?
“The bridal party arrived at Winton around 8:30 am shortly followed by the hairdressers and make-up artists. We had a very relaxed morning up on the Kinnaird landing sipping buck’s fizz! Meanwhile, the groom’s party was getting ready at the Open Arms hotel in Dirleton.
“The bridal party headed for Seton Collegiate Church in time for the ceremony starting at 1:30pm.
“Post ceremony and a few photos of the bride and groom at the church, we headed back to Winton for the drinks reception and canapés with music from our harpist.
“The speeches were held in the drawing room prior to dinner which was set up across the main hall, the dining room and the octagon room. We decided to have a course in each room which worked out really well as it meant we had the opportunity to chat to lots of our guests!
“After dinner, coffee was served in the drawing room so that the tables could be cleared from the other rooms for dancing, while evening guests arrived. The process was seamless!
“There was also a whisky expert and whisky bar downstairs in the Vaulted Cellar which the guests loved!
“We cut the cake, had the first dance and then the party started! We had decided on Callanish for the band as they play a mixture of contemporary songs and ceilidh music. We also managed to squeeze in some traditional Sri Lankan Baila music and dancing during the band’s break!
“For our evening buffet we had a cheese table which was set out from 8pm and proved very popular!
“We had the last dance around midnight and then said goodbye to the guests! The wedding party then settled in to the study for a debrief and more drinks, but we didn’t last long and headed upstairs to bed!
“The breakfast the next morning was excellent and just what we needed! The staff at Winton were amazing and had already cleared everything up; you wouldn’t have known there had been a wedding the night before. We then said our goodbyes to Rae and headed back to the bride’s family’s house for a post wedding gathering!
“All-in-all, the most amazing weekend!”
How was Winton’s food, drink and hospitality?
“The food was excellent and the wine flowed. So many people said to us that the food was delicious and that they were never short of a drink! They also told us that the staff were excellent. In our view it was all superb!
“In terms of hospitality it was wonderful, the whole day ran so smoothly and went better than we could ever have imagined.”
What was the feedback from guests? What were your most memorable moments?
“We have had such positive feedback from the guests, everyone seems to genuinely have had a wonderful day and a lot of fun which was what we really wanted to ensure! The guests commented on the variety of the rooms and how nice it was to have areas where you could sit by the fire and look at photos and relax away from the buzz for half an hour!
“People absolutely loved the whisky bar in the cellar! Apparently it was so popular that people couldn’t get in the door!”
What were the funniest moments? Was there anything that didn’t go entirely to plan, but (hopefully) worked out OK in the end?!
“There were a few!
“The guest who had agreed to coordinate the bus from Winton to the church, missing the bus.
“Our dog, Dexter, arriving outside the church with his dog walker and the dog walker somehow losing hold of him. Dexter then charged straight through all the guests outside, into the church (right past the ‘no dogs allowed’ sign) and down the aisle!
“The door of the VW camper van flying open while it was travelling at about 50mph en route to Winton – the bride’s father managed to stay in the vehicle and close the door!
“The bride and groom doing an impromptu karaoke version of ‘Dolly and Kenny’s Islands in the Stream’ with the band!”
Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how we could improve our hospitality and customer service?
“We are sorry if it seems unhelpful, but we really can’t think of anything!
“The whole process and the day itself really couldn’t have been better. Nothing was any trouble for Rae and her staff, even when I had to inform them about 2 days before the wedding that one of the guests had suddenly turned vegetarian!
“They were also extremely flexible in terms of specific things that we wanted and didn’t want on the day.
“I would describe Winton House as a beautiful, historic, elegant yet welcoming, warm and comfortable venue.
“We would recommend Winton to anyone. Such a special place!”
Winton is very grateful to Fiona and Sacha’s wedding photographer, Jen Owens, for letting us use some of her beautiful photos.