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The UK’s prestigious wedding venues

by | 30 April 2016 | Ceremony

If you cast back your memories to last June, you might remember that I cracked out a bunch of wild and wacky wedding locations for those of you seeking an alternative to the traditional church wedding. Just 20 years ago it was the done thing to get married in a church, failing that you’d haul yourself off to a registry office. Nowadays though, individuality is king, and not everyone had dreams of a church wedding when they were growing up.

More and more people are opting for weddings abroad, but whilst a beautiful beach wedding sounds idyllic, it’s tough for all your guests to make it – so we must turn our attention back to stunning locations within the UK.

Since the 1994 Marriage Act, premises around the UK have been getting their license to perform marriages and this has resulted in some beautiful, if unexpected, wedding venues. So let’s have a look below at wedding venues of the prestigious, the peculiar and the practical.

The Prestigious

Libraries – Logophiles, listen up. Libraries are popular among young book lovers, so why not consider a wedding in one? Understandably a lot of council libraries look a little worse for wear but there are beautiful libraries such as the Mayfair Library which now has a license for conducting weddings.

Boats – Getting married on a boat has become increasingly popular the last few years. It’s a great setting for people from naval backgrounds and just those that have a love of the sea. There are many options available, but you generally have to book quite a long time in advance. HMS Belfast, HMS Warrior and HMS Gannet give you options for boat weddings all over the country.

Castles – Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to get married in a castle? There are dozens of castles all around the UK which are opening their doors to love birds looking for a majestic start to their marriage. The castles in question can range from ruins to manors to full on Hogwarts style turrets-and-all forts.

The Theatre – Going to the theatre is a very couple-y thing to do and it can become a huge passion for those in love with the lights of the stage. So what reason would you have not to get married at one of the most prestigious theatres around? The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon is licensed for marriages and, if you haven’t been there, it could be the location for a truly stunning wedding. Failing that there’s the Clonter Opera Theatre, the Crewe Lyceum Theatre, the Richmond Theatre and the Gatehouse Theatre also providing beautiful grounds for a theatrical wedding.

The Gherkin – Okay, so the name doesn’t exactly elicit the most romantic notions and it will likely have your guests looking twice but London’s north-bank centre piece has opened its top floor to wedding ceremonies and receptions, and in fairness it looks incredible. Imagine for a moment, dancing beneath the glass domed roof on a clear summer’s night when the stars are dancing with you. It might set you back a touch, but you and your guests will have memories for a life time.

The Peculiar

Hot Air Balloon – Talking of getting married in the sky, what about an intimate ceremony in the basket of a hot air balloon. Amazing views, total silence, and just the very closest of your friends and families with you. Sounds magic, right? Well, unfortunately you can’t yet get married during a hot air balloon flight, but you can jump into one straight after your ceremony is conducted, and lets face it, you may as well leave in style.

Windmill – From Cley Windmill by the beach to Rayleigh Windmill in south Essex, windmills are becoming an ever more popular choice for people seeking a slightly less usual location for their vows.

Submarine – We already knew that you could get married on board a boat down in the Portsmouth docks, but we recently found that just across the water in Gosport, you can get married on a submarine with the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. If you love the idea of getting married on a boat but think they are old news then a submarine certainly makes a statement.

Subterranean Lake – Down in the depths of Cornwall there lies Carnglaze Caverns – an intense set of caves and underground lakes where you can now get hitched. The ceremony chamber is small and intimate. But a larger cavern with space for up to 400 people is available too if you don’t need the lake. But then I suppose a subterranean lake without the lake is just a cave…

Space Centre – Love science fiction and science fact? Have a shared love for the stars? How about a marriage at the National Space Centre in Leicester? Sure it looks a little bit clinical and flashy, but who said that marriage had to be all about pretty flowers and steeples?

House of Magic – If you’re looking for something really barmy, why not book the House of Magic as your wedding venue? This quirky mansion is the perfect venue if you and your partner to be have a shared love for magic and everything occult. Fortune-telling and a blind-folded arrival is just the start of this utterly peculiar experience, if you think the idea of Harry Potter meeting Rocky Horror Show sounds like a blast, then you’ll likely love this.

Cinema – This venue in Bath makes a movie-themed wedding a cinch. Imagine cinema tickets as invites, trailers before the ceremony that detail the couple’s adventures so far and their adventures to come, popcorn and hot dog stands. The possibilities are endless. I’m thinking my wife and I should get married again…

The Practical

Arabian Tents – With the recent demand for low-cost weddings, marquees have become an extremely popular choice for garden ceremonies. To put a spin on this, several companies have started offering up Arabian tents. I suppose this could appeal only to certain demographics, but we still think it would make a beautiful and wonderfully different wedding for you and your guests to remember. Did someone say Aladdin themed wedding?

The Beach – Who said you couldn’t get married on a beach in the UK? Contrary to British complaints, the UK is packing some serious heat when it comes to beaches. Bournemouth is a popular spot for beach weddings, as are several spots in Devon and Cornwall. Of course, the weather here is a little less reliable than in the tropics, but then there is something quite quaint about being rained out of your wedding (I can’t have been the only person to think About Time is one of the best romance films ever, right?)

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear all about your weddings in weird or wonderful places.


About the author

Paul Macklin

Paul is your friendly neighbourhood poet/cynic. He believes in story-telling, curiosity and peanut-butter sandwiches and he spends the vast majority of his time writing stuff. Paul learnt how to write stuff at Portsmouth University where he earned himself a Masters degree in writing stuff. Neat huh? Paul also hates writing in third person.


Ceremony The UK’s prestigious wedding venues