Riddle's court Couple on the pentice stair

Riddle’s Court FAQs

Home > Riddle’s Court FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a fountain of knowledge for all things weddings at Riddle’s Court – from COVID implications on your wedding day, the booking process and how to start planning, there is plenty of information to explore.

For more information on any of these points or to ask a question that’s not addressed here, please get in touch with a member of the events team via weddings@shbt.org.uk.

Planning your wedding – the essentials

Important information and planning tools to get ready for the big day.

GETTING MARRIED IN EDINBURGH

What are the legalities for getting married in Edinburgh?

To get married in Edinburgh, you must submit either an M10 or CP10 form with supporting documentation such as your birth certificate. For more information on legal documentation required, you can visit the City of Edinburgh Council’s website here.

You can get married anywhere you like in Scotland, but you must have a registrar, celebrant or religious official performing your ceremony. If you’re opting for a religious ceremony, be sure to confirm with your religious official what the requirements are on their end. For a registrar you can book with the City Chambers – you essentially fill out a form and one of their registrars will come to marry you on the day. If you are opting for a celebrant there are a number of national organisations you can speak to, such as Humanist Society Scotland or Fuze Ceremonies. Here your celebrant spends more time before the wedding getting to know you and your partner.

 

What does a wedding ceremony look like?

Every wedding ceremony will be different, as it’s so individual to you and your partner. Most couples like to personalise their ceremony in different ways, whether through readings or different unity rituals (like handfasting or drinking from a Quaich). However, there are some parts that are required in order for the ceremony to be legally binding! You can see a sample ceremony script from a registrar online here.

 

PLANNING YOUR WEDDING

Where do I even begin planning?

The biggest and best question that we love! For most couples this is their first time planning an event of this size and importance, so it’s really easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start. There’s so much to think about! Luckily we have a handy planning timeline to help you every step of the way, and we’re always here to offer advice throughout the planning process.

While our timeline is geared around 12 months, it doesn’t mean that you can’t plan a wedding over a longer period of time or a shorter one, depending on what works for you. We’ve planned weddings from start to finish in 6 weeks!

The key things to remember are to keep organised, be decisive, and be clear on your priorities. Everything else will fall into place!

 

Will COVID-19 still impact my wedding?

There are still some precautions that we’re taking at Riddle’s Court, such as our Events Team wearing masks, sanitising regularly and ensuring the building is still as safe as possible for your event. We are still working to make sure the building is well ventilated, so please be aware some windows may be open during your event – though we will endeavour to make sure all guests are as comfortable as possible.

We would ask all guests to take a lateral flow test before arriving, and would encourage guests to take some small precautions on the day and to be mindful of other guests and staff. For more information on visiting the building, whether for a viewing or the wedding day itself, get in touch with the team for guidance.

Venue Information

Information on the building’s history, capacities and accommodation.

HISTORY

Where is Riddle’s Court?

Riddle’s Court is a real historic jewel in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, only a short ten minute walk up from Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station. For those arriving by plane, both trams and buses will drop you outside the railway station. We are also conveniently located for taxi drop off and pick up on the Lawnmarket.

Our main entrance is situated close to the Royal Mile as you approach Edinburgh Castle, on the left-hand side.

 

Why is Riddle’s Court special?

Built in the 1590s, Riddle’s Court is a picturesque Category A-listed merchant’s house full of authentic period features and genuine charm. It has been painstakingly restored by skilled craftsmen without compromising the integrity of the original building. Hidden until recently, new contemporary interventions carried out by the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust have transformed its atmospheric historic spaces into a state-of-the-art venue.

A visit to our building is a journey through 400 years; each room resonant of a different chapter in this complex tale, from the banquet of King James VI/I to the Arts and Crafts dining hall of one of Edinburgh’s first university residences.

 

What sort of weddings do you accommodate?

If you are wishing to exchange vows in an atmospheric historic setting, Riddle’s Court’s captivating painted ceilings, grand rooms and romantic courtyards offer a unique venue for all types of ceremonies. You can take comfort in the knowledge that your entire celebration can take place under one roof, or we can accommodate different elements of your day if you choose to split your celebration across different venues.

 

CAPACITIES

What sort of rooms do you offer?

We have a suite of rooms of varying sizes and atmospheres to suit your needs. Today, the magnificent, spacious Library room looks over Victoria Street from its large south facing windows and is the perfect setting for a wedding reception.

As a stimulus for conversation in the Geddes Room, Patrick Geddes himself commissioned the ultimate talking piece – a picture storybook painted on each of the panels of the ceiling. Some scholars believe that the ceiling’s heraldic design was inspired by the Seton room next door, but its style draws heavily on the Celtic Renaissance and the Arts and Crafts movements. Most of our couples have exchanged vows under this magnificent design.

The Seton room is named after Alexander Seton, Chancellor of Scotland in 1603. His classical education is reflected in the magnificent plasterwork on the ceiling of the room, which he commissioned shortly before he died. This room was later a students’ drawing room, and Geddes also installed the distinctive seating booths, possibly to encourage conversation and engagement with the outside world. The darkly panelled McMorran Room has a large press or wall cupboard, suggesting that this was a study or office originally; perhaps of Bailie John McMorran, the high-ranking magistrate who built Riddle’s Court in 1587. Both of these rooms offer flexible spaces, which could be used for a bar, kids’ room or bridal/groom’s party, to name a few.

 

How many guests can be accommodated here?

We do offer varying sized rooms to suit your needs, with the largest capable of hosting up to 60 seated guests, or 80 at an evening reception. We have had everything from a couple and their witnesses, to a full day of 60 people and a further 20 in the evening, spread across the whole building.

 

Do you have disabled access?

The vast majority of the building is accessible through ramps on the ground floor and a striking lift taking you up to the first floor. We also have a ‘destination’ accessible toilet which is a hidden, historic gem in the building.

 

Do you have onsite accommodation?

We have a beautiful honeymoon suite, The King’s Chamber, situated in our courtyard residence. It was the location of King James VI’s banquet in the 1590s, and is now a stunningly restored 1-bedroom apartment complete with a kitchen, dining area and lounge. The restored tempura-painted beams are the highlight of the space.

Pricing Information

Details on pricing, packages and invoicing.

PACKAGES

What is included in your normal wedding package?

Our starting point for the wedding venue hire package is to include a full-day’s exclusive hire of the building, and 2 nights in the King’s Chamber, subject to availability. This would include setting up on the afternoon/evening before (availability dependent), a wedding running from around 1pm to midnight, and collection of anything on the next working day. Typically, our weddings comprise of a ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening reception, but there is no set running order and we take the lead from our couples. We are always happy to discuss other options if you are splitting your wedding across different venues.

We can also offer a bespoke wedding package inclusive of the above as well as catering and venue decoration with our trusted suppliers. Get in touch for more information on cost and what this includes.

 

PRICING & PAYMENT

How much do you charge for weddings?

If you’re not opting for our package offer, our prices are completely flexible to meet your needs and account for seasonality, with venue hire beginning from £805+VAT. This is subject to change depending on your requirements and the nature of the event – if you have any questions, just get in touch with us directly.

View our full pricing document online here.

 

Invoicing

What am I expected to pay and when?

A deposit of 50% of the venue hire is required to secure the booking on your chosen date. The remaining venue hire is due one month before the wedding.

 

How can I pay?

You will receive an invoice with the company bank details and a payment reference, so you can pay by bank transfer. Alternatively, you are welcome to phone up to pay via card.

Furniture, Equipment & Decor

Details on our onsite equipment, as well as options for hiring in.

WHAT’S IN THE BUILDING?

What furniture do you have available?

We have rectangular tables that are available for a banquet-style setup for the meal, as well as 3ft round tables that are ideal for use during a drinks reception or as a cake table. We have a set of gold charivari chairs with blue and ivory seat pads, as well as conference-style chairs.

We can also dress up the chairs with a dainty chair cover for £3.50+VAT per chair.

We have a number of antique pieces of furniture that you may wish to use, particularly our signing table.

Couples in the past have opted to hire in a range of different pieces of furniture, and this can really transform the space. Whether you’re looking for Chesterfield sofas to create a lounge-feel upstairs or if you’re interested in making the reception feel more rustic, we can help source the pieces – no matter how big and small – for you!

 

AV EQUIPMENT

What AV equipment do you have?

There is no additional charge for use of our onsite equipment. We have a discrete speaker, which is typically used during the ceremony and drinks reception, if there is no live music. We also have an amplifier available.

We have screens around the building, which can be made available if needed and microphones for speeches.

We also have basic livestreaming capabilities if you would like to bring in guests remotely; alternatively we can put you in contact with our recommended videographers for further technical capabilities and a memento to remember your day.

 

FURNITURE HIRE

What can I hire in?

Couples often choose to hire in additional chairs, depending on their numbers. If you would like a round setup for dinner, tables and cloths will need hiring in. For banquet setup, cloths will need hiring (usually taken care of by the caterers). It’s also useful to remember high chairs for dinner if you have small children attending!

For the evening reception, you may wish to hire things like lights and a PA system (if you don’t have other entertainment, like a band).

For more information on the cost of hiring in additional furniture, please chat with a member of the team.

 

DECOR ONSITE

Do you have a welcome sign we can use?

We have a ‘Welcome to Riddle’s Court’ sign that you are welcome to use, or we can organise the print of a personalised insert for this at an additional cost.

 

Do you have table number stands?

We do have table number stands and we’d be happy to let you use these.

 

Can we use candles?

We prefer artificial candles, but you can use candles in the building during the ceremony and meal, assuming you abide by the venue’s guidelines as Riddle’s Court is a restored, historic building.

 

What other decoration do you have?

We have a range of artificial flower displays in blue and white which you would be welcome to use, as well as plenty of artificial ivy and artificial candles. We also have candelabras which you or your florist would be welcome to use. For a detailed list of our decoration inventory, get in touch with a member of the team.

Catering

Information on our catering partners and our bar set-up.

EXTERNAL CATERERS

Who can we use for our wedding catering?

We have two main appointed caterers and these are Scott’s Kitchen and Edinburgh Food Social. Our building is unique and quirky, which is why we stick to caterers who we know and trust.

If in the unlikely circumstance our appointed caterers are unable to accommodate your event, we would work with you to find a suitable alternative.

 

How much are we in contact with the caterers?

You should arrange everything directly with the caterers. You can start with emailing to find out about what kind of packages and food they can offer and when you are happy you can book them in for your date. Throughout the process there will be lots of communication about menu choices, timings and you will also do a tasting. In the few weeks running up to the wedding, we will discuss arrangements directly with them to ensure smooth running of your day.

We are more than happy to arrange some virtual meetings between you, your catering company and the events team at Riddle’s Court to make sure the planning process runs smoothly.

 

When can they get onsite to set-up?

Typically the caterers will have deliveries arrive the day before, but will only come to setup the morning of the wedding. Your events coordinator at Riddle’s Court will check with all your suppliers to make sure we’re onsite in time for them to get everything ready for you!

 

Will I be responsible for any catering on the day?

Absolutely not! There will be an events coordinator present for the whole day who will manage everything. We have a very detailed schedule, which manages all of the catering timings, as well as everything else that goes on throughout the day, so everything runs smoothly and you can enjoy yourselves.

If you’re at all concerned, we would recommend appointing a member of your bridal party to check in every now and again while you’re enjoying yourselves.

 

ALCOHOL & BAR SET UP

Who is responsible for the bar?

Most caterers take care of the bar into the evening, but it is worth checking this with them when discussing your options.

 

What do I have to provide?

For minimal effort, you could provide absolutely nothing. Most of our couples have decided to provide all of the drinks for the early reception and the meal, and are charged corkage to minimise costs. The caterer must provide the drinks in the evening and they typically run a cash bar.

The Day Before

What you need to know for the day before your wedding.

REHEARSAL

Can I have access to the building for a rehearsal?

Absolutely, just get in touch with one of the events coordinators here and we can arrange something.

 

Delivery/Set-up

Can I have access to the rooms to decorate/set-up the day before?

Generally, you will be able to access at least one main room (The Geddes, Library or Seton Room) from around 2pm the day before the wedding. If we have a room hire, you will at least get into all the rooms from 6pm. We try to get as much setup as possible done the afternoon before the wedding; you should not be setting anything up on the morning of your wedding!

 

Is there a space I can use to set-up all day?

The McMorran Room is the ideal space to use to arrange flowers, store decorations and drinks, and get everything ready as early as possible. We can offer this space from 10am the day before your wedding for a reduced rate to help you get organised throughout the day.

To guarantee access throughout the entire building on the afternoon before your wedding we can offer a reduced rate for this as well.

During the wedding

All you need to know about the running of the wedding itself.

RIDDLE’S COURT RESPONSIBILITIES

What are the venue staff responsible for on the day?

Our key responsibility is ensuring the whole wedding runs without a hitch. We have a detailed schedule which includes catering timings, arrival of different suppliers, setup requirements and any guest movements. Whilst the caterers are running the day, we keep track of everything and make sure the bride and groom enjoy themselves without any worries!

 

Who do I talk to if I need to check-up on anything?

The function manager from the catering team will be able to answer any questions you have. There will also be a Riddle’s Court events coordinator available throughout the day.

 

MUSIC

What music options do you have available onsite?

We have a speaker and an amplifier, which you are welcome to use.

 

Can I have a disco or a ceilidh?

Yes! The Library Room is the perfect place for a disco or a ceilidh, and this can run until midnight. We suggest that you can get around 30-40 people dancing at one time, depending on furniture layout. Perhaps if you are having a disco or ceilidh in the evening, you may wish to have the bar and any evening food elsewhere – but our events team is here to talk through all options if you have any questions.

 

TIMINGS

Who is responsible for everything sticking to time on the day?

The Riddle’s Court events coordinator will manage all of the main timings – start of ceremony, reception, meal – and will also keep track of musicians setting up and the catering team staying on schedule.

If you are planning to play music through the speakers or a PA system using a playlist, we would suggest one of your trusted wedding party are in charge of controlling it. We also think it’s nice to have one of your wedding party make the calls to your guests throughout the day.

The catering team ensure the delivery of all matters relating to your food and drink.

The King's Chamber

Information on our onsite honeymoon suite.

ONSITE ACCOMMODATION

What accommodation do you have at Riddle’s Court?

Two nights in the King’s Chamber are included as part of a full wedding hire (exclusive use of the entire building from midday-midnight), subject to availability. There is also the option to add this on to your hire, even if you are looking at just a ceremony or just a reception.

The King’s Chamber has a beautiful double bedroom which is perfect for a honeymoon suite, a sofa bed so any guests can stay with you the night before, and a crib if you have any young children staying with you.

Even if you have other accommodation arrangements yourselves, consider offering the King’s Chamber to guests travelling in from outside Edinburgh!

 

CHECKING IN AND OUT

I’m using your onsite accommodation – when can I get access to the flat?

The standard check-in time is 3pm. If there is no checkout before you, we can try and get you in earlier, but there is no guarantee. Checkout time is 11am. We will be able to let you know closer to the time. Access information will be provided by your event coordinator before you arrive.

If you’re looking to extend your stay in the King’s Chamber a few more nights, then get in touch with the member of the team and we can organise this, subject to availability, at an additional cost.

 

What facilities do I need to be aware of in the flat?

There is a sofa bed which can be useful if you have any of the wedding party staying with you beforehand. There is a fully-equipped kitchen, dining area and lounge. As part of the wedding package, you have the flat for 2 nights. These can be taken however you want (1 night before & 1 after, 2 nights after, or if you want it for longer we are happy to add on another night).

 

STORAGE

Can I store my belongings in the flat during the wedding?

You can store whatever you want in the flat during the wedding provided you have booked it for the night before the wedding. We would recommend entrusting the key to someone in the wedding party so they can access things if needed.

 

What happens with cards and gifts?

These can be put in the flat for you, or often for ease, we store these in the McMorran Room, a small space on the first floor. We would recommend ensuring that these leave with you at the end of the night for safe-keeping rather than being collected another day. If you need help at the end of the night taking belongings up to the flat, just ask your events coordinator for assistance.

After the big day

All the final loose ends to tie up after your wedding.

COLLECTION OF DECOR/ALCOHOL

What needs to be done at the end of the night?

We will not ask you to do too much at the end of the night, but it will be helpful to nominate someone to collect all of your belongings and decorations around the building, and move them to one place.

 

Can I have access the next day to pick up decorations?

You can leave everything in the building at the end of the night and collect it the next working day, i.e. for a Saturday wedding, you can collect everything the Monday after. If you want to collect on a Sunday, we can accommodate this but would have to apply a staffing charge.

 

Who is responsible for taking away any leftover alcohol?

If any of your alcohol is left, you can collect this along with the rest of your things. The caterer will take away any of theirs.

 

RUBBISH DISPOSAL

Who is responsible for dealing with rubbish and recycling?

The caterer is responsible for leaving our building as they found it, so they should take care of all rubbish and recycling. It is worth checking this with them early on to save hidden costs, but we will also confirm this with them directly.

If you are supplying your own drink, please ensure that the caterer is indeed disposing of the recycling.

If Riddle’s Court need to dispose of excessive rubbish or recycling, this will be charged per uplift.

Not answered your question?

If you have any questions not answered or would like further information, get in touch with a member of the team and we would be happy to help.