Let’s face it, when your mind drifts to the local village hall, thoughts of the Women’s Institute, Weight Watchers and the faint whiff of lentil soup probably spring to mind, but over the past few years we’ve noticed that the humble village hall has been enjoying a major renaissance as a wedding venue and we’re LOVING it! Don’t get us wrong, we think it’s great that village halls fulfil their primary purpose of serving the community, but everybody deserves to get dolled up once in a while and village halls are no exception!
There are hundreds of fantastic village halls peppered all over Scotland, but this week’s Incredible Scottish Wedding Venue has well and truly stolen our hearts. Here’s why we’re OBSESSING over the Molteno Hall in Fortingall so much:
• Picture-perfect Arts & Crafts hall in glorious Perthshire village
• Situated within jaw-droppingly beautiful surroundings
• Just ninety minutes from Glasgow and Edinburgh
• An adventurous couple and photographer’s dream
• Crafty couples are free to get as creative as they like
• Large space to accommodate 130 (ceremony/wedding breakfast) and 150 (reception)
• Freedom to choose your own caterers
• Venue fee goes back towards the upkeep of the hall
With mighty rivers, heather clad hills and ancient sprawling forests, it should come as no surprise that pretty Perthshire consistently makes it into the top ten regions in Scotland for loved up couples to say “I do”. From barns to bell tents and castles to crannogs, Perthshire has got it going on in terms of dreamy wedding venues and with all that variety, it’s easy to see why the unassuming village hall can get overlooked amongst all the glitz and glamour of its competition.
Situated slap bang in the centre of Scotland at the eastern end of the “longest, loneliest and loveliest” glen in the country lies the incredibly beautiful Arts & Crafts village of Fortingall. With verdant open pastures and the River Lyon to one side of the road and thatched cottages, vibrant secret gardens, a thriving pub and a pretty church to the other, Fortingall is arguably one of the most picture-perfect villages in Scotland. It’s not just 21st Century day-trippers who are obsessing over Fortingall either as the village has enamoured folk for centuries with its abundant charms; fragments of Pictish crosses survive in the village church yard, groups of Neolithic stone circles can be found in the surrounding fields and predating both of the above is the famous Fortingall Yew, a 5000 year old Yew Tree, which takes the title as the oldest living organism in Europe, so couples on the lookout for a spiritually significant hub in a glorious part of Scotland really need look no further.
At the west end of Fortingall, occupying a bright and open plot, sits the wonderful Molteno Hall. This elegant and unique Arts & Crafts building was gifted to the community by a local resident in tribute to his late wife, Bessie Molteno, who we’re pretty sure wouldn’t be disappointed with the results! Architecturally, the Molteno Hall is a true one of a kind; externally the crow step gable and pretty sash and casement windows combine to give maximum curb appeal and internally, the pitched roof is supported by the most spectacular oak scissor beams.
All this architectural pizzazz might make some couples question if the Molteno Hall falls short in the functionality department, but we can totally allay those fears by stating that it’s the personification of practical perfection. With a large floor space capable of accommodating up to 130 guests for a sit-down ceremony/wedding breakfast and up to 150 guests for an evening reception, the hall is the perfect size for a medium to large wedding. Furthermore, the Molteno Hall boasts a great open plan bar area, a spacious stage, a brilliantly appointed commercial kitchen and a sprung Royal Versaille dancefloor, which basically means you can dance all night long without worrying about your shin splints flaring up!
With such a practical and beautiful space, style conscious and creative couples on the lookout for an eye-catching blank canvas to inject their personality into are in for a treat. The beauty of any village hall is that couples are free to have complete control without compromise over decoration, which is a total bonus, especially in a building as lovely as the Molteno Hall. When booking the hall, the price includes full access the day before and after the wedding allowing couples and their comrades ample time for setting/clearing up.
While some couples choose to host their entire day under the gorgeous scissored beams of the Molteno Hall, the beauty of Fortingall is that it offers a wealth of ceremony/reception options so couples looking to split their big day into glorious chunks will be spoilt for choice. During the winter months, why not take your vows by a roaring fire at the charming Fortingall Hotel? Or during the summer months, how about embracing the stunning landscape and marrying in the midst of a stone circle in the pastures that run alongside the River Lyon opposite the hall? Outdoor loving couples are in for a treat as mighty Loch Tay and Glen Lyon are right on the doorstep so why not bus your guests to a wild spot where adventurous couples and photographers will have a field day! Afterwards, enjoy champagne and canapes within the colourful gardens of the Fortingall Hotel before taking a short amble to the Molteno Hall for the wedding breakfast and evening reception.
The same level of flexibility is also offered to couples looking to enjoy bespoke catering to suit their personality and taste. The hall isn’t affiliated with one particular supplier so couples can book any caterer of their choosing and we can guarantee they’ll be extremely grateful for the Molteno Hall’s excellent and spacious kitchen facilities. There’s also a great space in the hall’s carpark, which is perfect for accommodating outdoor catering companies specialising in serving up barbecues, street food or whatever takes your fancy. Within the hall, the open plan bar area allows couples complete freedom to stock their favourite tipples for guests to enjoy throughout the day.
So there you have it, we hope that we’ve inspired you in some way to consider using your local village hub on your big day. Granted, not all village halls have the same level of elegance and beauty as the Molteno Village Hall; however, there’s something intrinsically nostalgic and personal about this style of wedding that is almost impossible to achieve in other venues. The warm and friendly vibe coupled with the budget friendly and flexible nature of village halls catapults them into the unbeatable wedding venue realm and we’re looking forward to a wedding season packed with village hall ceremonies.
John Elphinstone Stirling (featured photograph)