Lauren & Alistair’s Humanist Wedding at Surgeons Quarter

Where do medics get married?

No – that’s not a joke question. Edinburgh is rich in wedding venues with a medical history, including The Old Doctor Bell’s Baths and the Royal College of Physicians, but the only one that has its very own hotel next door is the Royal College of Surgeons, and it was there that Alistair & Lauren chose to tie the knot.

Billing itself these days as ‘Surgeons Quarter’ the College of Surgeons dates back to the 16th century, although its elegant classical facade was designed in the early 19th century by the great William Henry Playfair. There are several spaces in which you can hold your ceremony, but none is more imposing than the Playfair Hall.

Next door to the Old College of the University of Edinburgh, Surgeon’s Quarter is in the busy heart of the city, so it’s easy to get to on foot – whether you’re the bride or the groom!

Lauren and Alistair first met as colleagues in the orthopaedic ward of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the spring of 2016. Alistair remembers meeting Lauren for the first time and over the coming weeks, thinking to himself ’how has she not got a boyfriend? I’ve not heard of a boyfriend, and I think I would have by now…’ 

For her part, Lauren noticed not only Alistair’s friendly and easy-going nature, but also his handsome looks. One of her occupational therapy colleagues described him as a ‘catch’ and a ‘nice boy you would take home to meet your mother’. 

Lauren was surprised to learn that Alistair didn’t own a smartphone and shocked to discover he didn’t use social media, which wasn’t helpful when trying to Facebook-stalk, but she still managed to provide regular WhatsApp updates to her bridesmaids Laura, Ashley and Rachel with important newsflashes such as whether they ate lunch together, and after their first ‘proper’ date, they fell very easily into being a couple because they’d already become good friends. 

In summer 2019 they had the holiday of a lifetime exploring California, and although Alistair drove down the wrong side of quite a few 6-lane highways, they survived in one piece!

Despite working for the NHS in challenging conditions throughout the pandemic, they always had each other, and if anything, lockdown brought them closer together as a couple. it also gave them the opportunity to transform their home which – 3 years later – is finally, nearly, finished.

After a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, chosen and delivered by Rachel, Alistair & Lauren spoke the traditional vows before adding a more personal verse of their own.

They wrote their own words for the Exchange of Rings too… and then having pronounced them married, I got out of the way so Zoe Alexander could capture the magic moment!

I love this shot, don’t you? It lets you see all the love in the room!

After the signing of the Marriage Schedule, Lauren and Alistair tied the knot with ribbons woven in their clan tartans, which were Graham of Menteith (ancient) and Anderson (ancient) respectively.

Remember that walk up Arthur’s Seat? Well, that was where Zoe and Sam whisked Alistair and Lauren for a quick portrait shoot after the ceremony. I try to remember not to take it for granted that we have an extinct volcano just ten minutes from the centre of town!

I was delighted to get this message from the newly-weds on their return from a very relaxing honeymoon in Greece.

The ceremony was brilliant and we have a few people who can’t quite believe we wrote it!

Thank you for all your support and guidance, and a special thanks for delivering our ceremony so well.

A few of our guests commented on how personal the ceremony was, and we enjoyed surprising our bridal party by introducing them at the beginning.

It really was a very happy day – as you can see from these great shots by Zoe and Sam – and I was delighted to be a part of it, so thank you, Lauren and Alistair for choosing to work with me, and for your very kind words. They mean the world to me!

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