Hands up if you identify with Belle from ‘Beauty & the Beast’? Her love of libraries is infectious and made us see them in a totally new light. They are the perfect wedding venue for book lovers, so we’ve rounded up our favourite from the UK and the rest of the world to inspire you. Book worms, this one’s for you.
If you need some help finding the perfect venue, make sure you read our guide to choosing a wedding venue.
Combermere Abbey - Cheshire
The Library at Combermere Abbey is a gorgeous, ornate room steeped in history. The room originally was the Abbott’s Lodge 800 years ago and has been lovingly restored to make it the perfect romantic location to host a wedding. Couples who choose to marry in The Library, at the heart of the Abbey, can take in the elaborate plaster work and even enjoy a toasty log fire in the marble fireplace — a romantic touch for a winter wedding.
Chawton House Library – Hampshire
This beautifully restored Elizabethan house was once owned by Jane Austen’s brother — this is the house the author referred to as the ‘Great House’ in her letters! If that’s not enough for you literary lovers, the panelled rooms and pristine gardens at Chawton House Library are the perfect setting for a book-themed wedding. We love the idea of stacking books for your centrepieces, from our list of 47 vintage wedding ideas.
Hodsock Priory – Nottinghamshire
The Library at Hodsock Priory is full of character and has a range of uses if you marry at Hodsock Priory. It is licensed for ceremonies and provides beautiful views of the famous snowdrop gardens. You can also use the old book room as a quiet area post-ceremony for your guests to mingle in and enjoy drinks. Soft music and entertainment can be set up there too, making it very relaxing.
The Signet Library – Lothian & Borders
The Lower Library at the Signet Library, in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, is the perfect setting for your wedding ceremony, whether it’s civil, religious or humanist. After the ceremony, you and your guests can ascend the grand staircase to the Upper Library which can accommodate 50-220 guests for any type of reception from a wedding breakfast to an evening affair. The Upper Library has a royal seal of approval; King George IV described it as “the finest drawing room in Europe” following his visit in 1822.
Image credit: Craig and Eva Sanders Photography, Elemental Photography
West Dean College – West Sussex
The library at West Dean College, a 19th century flint mansion surrounded by sweeping views of the South Downs, is a dream setting for a book lover’s wedding. The venue has a rich arts history, and includes a music room as well as a library — these can be linked together for more space. If you love the idea of a book lined room with plenty of character, this could be the wedding venue for you.
Queen Mary University of London – London
Queen Mary University is a wonderfully elegant wedding venue in the heart of East London. The Octagon, built in 1887, was originally the college library. It was designed by Victorian architect ER Robson and inspired by the Reading Room at the British Museum. Not only can you celebrate your wedding in a breath-taking setting, but you can also choose from the signature wedding breakfast menus, aptly named Shakespeare and Wordsworth.
Central Library – Greater Manchester
The cutting edge Central Library in Manchester is the wedding venue of choice for the modern book lover. Start your celebrations in the Shakespeare Hall — named after the ornate stained glass window featuring the Bard — before exploring the hidden heritage spaces and the Wolfson Reading Room. These are the perfect settings for your wedding photographs. Finally, enjoy your wedding breakfast and party on the third floor of the library, in a space that is bathed in beautiful natural light.
University of Oxford – Oxfordshire
The Divinity School at the Bodleian Library is a truly incredible setting for a wedding. The ornate ceilings and dark wood furnishings add a grand feeling to any wedding set up. Those who have a passion for words will love the fact they are celebrating their wedding at the University of Oxford’s first teaching room and earliest examination hall — you can also visit Duke Humfrey’s Library during your drinks reception and see the books in this historic setting.
The Old Library – West Midlands
The Old Library is a Victorian-era building that has been faithfully restored to host a range of weddings. Situated in the heart of Birmingham’s colourful and quirky Custard Factory, the Old Library no longer contains books but the beautiful high ceilings and original windows make it an elegant blank canvas for any style of special day. The surrounding areas are perfect for unique wedding pictures too.
One Whitehall Place – London
The Gladstone Library at One Whitehall Place is an elegant and awe-inspiring setting for your wedding breakfast. The room also connects to the Reading and Writing Room (an extra bonus for word nerds), which provides beautiful views of the River Thames and the London Eye, making it a popular setting for post-ceremony drinks.
Bendooley Estate – Southern Highlands, Australia
The Berkelouw Book Barn at Bendooley Estate is the perfect choice for literature lovers who are searching for a wedding venue in Australia. The barn has a real rustic feel, with timber beams, iron pendant lights and a huge stone fireplace. If you choose to marry here, the venue is transformed – the shelves are rolled back, creating a beautiful book-lined space, and you can dance the night away surrounded by love stories and great literature.
The Library Hotel – New York, USA
The Library Hotel in New York is home to over 6,000 books. Each of the 60 rooms are adorned with a collection of books relating to the category the room belongs to, which is inspired by the Dewey Decimal System. The boutique hotel hosts weddings and you can celebrate on the rooftop, which has views of the New York Public Library.
Stanbrook Abbey – Worcestershire
This 16th century, Grade II listed monastery is the perfect setting for a wedding with lots of dramatic elegance. There’s a range of gorgeous locations for your wedding onsite at Stanbrook Abbey and a cosy library where you can enjoy drinks with your guests – that’s right, a library with a bar. What could be more perfect?
Chetham’s – Greater Manchester
You can sign the register and have your ceremony in the library at Chetham’s, which boasts a stunning 17th century interior. The venue itself dates back to 1421 and has a striking timber roof and a beautiful inglenook fireplace. There are lots of rooms to explore and even some secret passageways and a hidden courtyard – ideal if you’re looking for a historic venue with a story to tell.
George Peabody Library – Maryland, USA
The George Peabody Library describes itself as the ‘premiere wedding and event venue in Baltimore’ and it’s easy to see why. Your wedding will take place in a magnificent setting, surrounded by six tiers of cast iron columns, decorative railings, and classical embellishments touched with gold-leaf in this room that rises 61 feet from its black-and-white marble floor to the massive skylight that caps the central interior. Whatever style of wedding you want, you’ll find the space to be as flexible as it is elegant.
Image credit: Annabelle Dando
Dulwich College – London
The Old Library on site at Dulwich College is the perfect location for your wedding ceremony. Whilst the books are no longer present, the history of the room makes it a great choice for book lovers. The wood-panelled walls give the room a warm, studious feel and the high, vaulted ceiling and arched windows flood the room with light.
Kansas City Public Library – Missouri, USA
This seriously smart wedding venue is the perfect choice for couples looking to head to the States for their wedding. You can have a rooftop ceremony and host your reception in the library space itself at Kansas City Public Library, or if you want to you can say your vows amongst the books too. Perfect!
Farnham Castle – Surrey
Farnham Castle is worth considering if you’re looking for a castle wedding venue. Celebrate your wedding in the beautiful surroundings of the castle, and the following morning you and your guests can have breakfast together in contemporary surroundings of the library – it’s a really lovely place to start your first full day as husband and wife.
The Swan Hotel – Gloucestershire
Give your wedding an intimate, cosy feel by hosting it at the Swan Hotel in Bilbury, which can host intimate ceremonies and receptions of up to 24 guests in the library. It’s also a dream place to elope to – the venue can provide witnesses if you want to marry without fuss. Stay on in the picturesque Cotswolds after your wedding – it’s a gorgeous location for a honeymoon in the UK.
New York Public Library – New York, USA
This beautiful library is the second largest in America and the fourth largest in the world. If you’re looking for a famous wedding venue, it’s perfect. The New York Public Library has starred in classics such as ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and the ‘Sex and the City’ movie. Marry amongst the great love stories, as Carrie Bradshaw planned to do.
Image credit: Brian Dorsey, Christian Oth
If you love that idea, you’ll definitely love our round up of the best wedding venues from TV and film – find out if your favourite wedding venue has been in the spotlight.