Venues - Marlins Wynd, Edinburgh
By Brian Wilson
Marlins Wynd, 34a Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR
Telephone: 0131 557 8989
Contact: Caroline at Caves of Edinburgh
"Set in the heart of Edinburgh's historic old town, the splendid vaulted cellars of Marlin's Wynd provide a stunning venue for corporate or private entertaining. Between its reception room and vaulted cellars, Marlin's Wynd spans centuries of Scottish history. Entered from Blair Street, the reception area is part of a typical Edinburgh Georgian tenement built in 1787, while the cellars below - part of the original Marlin's Wynd - were constructed in the 1540's.
Our exclusive historical surroundings provide a dramatic, unique setting for all your entertaining needs - whether simply dining, or for tastings, seminars, receptions, product launches, corporate and media events, small weddings or private parties."
Updated February 2014
This is a popular intimate wedding venue and since 2014 it's now run by the same team who run the close-by Caves of Edinburgh and Rowantree venues. Its a small venue, catering for up to sixty guests, but comformatable with less than that. There are four spaces in total; an upstairs cocktail reception, separate cavern bar and two larger caverns downstairs where the ceremony, breakfast and reception are held.. In past years the downstairs caverns were damp and dingey and the cavern bar wasn't used at all, but that's all changed; the Caves team having done a fabulous renovation job. The cavern layout of Marlins Wynd is similar to the Caves so they've taken the same approach for lighting, air-conditioning and candle-light.
Wedding photography is a challenge in such low light conditions: don't let anyone fool you otherwise. The best advice to give a couple choosing this venue is to hire a photographer who's familiar with the place (like me!). Definitely NOT a venue for your best friend to take his/her first-ever wedding shoot.
The dynamic of an outdoor venue doesn't work here. Hand-held shooting would be risky, so a tripod mount with fill-flash is required and the best shots will be static shots of the wedding party using a slow shutter and ISO. What does that mean to the bride & groom? Keep still!
The venue is atmospheric and its vital that comes through in the shots, but auto-flash will blow out the colours. I use manual fill-flash instead, mounted on radio-frequency triggers to light the faces of the bridal party without blowing-out the background. Positioning of the wedding party during the ceremony is vital if you want live shots of the main event, because I can't get in behind them. I can shoot from the steps above and its a nice unusual view, but if I wanted the registrar in, I'd reposition them all. The steps leading down into the cavern curve round and they offer the best opportunity for creative shots before and after the ceremony. If there's time, I'd take the wedding party outside, up to the Royal Mile and use the abundance of architecture there as a backdrop.
Pros: Small and intimate; good ambience; historical feel; constant temperature in the caverns; provides catering and bar.
Cons: Its not an easy venue to find: it could do with better signage. Challenging lighting inside, use a photographer who's familiar with the venue; not much space for the photographer to vary the shots.