This 14 February, the Council's dedicated registrars and celebrants are sharing reminiscences of some of the more unusual ceremonies they've been involved with in Edinburgh over the years.
Have a read of their stories below, and find out more about our marriage and civil partnership ceremonies:
The chickenpox wedding - by Ann Burnett
“A wedding was due to be held at the City Chambers when, unexpectedly, the bride contracted chickenpox. The office staff put their best efforts into making it possible. They pulled out all the stops to reorganise the wedding on the same day but in the couple's own flat. As I’d had chickenpox I volunteered. There were about 12 guests (all of whom had had chickenpox and weren’t at risk). The bride had to wear fluffy slippers and a cool cotton wrap to keep comfortable. Chickenpox aside, it was a lovely ceremony and the couple were very grateful that we were still able to personalise and deliver a ceremony for them. I was asked to stay for a toast and a piece of wedding cake. They said that we (office staff and registrar) had made their important day very special.”
The forgotten rings - by Gayle Green
“I was conducting a wedding in the trophy room at Easter Road. The best man was also the father of the groom, who assured me he was keeping the rings safe and sound. When the time came to hand over the rings, he started patting himself down and saying he couldn't find them. I was starting to get a bit worried about what was going to happen next! Eventually he said he thought the groom would appreciate Sam bringing in the rings. I imagined Sam to be a long-lost cousin from Australia, however, Sam turned out to be a dog belonging to a family friend. Sam made his grand entrance down the aisle with a wee bag tied around his neck containing the rings, much to the surprise of the bride, groom and all the guests. I'd never had a surprise ring bearer before, let alone of the canine variety!”
The god of love – by Mavis Graham
“Every single ceremony is unique. I had one where one of the guests jumped out in front of me dressed as Cupid. He had wings and silver shorts on that caused a commotion among the guests and staff. He danced down the aisle in front of the wedding party throwing flower petals around.”
The ultimate themed wedding - by Christine Bone
“I once had a Steam Punk themed wedding at Dynamic Earth. The bride wore a full-size set of fairy wings which were lit up. All the bridesmaids came down the aisle wearing beautifully decorated ornamental gas masks! The grannies were dressed in full leather outfits covered in studs and big biker boots. The whole room was decorated like an enchanted forest including trees, mushrooms and pixies. Lastly, instead of the bride’s bouquet being flowers it was made of washers, metal pipes, screws, nails and the handle was a spanner!"
The free wedding dress – by Pam Coats
“A bride had travelled from Dublin and the groom from Las Vegas to be married on Hogmanay. The bride managed to get a dress from a local bridal shop free - she popped in and explained her wedding was about to happen and she was desperate for something to wear. I think they just asked her to advertise on social media that they had helped her. She looked stunning!”
The combustible wedding - by Ann Burnett
"I was to conduct a service in a very select heritage-type hotel. The service was for a couple, from the south of England, who hadn’t told any of their family and friends they were getting married. This included the five children they had between them. The hotel provided the two witnesses and, including the photographer, there were six people in total. The room was panelled in antique leather, lit by the light of several candles and had many expensive artefacts scattered around.
"The witnesses and I were in place, the music started, the photographer dashed in first throwing her coat on a nearby table so that she would be ready to take photos as the couple entered together. The couple looked beautiful and very happy but as I started the ceremony, we all became aware of a burning smell. The source became obvious - it was the photographer’s coat! The coat had landed on some candles (it was a nylon waterproof – sadly not fireproof) and had lit up like a firework. We were all momentarily struck dumb, 'til one of the witnesses grabbed the edge of the coat and ran out of the room, managing to take it out to a small stone balustrade where the fire could do no damage. Quick thinking and brave! I resumed the service; the bride and groom laughed all the way through. They said this was going to be one of their favourite stories when they went home to tell everyone they had married in Edinburgh."
The token of love - by a long-standing registrar
"One couple, in addition to exchanging rings, also presented their child with a ring too. We liked the idea so much, we did the same for our two girls at our own wedding a year or so later."
Over the past year, our registrars and celebrants have officiated 23 civil partnerships and more than 1,000 weddings. There are three registrar venues with five wedding rooms: Leith, City Chambers, and South Queensferry, and we can also conduct civil partnerships and weddings in a venue of the couple’s choice such as hotels, football stadiums, golf clubs, the Castle and so on. Couples from all over Britain (and the rest of the world) tie the knot in Edinburgh: the 29-day notice period makes it ideal for eloping and the beautiful buildings and surroundings put the magic into any ceremony. The fee to get married is among the lowest you can find and our dedicated team of registrars go out of their way to make your special day perfect.