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The wedding venue

The wedding venue makes a huge difference to the day. In Edinburgh we are lucky to have some fantastic wedding venues from tiny chapels to the exclusive hire of an entire castle

The first thing to think about is probably what sort of a ceremony you are going to have. There is the choice of the church wedding, the civil wedding or the humanist ceremony. Church weddings don’t actually have to be conducted inside a church but do have to be on consecrated ground. For civil weddings the venue does have to have a wedding licence. If you have set your heart on a particular place and it doesn’t have a licence you can apply for a temporary licence.

When you have decided on the ceremony location you can think about the reception. It is becoming increasingly popular for civil ceremonys to be held at the same location as the wedding reception. This has many advantages. The bride can get ready in the hotel and get her hair and make-up done there. This avoids any possible problems getting to the venue and reduces the stress on the day. If anyone is coming from far away they can stay in the hotel the night before. Just one venue reduces the possibility of people getting lost and is much easier on any elderly relatives. Anyone getting tired can go for a quick lie down in their room. From a photographer’s perspective it also means that there is more time between the ceremony and wedding breakfast for photographs as there is no travel required. However there are also some disadvantages. For a start you won’t be able to get married in a church and most venues don’t have quite the elegance and grandeur of a church. It also means you can be a bit stuck for great photographic opportunities, if you travel to the reception from the ceremony then a small party can stop off for photographs at a beauty spot en route. However there are some lovely licensed venues in Edinburgh with fantastic grounds.

It is important when choosing a wedding venue to consider what you will do if it rains. This is Scotland after all and you will be far less stressed about the weather if you have some decent contingency plans. It is usually possible to nip out at some point between the showers in Edinburgh. However if it is tipping it down while great photos can be taken in the rain (I have a wonderful white umbrella for just such occasions) your guests may not be as keen as you are to brave the weather for the sake of great pictures. This is when a large entrance hall and a staircase come in handy. Some venues also have beautiful architecture with lovely windows inside and offer a lot of scope for pictures.

The size of the venues is also important and can limit you as to the size of your party. Some small chapels can only hold around 18 people! Another thing to think about is if you are only inviting 50 people to a venue that takes 300 then you are likely to rattle. Some venues have dividing doors to reduce the room size in these circumstances and make the area feel “snug”. Also beware of inviting a huge number of people – the costs quickly mount up and “plus ones” can really hit you hard. Also check the size of the dance floor – particularly if you like dancing or are having a ceilidh.

Venues also vary widely as to costs and benefits. Some wedding venues will provide the first night suite for free if there are a certain number of guests. Some venues will also provide room discounts for those people who are with the wedding party. However even with these discounts it is sometimes cheaper to book online. It is also worth checking when the rooms will be at their cheapest as booking a year in advance can sometimes be expensive.

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