Unique Edinburgh wedding day with progressive meal + post-wedding photoshoot

I’ve never seen a wedding quite like Ruth and Mark’s, and I am blown away by what this couple came up with; they created a day that was perfect for them.

Not only did they have a whopping 450-strong guest list (yep, you read that right) but they also had a really cool post-wedding photoshoot; I just love that idea! This wedding proves that you really can get by with a little help from your friends.

Read more about this amazing day from bride Ruth, and see the amazing pics from photographer Melody Joy

“For various reasons, Mark and I found ourselves with a massive guest list for the wedding, which we just couldn’t cut down. So, we decided to take on the challenge of inviting everyone! We wanted to think of a creative, experimental way of accommodating all of our guests. In the end, we had an amazing day with 350 guests during the day, and 450 guests at night. We stuck to our budget; it was less than £20k!

Our idea was to have a progressive wedding meal within three neighbouring Edinburgh restaurants, and then a party back at our church where we had the ceremony. We had a personal connection with each of the venues, so it made sense that we included them in our day.

Each restaurant provided one course, and guest moved from one place to the next as they journeyed through the three courses. Each restaurant shared a common outdoor space and, thanks to the incredible summer we had this year, our guests were able to bask in the sunshine as they partied along the Quay!

The wedding breakfast felt like a food festival, and we were so impressed by the food and service from each of the three restaurants. Our guests also loved it; they were able to chat to as many friends and family that they wanted without being confined to the same seat for the entirety of the meal. There was such an incredible atmosphere.

We wanted to bring our home on Skye to Edinburgh through our theme and decor choices.

We incorporated so many elements of the island, such as Skye Tartan, heather colours, wildflowers, elements of the forest and sea, ceremonial songs including covers from RunRig and scaled up photography to show off Skye’s scenery.

I think we captured the essence of Skye as best we could without actually being there!

Most of our decor was hand-foraged. We turned our ceremony/evening venue into a forest with 30 8ft branches which had been felled from our neighbouring estate the day before. We got all of that for free, with permission from the land owners. We also hand-picked gorgeous bits of sea glass from the beach on the same estate which helped to create a bit of sparkle.

The key element that helped us to bring everything together was people. We had so many people generously helping us to make the wedding happen, from gifts like our cake and photography to transporting our 8ft branches to and from the venues! Including our friends and family in the logistics of the day just made it so special.

When we finished our meal and got back to the church, the chairs had been cleared and there was a bar set up, with our band and other entertainment in place for a party! Guest were greeted with a welcome drink and favours from Isle of Skye Soap, before hearing half of the speeches and witnessing the first dance.

We decided that, during our first dance, we wanted everyone to surround us and, as the song played, gradually get closer to us so that by the end, we were right in the heart of all of our loved ones. It was such a beautiful moment, and it meant that when the band started playing the next song, everyone was on their feet already!

We served stovies in the middle of the evening, and has the rest of our speeches (and had a wheelbarrow race, of course!) before we started the dancing up again. It was so much fun.

In my day job, I run a lot of events which I love doing, but this was by far the most stressful things we have ever done! Add to the fact that we bought a house at the same time and you can imagine what it was like, but I am glad to say that it was so worth it in the end.

We had to remind ourselves often that all of our friends and family were on the same page as us in the sense that they too wanted the day to be brilliant.

Our photography, Melody, suggested we do a post-wedding shoot the next day, which turned out to be an inspired idea. It meant we had more time with our guests on the wedding day, and an extra day to wear our wedding attire!

It’s a great alternative to doing a first look shoot if you don’t have enough time before the ceremony.

For any engaged couples, my advice would be not to bow down to the current wedding pressures that exist today. Dream the dream wedding, don’t believe you are limited by your budget and dare to think outside of the box. Design a day like no other – if you want it, you’ll find a way!

Weddings are only made fun when you involve others in the process. It helps to create a lifetime of memories and stories that you’ll cherish forever.

Yes, your wedding will likely be the biggest, most stressful event you’ll ever organise, but believe me when I say that it’ll be so life-giving, and absolutely worth it in the end.”


Photographer: Melody Joy Co. | Venues: Ps & Gs Church (ceremony + reception), Cafe Tartine (starter), Papillion (main) + Quay Commons (dessert)

Celebrant: Rev. Michael Mair | Videographer: Sandy Butler Videography

Dress: House of Mooshki (bespoke) at Pretty Woman | Jewellery + accessories: Róis Scottish Sea Glass Designs | Bridesmaids’ outfits: Coast

Groomswear: The Kilt Store, Edinburgh | Florist: Narcissus

Entertainment: Corra | Make-up: Alicia Avenzzano 

Favours: Isle of Skye Soap Co. | Set design: Big House Productions