It’s surprisingly tricky to start picking out favourite wedding venues. All of the venues I have chosen for this post I have worked at in 2014. There are others I loved working both this year and in previous years but I thought it would be worthwhile writing this post as an annual thing with a round one year at a time…and I have to make some sort of selection! I might just follow this one up with a leap back another year and pick out some of my 2013 choices too. In the meantime, here are some great UK venues for weddings.
Many of the decisions and choices are based on the look of a place. I’m a photographer, a visual person, so the aesthetics of a venue are what really grab me initially…and the light! Definitely the light. Nothing makes me happier than a venue with tons of beautiful natural light. I do love venues that have something unique about them. Places that offer little nooks and crannies that are pretty, or quirky. Venues with gorgeous gardens and beautifully designed exteriors that have a wow factor. Something that offers amazing backdrops and fabulous photo opportunities.
When I was thinking about what makes a great venue for a wedding the other thing that has to come into play is the staff. The people who work on the wedding day make the venue and take a place from good to amazing.
What a place for a quintessential London wedding! Georgian architecture combined with elegant contemporary design makes this building a very special place and one that offers so much variety. For over 260 years this historic building has been home to some of the most creative thinkers who have been dedicated to shaping the future through ideas and action. RSA House is situated just moments from the river Thames and views of many iconic London sights. I had such fun working at this venue, exploring all the different spaces, it is a really gorgeous and interesting place and one I can’t wait to work at again.
I have worked at Preston Court a couple of times and it’s such a wonderful place in the heart of the Kent countryside. A beautiful barn with working vintage dance hall organs, landscaped gardens, a lake, a vintage caravan, peacocks strutting around the place and a working Victorian carousel. There is something quite magical about this location, I’m always excited when I get enquiries through for wedding here. To make it even better (can you get better than an actual carousel?) you can get married outside, under a gorgeous little gazebo in the middle of the lake.
Moor Park Mansion
Moor Park Mansion was a new venue to me this year and it wasn’t a disappointment. A grand Grade I listed mansion house in beautiful grounds with a golf club next door. The exterior and landscaped gardens are fully matched by the intricately decorated interiors. High ceilings and ornate mouldings with chandeliers make this a real show stopper of a venue.
The Oak Room, Brocket Hall
Brocket Hall offers a few venues set in the same extensive grounds. The wedding I photographed here this year was set in Brocket Hall Golf Club. As golf clubs go it’s a pretty special one and manages to balance an idyllic location with a relaxed feel. The Oak Room has a high vaulted ceiling, full floor to ceiling windows looking over the terrace and grounds. There are also a few special little spots outside; a secret garden, lake and lots of tall trees, all perfect for outdoor photos.
Kensington Roof Gardens
A roof top garden high above the street of London with flamingos roaming around…do I need to say more? Kensington Roof Gardens is another venue I have been lucky enough to work at a couple of times and it a great location. So many different little areas and looks in one place.
This is one of those place you would never even know was there by looking at the street. BMA House is the home of the British Medical Association and is just off Tavistock Square in central London. You go through a very simple looking archway and emerge into a fabulous courtyard in the middle of stunning Grade II listed buildings. It offers a perfect mix of modern facilities with traditional buildings. There is even a landscaped garden at the back of the buildings, where the drinks reception is held.
Coworth Park was one of the venues I really wanted to work at and was thrilled to bits to get there this year. Its in Ascot, Berkshire, near the Surrey borders. The luxurious country house hotel is situated in picturesque parklands on the borders of Windsor Great Park. Its a wonderful balance of high-end style without any of the stuffiness you might expect from such a beautiful place. The landscaped gardens offer a mix of styles with a wild flower field and ponds with swans sitting next to tree lined pathways, a sunken water garden and a rose garden. It was a little like being spoiled for choice on where to do photos. The inside is just as wonderful. Elegant, neutral design with lots of natural light and high ceilings. Basically a very lovely place to get married and to celebrate your wedding.
I have wandered past Brockwell Lido for years on the way to visit friends in nearby Herne Hill and Brixton. I have eaten cake and drunk tea in the cafe with friends while watching the hardcore swimmers doing laps in the outdoor pool. What I didn’t realise at that time was that you could get married there. Brockwell Lido Cafe is a fabulous, intimate and quirky little venue on the edges of Brockwell Park. As you stand outside the listed Art Deco building, overlooking the cyan blue swimming pool, you can almost forget you are in South London.
You might be mistaken for thinking you are in the middle of the countryside in some idyllic farm in Kent. A little surprisingly Oaks Farm is only a few miles from Croydon and Bromley. I have photographed weddings here a few times and each time it’s a joy. Large and spacious enough to wander, have room for your guests and not feel cramped in, but small enough to feel intimate and cosy. Its a tranquil little spot with a picturesque lily pond to one side and a large lawn with fruit and blossom trees at the back. There are three indoor spaces to make use of, the newly converted stables, the light filled elegant orangery and the oak beamed barn. Perfect for a relaxed wedding with a touch of the countryside.
Thames Rowing Club
Who knew such a cool space was available for weddings right next to the river Thames? I certainly didn’t until this wedding. Inside the Thames Rowing Club building, from the outside a very small looking place surrounded by boats, oars and rowing equipment is a space that is surprisingly large, with high ceilings and an amazing view across the river. A quirky, wonderful space that makes a brilliant and unique spot for a wedding reception. Loads of opportunities for photos by the river and in the streets and parks of nearby Putney.
A perfect spot for a festival, country garden, relaxed style wedding. Ratsbury Barn is a magnificent 17th century timber-framed and thatched barn located in an area of ‘outstanding natural beauty near Tenterden in Kent. The barn itself is very pretty and has such rustic charm with floor to roof doors on one side and a smaller exit to the other that leads straight into an orchard. Alongside this is a walled garden and a pond with pretty bridge. A large tree provides perfect shade for a summers day and the grassed area gives great scope for games and fun during the days celebrations.
Last but by no means least is Leeds Castle in Kent. A breathtaking building that is over 900 years old with battlements, a moat and acres of parkland. It is simply stunning. Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous. It has so much history that it offers something a little bit extra as a venue for a wedding. The opportunity to get ready in one of the Castle bedrooms while your guests relax in the Library or outside in the Courtyard is very special. Not to mention the entrance down the stone staircase and then the opportunity for photos in the grounds and around the Palace. This is an amazing venue that is happily very friendly and relaxed, even with the grand and awe inspiring setting.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of my favourite venues of the year. What I love most of all is that all my couples choose places that are right for them. The venues and wedding styles reflect who they are and what they want from their day. For me this is so important. On the plus side it means I get to go to all sorts of different venues and photograph all sorts of different style weddings. It’s wonderful!
If you want to check out some other venues, there is a great resource I have found called Venue Finder.
Would love to know your thoughts on venues for weddings. Have you chosen yours? What style of place are you looking at?
Thanks for popping by