Does your wedding have to cost a fortune? The answer in no, it doesn’t. Your wedding could cost you next to nothing if that’s what you want. The important thing to remember is that I, as a Humanist Celebrant, can marry you anywhere in Scotland as long as the ceremony is dignified and safe. So, I’d prefer you to keep your clothes on and I don’t do abseiling! But seriously, the venue does not have to be licensed and it can, honestly, be anywhere.
I have performed weddings on a beach on the west coast of Scotland with myself, the couple and two witnesses (the other essential component) and then gone to the pub to celebrate – cost, by my calculations, £366.50 including a pint for everyone but excluding my travel (at 55p a mile). I understand that that is 1.6% of the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2010. In 2016 I conducted a wedding on the shores of Loch Lubnaig, just north of Callander, have a look here: Four Weddings And A Funeral
You could, therefore, get married at home or at your parent’s home if you have the space. I am more used to performing Naming Ceremonies at home but I have officiated at one wedding, with an integrated Buddhist ceremony, in a garden in Edinburgh and just before New Year 2016 I conducted a wedding in the couple’s flat in Glasgow.
Or you could choose a relatively inexpensive venue. I have performed two weddings at the Prestonfield Golf Club My First Wedding and, like many Scottish golf club houses; it is spacious with spectacular views. Other golf club venues include the two Musselborough courses, Kingsknowe in Edinburgh and Forrester Park outside Dunfermline.
There are custom-built facilities that offer you a shell, in most cases a building with toilet facilities and a professionally equipped kitchen. There are some village or local halls that could offer you this facility. You need to supply everything else from catering staff, waiting staff, additional marquees if you want them, tables, chairs, decorations and any music. But the important point is that you are in control and you can manage exactly what you want within your own budget. It also offers the opportunity to rope-in the families to help get the place organised, and to get to know each other at the same time. A very, very special wedding – Little Sparta’s first wedding ceremony
There are other more up market solutions offering a shell. Some of the “shells” are actually stately homes or castles, like Dundas Castle at South Queensferry, that tend to be on the very expensive side, to say the least. But there are others of which the best example is probably Kirknewton House Stables to the west of Edinburgh, The Chickens are Invited As Well – Caroline and Stephen at Kirknewton Stables with its beautiful orchard for the ceremony and roaming chickens to provide the entertainment! There is also the Comrie Croft outside, you guessed it, Comrie Comrie Croft with Lorna and Stewart and there are now even local pubs that can offer you a room and more Completely Mad – David and Laura at the Birds and the Bees
To be serious for minute, I suppose the key question to ask yourselves (that’s the two of you!) is “What do you want your wedding day to be?” and to be really honest with each other. The cost of the day will rise incrementally with each additional guest so the next question might be “Who are the ten most important people (or couples) I want to be there” and then I would ask, “What are the three things I can do without at my wedding?” Challenge yourselves here; we tend to surround ourselves with rituals and conventions from the past or from religious weddings that we have been to.
If you were to be really clever I think the next thing would be ask the same two first questions “What do you want my wedding to be?” and “Who are the ten most important people to be at my wedding?” of both sets of parents. At least then you have the chance of all “singing from the same song sheet from the word go”, as it were.