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We are so lucky that it’s possible to get married anywhere in Scotland, both indoors and outdoors. If the land is owned then you do need the written permission of the owner. Unless you own it yourself! It’s the Celebrants who are licensed, not the venue. I spoke with humanist celebrant Maggie Kinloch after she conducted a Portobello Beach wedding I photographed last spring.

Portobello Beach Wedding - From my best wedding photos from 2019

It was such a unique setting I’ve not witnessed before, so I wanted to inspire some more couples to organise a wedding at an outdoor location that means something to them! Maggie shared her experience as well as the beautiful, apt and personally written marriage blessing with me!

My lovely couple have asked to stay un-named in this feature, but were happy to share their marriage blessing along with photos from their day.

May your marriage be strong, like the waves of this river
May your hearts beat together, as the Celtic drums so long ago.
When the landscape of your love needs soothing
May you breathe together, as the Scottish air sighs today.
Your promises, made today were heard, and are held by, these sands for all time.
Forevermore, when your eyes turn to your beloved,
May you feel joy that her heart is yours.

Maggie Kinloch Humanist Celebrant

What were your initial thoughts when you were contacted about conducting a Portobello Beach wedding ceremony?

Thrilled! I love Portobello Beach and I love doing outdoor weddings. My first advice though was have an indoor venue nearby as back up. It’s Scotland! They had their reception venue, their local pub, on standby.

What did you like about it, and what was challenging?

It was a fabulous day of sunshine and wind! Lots of wind! So I had to work hard vocally. They had made a long aisle of sandcastles facing the sea. They had put up a beautiful driftwood sculpture as a focal point at the bottom of that aisle. Good choices in that beach slopes down so guests all saw the couple, the sculpture and the sea behind us. However, the wind direction blew my voice from left to right. Would have been vocally easier if wind had blown from sea onto land! But hey!

Is conducting a ceremony outdoors different than doing one indoors, in terms of planning the content or format of the ceremony?

The ceremony and its content are the same. But good planning about alternatives if it pours with rain matter. That said, I married two sea kayakers on a beach in the pouring rain. Nobody cared! 😀Outdoors folk dont seem to mind and neither do I! 

Portobello Beach Wedding

What are your top tips to anyone thinking of getting married on a beach (or outdoors in general).

Find out if land is owned, who owns it and get permission. Have a weather contingency plan. Think about parking and elderly or disabled guests and how they will be able to access ceremony spot.

Can you describe in short how you work together with your clients before a wedding?

I meet the couple when they first contact me. Often 12/18 months before their wedding. Once we are confirmed then they can contact me about any guidance/ queries at any point. I send them a detailed questionnaire about their ideas/plans/ their relationship. They send it to me no later than 12 weeks before ceremony. I use it to draft ceremony and then email it. Then we can either meet face to face to discuss or we can do it all by email. Their choice.

I’d love to photograph another Portobello Beach wedding or more outdoor wedding ceremonies in the future!

Getting married somewhere that means something to you is so beautiful and personal, and I’d love to see more outdoor weddings in the future! I can work in any kind of weather, and so will many of our amazing celebrants nationwide.

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