Are you adventurous enough for an outside wedding - or a traditional couple in love with a church? Maybe you're creative types looking to make your mark with a beautiful barn wedding. To help you choose, here are five different venue types to suit five different personalities.
If you appreciate tradition, formality and a little pomp and ceremony, nothing comes close to saying 'I do' in a church. A church wedding suits couples looking to bring religious readings and music into their day (both of which are banned from civil ceremonies).
They capture something very British and allow you to continue family tradition by marrying in the same church as your parents, or even grandparents.
You don't necessarily have to live in the Parish to marry at your dream church... you could walk down the aisle at one of the UK’s most stunning churches, like 12th century St Mildred's church at Preston Court, or the stunning St. Mary’s Church in the grounds of Cowley Manor.
Beautiful and rustic, barns offer the history of a heritage building with wide open, flexible spaces; a creative couple can let their imaginations run wild. The soaring wooden beams and warm brickwork make a simple but stunning backdrop, ideal for couples ‘thinking big’ design-wise. They are nearly always exclusive, providing your own slice of rural life, and most barns come without corkage, saving you money on alcohol.
Barns particularly suit couples having a green or vintage theme, as well as people with vision who are organized and want to transform a space into their dream venue.
Barns are usually very flexible; at idyllic and isolated Cripps Barn couples can set up barbeques, have a bonfire and even camp in the grounds. If you’re after amazing photographs check out Cooling Castle Barn, which has a dramatic castle backdrop.
An outside event may not be right for everyone, but several venues will allow you to have key parts of your wedding in the fresh air, bringing a charming, natural feel to the day. Outdoor venues are suited to couples relaxed enough to accept the British weather in all its changeable glory, optimistic enough to let a little bit of control go, and who feel most relaxed in simple, elemental environments. Adventurous types, and those who simply love to be close to nature, are perfectly suited to an outdoor wedding.
At Weston Manor
you can say 'I do' in the Knot Garden; at Leez Priory
you can marry in the courtyard under the carriageway; and at Polhawn Fort
get hitched on the lawns overlooking the beautiful beach, then take a post-vow paddle in the gently crashing surf. For a blend of in-and-outdoors, Grafton Manor
has a beautiful house marquee on the west terrace, overlooking a lake. Or hire a teepee, the latest trend in outdoor weddings, from PapaKata
If you want a connection to the past, with the conveniences of a modern venue, heritage buildings are perfect. Marrying in historic surroundings is ideal for couples with a love of drama, spectacle and romantic stories - Downton Abbey fans or those with a fairytale theme, in particular.
You won’t always have the flexibility of a 21st century setting, so you should be willing to compromise, but if you love elegance and timeless beauty, you can celebrate your nuptials in the same setting as thousands of other brides through the centuries.
There’s a huge range of options and eras including the 13th century Lympne Castle with medieval turrets, and Woodhall Manor a country house dating back to 1566. Or fast forward to the 18th century at Botley’s Mansion, a magnificent country residence with a beautiful banqueting atrium.
Elegant and busy couples love hotel weddings. They still offer drama (anything from boutique chic to rambling rustic beauty), but the organisational skills of the staff make wedding planning a breeze. Many hotels run events every day of the year and handing your plans over to an expert frees up your time and reduces stress. It may not suit a couple wanting to personalise every aspect of their day (most hotels only offer packages) but if you want to let go of the reigns, and use the spare time to focus on friends and family, a hotel is a great fit.
They are also brilliantly suited to those looking for an all-in-one venue.
At a hotel, everything is taken care of, including the ceremony, in-house catering, party and guest accommodation. And the day after, your guests can enjoy breakfast together, or pick the concierge’s brain about the local area. As well as stunning views over the River Cam, Doubletree by Hilton has a team of wedding planners on hand to ensure your day runs perfectly.