Finding the perfect wedding venue is one very important task — tracking down a beautiful wedding dress is another: but the two do not need to be mutually exclusive. You’ll be looking for a gorgeous venue that suits your style, taste and wedding guests — and your dress can perfectly complement those choices.
Picking a gown that suits your wedding venue pays off if you want the look and feel of your big day to be seamless. So check out our guide to matching your wedding dress to your venue and you’re bound to feel inspired!
A beautiful barn suits a boho bride with a sense of adventure and a lust for life. Look for the perfect blend of rustic charm and country chic. From stunning Shilstone in Devon, offering a blank canvas for a dream wedding, to Cripps Barn in Gloucestershire, one of the UK’s first party barns, barn venues offer flexibility and style. At Sandhole Barn in Cheshire (pictured above) your wedding party will toast your marriage beside a large, tranquil lake, oak clock tower and landscaped gardens. Inside, wrought iron cartwheel chandeliers and wall lights set the scene with stylish, neutral décor and stunning views.
To suit a barn venue, look for a dress that combines easy elegance with a touch of bohemian glamour. Look for full, A-line or fishtail skirts; fabrics like lace and satin suit the countryside setting; sweeping, sweetheart or plunging halter necklines add drama; and consider a touch of colour or sparkle on a sash or hem.
From left: Marie Antoinette from Ivoire by Kitty Chen; Eloise from Sassi Holford; Radience from Suzanne Neville.
A castle is a spectacular statement venue, steeped in pomp, grandeur and history. Creating a traditional and formal backdrop for your big day, as well as a dream-come-true atmosphere, a castle impresses your guests and sets the tone for a spectacular celebration. There are venues to choose from across the UK; Clearwell in the beautiful Forest of Dean with its stunning marriage room; Craig-Y-Nos in Swansea, a grade one listed opera house; or consider charming Myres Castle, a 5 star ancient Scottish Castle. At romantic Eastnor Castle (pictured above) near to the breathtaking Malvern Hills, you can choose to marry in the magnificent 19th century Gothic drawing room — or take a 10 minute walk to St John the Baptist Church.
A castle creates a fairytale ambience and your dress can be just as dreamy. A ballgown is the most popular option with layers of tulle, chiffon or organza, and a classic, sweetheart neckline. Lace details add elegance and cap sleeves are the perfect addition if your wedding is in winter. A full, floaty skirt is a must given the sense of opulence a castle creates.
From left: Style D1714 from Essense of Australia; Style 51012 from Madeline Gardner; Style F171010 from Jasmine Collection.
A city wedding is perfect for a modern, fashionable and elegant couple. Easy for guests to get to, it suits people with a wide social circle and busy lives. You can also add essential ingredients such as award-winning food, contemporary architecture and the very latest interior designs. You could choose to marry at a landmark city venue, such as Wellington Arch in central London, Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol or Sunborn in East London, a stunning 128m super yacht. For the reception, head to a slick and stylish hotel with a contemporary twist, like the splendid George Hotel in Edinburgh or Life Conference and Banqueting in the heart of Newcastle Upon Tyne. At the Titanic-inspired 30 James Street in Liverpool (pictured above), every luxurious suite and quarter is linked to the world famous White Star shipping Line, RMS Titanic, offering a historic connection to the vessel.
Your city venue dress is all about style. Look for fashion-forward details like off-white shades, cap sleeves, sheer panelling and lavish embellishments. To show off your curves, consider a fitted column or fishtail dress — a cathedral train will not look out of place, either.
From left: Style 5977 from Stella York; Ginger from Badgley Mischka; Style AC411 from Art Couture.
If barn venues ooze rustic charm, manor houses offer a stately, formal option in the countryside. Great examples are Warbrook House in Hampshire, a traditional Georgian manor house with a classic tree-lined driveway, Norton House near Edinburgh with its rhododendron-fringed lawns, delicious food and spa, and Froyle Park on the Surrey/Hampshire borders (pictured above), a newly renovated Jacobean Manor with romantic grounds and a Grand Ballroom which seats up to 300 guests.
Manor Houses are so elegant that a simple, beautiful dress is the order of the day. Look for clean lines, feminine silhouettes with dainty, traditional touches and chiffon, silk and ivory lace: these are ideal fashion fixes for the soave and stately atmosphere your venue will facilitate.
From left: Style 9151 from Allure Bridals; Style 574 from Martina Liana; Style 2676 from Mori Lee
Outdoor spaces in the UK can be just as glamorous and picturesque as any other wedding venue. They offer fresh air, a sense of space and nature, the scents of spring/summer and stunning sights. For romantic couples with a love of the outdoors, marrying out in the open is a great choice. There are many sites to consider including Port Lympne in Kent, a wild animal reserve where you can use a choice of indoor or outdoor spaces for your ceremony, or the Ocean Suite in West Sussex, a unique venue set on a historical pier with panoramic views across the South Coast. At the secluded Walled Garden at Beeston Fields in Nottingham you can enjoy 135 acres of parkland and a breathtaking 19th Century garden, saying “I do” surrounded by woodland, colourful flower beds, an apple arch and a sense of Victorian romance.
The secret to the perfect outdoor dress is to contrast the natural surroundings with glamour — without choosing a style that is impractical. Fit and flare skirts work really well and you can play with necklines, from traditional sweetheart to more edgy square and deep V-neck cuts. Veils look gorgeous too, particularly if they billow in the breeze as you say your vows.
From left: Justine from So Sassi; Karol from Kiss by Raimon Bundo; Style 3831 from Sincerity.