Behind-The-Scenes - Weddings and Events
At this busy time of year for wedding and event bookings, we would like to introduce our Wedding & Events Coordinator Rhona Jamieson to give a behind-the-scenes insight into her role here at Thirlestane Castle.
Rhona has been working at the castle for two years and lives in the local area with her husband and two young boys: “It’s a beautiful place to work at all times of the year as life at the castle changes so much throughout the seasons. No two days are ever the same and it’s the variety that makes the job so interesting.
“In the summer the castle’s open to the general public but the winter is never quiet as we carry out maintenance on the castle and prepare new events spaces. This year it’s been particularly busy as we create three new apartments in the South Wing. It means that we can now sleep up to sixteen people in the castle so the venue is much more practical for wedding parties, corporate events and celebrations.”
When people are interested in holding an event at the castle it is Rhona who will meet with them, show them around the many spaces available and discuss the different aspects of the event. “One of my favourite parts of the job is meeting the people looking to hold an event here. The castle is such a unique building with a real variety of spaces so you really have to walk around yourself and work out what will suit. I love seeing the excitement on the faces of wedding couples as we enter the State Drawing Room and they start to picture what it would be like to get married in this grand space. As you walk around the venue you get to know a little about them and it’s great hearing the stories of how they got engaged. Our couples love the fact they can have a really grand, elegant ceremony and Wedding Breakfast in our State Rooms then let their hair down in the evening for a proper celebration in our Courtyard and Vaulted Cellar. Most also want their main wedding party to be able to stay together in one place and our new apartments now allow this to happen here.”
Weddings and other events at the castle can happen at any time of year but generally the summer is when most take place. Even though the visitor attraction is open over the summer months, it is shut to members of the general public on Fridays and Saturdays so guests can enjoy exclusive use and have the place to themselves.
“Event days can be long but they are always super exciting and it’s lovely to be a part of someone’s special day or key event and make sure everything runs smoothly. I’ll normally be at the castle before the client gets here to co-ordinate the delivery of the all the supplies and make sure people like the caterers have everything they need. Once the event starts then I like to make sure I’m in the background but easily available if the client needs anything. Sometimes that might be a simple task like fetching a jug of water or it could be something more complex like arranging additional transport home for a large number of people. I see it as part of my role to make sure the client wants for nothing and aim to be as flexible and accommodating as I can be.”
The castle can cater for small celebrations for just a few people right up to huge incentive days in the parkland for companies who want to reward their staff. “We’ve had some really big events here where the staff working on the event has gone into the hundreds never mind the guests! We work with some fabulous suppliers who we know really well and they do a great job so even these big occasions go really smoothly.”
Rhona is always happy to discuss your ideas for an event whether that’s by phone, on email or in person over a coffee. Her experience of organising events at the castle means she knows exactly what works and what any challenges might be. Her top tip for anyone organising an event: “Be prepared! The more time you give yourself to plan everything the easier the organising will be. There is always a lot more to consider than you think but I can help make sure you have everything on track.”
Contact Rhona on 01578 722430 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss holding your next event at Thirlestane Castle.