Finding and booking your dream wedding venue is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning.
But, at an average of £5,521, your venue hire is also the biggest cost in your wedding budget, our 21st Century Bride survey revealed.
Image: Oxnead Hall; Luis Holden Photography
However, there's a simple but savvy way you could save yourself up to £10,000 on your venue and finally afford the venue of your dreams!
READ MORE: 51 Essential Questions to Ask Your Venue Before You Book
The most popular dates to host weddings are during the summer months, and especially on Saturdays, when (fingers crossed!) days are long and warm, gorgeous flowers are blooming, and you can even have an outdoor wedding. Because these dates are so in-demand, if you're set on a summer wedding you'll have to accept that you'll need to put aside more of your budget for the venue.
READ MORE: 17 Picturesque Autumn Wedding Locations
Don't despair if you think that means your dream venue is off the cards - it isn't! Here's the secret: almost every wedding venue will offer the same wedding package as during their high season at a fraction of the cost if you choose a low season or midweek date. It's a brilliant way to get the wedding of your dreams at a price you can afford.
Image: Gosfield Hall
While you might know about seasonal or midweek savings, perhaps you don't know exactly how much we're really talking about - it could be thousands of pounds for the same beautiful venue. Each season has its own charm and beauty; if you've never considered a date outside of summer, hopefully we can open you eyes to just how gorgeous a spring, autumn or winter wedding can be too.
READ MORE: The Most Magical Winter Wedding Venues
Below we've compared the price for a weekend and weekday wedding during high and low season at some of the most stunning venues in the UK. By comparing a high season Saturday with a low season weekday, we've worked out how much you could potentially save on your dream venue. If you thought these venues were out of your reach, think again!
(Guideline prices correct as of November 2018; contact the venues for detailed quotes)
Botleys Mansion, Surrey
This stunning 19th century mansion is set in 57 acres of beautiful parkland, just 30 minutes from London. From the moment you arrive up the sweeping drive and grand staircase to settling into the opulent interior, Botleys Mansion is a wedding venue that oozes glamour and luxury. With space for up to 250 guests, 11 bedrooms and a beautiful bridal suite, this is the perfect venue for a truly spectacular celebration that'll last late into the night.
Walking down the aisle on a glorious sunny day is lots of couples’ dream. At Botleys Mansion, you can hire their venue on an exclusive basis on a Saturday or Bank Holiday during the high season for £11,220, with food and drink and accommodation packages on top. But if you’re considering a Monday to Thursday in the summer, the cost drops to £4,250. As it’s during the summer holidays, you’ll find that lots of your guests are free for a midweek wedding.
With the grounds full of beautiful autumnal colours or if sparkling snow-dusted trees take your fancy, a low season wedding could be perfect for you too. At Botleys, low season runs from January to April and November to early December. During this time, a Saturday or Bank Holiday date will cost £8,150 but it’s only £3,325 for a Monday-Thursday date.
Total potential saving: £7,895
READ MORE: The Prettiest Rustic Wedding Venues
Tithe Barn, North Yorkshire
Set within the grounds of the Duke of Devonshire’s majestic Bolton Abbey estate in the world-famous Yorkshire Dales, the grade-II listed Tithe Barn has an unrivalled romantic setting. With a breathtaking backdrop of the Priory ruins and the River Wharfe, you're spoilt for choice with photo locations. Inside, the majestic timbered barn is one of the largest in the north of England so if you have a big guest list or want plenty of space to go all out with your decorations, it's perfect.
Licensed for ceremonies up to 200 people, you could throw your own mini-festival with a live band and delicious BBQ at Tithe Barn as a great summer wedding idea. With a late license until 1am, you can keep the music playing and the drinks flowing while the balmy summer night rolls on. Venue hire price for a Saturday in August 2020 is £10,000, but a Monday to Wednesday of the same week is £3,500 for the same experience and venue.
Imagine a candlelit ceremony while the leaves or snow gently fall outside, and you’ve already multiplied the romance by 100. Autumn, winter or spring are fabulous seasons to choose a rustic, rural wedding venue as the British countryside has so much beauty. In early February, venue hire is £5,000 on a Saturday but £2,000 on a midweek date. Top tip: the outdoor fire pits are ideal for toasting marshmallows. Set up a s'mores or DIY hot chocolate station and watch the delight on your guests faces.
Total potential saving: £8,000
READ MORE: 12 of Our Favourite Barns to Say 'I Do' In
Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire
Perched high above the Thames, this beautiful Georgian manor house has been named a dream wedding venue by both Tatler and Vogue. From an intimate wedding of just 60 to impressive Asian banquets, you and your guests will have an unforgettable day at one of the best exclusive use venues in the country. And Hedsor House's bridal suite is a complete game-changer.
Hedsor offer some fantastic wedding packages, but also a dry hire option. This includes exclusive use of the house and grounds (perfect for outdoor games in the summer), their 11 guest bedrooms and a luxury continental breakfast, if you hire your suppliers from their preferred partners. A Saturday or Bank Holiday during Hedsor’s high season of June-September and the increasingly popular December month costs £14,450 in 2020. However, go earlier in the week on Monday to Thursday and the dry hire fee is £7,750.
With over 100 acres of parkland to explore, you'll be spoilt for choice with spots for your wedding photos as the leaves begin to turn during autumn or the first snowdrops push through in spring. During January to March and also in November, a Saturday or Bank Holiday will set you back £9,945, but earlier in the same week, their dry hire is £6,395. It's worth noting there's also significant discounts available on last-minute weddings with a less than 3 month lead time, so you can get yourself a real bargain!
Total potential saving: £8,055
READ MORE: The Best Wedding Venues in Cornwall
Polhawn Fort, Cornwall
If you're after a unique wedding venue, there's nowhere like Polhawn Fort: a real Napoleonic fort, complete with cannon, drawbridge and eight foot thick walls. Set high on the rugged Cornish coast, it makes a fabulous summer wedding venue or the perfect place to stay cosy and warm inside with roaring fires and plenty of mulled wine (there's no corkage fee FYI) in the winter months. The length of time that you have Polhawn for depends on when in the week you choose to have your wedding, but with up to four-night stays on offer, you can turn it into a great break with your closest ones.
Take a front row seat for a garden ceremony on their sweeping lawn with panormaic views across the sea. There's even a private beach just a few steps away that's perfect for your photos and a fish and chip van nearby that can provide quirky catering for your wedding. A three-night weekend wedding between the 19th July and 2nd September 2019 will cost £14,245, but choosing a Monday to Wednesday stay during the same period is £8,630.
Due to its southerly location, winters can be surprisingly mild at the Fort. Whether you want to pull on your boots and get exploring or snuggle up with friends and family in the warm, it's the perfect location for a cosy wedding (and it's dog-friendly!). Bring fairy lights, board games and blankets with you for a dreamy weekend wedding in January for £6,945 or go for a Monday-Wednesday wedding for £3,625.
Total potential saving: £10,620
READ MORE: The Best Affordable Wedding Venue Deals
Healey Barn, Northumbria
Healey Barn is a stunning blank canvas for your rustic wedding theme, located within easy driving distance of both Newcastle and Durham. With a fairy light-lit ceiling, medieval candelabras, magnificent oak beams and a courtyard filled with lanterns and fire pits, these traditional stone barn buildings are full of charm and character. The food on offer at your wedding can be equally as dramatic as the venue, with an eight-spit rotisserie sitting at the head of the dining room. Luxury accommodation for 34 in Healey Hall is just one mile away.
Northumbria's sweeping landscape is the dream romantic setting for a summer wedding. Go from the wildflower-filled ceremony room to the shade of the mulberry tress in the courtyard for your reception drinks, or even have your ceremony outdoors in the warm weather. On a popular Saturday date in August 2020, this rustic barn will cost £7,000 to hire as a venue, but on a Tuesday of the same week, just £1,750.
It's not often your guests can enjoy a theatrical rotisserie banquet straight from the spit, and an autumn or winter wedding just cries out for smells of a delicious roast dinner. The ceremony room - candlelit while you say your vows - becomes the dance floor in the evening and a magnificent crackling fire can be lit at one end to keep your guests warm. A Saturday in February is already fantastic value at £3,000, but go for a Monday and the £1,000 venue hire fee is an absolute steal!
Total potential saving: £6,000
READ MORE: Festival Wedding Venues for Cool Couples
Pendrell Hall, Wolverhampton
Pendrell Hall ticks so many things off the list: picturesque Victorian architecture and formal lawns; beautifully-appointed guest rooms; choice of three stunning bridal suites; a Library Bar (the best way to enjoy books!) and no corkage fee. Inside you can marry in their romantic Morning Room or grand Ballroom, while outside you can say ‘I do’ under their flower-adorned Bandstand or let your guests explore the secret walled garden and woodlands walks. On top of that, it sits in an excellent location near Birmingham, Wolverhampton and nearby towns.
The formal lawns are fab for keeping younger guests entertained with garden games while you take your wedding photos. In the summer, Pendrell Hall’s elegant courtyard and water fountain make a great backdrop for that perfect confetti shot. A summer wedding is hugely desirable at Pendrell and a Saturday in July or August will cost £8,450. If you go for an equally delightful Tuesday or Wednesday, that reduces to £3,950.
As the night draws in and the revelry ramps up, Pendrell’s Ballroom is a fabulous location to host your wedding breakfast and party, and features elegant stained-glass skylights and mirrors on the wall. There’s lots of places to dance the night away and for guests to let their hair down. On Saturdays in January and February, their exclusive use venue hire is £4,950, but you can get it for a bargainous £1,950 if you choose a Tuesday or Wednesday date.
Total potential saving: £6,500
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The Conservatory at Painshill, Surrey
The Conservatory is a luxury permanent marquee set within a private walled garden at Painshill Park, Cobham. And yes, a marquee for an off-season wedding is a great idea! Trust us, your guests aren’t about to go cold, but they will fall in love with the bright, sophisticated and easily personisable setting, extensive grounds to explore, and stunning views. With experience in Asian and Jewish weddings, the Conservatory can accommodate everything from an intimate ceremony up to 320 guests.
You’ll have access to Painshill Gardens to take your wedding photos, with lots of idyllic nooks, crannies, lakes and islands to explore. From the awe-inspiring crystal grotto and gothic tower to the vineyard, your photos will be unforgettable. Understandly the Conservatory and grounds are in high demand in June to August, when exclusive hire of the marquee is £8,000. On Mondays to Thursdays this goes down to £4,500 (both prices exclude VAT).
A starlight ceiling and dancefloor looks at its absolute best when it’s dark outside, so the winter and spring months are actually a great time to host your wedding in The Conservatory. The white backdrop of the venue looks fabulous with the rich colours of autumn and winter and the pastels of spring. In January to March, venue hire is £3,500 + VAT on a Saturday and £2,000 + VAT on a weekday (excluding Friday).
Total potential saving: £6,000
READ MORE: 25 Royal Wedding Venues Fit for a Princess
It’s not just wedding venue hire than you can save on by being smart with your date. There’s lots of fantastic wedding packages that include your drinks and catering and other extras alongside your exclusive hire.
When you look at the overall costs, an all-inclusive package on a weekday or low season date could help your budget go even further.
Gosfield Hall, Essex
There isn’t a bridal entrance in England quite like walking down the 120ft long aisle in Queen Charlotte’s oak panelled gallery at Gosfield Hall. Formerly the home of kings and queens, this venue is the dream location for any couple looking for a fairytale day, with grand, ornate rooms inside, and a beautiful courtyard and 10 acres of grounds outside. Gosfield Hall boasts the largest bridal suite in Europe so if you want to feel like a princess from the moment you arrive, this is the place.
The all-inclusive package at Gosfield Hall includes a three-course wedding breakfast and wine for 60 guests, welcome and toast drinks, evening buffet and the resident Gosfield Hall DJ, plus lots of extras. However, they can accommodate up to 250 guests in the evening! During sunny days, their carriageway is a stunning location for outdoor ceremonies, and the grounds are perfect for your reception drinks. A July-September Saturday is £15,000 but a Monday to Wednesday is £8,500.
The stunning grounds only look more gorgeous with a dusting of snow or resplendent with the golden hues of autumn and offer lots of settings for your wedding photos. There’s plenty to tempt you inside as well, including a delicious seasonal wedding breakfast created by their chefs, and 21 inviting bedroom suites to tuck up in. In 2020, Gosfield Hall have a special offer on January and February dates. Their wedding package for 60 on a Saturday is £9,000 and on a Monday to Wednesday £6,500.
Total potential saving: £8,500
READ MORE: 24 of the Best Venues in Essex
Oxnead Hall, Norfolk
There’s a plethora of spots to host your wedding on the idyllic Oxnead Hall estate in the North Norfolkshire countryside, from the Tudor Hall, Orangery and Great Barn to the lake and Fountain room. Plus, there’s the charming St Michael and All Angels medieval church just a short walk through the walled gardens if you’d like a traditional ceremony. Bursting with heritage, romance and secluded spots to sneak away just the two of you, you’ll be able to celebrate in style at Oxnead Hall.
The Tudor parterre, lake and water gardens at Oxnead are ideal for outdoor ceremonies during the warm months – although should the heavens open, your wedding can easily be moved to one of equally stunning indoor areas! The atmosphere is light, airy and romantic throughout – fantastic for summer. Oxnead has a brilliant package during their 2019/20 peak season from May to September, that includes your food and drink for 80 day and 100 evening guests for £13,750. It’s £9,290 for 60 day guests and 80 evening on a Monday to Wednesday.
There’s fewer places more welcoming on a cool night than the luxurious interiors of Oxnead, with hearty seasonal food on offer and underfloor heating in the Great Barn. If you’re after a dream rustic wedding, then a Saturday off peak date (January, February and November) will cost £12,640 but their Monday-Wednesday package is £8,590.
Total potential saving: £5,160
READ MORE: The Best Wedding Venues in Norfolk
St Audries Park, Somerset
Set in a scenic 100 acre deer park and boasting views of the rolling Quantock hills and down to the sea, your guests will hardly know where to look as they take the winding driveway up to the Gothic entrance of St Audries Park. Located close to Bristol and the South West, and with accommodation for up to 100, it’s an ideal location for guests who are travelling. The elegant medieval Banqueting Hall can host 250 for an evening reception, and it has the kind of fireplace Instagram was made for.
The floor to ceiling windows in The Orangery stream with natural light and the whole atmosphere in summer is bright and airy. On the manicured lawn, your guests can play croquet around the fountain or spot deer roaming. Their all-inclusive package for 60 includes everything you need, from your wedding breakfast to DJ, welcome drinks, evening buffet and floral decorations. In July-September 2020, a Saturday wedding will cost £13,000, but a midweek package is £7,000.
In the winter months, welcome your guests with a roaring log fire in the Great Hall and a drinks reception in the Drawing Room – with its own baby grand piano, it’s the perfect place to host live music. The ivy on the outside of the house turns a vibrant red in autumn making a beautiful backdrop to photos. If you’re after an autumn wedding, a Saturday in October or November will cost £10,000 but earlier in the week, you could get this incredible venue for £6,500.
Total potential saving: £6,500
If you want more seasonal inspiration, check out our favourite spring wedding venues or the 17 best summer wedding venues.