Planning on getting married in Essex and have a tight budget? We’ve found some of the most incredible cheap wedding venues in Essex.

In the county that brought us the glitz and glam of TOWIE, you might not expect to find many venues full of character and charm for a great value price. Don’t dismiss Essex though, here are 20 venues from windmills and castles to barns and country houses that are genuinely affordable.

Meet the best cheap wedding venues in Essex.

1. Colchester Town Hall – Colchester

This Grade I-listed Edwardian building is found at the heart of Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town. With backdrops of beautiful stained glass windows, oil paintings and grand interiors, your guests will be so impressed by this elegant venue. With packages to suit every budget, the Saturday and Bank Holiday Sunday venue hire at the Town Hall is £1,995 in 2021, or you can have your ceremony only there for £650.

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2. Pontlands Park – Chelmsford

This striking Victorian house and immaculate surrounding gardens are a wonderful backdrop to your wedding day. Pontlands Park offer everything from small informal wedding dinners and afternoon tea to your traditional sit-down celebrations, and has 35 bedrooms on-site. From April to October a marquee is available on the lawns or you can choose one of the smaller rooms inside. Wedding packages start from £59.50pp but you can opt for cheaper evening-only packages or an afternoon tea celebration from £24pp.

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READ MORE: 29 Cheap Wedding Venues Across the UK

3. Five Lakes Resort – Maldon

Considered one of the top wedding venues in Colchester, Five Lakes Resort has a choice of three ceremony rooms and three banqueting suites for your wedding. They can cater for everything from intimate weddings to Asian weddings of over 2,000! With gorgeous countryside views, a spa, and plenty of accommodation for friends and family, it’s ideal for a fairytale wedding day. Packages start from £60pp including room hire and they have lots of other affordable options.

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4. The Compasses at Pattiswick – Pattiswick

Bursting with rustic charm, The Compasses is a former gastropub turned exclusive-use venue set among the pretty countryside of the Holfield Estate. Delicious seasonal and local food is still at the heart of what it offers, but there’s so much to love. The bridal preparation suite has a four seat hair and makeup bar, while tipis can be set up in the garden for summer or cosy roaring fires in the venue in the winter. They currently have a ‘create your own wedding package’ offer on for all remaining dates until the end of June 2020 of £5,900 for 60 day guests and 120 evening (including a hog roast and prop hire!).

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5. Best Western Rose and Crown Hotel – Colchester

This award-winning venue has a romantic Tudor style that will look stunning in your wedding pictures. It’s steeped in history and warm with character, making it a truly unforgettable place to host your big day. With 39 bedrooms on-site and a special four-poster honeymoon suite included for the happy couple, you and your guests can enjoy a whole day and night celebrating. Their 2020 and 2021 packages start from a bargain £2,999 for 60 guests and includes a DJ and disco until midnight.

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6. The Old Rectory – Brentwood

Looking for a midweek wedding? There’s no hire fee on The Old Rectory from Monday to Wednesday all year round, and high season hire starts from £300. There’s a minimum spend of £3,000 for hosting your day here, but that’s still a great deal for an idyllic country home that features a sun-drenched patio, indoor and outdoor ceremony areas and plenty of accommodation.

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READ MORE: 75 of the Most Unique Wedding Venues in the UK

7. Rayleigh Windmill – Rayleigh

If you’re having an intimate wedding of 20 guests or fewer, there’s nowhere more atmospheric than Rayleigh Windmill. This Grade II-listed building is a truly unique venue, with a wooden beam ceremony room at its heart and a garden outside for memorable photos. Saturday venue hire is just £400.

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8. Vaulty Manor – Goldhanger

If you’re after an exclusive-use manor house wedding, Vaulty Manor has brilliant wedding package deals. They have a beautifully renovated oak Essex barn where you can hold your ceremony before a wedding breakfast in the Baronial Hall. Normally manor houses are very pricey, but you can have an all-inclusive twilight wedding for 100 guests from £5,480 and an all-inclusive summer wedding package for 60 guests from £7,750.

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9. The Old Parish Rooms – Rayleigh

Originally built in 1863 as a parish hall, The Old Parish Rooms are now a bright and modern wedding venue, able to host up to 75 guests. It’s an unusual venue, bursting with light and renovated with stylish, modern and characterful interior. With flexible catering options and mid-week packages for couples on a budget, this is a fabulous affordable wedding venue for intimate events.

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10. Princes Theatre – Clacton on Sea

Princes Theatre is the largest wedding venue in Essex. The theatre is available for exclusive hire and can seat up to 820 in the main auditorium for your ceremony. Don’t worry if your guest list is much smaller than that – it’s great for more intimate weddings too. With a sprung dance floor, professional stage for your entertainment, cool backstage to get ready, a real red carpet, fantastic lighting and sound equipment, and additional pyrotechnics, you can make this venue a real showstopper. Hire for your whole day (including a wedding coordinator and a theatre technician included) starts from £995.

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11. De Rougement Manor – Brentwood

With Italian-inspired gardens and a pool for guests, we can’t think of many places more delightful for a summer wedding than this lovely country hotel. This family-run venue has three stylish wedding suites and can accommodate up to 250 guests. They offer a dry hire option should you want to bring in your own caterers and alcohol, but their in-house chefs can whip up a magical meal. Venue hire during May to September starts from £1,250, but you can get a bargain during the winter too when it’s equally lovely.

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READ MORE: The 40 Best Small Wedding Venues in the UK

12. Southend Cliffs Pavilion – Southend on Sea

From either an intimate wedding for 40 in the Admirals Room to a sit-down dinner for more than 600 people in the main auditorium, there’s a beautiful space for every couple at the Southend Cliffs Pavilion. Overlooking the Thames Estuary, room hire starts from just £450 for both your ceremony and reception. Weekday packages for 50 guests costs £3,850 including your DJ and all your food. What a bargain for those views!

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13. Smeetham Hall Barn – Sudbury

Set in the picturesque Belchamp countryside, Smeetham Hall is a lovingly converted 16th century barn which is a romantic spot for your wedding. As a working farm, it has 400 acres of land which are ideal for your wedding photos and are licensed for outdoor weddings too. You can choose a venue-only hire price and there’s no corkage charge. Weekend wedding packages for 60 including your videographer, DJ and sit-down meal starts from £5,655 in 2020.

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14. Colchester Castle – Colchester

You might have thought a castle wedding out of your budget, but that isn’t so at the stunning Colchester Castle. Host your big day among thousands of years of history, with a ceremony in their romantic and peaceful vaulted chapel. Follow with a wedding breakfast for up to 80 guests in the intimate Charles Gray Room. Saturday venue hire starts from under £3,000 in 2020.

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15. Holiday Inn Basildon – Basildon

Set overlooking a picturesque lake, the Holiday Inn Basildon is licensed for indoor and outdoor weddings under their summer pagoda. With a number of packages and rooms to choose from, wedding packages start from £1,000 and range to £5,500 for the elaborate Elizabeth Suite. You can celebrate into the early hours at their late-licensed bar before retiring to one of their many bedrooms. A toastmaster, DJ, and microphone and PA system can also be provided.

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16. The Waterfront – Harwich

The Waterfront is a newly refurbished venue looking out over the sea in Dovercourt Bay. The versatile space can host up to 100 for a sit-down meal in their function venue, Sally’s, which features a unique glass-front exterior for great views and an abundance of light. Hall hire costs £350, with great value food options that’ll suit every kind of wedding theme. You can hire the restaurant’s resident DJ for £300 too which is a bargain for your evening entertainment.

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17. Warley Park Golf Club – Brentwood

Located in the charming village of Little Warley, Warley Park’s all-inclusive packages start from £3,599 with an interest-free payment plan available. It gives you exclusive access to the Wedding Pier and Lakesview Room which overlooks the Essex countryside and three beautiful lakes. You’ll get a three course wedding breakfast, evening buffet, DJ entertainment and more included.

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18. The Rochford Hotel – Rochford

The Rochester Hotel’s wedding pavilion is a unique setting for a wedding. With church pews to seat your guests and views over their landscaped gardens, before being transformed into a gorgeous marquee-style reception, it has lots of charming details that make for great photos. Summer 2020 weddings are on special offers with a Saturday all-inclusive package only £3,99 for 50 day guests and 80 evening guests. Their Twilight packages start from only £1,500 for 70 guests.

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19. The Barn – Colchester

A Grade II-listed barn with no hire charge? Yes, please! The Barn is a stunning country wedding venue surrounded by gorgeous grounds and landscaped gardens. It has a wonderful rustic feel but still suits a glamorous affair. Their all-inclusive packages are great value with select 2020 dates starting from £3,580 for 60 guests, or you can choose from a list of trusted suppliers.

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READ MORE: 25 Hotel Wedding Venues for Every Budget

20. Ashwells Sports and Country Club – Brentwood

Ashwells is a gorgeous barn venue in Essex, with charming, restored Tudor buildings and an outdoor gazebo you can marry in. As a family-run venue, they’re dedicated to giving couples the best day possible for a price that you can afford. Barbecue and buffet wedding packages start from £3,495, while from £5,350 you can choose the deluxe package which literally covers everything, from your buttonholes and table flowers to DJ and card box.

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Pubs are one of the best places to look for cosy venues without a big price tag: here’s our pick of the 21 best pub wedding venues.