Wedding in Edinburgh


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our Wedding - Saturday 27th October 2007

The half hour before the wedding ceremony was a bit blurry - after some photos of me with my bridesmaids and mum & dad in the room, the registrar came up to the room to speak to my sister Karen (one of the witnesses) & I, basically to let me know what would happen during the ceremony, where I had to sign and to check that I was in fact wanting to marry Stuart and hadn't previously been a man (!)

After that, it was down to the front door for some photos and then into the ceremony room with the Piper, my dad and the bridesmaids.

The ceremony was really nice and went really well. Kirsteen & Michelle did lovely readings and Stuart & I managed to happily get through to vows and ring exchange.

Here is a photo of Stuart & I with our witnesses Karen and Simon after the signing of the register.

Karen, Me, Stuart and Simon after signing the register
Photo by PhotoCom

Stuart & I after signing the register
Photo by PhotoCom

After the ceremony we went to the room next door for some more photos and a much needed glass of champers while the guests went downstairs tot he Waverley Suite for some pre dinner drinks.

Me after the wedding ceremony
Photo by Robert Brown

There was about an hour or so of photography - after which I felt I had lost the ability to smile. Thankfully the champagne helped us to continue with the smiling and the posing.

Here are a couple of the photos.

Stuart and I with Jeff, Karen & Emma, Dad and Mum:

Stuart, Me, Jeff, Karen & Emma, Dad, Mum
Photo by PhotoCom

Stuart and I:

Stuart & I
Photo by PhotoCom

After the photographs we had a little while to mingle with the guests and drink a little champagne, then it was time for the lineup. Morris, the master of ceremonies must have got the point across to the guests about being quick as it was the quickest lineup ever -it took less than 5 minutes for around 60 guests to greet our parents and Stuart and I!

We had decided to have the speeches before the meal to allow everyone to relax. My Dad's speech was funny and nice and short, although I think he did embellish the truth a bit (i.e. Stuart and I meeting for the first time across a meeting room at work!). Stuart's speech was very nice and quite emotional. Simon's speech was quite hilarious and suitably embarrassing for Stuart :-)

Our meal was lentil and tomato soup, followed by chicken in red wine sauce with veg & potatoes then apple tart. It was quite disappointing as the food was nowhere near as good as it had been in our tasting and mine was pretty lukewarm as well, so I hope it wasn't like that for everyone.

After dinner there was a bit of a break and some drinks while they turned round the Holyrood suite ready for the evening reception.

The evening reception was great - our band Pulse was excellent, we managed to cut the cake ok and get through the first dance without tripping up.

Here's a cake cutting shot.

cutting the wedding cake

Overall it was a fantastic day and we had a great time. When we got back to our room after the evenng reception the Balmoral had left a bottle of Bollinger on ice and some chocolate dipped strawberries which was a nice touch and we "forced ourselves" to polish of the champagne, which was a lovely end to the day.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Night Before the Wedding

On Friday Kirsteen and I checked into the Balmoral Hotel. We had a lovely room on the 6th floor with big windows, a little turret and fantastic views over the bridges and Arthur's seat.

Here's the view from one of the windows in our room:

View from our room in the Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh

Shortly after checking in we took a mad half hour dash to Berketex, picked up my wedding dress, Kirsteen & Jenny's bridesmaid dresses and walked back along Princes Street with the huge heavy bags.

Here is the front and back of my wedding dress:

Front of Wedding Dress

Back of Wedding Dress
And Kirsteen & Jenny's bridesmaid dresses:

Bridesmaid's Dresses

We both paid a little visit to the Balmoral's Spa for a french pedicure which was very nice and chilled out in their lovely relaxation room with candles, music and fruit juices - it's a shame I can't have that room the morning of the wedding!

In the evening we had a glass or two of Cava then wondered along to Le Sept for a quick bite to eat. I managed to restrain myself and didn't have my usual (French Onion Soup, Duck with Port and Berry Sauce followed by chocolate torte) - i settled instead for haddock crepes and a salad - better for the wedding dress tomorrow.

After dinner Michelle and Ailsa came round and we had a few more cavas (but not too many more for me as I didn't fancy being the hungover bride). Amazingly I wasn't feeling too nervous yet, but after my bedtime bath I found it a bit harder to get to sleep!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Wedding at Craighouse, Napier University, Edinburgh

Last Saturday Stuart and I went to a wedding at Craighouse, which is part of Napier University in Edinburgh. The wedding was between Nicky (a friend of Stuart's) and Lynsey. I thought it was worth a mention, because it is a venue that we never visited when we were planning our wedding.

The venue was really lovely. It was a Victorian building, originally built in 1894 as a hospital and extensively refurbished in 1994 to become one of Napier's campuses. Craighouse is set on a hill and the views of Edinburgh are fantastic, so it is a great place for wedding photos overlooking Edinburgh with really nice grounds.

The civil ceremony was held in a room with nice big windows (the Castle room, I think) and was a lovely setting for a ceremony. This was actually the first time that I have been to a civil wedding ceremony in Edinburgh. I wasn't too keen on the registrar as she kept cracking terrible jokes and coerced the best men (there were 3 of them!) and also the bridesmaids to say something during the ceremony because she was disappointed that there were no readings. Stuart and I both hope that we don't get her for our wedding (argh!).

After the ceremony there was a drinks reception outside on the stairs and balcony over looking a great view of Edinburgh. It was a bit chilly, but the setting was great.

The reception was held in an impressive hall called the Turmeau Hall (below).

Turmeau Hall, Napier, Edinburgh

We had a really nice buffet dinner, followed by dancing in the evening and the bride, Lynsey looked lovely in a pale blue desinger wedding gown.

All in all a very nice venue. The only downside is the distance from the city centre - you would need to take a bus or drive there.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wedding Meal Tasting at the Balmoral Hotel

A couple of weeks ago Stuart and I went for the tasting of the wedding meal at the Balmoral Hotel. At the tasting you get to taste your chosen meal and the wine just to make sure you are happy with it. Unfortunately the Balmoral only includes a tasting of one meal, not two, so if you are unsure of what to choose, or you want to make a night out of it, then you will need to pay for the second meal. In my opinion this is a wee bit stingy, given the amount of money we are spending there, but we decided to pay for a second meal so we could make a night out of it as well.

The meal was at Hadrian's and we choose to tast the soup/melon for starter, chicken/salmon for the main course plus apple pie and ice cream/banana parfait for the dessert.

The meal was absolutely delicious and the service was great. The soup on the menu had actually been Cream of Asparagus, but we felt that a lot of people didn't like asparagus so asked if we could change it. Instead we chose Tomato and Lentil, which was lovely and we decided to go for this as our starter instead of the melon and fruit, which was also nice, but not as good as the soup. For our main course we chose Chicken in red wine sauce served with mash and veg and for the dessert we decided on the apple tart with ice cream. A nice hearty Autumn menu.

What surprised me was that we were given two full bottles of wine. We hadn't expected this, since only one meal was included, but we managed to almost polish both of them off all the same, despite the fact that we had also drunk almost a whole bottle of red wine before leaving the house (argh!). The wine was also very good - an Italian Pinot Grigio and a Spanish Crianza.

After the meal we were given coffee/tea and enough chocolates and mini shortbreads for 6 people. I made a mental note to myself that I must not eat the full meal on the wedding day, otherwise I will have a risk of bursting out of my dress or at least being unable to breath properly!

Overall we are very happy with the food and I feel confident that the food and the service will be excellent on the day.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Another visit to the Balmoral Hotel

On Saturday I went back to the Balmoral with Stuart and my mum to remind myself what the ceremony room and reception room were like. Since I'll have to think about flowers soon I wanted to have a picture of the room fresh in my head.

I had thought that we were just going to see the rooms again, but it seemed that the wedding co-ordinator had decided to take that opportunity to get all the final details about the day. I suddenly felt very unorganised when she asked about my flowers and florist (not organised), music for the ceremony (not organised) and various other questions that I hadn't even considered. Three pages of questions later and Stuart was starting to twitch as he was about to miss the kickoff for the football, so I let him off the hook so he could go to the pub while I looked at the rooms again with my Mum.

I wasn't disappointed... although the rooms were not set up for a wedding like they were the last time, they still looked lovely. The ceremony room (Esk suite) has nice big fireplaces with living flame fires at either end of the room and big windows overlooking Princes Street, the gardens and Edinburgh Castle. Since the rooms are in such neutral colours I think any sort of flowers will go, so this will make it much easier to choose flowers.

Here are a few photos of the Esk Suite. Unfortunately it was not set up for a wedding on the day we visited:

Esk Suite, Balmoral

Esk Suite Fireplace, Balmoral

The reception room (Holyrood suite) was also how I remembered it, with nice big windows overlooking the castle, which will be lovely at night when everything is lit up.

Holyrood Suite, Balmoral

Holyrood Suite, Balmoral

We also had a look at a couple of bedrooms, one of them a suite with its own dining room, lounge, bedroom and massive bathroom. I think this one is only for the rich people as the rack rate is 960 a night!

It was nice to go back and see everything again and I am pretty happy that we are getting married there. At the moment the timing of our wedding is looking like this:

2.30 pm - Ceremony
3.00pm - Drinks Reception
4.30 pm - Receiving line
5.00pm - Speeches
5.30pm - Dinner
7.30pm - Evening Reception


Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wedding at the George Hotel in Edinburgh

We did visit one more hotel in our seach for a Wedding venue - The George Hotel, in George Street Edinburgh.

We had actually been to the Balmoral Hotel earlier on the same day and decided that this was our Hotel of choice for getting married in, but we had an appointment an hour later for the George Hotel, so went along to this anyway.

The hotel has recently (in 2006) had a 12 million refurbishment, so overall it was a lovely hotel, with modern features, but still retaining it's traditional architecture. The bar area in the lobby was very pleasant and all the public areas of the hotel that we were shown on our tour were very nice.

We started off by looking at a possible room for our ceremony, which was downstairs and had no windows. After just being in the lovely ceremony room in the Balmoral we knew there was no way we would change our mind for this one! Next we were shown a huge room upstairs (I believe it was the King's Hall). This was a beautiful room, but absolutely massive, so would look a bit odd with less than 150 people in it I imagine.

Finally we had a look in a couple of bedrooms, which were modern and spacious.

It's actually hard for me to say much more about this hotel, as we had just been to the Balmoral and decided on it, so I guess I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been. Overall, I would say this was a great venue if you have enough guests to fill the King's Hall, but if not, then the other rooms are nothing special.

You can read independent traveller reviews of the George Hotel at TripAdvisor.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wedding at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh

I'm now writing this diary over a month behind schedule. A few more posts and hopefully I should have caught up to the present (only because I've done close to nothing since booking the venue).

After looking at all the hotels we decided that the Balmoral was the one for us. Here's the low down on our visit to the Balmoral.

You can visit the Balmoral Hotel Website here and have a look at some photos of the hotel. The wedding package information is also online.

We visited the Balmoral on the same day as a wedding was taking place, which was great as we got the chance to see all the rooms set up for the wedding.

Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

We started off by speaking to the Events Co-ordinator Tracy in the Palm Court Bar, which was a very nice bar, otherwise known as the Bollinger Bar.

We then had a look at the ceremony room, which was lovely. On the second floor, with big windows overlooking the Castle and Princes Street. The room was very grand with a big fireplace which can be turned on during the ceremony. The room was all set up for the ceremony which made it much easier to visualise how it would be on the day. This was definitely the nicest ceremony room that we had seen and beat the room at the Radisson on the Royal Mile.

Next we had a look at the reception room, which was also very nice. It was a good size for the numbers that we are planning on having - not too big, but still plenty of space. The room was also all set out for the Wedding reception and looked really good with chair covers on all the chairs and flowers on all the tables. The windows looked out on to Princes Street and the Castle. I imagine that at night it will look very impressive with the Castle all lit up.

We also had a bit of a wander round the public areas of the Balmoral hotel. I've been in the hotel before for a meal at Hadrians, but haven't really wandered around much. I think that one of the things that made us decide on this hotel were the lovely public areas and rooms. There are lots of great places to have photos taken e.g on a staircase with stained glass windows in the background and I don't think I would really be that bothered if it was absolutely pouring with rain outside.

Finally we had a look at some of the bedrooms. A deluxe suite for the bride and groom is included in the wedding package and this room was very big - probably the same size as a suite in some of the other hotels we've looked at. We also looked at a suite which was massive.

At the end of a tour we were both positive that this was the place we wanted to get married in and we booked a date of Saturday 27th October 2007! This was the last available date in the months of September and October.

So now we have the wedding venue booked, it's time to start thinking about all the other things - registrar, photography, videography, flowers, dress, cake and all the rest :-)

You can read reviews of the Balmoral hotel here.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wedding at the Apex International Hotel Edinburgh

Today we went to have a look at the Apex International Hotel in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh.

This hotel is a modern 4* hotel in the centre of the Grassmarket with views of Edinburgh castle.

The Heights restaurant in the hotel is used for the Wedding Breakfast and this is a good sized room with wonderful views through big glass windows on to Edinburgh Castle. This is a restaurant at night so can only be used for a Wedding Breakfast in the afternoon/early evening. The menu selector was one of the most extensive I have seen with lots of choices for the starters, main courses and desserts at very reasonable prices.

The room for the evening reception was a good size, but quite dark with no windows, but you have the alternative of having your evening reception down the stairs in what is normally the Metro Brasserie, with use of the lobby bar.

We also had a quick look at the bedrooms and these were modern and nice enough but nothing special.

Overall we thought this was a very nice venue but I wasn't that keen on the location - right in the middle of the Grassmarket on a Saturday night could be pretty noisy. We didn't like the evening reception venue without the windows as much as other places we'd seen and felt that the alternative of having the evening reception downstairs was nice, but probably too big for our numbers.

So, the favourite so far is still the Radisson.

You can read reviews of the Apex International Hotel Edinburgh here.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wedding at the Marriot Edinburgh

We had never really considered the Marriott Edinburgh Hotel as a possible wedding venue, as every time I've driven past the hotel it has never really appealed to me with its grey exterior and close proximity to busy roads. However, I thought it was worth a look after speaking to one of the managers of the hotel at the Wedding Fair as the photos of the ceremony and reception room looked nice.

We were actually very pleasantly surprised by this hotel. Despite the not so great location and exterior it was very attractive inside. The public bar/reception area was spacious and tastefully decorated and there was even a nice decked area outside at the back of the hotel. They also had a really good private bar area for the drinks reception. The ceremony rooms were all just standard meeting rooms, but had windows, seemed reasonably modern and the photos of these rooms when they were done out for a ceremony made the room look lovely.

The area for the reception and wedding breakfast was also very nice - more modern and nicer than the function room at the Radisson Hotel.

The bedrooms in the hotel were also well decorated and a good size and the wedding advisor that showed us round that day seemed very professional and experienced.

Overall we liked this hotel, but were put off a little by the location and preferred the Radisson Hotel in the Royal Mile to the Marriott Edinburgh.

You can read reviews from people who have stayed at the Marriott Edinburgh here.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wedding at the Radisson SAS Edinburgh

Our second wedding show round was at the Radisson SAS Hotel in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. This hotel was formerly the Scandic Crown Hotel and is on the Royal Mile just opposite the Tron and near to South Bridge.

The hotel has been refurbished since it was the Scandic Crown and had a really nice modern lobby area with lots of sofas and tables. We met the wedding co-ordinator Dawn who was very nice, knowlegeable and professional.

There's also a trendy little bar in the hotel called Itchycoo. You can have your wedding reception drinks in the lobby/lounge area and the guests can also use the Itchycoo bar.

The first room we saw was the "Great Scot Hall" which was the room for the ceremony. This room was lovely and traditional Scottish style. It was nice and spacious but not too big, with windows overlooking the Royal Mile and a turret in the corner. There was also a nice big fireplace with a fire which could be turned on during the ceremony. This room would definitely be hard to beat for a hotel ceremony room.

We then had a look at the function room for the reception. This room was much more spacious than the both the function room and the Marquee that we had seen at the Glasshouse Hotel. The room was a little dated and obviously hadn't been refurnished at the same time as the rest of the hotel, but I am sure it would look nice once it had been set for a wedding.

We also had a look at a couple of bedrooms - a standard room and a turret suite. The turret suite was fantastic with windows overlooking the Royal Mile, a spacious lounge area and bedroom area and a turret in the corner with a dining table.

Afterwards we went to the Itchycoo bar for a quick glass of vino. The prices were above average, but not as expensive as in some hotels in the centre of Edinburgh.

Our only concern was that there wasn't really any great areas for photographs, especially outside. One thing that was suggested was that we could have our photos taken either in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood or Holyrood park. This seemed like a great idea since both are only a short taxi ride away.

All in all the Radisson SAS seems like a great place to have a wedding. This one is on our short list as a definite possibility and our favourite so far.

You can read reviews of the Radisson SAS Edinburgh here.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wedding at the Glasshouse Hotel Edinburgh

The first place we went for a "wedding show round" (as they call them) was the
Glasshouse Hotel in Edinburgh.

This hotel is right in the centre of Edinburgh between the Playhouse and the Omnicentre and just a few minutes walk from Princes street.

It's quite a new hotel, with a listed building front, which is quite small, so the size of the hotel is deceiving and it is actually much bigger than you think it is.

The reception area was very modern and clean, although I can imagine that in a few years time it will look a bit dated.

The hotel has a big roof garden with views of Calton hill and it's possible to actually have your wedding ceremony outside (if the Scottish weather holds up).

Roof Garden in the Glasshouse Hotel Edinburgh

The room that they use for the ceremony and the reception only holds around 60 or so people and personally I found it pretty small and holding a reception for 60 people would be quite claustrophobic in my opinion. There is also a Marquee which holds over 100 people, but I didn't really like this, especially as they were charging 1500 for the pleasure of using it.

The hotel rooms and suites were very nice. Half of them overlook the city and the other half overlook the roof garden.

In my opinion this is a great hotel for a weekend break in Edinburgh, but not for a wedding. However, if you want to get married outside, or have a reception inside for a smaller number of people then it may suit you.

You can read reviews of the Glasshouse Hotel Edinburgh here.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Questions to ask your Wedding Venue

One of the first things that you have to do when organising a wedding is to sort out the venue. I quite enjoyed this part of the planning - having a look around lots of different hotels in Edinburgh to see what each had on offer was good fun (especially if like me you are a bit nosy).

If you are being shown round a possible venue then you will usually be shown the various function suites for the ceremony (if applicable), the drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening reception. If you are looking at a hotel you should also be shown one or more hotel bedrooms.

It makes sense to visit the venue's website and/or order a wedding brochure before you go for your show round. This way you will be prepared and have a good idea of the cost of the reception and the different possibilities for meal packages and drinks packages.

It's good to make a list of questions to ask while you are being shown around the venue, especially when you are just starting out.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

(1) What are the minimum & maximum numbers for each of the function rooms?
(2) Is there a function room hire charge?
(3) Are there any good places in the venue or ground to take photographs?
(4) Is it possible to vary the meal/drinks packages?
(5) Is there a sample tasting included?
(6) Do you have children's menus?
(7) Can I provide my own reception decorations/caterers/drinks etc?
(8) When is the deposit and payments due?
(9) Is there space for the bride/groom/bridesmaids to get changed?
(10) Will there be a wedding co-ordinator there on the day?
(11) Will there be a master of ceremonies included?
(12) Is there a place for guests to park?
(13) Do you offer discounted room rates for guests?
(14) Can I see a standard bedroom and a duluxe/suite?
(15) What time can the band/disco play until?


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Our list of Possible Wedding Venues in Edinburgh

We've now made a first pass at our guest list and we're looking at around 64 people + around 7 children during the day and an extra 30 or so at night.

I've also contacted the following places to get a copy of their wedding brochure or I've visited their website for information.

For all the hotels below you'll find their website address if they have one along with the approximate price for a wedding in 2007 of the numbers listed above including the ceremony and reception room hire (if applicable), the adult meal package price, drinks package price, children's meal price and buffet for 80% of the total guests. This should only be used as an approximate price for guidance only as things change, there are many types of meal and drinks package (I have used the cheapest ones for comparison purposes).

The next step is to make a shortlist of the hotels that we like (and can afford) then phone up the wedding/events co-ordinator at the hotel and make appointments to come and see the hotel (aka "a wedding show round").

Get some more suggestions for Hotels in Edinburgh.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Choosing a wedding venue in Edinburgh

The two most common questions I got when I told people that we had got engaged were:

1) Can I see your ring?
2) Have you set a date yet?

You can read all about choosing an engagement ring in Edinburgh here.

As for the date, I have the idea in my head of the end of September or beginning of October 2007, but it's impossible in my opinion to set an exact date until you have decided on a venue. If you have one single date in your head, then you may find that your favourite venue isn't available on that date.

You'll have to decide where you would like to get married first. Do you want to have a religious ceremony in a church, or would you prefer to have a civil ceremony. in a registry office, hotel or other venue?

Personally, we decided to go for a civil ceremony. The main reason for this is that neither of us are really religious and we don't attend church so we would feel more comfortable having a civil ceremony.

If you have decided to have a civil ceremony you will find the following list very useful. This is a list of all the approved places in Scotland for civil ceremonies. Scroll down to find all the Edinburgh civil ceremony venues.

We decided that we'd like to have the ceremony and the reception in the same venue so I've spent some time over the last few weeks researching possible wedding venues. There are various ways to do this:

(1) Phone up all the potential wedding venues in your area and request a wedding brochure. Most hotels have a pack that contains photgraphs and information about holding a wedding including prices for the meal, room hire, drinks package, buffet, canapes etc.

(2) Use Google to search for the hotel & venue websites and find the section of the website that has wedding information. Most venues have some information on their website about this. At the minimum you'll find a brief overview and a contact number, but some websites have full details of wedding packages in downloadable PDF files.

(3) If you are looking to hold your wedding in a hotel I really recommend looking at TripAdvisors list of Hotels in Edinburgh. This list is ordered by popularity of the hotel based on actual traveller's reviews. If you have a venue in mind you can check out the review comments here - you probably won't want to get married in a hotel that had lots of shoddy reviews!

Make a list of all the potential venues. I find it really useful to use an excel spreadsheet. First you'll need to make a list of the guests that you'd like to invite and add up the totals for the number of children and the number of adults both during the day and in the evening.

Most hotels will separate out the costs for the meals, drinks, venue etc so all you need to do is multiply the drinks & meal package cost together and multiply this by the number of adult day guests, then multiply the childs meal cost by the number of children day guests and add all of this together with the cost of the venue hire if applicable. Finally most venues ask you to cater for at least 80% of the guests for the evening buffet so you'll need to add the day and the night guests together, take 80% of this and multiply it by the buffet costs. Phew! You'll then be able to compare the different venues easily and quickly find out whether or not they are within your budget.

Make sure you have a look at the packages that the hotel offers. Many of them include extras in the package which can save you money e.g. a Piper, flowers on the top table and/or all the tables, cake stand and knife, red carpet, a room for the bride & groom etc.

Finally you need to make a short list and start making appointments to go and see the hotels.

Watch out for my next post where I will tell you the list of my possible wedding venues.


Wedding In Edinburgh