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Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh groom and groom wood panelled library leather bound books

After Covid threw a curveball at their wedding plans, Paul and Steve were married in a romantic ceremony in the library at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. They then went for a delicious meal at a local restaurant with their 14 guests.

Part two of the celebrations was a relaxed reception at their original venue choice, Cairns Farm Estate. With incredible views over the Pentland Hills, it was everything they had hoped for, and more.

Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh groom and groom wood panelled hand fasting

How did you two meet?

We initially met at a chemistry conference in London in 2012, where Steve was delivering a talk about his research. It was a very fleeting introduction and we didn’t see each other again until Steve moved to Edinburgh.

We properly met in 2013 at another chemistry conference at my university. We kept in touch after that as Steve was new to the city and I was able to introduce him to all the good pubs and restaurants!

What inspired your wedding plans?

We didn’t really have a specific theme for the day, we just wanted everyone to enjoy the day as much as possible. One of the first things we agreed on was definitely having a free bar! We wanted our guests to be able to relax and enjoy themselves, without worrying about anything on the day.

Another important factor for us was the food on the day. We wanted to ensure we had excellent food to serve our guests. After our ceremony, we went to our local restaurant, Bijou Bistro, and had the whole place to ourselves and our guests. We chose the menu and they pulled it out the bag, it was incredible!

Our reception venue also served delicious food, and they gave us a bespoke evening buffet menu of Chinese takeaway food.

Tell us about your venue…

We had originally planned to have our whole wedding day (ceremony/reception) at Cairns Farm Estate. However, due to Covid and international travel restrictions, we had to split our day and chose to have our ceremony at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Cairns Farm Estate allowed us to have our families stay onsite in the included accommodation, which was important to us. The venue’s barn conversion was completed to an exceptionally high standard, however we booked it before the conversion work had even started! We took a risk booking it, but we were not disappointed, the quality of the work was outstanding and the venue is absolutely amazing. It sits on the banks of Harperrig Reservoir and has the backdrop of the Pentlands to the rear, it’s surrounded by natural beauty.

We knew we had a fantastic new venue for the reception, so when it became apparent we needed to have a separate ceremony date, we wanted to go with something on the other end of the spectrum. The New Library is a beautiful and grand room and was the perfect size for our ceremony of 14 guests. Even though you’re surrounded by thousands of old books, the room is super bright and airy.

Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh groom and groom wood panelled library leather bound books Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh groom and groom wood panelled library leather bound books Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh groom and groom confetti shot

We love your outfits! Tell us more…

Paul – I wore my own kilt which was given to me for my 21st birthday. The tartan is Rose Hunting Modern, with a military pleat at the back. I am VERY fond of my kilt and love any excuse to wear it. Rose was my Nana’s maiden name, she sadly passed away last year, so I was very proud to be able to wear the tartan that allowed her to “be there” on the day in some form.

Most of my kilt accessories are from McCall’s Highlandwear. There is a bit of a thistle theme that runs through my kilt outfit, with a thistle being on my sporran, kilt pin and sgian dubh. My shoes were standard kilt outfit black brogues. Although it should be noted that toward the end of the night, I had ditched my brogues and put on my trainers. All the more comfortable for dancing!

Steve wore a Hugo Boss suit and his own accessories. One of the more personal accessories were cufflinks previously belonging to his late grandfather.

Your photos are giving us all the feels!

Doug is fantastic! We found him just from trawling through many wedding photographer websites, however Northern Aye Photography instantly stood out to us.

We loved the style of Doug’s photos – casual and relaxed. We were not keen on having too many posed photos and wanted our day to be captured in the most natural way possible. Doug understood exactly what we wanted, and probably put up with a lot of our indecisions! He was also very accommodating when trying to photograph our Dalmatian puppy (Juno), who would not sit still for five seconds for a nice photograph!

And your flowers are gorgeous…

We didn’t want anything too feminine with our flowers, we wanted something that was very natural/wild and seasonal. Once again, Nic’s Wild Iris Studio stood out from the other florists due to her very unique style.

Nic totally understood the style of flowers we wanted, and gave us some excellent ideas of how to make the venues more personal to us. Nic was able to keep the flowers natural with plenty of greenery with some amazing bursts of colour, keeping it in line with the season.

Since we had a separate ceremony and reception, we used the flowers to link the two dates together. Nic used a similar theme and colours on both dates, ensuring there was consistency throughout both venues.

Were there any challenges along the way?

Yes! Covid has a lot to answer for! We originally were due to be married in August 2020 but the pandemic ensured that didn’t happen. Although it was frustrating, there was nothing we could do about it other than start planning for the following year. We were very fortunate that all our suppliers were able to move to our revised date and they were all so flexible and accommodating, we cannot thank them enough for that.

Paul’s mum was unable to come to the original planned date due to international travel restrictions. Therefore we decided to split our ceremony and reception into two dates to allow Paul’s mum to be there. This was a big challenge as we only had about six weeks notice to organise the ceremony for an August date. Thankfully all our suppliers were able to accommodate this additional date and we found the New Library as our venue. Although it wasn’t ideal trying to organise what was essentially another wedding in a short space of time, we thoroughly enjoyed the excuse for double the celebration (and double the food and drink!).

Unfortunately, we still had a lot of invited guests who couldn’t make it to our wedding due to the Covid travel restrictions. It was such a shame we couldn’t have everyone there to help us celebrate. Steve’s brother, Brian, and his family couldn’t make it across from Australia for the ceremony or reception. This was extremely disappointing given that Brian was Steve’s best man. However, we made it work by live streaming the ceremony and Brian was able to give his best man speech via a video call on the day of our reception.

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Did you manage to stick to your budget?

We didn’t really set a specific budget, however we also were conscious that we didn’t want costs spiralling out of control. We obviously didn’t initially account for having to organise (and pay) for a separate ceremony after we had already paid and planned for our original wedding at Cairns Farm Estate. It was a major added expense but it was worth it since it allowed us to have both sets of parents at our wedding ceremony.

Any advice?

Take some time for yourselves on the day of your wedding. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, just go be with each other and get away from the madness for a short amount of time.

Honeymoon or minimoon?

Our original plan was to go to South East Asia, however the international travel restrictions stopped that from happening. Instead we had a couple of days away near Loch Earn, where we explored around the local area.

We also had a week-long trip to Northumberland, which allowed us to have lots of lovely walks with our dog in the hills, on beaches and in forests. Once travel restrictions are fully lifted, we will definitely head somewhere more exotic.

What’s the one moment you’ll always remember?

Having our families together for the wedding ceremony was very special. We had all spent the best part of 18 months living under some form of Covid restrictions, so it was a big relief that we were able to go ahead with a (relatively) normal wedding with our families there.

Why Scotland?

Our home is in Edinburgh and it’s where we properly met and set up our life together. I don’t think we ever considered getting married anywhere else, it seemed to make sense to have a wedding in (or near) the city that we love to call home.

We’re not crying, you’re crying! Thank you for sharing your wonderful wedding story and amazing photos with us Paul & Steve.  x


Wedding VenuesRoyal College of Physicians Library & Bijou Bistro
Reception VenueCairns Farm Estate
CelebrantFiona Thomas Humanist 
PhotographerNorthern Aye Photography
FloristWild Iris Studio
Hair StylistRuffians Barbers
Paul’s Kilt Accessories – McCalls Highlandwear
Steve’s SuitHugo Boss
CakeThe Pastry Section
StationeryWith Joy
AccessoriesAnnie Smith Jewellery