Alex & Scott's subterranean, music-snob's dream wedding

Eek!
The offbeat bride: Alex – OBT member

Her offbeat partner: Scott – charity fundraiser

Location & date of wedding: The Caves, Edinburgh, Scotland — October 3, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Looking at other websites, I was introduced to a lot of traditions which flabbergasted us. Initially we looked at castles for our venue, but The Caves was much more suited to us. It is usually a gig and club venue.

In addition, we did a lot of things our way. My friends and I knitted all of the flowers. My husband carried a massive sword. I (of course) wore sparkly Converse. We had a mismatched wedding party. My mother-in-law baked delicious cupcakes and we had a TARDIS cake topper. I walked down the aisle to a Muse guitar solo. We had H2G2 themed programs. We had videos on the tables for centrepieces and favours, as we met in a video shop. We had a board game room if people didn't wish to dance.

We pride ourselves on our good taste in music and even mentioned it in our ceremony, so our playlist ranged from a healthy dose of Motown to ease people in gently, then later featured everything from Judas Priest, Sparks, Rufus Wainwright, Queens of the Stone Age, Queen… and culminated in a glorious combination of Elbow's "One Day Like This" which was kind of the theme song of the wedding, followed by Manowar's "Courage" which was our fake ending. We followed it with Rage's "Killing in the Name", which allowed an amazing moshpit to occur, and finished the party more traditionally with The Proclaimers' "500 Miles".

Tell us about your ceremony: We had a Humanist ceremony, which was crafted by us. You can read it here. We tried to really express what our relationship means to us, and to tell people more about us. It was deeply personal, and some of our vows were quite funny. Scott's, "I promise I will never say or do anything to hurt or offend you, and if I do, please know that I didn't mean it". Mine, "I promise to always be on your side, even when our opinions differ." We had readings from Scott's mum and my future sister-in-law. She read a poem I wrote for Scott.
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We designed our own wedding rings, which are mobius rings, and explained that they signify that there is no beginning and no end to our love. Because Humanist ceremonies are so awesome, we had not just one, but two kisses during our ceremony, one immediately after the legal vows, and one right at the end of our ceremony. Just before the last kiss, there was a Scottish blessing which our celebrant had suggested. It featured a line in a Scottish dialect, and it was very funny to hear the American and English guests trying to say it.

Our biggest challenge: We had a number of challenges, most of which seemed epic at the time, but have happily faded from memory. People had ideas about what we should do. We took advice from this site about being firm yet tactful about doing things the way we wanted. It worked, and in the end, the naysayers were complimenting us.

Quite a few people didn't understand the urgency of RSVPing, and let us know the week of via text or facebook. Luckily, this allowed us to slot in two people we'd forgotten (sorry!) and a friend of mine and her partner were suddenly able to come from London.

On the day, the photobooth didn't arrive on time, I was pretty furious, but it transpired that it was my fault, having not replied to the email sent to me the week before by the vendor, saying where our venue was. So the poor guy was ringing all kinds of venues on the night, trying to find us! Thanks must be given to my friend Mark for sorting it out for us on the night. We were also running an hour late, so at the eleventh hour, Scott and I had to rip out an hour's worth of music from our painstakingly crafted playlist! Some other things didn't go as planned, but in the end, we got married and we had a magnificent day.

My favorite moment: For me, the most meaningful moment of the wedding was being on stage with Scott and watching his reaction as I said my vows, and his sincerity as he said his. We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves and it went down with the crowd really well as it was clear how much we were speaking from our hearts. When my husband placed my ring on my finger, I was so overcome with emotion that I had to pull my handkerchief from my cleavage!

The bridal party and their hand knitted bouquets
I had a special surprise planned for Scott, which was that I was going to sing him a song after the speeches, before the meal. My brother accompanied me on a keyboard, and Scott genuinely had no idea this was going to happen. Singing Regina Spektor's "Us" in front of so many people we love was tough, but the look on Scott's face was absolutely worth it. He started mouthing along the words with me at one point, and it was very emotional.

We loved watching everyone having such a fun time, taking a moment to look at new friends dancing with each other. Towards the end, during Elbow's "One Day Like This", people organically formed a circle around us. We encouraged this to happen during the final song, which generally happens at a Scottish wedding. Scott said it felt like we were getting a big hug from everyone in the room.

My funniest moment: It was pretty funny (in retrospect) when my new husband stepped on a piece of my dress immediately after the ceremony and it came right off. You can bet I was pissed off at the time, though.

It was also funny seeing lots of very inebriated friends, like a certain groomsman wanting to cut in on slow dances between Scott and I ("room for a little one?")! We had an amazing time dancing to "Thriller" with so many different friends and relatives. We also have fond memories of one of my brothers-in-law demanding that he play Journey from his mobile. Sorry, Jamie. You never stood a chance.
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My advice for offbeat brides: I know it sounds cheesy, but stick to your guns. It is so important that you and your partner remain true to yourselves, even in the face of "but you should…" and "you can't!" You will learn that everyone and their aunt has an opinion about how weddings should be done, and really, the only way they should be done is in a way that makes you both happy.

Guests playing Hungry Hungry Hippos in the game room!
I would also strongly recommend writing your ceremony, or at least your vows, if possible. It made it so very meaningful to us to be expressing our OWN sentiments about our marriage. We also enjoyed doing a lot of stuff ourselves, not just to save costs, but because it allowed our celebration to be more personal, and it involved many of our friends. I'm sure you've read this before, but don't be afraid to take people up on their offers of help, or even actively seek it out. Your friends will be glad to be a part of it.

What was the most important lesson you learned? As long as you and your partner are celebrating your love, that is really all that matters. Not tablecloths, not aisle runners, not favours, just the love and support of each other and the people that care about you.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Any chance you'd honor us with your playlist (because I'm loving your mentions)? We're super busy music snobs DJing our own wedding, so any and all help would be appreciated. I'm sure other ladies would love it too!

  2. YAY!!!!!!!
    I am so happy to see Alex and Scott's wedding featured today. I love so many things about their wedding and hope others will too.

    xoxoxoxoxo

  3. I just wanted to say, knowing Alex and Scott in person and thinking they are one of the damned coolest couples I've ever known, it was awesome reading all these details about the wedding and seeing the gorgeous photos. I'm really happy for you that it turned out so wonderfully, and that all the hard work and effort you put into it made it such a lovely reflection of your awesomeness as a couple.

  4. Yay Elbow! I know the song "Great Expectations" is a little somber, but both "One Day Like This" and that one would be my picks for a wedding.

  5. love the photos and the playlist (currently writing mine) looks like the sort of wedding i wish i could have been at

    • Thanks! Good luck with your playlist! We had a blast making ours…shame we ran an hour late and had to rip out an hour's worth at the 11th hour! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Damn you! I think I've just fallen in love with The Caves, was it ridiculously expensive? :/

    • Hi Sarah. The Caves isn't cheap, and we thought their food prices were particularly high. If you have an OBT account, message me on there and I'll give you more details, I still have a file with their 2009 rates on it.

      • Hi Sarah
        I got married at The Caves last year and I researched alot of venues in my search for my perfect wedding venue and didnt find it to be anymore expensive than any of the other venues. I did find that alot of venues had hidden costs where as everything at The Caves was pretty straight forward. I know everybody must say it but I have to say I could not fault the venue and staff leading up to the big day and on the day itself. My guests are still raving about the food today and this is nearly a year on. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. regards
        Jane

      • Hi Sarah, we are in the process of organising our wedding at The Caves and I have to disagree with Alex about the price. We did a lot of research on venues prior to booking and The Caves was definately in the average prices. I have actually just been to a wedding at The Caves at the weekend and the food was amazing!!!! (which is good news for my wedding!)I've also heard loads of feedback from guests attending weddings there and it's all very very positive. Let me know if myself or my fiance can help you at all.
        Mark

        • Also just noticed that Alex talks about The Caves as a club and music venue. Is this the same Caves in Edinburgh as their main business is weddings and coporate events!!!

          • Well, we have seen a fair few bands there, and it's the home of Departure Lounge, so yes, it is the same place. Maybe you're getting married in the Rowantree next door, whereas we got married in the bigger part of it? The food is indeed very good and we wouldn't change our wedding for anything, but we definitely looked at cheaper venues before deciding on them. It's all relative, though…! Best of luck with your day, I'm sure it will be just what you want!

      • The price list would be great, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm not on OBT but could you email it to deadrobot{at}hotmail.co.uk?
        Much appreciated.
        Thank you to everyone for the advice, it sounds like a great place! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Hi guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the well-wishes. We're doing great. Please don't take offence that I said the venue isn't cheap, I just thought that if Sarah is a low-budget bride, (as quite a few readers of this site are) she should be warned that it isn't *cheap*. We loved every minute of our wedding and were really very happy with the staff, food and venue. We've been back several times since and love the fact that we got married in a place where we can go and see excellent bands and reminisce and get mushy. The other day, after we went to see The Zombies, what I said to Scott is that I love that we got married somewhere where people only tend to go for happy things, like weddings, parties, gigs and club nights, so our association with the venue will never be soured in the way it might be if we had got married in a church. (which would never have happened for us, but you know what I mean)

    Keep up the good work and we'll see you soon!

  8. Thanks for all the info you sent! The prices do seem wedding average to me but they were cheaper than I had expected! So thank you very much indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I guess my comment below is redundant now e The Caves' comment is gone, feel free to delete it.

    I also realized I didn't pimp the amazing jewellers who made our rings, Clarksons. They were so patient and helpful, for any Scottish engagees, I couldn't recommend them more highly.
    http://www.clarksonsedinburgh.co.uk/

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