First couples say 'I do' at City Chambers marriage suite

Love is in the air at Edinburgh City Chambers, as it opens the doors to a brand-new marriage suite.

Main ceremony room
Main ceremony room

The first couple to tie the knot at the refurbished venue said ‘I do’ on Thursday, 8 March.

The specially-designed suite, comprising of two wedding rooms and a reception area to greet guests, was created after the Council’s Registration Services relocated to the High Street from the Lothian Chambers.

On Friday (9 March) former Edinburgh Napier University student Corinna Lehrke and fiancé Fabian Wegener, who had travelled from Germany to get married in the heart of the Capital, walked down the aisle in the historic building.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Finance and Resources Convener, said: “It’s wonderful to see these beautiful new rooms now in use. Far from the back-room feel of 80s and 90s registrar offices, this attractive, stylish suite is more in line with wedding venues around the country.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to use locally-sourced, Scottish materials in the refurbishment, including some expertly-made oak furniture from the Grassmarket Community Project. 

“I look forward to welcoming many more couples to spend their special day here – and I’m delighted to be able to say congratulations to Corinna and Fabian, who were married there today – all the best!”

Corinna Wegener (formerly Lehrke), said: “Right after the engagement happened we knew that we wanted to get married alone in secret, in a special place. Edinburgh is such a special place for us, as we both fell in love instantly with the city when I first came here to study for my master’s degree in 2014, and Fabian when he first visited me. 

“The City Chambers immediately felt like the right choice because of the beautiful building and the perfect location, close to the Royal Mile and the Castle. We are thrilled that everybody at the City Chambers made it so easy for us to get married here - this is a special day that we will always and forever remember.”

Following the leasing of the Lothian Chambers to the French Consulate last year, Registration Services moved to 253 High Street (part of the City Chambers). A capital payment of almost £3m for the leasing enabled the transformation of existing rooms for the service. This includes a specially designed area providing those wishing to register births, deaths or marriages with confidential, sensitive surroundings and a private room for the European Passport Checking Service.

As part of this, the new registrar’s office contains a suite of three rooms, two of which can be used for a ceremony, while the other is a reception area looking over Princes Street with spectacular views of Edinburgh’s New Town and across the Forth to Fife and beyond. Décor features contemporary velvet upholstery by Scottish Designer Mairi Helena, Scottish Tweed from the Isle of Bute and bespoke oak furniture made by the local Grassmarket Community Project.

Prior to the opening of a wedding suite in the Lothian Chambers in April 2007, registrar’s offices were located around the city, including India Buildings on Victoria Street. The City Chambers’ upgraded rooms aim to attract new couples and visitors from overseas, in turn boosting the local economy.

Last year more than a fifth of marriages in Scotland took place in registrar’s offices (6,382 of 29,229). A snapshot of one month in Edinburgh’s registration service (September – October 2017) showed that half of the 250 couples married came from outwith the Capital – with many couples travelling from other countries.

Edinburgh remains second only to Gretna Green in popularity for places to get married in Scotland. This popularity means the number of weddings, including same sex weddings and civil partnerships, in the city will be similar to the number three decades ago.

Registrars are also available to perform civil ceremonies in other venues and locations chosen by couples.

Find out more about civil ceremonies in Edinburgh. 

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