It’s Not Like The Old Days


Iain chats about wedding planning

“We can’t accept copies, Mr McDonald. We’ll need to see the original birth certificate and passport for both you and your partner.”

“OK . . . It’s just, someone in your office said copies were fine. That’s why I posted them to you.”

“That’s not the case, I’m afraid. Also, there’s the matter of the £250 administration fee.”

“Administration fee? What’s that for?”

“For making copies of your documents and sending them back to you.”

The above is not an excerpt from a “Monty Python” sketch (no matter how much I wish it were), but an actual conversation I held with a very nice — if confusing — woman working at Edinburgh City Council.

Getting married is an expensive business. My partner and I knew that going in, of course; we’ve been to a good few weddings of late, each of increasing scale and polish. Also, I come from quite a big family, many of whom wouldn’t appreciate going without an invite . . .

There’s the ceremony venue, of course, and the venue for the reception. Both of these need to be decorated, too. There’s the catering, the DJ, and a bar stocked with the finest wines available to humanity. There’s the wedding dress, the groomsmen’s outfits, the rings. There is, for some reason, a requirement for chair covers.

All in all, the whole business of organising a wedding has made me wish I’d started my career in the wedding business.

I was complaining about this to my mother one day, when she told me she had something I might like to see. Off she went, and after some rummaging around upstairs, presented this to me with a chuckle:




This is the original receipt for my parents’ wedding reception in 1969.

Once I figured out what it meant in real money, I was aghast.

“Not the whole thing?” I asked incredulously.

“Remember,” she replied, “in those days, people didn’t expect quite so much. And you didn’t have to pay for everyone’s drink!”

Though, she told me, the two brandys that did appear on the receipt were for my grandfather.

Back then they’d also kept costs down by having my auntie make the wedding dress, and hosting both the stag and hen dos in local pubs.

Chairs didn’t need to be covered. “Administration” fees didn’t exist.

I feel like I’ve maybe missed a trick. Or been born in the wrong era.

Either way, my partner and I plan to celebrate her birthday at the Cambustay Hotel in the weeks before the wedding.

It’ll give me a good chance to check out how many people it can accommodate . . .


Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.