Original places to get married in London

You might be thinking that you and your bride or husband-to-be want something a little bit different from your wedding venue. Out with the church or marquee wedding and in with… Well, some inspiring and incredible London wedding venues that you never knew were available to you! Thespians, animal lovers and more will adore this quick feature on amazing places to get married in London!

London Zoo

Are you a fan of animals? If you’ve ever wanted to get married amongst reptiles,

mammals and various other members of the animal kingdom then getting married at London Zoo might be the thing for you! A unique venue in the heart of central London’s Regent’s Park, there’s nothing quite like getting married at a zoo and all profits from your celebration go directly to helping critically endangered animals.

Fortnum & Mason

Did you know that there are a number of private wedding venues you can book at Fortnum & Mason for a dinner and that you can actually celebrate your wedding within the world famous building? You can! From the tiny but exclusive Crypt to the luxurious splendour of the Boardroom (don’t go thinking about the Apprentice!), there really are a number of high end spaces to choose from for your wedding venue.

The Globe Theatre

Imagine walking down the aisle in a building beloved by tourists and theatregoers all around the world? Imagine the footsteps that have walked on the very spot where you say your vows, reciting various lines from Shakespeare, perhaps even berating him for a line change. Yes, you can get married in the Globe Theatre on London’s Southbank and for those that love theatre and the arts, we can’t think of a better location. Met your better half at drama school? This is the wedding venue for you!

The Gherkin

If you’re a fan of heights and iconic London architecture, then the Gherkin has to be a top choice for your wedding shortlist! The very top is completely off limits to the public so if you’re a person who’s a little put off by the hordes of people at the Sky Garden or The Shard, this is definitely the venue for you. With a stunning 360 degree viewing area, it’s less “I do!” and more “I view!”

 

Honeymoon trends for 2020

Love and pasta

Rolling hills, winding streets, fine wine and food like your own mama does not make. Puglia is the perfect place to relax, unwind and put an end to the pre-wedding diet. If you really want to escape head back 300 years to Lama di Luna, a fortified estate set in 190 hectares of organic olive groves, overlooking the coast. Deliberately cut off from the modern world, this once-working farm feels more like a monastery than a hotel and provides a heavenly escape for food lovers looking for peace – and the world’s best pizza! Eat at the Michelin starred Antichi Sapori just down the road, bring books, borrow bikes and relax with the one you love.

 

Paradise lost

Looking for a heavenly escape after the hustle and bustle of planning your wedding? This is it. White sands, turquoise seas and nothing, nothing, nothing to do but lose yourselves in the paradise that is Bora Bora. Its remote position in the middle of the Pacific Ocean does mean it’ll take you a day to get there but once you arrive you’ll discover pure peace, ridiculous relaxation and unlimited luxury. Your only chore will be to choose whether to sleep on land – in a bungalow with private beach and pool – or on water – in a hut on stilts overlooking the crystal clear sea.

 

When nature calls

Whether your wildlife enthusiasts, animal lovers or adrenaline junkies, Costa Rica has it all. A Jurassic landscape, eco accommodation and jungle activities mean you can get as close to nature as you dare! For unrivalled romance stay at The Pacuare Jungle Lodge where you can sleep in a secluded bungalow nestled in the rainforest canopy, watch the wildlife from the comfort of your candle-lit terrace, soak in your private plunge pool and cosy up in a hammock made for two.

 

Family fun

Want to combine romance and relaxation with some quality time with the kids? Family friendly, boutique hotel Caserio del Mirador is the answer. This picturesque farmhouse, set amongst almond and olive groves in the Spanish mountains, offers you and your children a chance to get in touch with nature in a safe and serene setting. Half an hour from the beach, with gorgeous gardens, a child-friendly pool and ponies, goats and a pet pig to play with, there’s plenty to entertain the children during the day. Then once they’ve gone to bed, you can sit back, relax and enjoy being served a delicious dinner every night, knowing your kids are safe, happy and loving the familymoon as much as you.

 

Cosy up in these amazing Hotels

Couples can cosy up in some of the UK’s most romantic spots. From Shakespeare’s birthplace, to the town which inspired a royal love story, Macdonald Hotels are the perfect place to spend time together for your wedding venue or just after the wedding for the perfect break.

Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, Lake District

On the shores of Lake Windermere has unrivalled views over mature lawns to private jetties and moorings on the lake. The luxury four-star hotel proves a popular choice for romantic getaways and weekend breaks. The hotel is offering a proposal package for guests looking to pop the question. Couples will be able to stay in a suite where they will be greeted with a chilled bottle of Prosecco and chocolates in the room on arrival. The Macdonald team will also be on hand to surprise loved ones with an engagement ring hidden inside Champagne glasses, and beds will be strewn with rose petals as an extra romantic touch.

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, Bath

For couples seeking 5-star luxury, this Hotel offers a romantic getaway in the heart of historic Bath. With landscaped gardens, four poster beds, and a ‘bath butler’ this town which was home to Jane Austen, can create a weekend that even one of the world’s best known romantic fiction writers would be proud of.

Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa, North Berwick

Just half an hour from Edinburgh by train is the beautiful seaside town of North Berwick; renowned for its dramatic coastline as well as independent boutiques and ice cream vendors. This hotel is housed within a glorious 19th Century building; reflecting a time when Romanticism swept through the British art world. Guests can take a windswept walk along the beach or stay cosy indoors and watch the coastline from behind the windows of one of the hotels’ 83 individually styled, luxury rooms. For couples looking to be pampered, the award winning thermal spa boasts a heated indoor pool as well as an outdoor hydro pool.

 

Romantic honeymoon ideas

There are many wonderful places to go on honeymoon why not make it as romantic as you can:

Make the most of your honeymoon and explore your beautiful holiday island taking you to wonderful places of interest where there are sunset bars or take a catamaran cruise, or a classic gondola. You can both experience the most beautiful sunsets in the world, together.

A romantic meal for two;

Don’t scrimp on this, enjoy fine dining and experience tastes that you have never tasted before, from a selection of both elegantly casual and formal restaurants, where service is attentive yet unimposing, where creativity and presentation of gourmet cuisine is proudly supervised with passion by the world’s most celebrated chefs.

If you don’t fancy dressing up and want to give the fine dining a miss, go bohemian and have a barefoot chic evening! From a Beach Grill, throughout the night you can have casual dining and be being served delicious local specialities and the catch of the day.

The ultimate in romance is the intimate, private dining experiences on the beach, with just tiki torches and stars twinkling down on you whilst being served by your personal attentive waiter. Combine that with your favourite cocktail, wine, or a glass of champagne while you listen to the Caribbean gently welcoming another stunning sunrise, and you’ll know you’re in paradise!

Spa treat;

And don’t forget to book a pampering day for the two of you.  There are many holiday packages that have this included; massages, hot tubs, facials, this would be such a wonderful intimate thing to have together.  Just maybe, this could be the last relaxing holiday you have for a while before the patter of little feet will take up much of your time!

So, when planning a wedding don’t forget to plan a honeymoon to remember..

 

Have a break from Wedding Planning

When planning a wedding, wedding breaks are fast becoming a must for newlyweds. They’re not a minimoon for a few days or a honeymoon or a week abroad. Wedding breaks are a post-wedding, pre-honeymoon getaway for a night or two, somewhere nice, near home.

Here are some of our favourite places to take wedding breaks;

The Scarlet

Perched on a cliff top overlooking the stunning beach at Mawgan Porth, The Scarlet is a luxurious

hotel perfectly positioned on the Cornish coast. Cornwall is filled with pretty villages to visit and views to swoon over, but if you fancy something more active, it’s the perfect place to learn to surf. The hotel can arrange private lessons or why not join the surf school?

Not to be missed during your stay is The Scarlet Spa, where total indulgence awaits. The Spa focuses on wellbeing as well as beauty, offering a fab range of eco-friendly treatments. Prices start from £180 B&B in low season – worth every penny!

Peak Edge Hotel

The Peak Edge Hotel is the gateway to the Peak District in Derbyshire. Aside from the panoramas of rolling dales from every window, there is great local food cooked to perfection in the adjoining 17th-century inn, beautifully designed décor and an extensive activities package to keep you busy here. There are 27 brand new boutique bedrooms with picturesque views and sumptuous finishes. Bathrooms boast double-ended baths, rain showers and underfloor heating. You’ll also find LED flat screen TVs, decadent bedding and Wi-Fi internet to enjoy inside.

Blakes Hotel

Blakes in London is the sort of hotel that makes you want to stay in your room, sipping Champagne, indulging in room service! Locally you’ll find shops galore on Kensington Church Street, and Harrods is a short taxi ride away, as are the V&A and Natural History Museums. Each of the 47 rooms is designed by internationally acclaimed designer Anouska Hempel, and each is daringly different.

The Royal Scots Club

The Royal Scots Club is a members’ club situated in one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian streets. It’s about a two-minute walk from the main shopping areas of Edinburgh, and it takes about 25 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport by car.

It’s quite a formal place to stay, oozing sophistication and class. It’s perfect for couples looking for privacy. There is no place for jeans and t-shirts here, especially at dinner time. The restaurant serves indulgent dishes, which are an absolute must try. The decadent decor, beautiful furnishings and the luxurious rooms create a cosy country manor house feel, despite their size. Accommodation prices start from £140 per room for bed and breakfast based on two sharing.

 

Japanese weddings

Shinto is the ethnic religion in Japan and it has a huge impact on the country’s culture and ceremonial traditions. Even today, more than 79% of Japanese people still belong to Shinto temples. Still, a large majority of people in and even outside of Japan are not very familiar with how the religion influences different ceremonies and events in Japan. The same is the case with Japanese wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to many.

The Betrothal/ Engagement

Called the yuino in Japanese, the betrothal ceremony is an exchange of symbolic gifts between the bride’s and groom’s families. The most popular gifts are a seaweed called konbu, which refers to “childbearing woman”; a long piece of hemp in white that represents the wish that both husband and wife will grow old together; and a folding fan that spreads and indicates future growth and wealth. The most common gifts also include a hakama for the groom and an obi for the bride. One of the main gifts in this ceremony is money, which can be £5,000 or more – the money is offered in a shugi-bukuro, a special envelope with gold and silver strings. Ornate rice-paper envelopes are also used to give other gifts.

The Venues

Since most Japanese weddings take place in Shinto temples, the wedding venues are always quite attractive. These locations also feature religious iconography that give the whole function a special feel. Some of the most common are water pavilions, stone dogs, and tall red gates that symbolise the division between the corporeal and spiritual worlds.

San-San-Kudo

This sake sharing ceremony is common for Buddhists as well as Shinto Japanese weddings. It is among the most interesting Japanese wedding traditions for outsiders. There will be three stacked cups of sake and both bride and groom have to drink taking three sips. “Three, three, nine times” – just as the name San-San-Kudo suggests. Ku or 9 means good luck in Japanese culture. So, some believe that the three sips each time represent love, wisdom, and happiness, while others believe they represent earth, heaven, and mankind. Some believe they represent the three couples – the bride and groom, the groom’s parents, and the bride’s parents. However, some believe they represent the biggest human flaws, which are passion, hatred, and ignorance, which the couple will overcome together in life.

Wedding Wardrobe

Something that will always fascinate you in a Japanese wedding is the wedding wardrobe. It is all in white – at least most of the time. The country’s national colors are red and white, and you will notice these same colours in Japanese weddings. While a bride’s gown may be of delicate silk or some other material, the colour is usually white. Sleek evening gowns may come as a surprise to you, but they are quite common. Grooms usually opt for black – they may wear a suit or kimono. At some Japanese weddings, brides wear a white silk material over the bun in their hair – that silk headdress is called a wataboshi and is one of the oldest Japanese wedding traditions.

Speeches

Wedding speeches hold a great place of importance in Japanese wedding ceremonies. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other relatives stand in line and wait for their turn to wish the couple well. These speeches can be moralistic tales about marriage, but they can also be heartfelt messages of love from family and friends.

Gifts for Parents

As you may have gathered, Japanese wedding traditions are often about exchanging gifts. There will be loads of presents for the parents of both the bride and groom. The most common gifts are a toast for the parents, bouquets of flowers, and a personal letter of thanks and love. These simple gestures make Japanese weddings very intimate and special.

Gifts for the Guests

Japanese weddings have a lot available for the guests as well. Brides usually spend up to £50 or even more on favours for their guests. These favours might be a lace bag of sweet almonds and much more.

 

Classic Traditions

Trends come and go. But, if you want your wedding to be more timeless than trendy, consider incorporating some of classic traditions that have been in hiding for years.

We think it’s time to bring these sweet rituals back!

  1. Tying The Knot

It turns out there is deep symbolism behind the phrase “tying the knot.” It refers to an old Irish and Scottish ritual called hand-fasting. The officiant ties the couple’s hands together with a brightly coloured ribbon or cord. The rope symbolises that the couple is bound together with an eternal bond. Hand-fasting is popular in European weddings—Prince William and Kate Middleton even incorporated it into their royal wedding ceremony.

  1. Wedding Bells

The church bells ringing at the beginning and/or end of a wedding ceremony was once thought to ward off any evil or negative spirits. As many wedding ceremonies have moved out of the church and fewer churches seem to have bells, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. But, don’t give up on this one yet. The original Celtic tradition involved a smaller bell that was rung at the end of the ceremony. The bell was then brought to the couples’ new home and whenever tensions arose (as often they do with newlyweds) the bell was to be rung to restore the marriage commitment and break off the negativity of the argument.

  1. Sixpence In Your Shoe

Most of us are familiar with the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But, not as many are aware of the last line, “and a sixpence in her shoe.”  The sixpence was given by a father to the bride to symbolise all the blessings he had for her. By giving her the sixpence, he was symbolically wishing her great health, wealth and happiness that could be passed down with the coin from generation to generation. So sweet!

  1. Decorating The Car

The ritual of decorating the bride and groom’s wedding car with flowers on the bonnet and ribbons streaming from the side mirrors or ariel began in Germany. The newly married couple would lead a procession to their reception, and guests would beep their horns all the way there to get the party started!

  1. Money Dances

This is a custom that comes in several different forms depending on the culture of the bride and groom. In Poland, the bride will dance with different guests as they take turns pinning money to her. It is sometimes called the apron dance as brides would wear aprons in order to save their gowns from holes. At an Italian wedding, you may see the bride carrying a silk bag and when guests come to dance with her they put money into the bag. The Phillipines, Mexico and several other countries also have their own version of the money dance.

  1. Love Letters

In traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies, the future bride and groom would write love letters to each other the night before the wedding. They would use the letters to express their feelings about the upcoming day, as well as their hopes and dreams for their future together, or to recount the story of how they fell in love. Oftentimes, parents of the bride and groom or the officiant of the ceremony would also write a letter to the couple. The letters would then be sealed in a box to be opened on the couple’s first anniversary. What a beautiful and meaningful tradition.

 

Join in the Entertainment

In the hopes of ensuring that everybody at your wedding can ‘break the ice’, here are four interactive wedding entertainment ideas that guests will enjoy.

Garden Games

If you are looking to plan a summer wedding, then you might be wanting to hold much of the big day outside in the sun. If this is the case, then after the ceremony and perhaps during the drinks reception, you might like to offer some garden games for your guests. Also able to be enjoyed after the wedding breakfast, games like  croquet or quoits roll back the years and ensure a level playing field from the ages of eight to eighty!

Ceilidh

When it comes to booking music for a wedding, you generally have two options – book a wedding band or book a DJ. But there’s actually a third option. Rather than booking a function band, you might like to book a Ceilidh instead! Similar to a barn dance, a Ceilidh band has an experienced caller who explains the dance moves to you ahead of time and ensures that all ages get involved. A fantastic option for your wedding entertainment.

Retro Games

It used to be that if you liked computer games, you’d keep it to yourself for fear of being ‘geeky’. Games are very much in these days though with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and recently released Nintendo Switch proving to be extremely popular and why not tap into this love by hiring retro games for your wedding. A bit of fun at the wedding reception, having a Mario Kart tournament featuring your Auntie and colleague from accounts is sure to be one of the most surprising events of the evening! Not sure on going digital? How about booking Scalextric for a wedding instead?

Photo booth

One of the most popular additions to weddings in recent years, a photo booth brings people together like no other wedding entertainment can. Creating memories of your big day, guests will ordinarily be able to instantly print their photos and keep a copy for themselves whilst also sticking in another photo into an album that the bride and groom will be given after the wedding comes to an end. Photo booths often come with props for an extra dose of comedy and you’ll be even able to send yourself a digital copy as well. Marvellous!

 

The best surprise of all

When it comes to weddings, there are many opportunities to surprise the bride and groom. Be it with gifts, a fun interactive game for the newlyweds to engage in during the wedding reception or the Best Man’s speech, each surprise is sure to delight and entertain those in attendance. But what about surprising the bride and groom with entertainment? Here are three brilliant options.

Stand up Opera

One for the couple who love a bit of musical theatre, Stand Up Opera is a comedy and music performance unlikely anything you’ve ever seen! The concept begins during the drinks reception, where two charismatic performs will mingle with other wedding guests. Later in the day, the duo take centre stage to commemorate the new Mr. & Mrs. but their witty chatter quickly turns into an impressive and unexpected performance with operatic and classical crossover duets. The perfect blend of laughter and spine-tingling music for your big day!

Breakdancing Waiters

For those who are familiar with flash mobs, Breakdancing Waiters shouldn’t be too hard to explain. For the uninitiated, a flashmob is when a group of people who appeared not to be linked suddenly break out in song and dance! If you book Breakdancing Waiters for your wedding, you’ll receive a troupe of performers who immerse themselves among the wait staff and then break out into a stunning dance routine that will shock everybody in the room. A tremendous alternative to Singing Waiters but just as enjoyable!

Singing Waiters

Perhaps the most famous of the surprise acts, since their arrival on the events scene over the past decade, Singing Waiters have been a hugely popular booking for wedding entertainment each and every year. Working as part of the catering staff throughout the wedding breakfast, Singing Waiters surprise every person in the room by breaking out into song at a pre-arranged time. Perhaps the bride and groom have a special song that would be perfect for the Singing Waiters treatment? Hugely fun, this is sure to stun the room.

 

Artificial Flower Guide

Even the least green-fingered of brides can discover a penchant for florals as they work with their florist to create their bouquets and centrepieces.

While it’s pretty tough to beat the fragrance of fresh flowers, choosing faux flowers does bring many benefits. From budget to dates to décor, here’s seven reasons why you should to choose artificial flowers for your wedding…

If you’ve been dreaming of a blush bouquet of barely open peonies but set the date for September, your first thought will be disappointment. Do you really have to give up one dream in favour of another?

Choose from high quality suppliers for realistic replicas for all of your favourites – whether that’s ranunculus, delphiniums or prized peonies – and you can carry bouquets, wear buttonholes or choose table centres with any blooms at any time of year, allowing you to have your day as you dreamed it while also taking advantage of off-peak dates if you wish.

When you’ve got a venue to set up and decorate as well as getting ready on your wedding morning, we’d forgive you for feeling just a little over busy. Give yourself the relaxing morning you deserve by planning and setting up in advance.

That’s the beauty of working with artificial flowers – you needn’t worry. Not about them wilting in the warmth of your marquee or the flowers fading and crumpling or even how you’ll find the time to arrange them.

They can all be arranged into vases weeks in advance, making the final few days before the big one much more blissful.

If you choose a fresh flower wedding bouquet and want to keep it after the wedding, you’ll encounter the challenge of preserving the petals and flower heads perfectly. This challenge is only compounded by the fact that you’ll probably be jetting off on honeymoon soon, so there’s very little time to get these kinds of tasks done.

With an artificial wedding flowers bouquet, though, you can simply wrap them in protective paper and stow them in a box, forming a lasting memento of your perfect day without half of the fuss.

You might have heard of couples gifting their floral centrepieces to family, friends or perhaps members of the bridal party as thank you gifts. It’s a lovely touch, but with faux flowers to gift the present will last so much longer.

In general, purchasing artificial flowers usually works out cheaper than buying them fresh from a florist. This means that for some couples, going faux can facilitate far more in the way of flower walls, garlands and canopies, and standout table centres, making all the difference to their overall reception décor.