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Our top 5 non-church wedding venues in the UK

by | 24 September 2016 | Ceremony

What would be your perfect wedding venue? A big church? A fancy hotel? A tropical beach somewhere? How about something a bit more unique?

We’re going to run down our top 5 coolest non-church places you can get married in the UK. They’re all bookable for weddings and civil partnerships.

We’re going to bypass the question of money here

Unusual wedding venues can often be less expensive than you might expect. They can also be mind-blowingly expensive. But everyone knows roughly what kind of budget they’re working with, so we’re going to focus purely on how cool and unique the venues themselves are. We’ll include links to the website where you can check out specific prices.

1. Mr Darcy’s pad – Chatsworth House

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, this venue should rank pretty high on your romance-o-meter. It was Mr Darcy’s upmarket bachelor pad, Pemberley, in the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Chatsworth has everything you could want from a Jane Austen venue – 18th century style, lush parklands (1000 acres, no less), horses pulling carriages and smartly dressed men wearing big hats.

Get married there and you can choose between the house and the stables for your ceremony. We should clarify though – ‘the stables’ is actually a gorgeously restored building that used to be stables. We’re assured it does not smell of horse poo.

What’s not to love?

Well… in our eyes, Colin Firth will always be the true Mr Darcy. And so, as in the 1995 BBC mini-series, Lyme Park in Cheshire will always be the true Pemberley. It’s a National Trust venue, but they don’t do weddings there. Apparently, they don’t even let you swim in the lake with your clothes on. Killjoys.

Chatsworth House, Peak District

2. The joys of the outdoors, indoors – Kew Gardens

I went to Kew Gardens on a school trip when I was 11. And I remember thinking “I must recommend this as a wedding venue on a wedding blog someday.”

Gardens and lakes give such a lovely feel to a wedding, but it’s often a logistical nightmare getting everything you need out into the countryside. Kew Gardens solves this problem by having the greenery perfectly interwoven with gorgeously designed, well-equipped buildings.

The most unique and appealing bit, for us, is the cocktail reception at the Princess of Wales Conservatory. It’s a mind-boggling complex of glasshouses that show off countless plants and trees from around the world. This was the bit that genuinely had 11-year-old me walking around in absolute awe – after hours of just wishing I could be at home playing Legend of Zelda.

What’s not to love?

The humidity (in some places). Some of the indoor areas at Kew are ‘climactically controlled’. This means that if the plants you’re looking at are from hot parts of the world, it’s going to get a bit sweaty under that fancy dress or suit.

3. A wedding in the sky – top of the Gherkin

Check out the website for Searcy’s Club at the Gherkin and prepare to gasp. It’s 180 meters up from the London streets and has a 360-degree view of the capital’s skyline.

They have two floors (the top two), both of which can host wedding ceremonies. One floor has two dining lounges, whereas the other floor is one massive members’ lounge.

And if you’re a foodie type, you’ll probably find the brochure’s photos of fine cuisine even more exciting than the views.

What’s not to love?

It may sound obvious, but this is a very indoor wedding. When we think of the best moments we’ve had at weddings, a lot of them happened outside in the summer sunshine.

Searcys Gherkin external evening

4. The underground lake – Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall

This’ll be perfect for you if your number one priority is finding somewhere that’s just really, really pretty.

At Carnglaze Caverns, you can get married in a candlelit cave, next to a crystal clear, turquoise lake. Check out the photos on the website – they look utterly gorgeous.

It’s very much underground, so before you walk the aisle, you walk down a 60-step staircase to the music of your choice.

What’s not to love?

It’s small. You can only have 35 guests. And it looks like those guests (and you) have to wear hard hats at all times, which is a bit naff.

Carnglaze, Subterranean Lake

5. Jurassic wedding – the Natural History Museum

The weddings page on the Natural History Museum website has one of the best sentences we’ve ever read:

You and your guests can dine in the celestial Earth Hall […] and then give a toast next to the resident Stegosaurus.”

Let’s just repeat that for emphasis: “a toast next to the resident stegosaurus”.

We know this is very much a love it or hate it idea. You might think having dinosaur skeletons at your wedding venue is a horrible idea. Or you might think it’s the best thing ever. But there won’t be many people on the fence.

The Earth Hall also has some very cool and intimate lighting too, with lots of extra features for sciencey types to geek out over.

What’s not to love?

Like we said – it’s a love it or hate it idea. That said, even guests who aren’t fascinated by dinosaurs might still be charmed by the unusual setting and the sheer grandeur of the place.

National History Museum Wedding

Have you been to a wedding at an unusual venue?

What did you like or dislike about it? How was it different to a church wedding?

Let us know in the comments.


About the author

Matt Phil Carver

Matt’s a copywriter and blogger from West Sussex, England. He spends his days helping people simplify their writing and give their words more punch and personality. At weddings, Matt’s always quick to get up and dance, even when the vicar’s telling him to wait for the reception.


Ceremony Our top 5 non-church wedding venues in the UK