Beach themed weddings

Many absolutely adore heading to the seaside as a relaxing day out away from the troubles of modern life. Be it diving head first into the waves or sprawling out on your towel, it’s fair to say that we as a nation love going to the beach – we even spend money to sit on the sand abroad – but have you ever considered a seaside themed wedding?

You can’t actually get married on the beach in the UK without jumping through a few hoops. As such, it might be better to merely theme your wedding around the seaside instead, opting to exchange vows at a cliff-side stately home.

Strolling entertainment

A strolling musical act is a very popular act of all – For example you could book a strolling act comprising two guitarists and a saxophonists, the group have a pre-prepared repertoire that they hand out to guests as they stroll about your wedding venue. Like the look of a song on their sheet? Request it! A bit like a live walking jukebox. We can readily assure you that guests will not stop talking about your wedding day for many months to come!

Acoustic Band

An acoustic band is perfect for the beach because let’s face it, electronics and water don’t really mix. Or rather, they do mix a little too well and that is very dangerous for all concerned. A summer party down on the sand after your wedding ceremony might just be the order of the day and with this in mind, they can stroll around with your guests and everybody can have a marvellous time!

Mermaids

Let’s be honest, a wedding is often a somewhat magical affair and to that end, why not take it from the realm of reality by hiring a mermaid or two to swim elegantly in the waves? At first, guests won’t be totally sure of what they’ve seen but after getting a glimpse or two of the tail, we are sure they’ll absolutely love the surprise! A fascinating act that is performed by experienced aqua performers, your wedding photos will be a sight to see, keep this in mind when planning your wedding entertainment.

Ice Cream Van

What’s a trip to the seaside without an ice cream? No trip to the beach is complete without a Mr. Whippy with 99 flake or a few scoops in a cone and your wedding is the perfect timing to hand one out to everybody! With the sun beaming on your wedding day and the sea breeze cooling everybody down, an ice cream will surely make a welcome change from the bottles of fizz doing the rounds!

 

Lighting up the Barn

Having a barn wedding might be on of the most popular styles of rustic weddings right now but often times you have to take the barn wedding venue and transform it into a beautiful wedding location. One of the best ways to add some wedding glam to your barn wedding location is by adding some dramatic lighting to space.

The proper lighting can help to make a rustic barn feel more intimate, more wedding day ready and of course more fairy tail like. It is not always easy to light a space like a barn so many times it helps to bring in a wedding lighting professional who can help you achieve the look you are going for an help you actually hang the lights.

If you plan on going more the DIY lighting route than you might want to take some advice below and start to create your perfect barn wedding lighting.

It is pretty clear that one of the best and easiest ways to add lighting to a barn wedding space is by adding string lights.

If you have a special place in your heart for the rustic industrial style wedding then large industrial hanging lights create more of a warehouse look all the while adding fun between the modern look with the barn wedding location.

Magical is the best way to sum up a vintage style farm & barn wedding and so is the lighting. With just one chandelier hanging over the ceremony spot and the hundreds of tiny white lights with the addition of the white drapes makes for maybe the perfect barn wedding decor.

Another way to make your lighting amazing is to use large white paper lanterns, cheap and cheerful with dramatic look.

 

Intimate Wedding Venues

Intimate Venues for Small Weddings

Bingham, Richmond

A chic riverside hotel with a restaurant that glows over the Thames come twilight. The Bingham in Richmond is made of two Grade II listed 18th-century houses and run by a mother and daughter team. While its event space allows for up to 100 seated guests, the hotel has 15 bedrooms allowing for up to 30 people to stay overnight. Hire the whole hotel and choose from a casual barbecue by the water or a formal five-course wedding breakfast.

Lower Barns, St Austell

In the Cornish countryside near St Austell, Lower Barns brings together one-of-a-kind furnishings and a bold maelstrom of textures. The hotel creates an upbeat feel in their rural home and a fun and quirky environment for small and intimate weddings. The quirky bedrooms with freestanding baths or a custom-made breakfast bars are real conversation starters. Spend the evening before your nuptials stargazing from the outdoor hot tub and unwinding in style.

Court House Farm, Portishead

A beautiful medieval manor a stone’s throw from Portishead Point and Woodhill Bay. This venue offers plenty of space and the perfect rustic, romantic backdrop to any wedding. Only a couple hours from London or 30 minutes from Bristol, Court House Farm is very well connected whilst maintaining the perfect feeling of country escape. The venue is open all year round and the owners are more than happy to work with you to help create your dream wedding.

Cley Windmill, Norfolk

For something a little different on the Norfolk coast, Cley Windmill is a B&B with tonnes of character. It’s set in a 19th-century grinding mill surrounded by open fields and perfect for intimate wedding ceremonies.  It has a restaurant and a beautiful round Sitting Room too, which can hold up to 22 people. Given the intimacy of the space, it’s all about bespoke occasions whether you opt for a daytime or evening occasion. However, we’re particularly fond of the candlelight dinner option.

Pentillie Castle, Cornwall

In a timelessly elegant fairytale setting, surrounded by woodland and overlooking the River Tamar lies Pentillie Castle. Built in 1698, it has remained in the same family for more than 300 years. It is surprisingly spacious and classic, with 55 acres of gardens to roam in. It’s a wonderful place to feel like royalty and to welcome guests to a special occasion. Say your vows in the romantic Victorian Bathing Hut on the banks of the Tamar or on the Terrace if you prefer. You can furthermore tailor the rest of your day to suit you and your nearest and dearest as you please.

Romney Bay House, Kent

This beautiful 1920s mansion in a spectacular location amidst wild marshland scattered with ancient churches. Romney Bay House Hotel is a spectacular place for a small and intimate wedding reception. Plus, you can hire the whole hotel for up to 20 guests and take the whole hotel for an entire weekend from May to September.

Hever Castle B&B, Edenbridge

Hever Castle is probably best known as the home of famed and fated wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn. Today the magnificent 13th-century property is not only a spectacular attraction, but it’s also open for wedding hire. There are multiple spaces in this historic location so you can have a wedding of any size here. However, in the castle’s inner hall, there is the perfect amount of space for 60 ceremony guests and 40 wedding breakfast attendees. What could be more spectacular?

 

The most romantic Wedding Venues

Finding the perfect romantic Wedding Venues isn’t always as easy as it sounds so here are a few of the best to help you find what you’re looking for…

1. Shuttleworth, Bedfordshire

A 5,000-acre site in the heart of rural Bedfordshire, the Shuttleworth estate offers an extraordinary setting for weddings. Choose from three distinct settings – the grand period house, a romantic Regency Swiss Garden, and an aircraft hangar with a backdrop of vintage aircraft and vehicles.

2. Blair Castle, Perthshire

Nestled in the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands, Blair Castle is fit for a fairytale wedding. The castle’s history spans 700 years, giving you some spectacular rooms and spaces in which to tie the knot – from the intimate Library to the State Dining Room, the grand Scots-Baronial Victorian Ballroom to the stunning gardens.

3. Ashridge House, Hertfordshire

Nestled in 190 acres of landscaped grounds, Ashridge House is a magnificent neo-gothic country manor. Hosting ceremonies for up to 170 and informal evening receptions for up to 400, it offers several breathtaking historic spaces, providing a truly unique backdrop to your perfect day.

  1. Salomons Estate, Kent

Just outside the charming town of Tunbridge Wells, Salomons Estate vast grounds, romantic lakes and handsome manor house are the perfect combination for a country-meets-town wedding. Here, you can choose to marry in a range of rooms within the house or opt for an outdoor ceremony on the Victorian Terrace, with room for up to 230 day guests and 47 bedrooms for those who wish to stay overnight.

5. South Farm, Cambridgeshire

If a romantic countryside setting and first-rate food top your list of must-haves, then family run South Farm could be the venue for you. Nestled deep in the countryside, it’ll make a beautiful backdrop to the wedding day of your dreams – you’ll be charmed by its enchanting gardens, lovingly restored Grade II listed house and beautiful 16th century barn. Couples can enjoy exclusive use, with a choice of five romantic ceremony spaces including both indoor and outdoor options.

6. The Roman Baths, Bath

The namesake of the historical city of Bath, you can exchange your vows here when the museum is closed – giving you the option of a ceremony either by the light of the morning sun, or in a romantic evening service conducted by torch light. Afterwards, drink receptions and wedding breakfasts can be held in the elegant Pump Room, or on the Terrace for smaller gatherings.

 

Original British Weddings

Choosing a quirky, unique and statement Wedding Venue is a fundamental ingredient if you want to make sure that your big day stands out. To ignite your imagination, we’ve picked some of the UK’s most exciting, original and quirky wedding venues to inspire you.

The Caves, Edinburgh

Deep in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, weddings of 65 to 130 day guests and up to 450 evening guests can be held in the Caves, licensed for civil, humanist, religious and handfasting ceremonies. This unique wedding venue makes up the sub-structure of the 18th Century South Bridge: remains of the houses that pre-date the bridge, with the original terracotta floor tiles still intact, can be seen here. Steeped in Scottish tradition, there was once so much whisky stored in the Caves that it became known as “Whisky Row”.

Christie’s Bistro, Manchester

Christie’s Bistro is set in a Manchester city Centre building dating back to 1890 when it was constructed as the new Study of Education. For much of the 20th century it housed Manchester University’s principle science library. Now converted into a bistro, it is still steeped in the institution’s history and character, with portraits of previous vice chancellors gracing the walls and endless rows of original books and documents. A hugely popular wedding venue, the bistro is still used frequently by university staff and students.

Spitbank Fort, Portsmouth

If you want to feel absolutely exclusive — and a little out to sea — Spitbank Fort could be the ultimate choice. The definition of “quirky venue”, Spitbank is a gun emplacement built to protect the British fleet when Britannia ruled the waves. Today it is described as a “luxurious cocoon of indulgence, privacy and exclusivity”. With nine bedroom suites, a rooftop hot pool and sauna and a stylish Officer’s Mess for dining, the imaginative restoration offers wedding parties a unique taste of life at sea.

Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Liverpool

For fans of British music — and the Beatles — this is the ultimate wedding party venue: but Fab Four aside, this contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of Liverpool is worth considering even if you’re not Beatle maniacs. Couples can marry in the “Two of Us” wedding suite, celebrate in a private themed bar and function room, and — for a luxurious wedding night — you could book the McCartney Suite, which pays tribute to Sir Paul’s work in music and the arts, or the Lennon Suite, which features a stunning white piano against a white backdrop.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.

One of London’s most exciting venues, St Pancras Renaissance offers the romance of a golden age of rail travel. A celebrated destination, on the lovingly revamped St Pancras station site, it sets the stage for “a wedding day laced with historic charm”. Embracing Victorian style and tradition, the passion that went into the hotel’s creation and restoration envelops wedding ceremonies here, as does the venue’s gracious version of contemporary London hospitality.

Altitude 360, London

If you want a wedding with a view, Altitude 360 could be the one. Based in Westminster, across five floors of Millbank Tower, you and your guests can savour 360 degree views of London. The venue is licensed for wedding ceremonies and receptions across all event spaces, and the views that will mesmerise your guests are just part of the experience; by day, sunlight pours in through wrap-around windows and glitters across white marble floors; by night, the shimmering lights of London create a spectacular backdrop.

 

Themes for your winter Wedding

First off, when planning a winter wedding, let’s think about winter colours – if you want to avoid the traditional greens and reds associated with the season, then there are lots of modern winter options for you to consider. Purple calla lilies are a sophisticated choice, and you won’t need many of them to create an impact. Talk to your florist about what will work for you.

If you’re having a late afternoon wedding then it’s going to get dark early, so why not dress your bridesmaids in deep jewel tones that will look great in the evening? Plums and aubergines are a beautiful option in cosy, low lighting. For bridesmaids gifts you could gift them a contrasting pashmina to snuggle into. Remember that shoes don’t have to match– in fact it’s better and more on trend if they offer a pop of colour. If you feel like being minimal, then just having white and silver for your colour scheme makes a perfect winter theme. You could dress your maids in winter white and accessorise with silver and diamante earrings, bracelets or belts.

We think a beautifully wedding decor is an absolute must at both your ceremony and your venue. Use the wedding colours you’ve chosen for your decorations. Whites, silvers, golds and berry shades are classic and chic, while bright jewel shades of turquoise, emerald, ruby and amethyst will also look wonderful.

In the winter season it’s the best time of year to splash out on great food and drink, so serve your guests a winter feast! You could offer your guests mulled wine and hot spiced apple juice as they arrive at your reception, with mini sausages to nibble on.  

Most people love a roast – and it doesn’t have to be turkey. If you’re having a buffet you could serve up the main course carvery style, so as well as the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, you could offer a large ham and a vegetarian option. For dessert, the options are endless.

Have a chill-out room to keep the kids entertained and play winter-themed DVDs – we’re thinking Polar Express, The Snowman, and The Grinch. This will leave you and your grown-up guests free to enjoy your amazing wedding day   

 

Overdone wedding trends

  1. TOO MANY BRIDESMAIDS

Gone are the days of having one or two bridesmaids; now, “bridesmaid armies” are the hot new trend, with some opting for as many as 10 close chums to accompany them to the altar.

“The ‘bridesmaid army’ trend swiftly came over from the US and has taken hold of wedding parties everywhere in the UK, This can be great for photo-ops, he says, “but it can sometimes take away from the ceremony, as they get crammed up by the altar.”

This trend, however, is slowly being faded out thanks to the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

  1. OVER-THE-TOP WEDDING CAKES

Wedding cake trends also have seen a huge transformation in recent years. The humble iced fruitcake wedding cake is long gone, due to ‘Instagram wars’ for that perfect cake shot.

From drip cakes and naked cakes, then onto doughnut walls and eight-foot macaroon towers, and recently even Meghan Markle’s 154lb deconstructed lemon and elderflower wedding cake! This is a trend that’s becoming increasingly competitive.

  1. LIGHT-UP LETTERS

It may prove a hit with most. While some couples choose to spell out their initials, others opt for their own wedding hashtag or go for a simple “congratulations”.

  1. DRAMATIC BRIDAL ENTRANCES

When it comes to dramatic bridal entrances, From the bride literally being ballooned into the ceremony, to being walked in by a dressed-up dinosaur, the bride’s entrance has become yet another aspect of the wedding that can be blown up to unimaginable heights.

 

Quirky Weddings

Although British weddings can be beautifully traditional, we are also known for eccentricity and uniqueness. From unusual themes to bold fashion choices, many weddings in this country are completely original.

Choosing a quirky, unique and statement Wedding Venue is a fundamental ingredient if you want to make sure that your big day stands out. To ignite your imagination, we’ve picked some of the UK’s most exciting, original and quirky wedding venues to inspire you.

The Belle Epogue, Cheshire

Set against a backdrop of Art Nouveau splendour, from the moment you step into the dramatic bar (Italian glass mosaic floor, original copper Art Nouveau fireplaces, sumptuous red leather upholstery), or onto the incredible Mediterranean roof garden in the spring and summer, you’ll sense the stylish charm of this unique venue. The romantic ceremony room can be candle lit and there are no specified minimum numbers of guests when booking exclusive sole use.

Spitbank Fort, Portsmouth

If you want to feel absolutely exclusive — and a little out to sea — Spitbank Fort could be the ultimate choice. The definition of “quirky venue”, Spitbank is a gun emplacement built to protect the British fleet when Britannia ruled the waves. Today it is described as a “luxurious cocoon of indulgence, privacy and exclusivity”. With nine bedroom suites, a rooftop hot pool and sauna and a stylish Officer’s Mess for dining, the imaginative restoration offers wedding parties a unique taste of life at sea.

Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Liverpool

For fans of British music — and the Beatles — this is the ultimate wedding party venue: but Fab Four aside, this contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of Liverpool is worth considering even if you’re not Beatle maniacs. Couples can marry in the “Two of Us” wedding suite, celebrate in a private themed bar and function room, and — for a luxurious wedding night — you could book the McCartney Suite, which pays tribute to Sir Paul’s work in music and the arts, or the Lennon Suite, which features a stunning white piano against a white backdrop.

Fazeley Studios, Birmingham

The showpiece of Fazeley Studios, a space in the centre of Birmingham, is its Grand Gallery reception, a beautifully renovated 19th century Unitarian Chapel. The historic building also contains a Sunday school dating from 1865 — now a spacious conference room and boutique, character studios. You can adapt the spaces here to suit your individual wedding, including exclusive use of the beautiful landscaped courtyard, ideal for hog roasts and BBQs.

The Caves, Edinburgh

Deep in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, weddings of 65 to 130 day guests and up to 450 evening guests can be held in the Caves, licensed for civil, humanist, religious and handfasting ceremonies. This unique venue makes up the sub-structure of the 18th Century South Bridge: remains of the houses that pre-date the bridge, with the original terracotta floor tiles still intact, can be seen here. Steeped in Scottish tradition, there was once so much whisky stored in the Caves that it became known as “Whisky Row”.

Christie’s Bistro, Manchester

Christie’s Bistro is set in a Manchester city Centre building dating back to 1890 when it was constructed as the new Study of Education. For much of the 20th century it housed Manchester University’s principle science library. Now converted into a bistro, it is still steeped in the institution’s history and character, with portraits of previous vice chancellors gracing the walls and endless rows of original books and documents. A hugely popular wedding venue, the bistro is still used frequently by university staff and students.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London.

One of London’s most exciting venues, St Pancras Renaissance offers the romance of a golden age of rail travel. A celebrated destination, on the lovingly revamped St Pancras station site, it sets the stage for “a wedding day laced with historic charm”. Embracing Victorian style and tradition, the passion that went into the hotel’s creation and restoration envelops wedding ceremonies here, as does the venue’s gracious version of contemporary London hospitality.

Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Shropshire

Described as “the birthplace of industry” the Ironbridge Gorge Museums are situated in the beautiful Ironbridge Gorge UNESCO world heritage site, spread along the valley beside the River Severn. Offering a choice of venues for wedding ceremonies and receptions, Victorian-themed weddings are popular here — but the venue can cater for anything from a simple ceremony to a complete ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception package.

Lost Village of Dode, Kent

From its intriguing name to its magical location (an almost forgotten valley between Luddesdown and Holly Hill in the North Downs of Kent), a wedding in the Lost Village of Dode is guaranteed to feel unique. Set in a Norman building, the marriage room is over 900 years old and offers an intimate ceremony for up to 40 guests. The small wedding party can then eat and celebrate at this most unusual, exclusive and historic venue.

Altitude 360, London

If you want a wedding with a view, Altitude 360 could be the one. Based in Westminster, across five floors of Millbank Tower, you and your guests can savour 360 degree views of London. The venue is licensed for wedding ceremonies and receptions across all event spaces, and the views that will mesmerise your guests are just part of the experience; by day, sunlight pours in through wrap-around windows and glitters across white marble floors; by night, the shimmering lights of London create a spectacular backdrop.

 

Autumnal Weddings

Planning a Wedding of your dreams? Autumn is the perfect time to get married. Something about this season just makes you want to curl up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, and who better to do that with than your new husband or wife?

Plan ahead.

Schedule Wedding Suppliers ahead of time. In most cases, you can do this through the same service that provides your chairs and tables. Because weather is flippant and unpredictable, most vendors will have a reasonable cancellation policy for marquees, allowing you the freedom to make the call much closer to the date without scrambling to find a marquee at the last minute. Talk to your vendors. They want your day to be perfect, too.

Keep It Simple

With so many vibrant colours around you all of the beauty that nature has to offer- clean, classic decorations go a long way.

Indoor or Outdoor?

It’s tempting to have an outdoor wedding in Autumn, especially for those in the leafy areas. Keep in mind that while it is very beautiful, the Autumn can be quite chilly. Never fear- you can have both the comforts of home and nature’s beauty, whether you’re inside or out.

Lights.

Consider using white string lights, vintage-style iron lanterns, or round paper lanterns to offset your colourful surroundings.

Sparklers

Sparklers are the new confetti and it’s no surprise why. Aside from being beautiful and inexpensive, sparkler send offs make for gorgeous wedding photos and by opting for sparklers over confetti.

Let Mother Nature Inspire You

Natural wood tables and chairs. Going with a very simple and natural looking wood will bring the feeling of nature inside.

Leaves.

This one’s a freebie! Bag them up and bring them inside to decorate. You can line the aisle with bright, multi-coloured leaves for an outdoor feel.

Take advantage of what the season has to offer by using autumn colours, serving seasonal food and drinks, and using your favourite things about autumn to create beautiful centrepieces, placeholders, and other decorations.

 

Being a Bride isn’t always easy

So you’ve bagged a hunk and a sparkly ring, and being a bride is the best thing ever but it doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. There’s a whole ton of stress, drama and tears that come with it!

Married friend syndrome

When your recently-married friend is a self-proclaimed wedding expert and knows EVERYTHING there is to know. “You need this… You need that” – just because she’s planned her own wedding! Believe it or not, you want a unique wedding day not a replica of theirs. Try to keep others opinions to a minimum by not opening the elements of your day up for discussion.

Your mum is TOO helpful

Your mum just wants to help, and of course you appreciate that. But whether it’s writing the guest list, finding a wedding venue or what type of wedding flowers you choose, she just can’t stop offering advice on what ‘she would do’. For the super enthusiastic Mother of the bride, you may appreciate OUR guide to managing the endless opinions and without falling out with your mum!

The dreaded monster-in-law

Why does she need to wear an expensive white dress on the most important day of your life? Is she trying to upstage you?! Just make sure expectations or outfit preferences on YOUR big day are expressed early on in wedding planning to avoid any disappointment on both parts! Keep calm and discuss with them your plans in advance and everyone is happy! Just try not to say these things out of frustration…

The insignificant details

By this point you’re so exhausted from the wedding planning process that you’re no longer bothered about what colour the napkins are, or if your second cousin can bring a plus one. When it gets to this point – time to have a weekend off. Make sure you switch off from planning a wedding mode for a couple of days every so often.

It’s an emotional roller-coaster and you probably deserve an award. But don’t worry – it’ll be totally worth it and you’re going to marry the love of your life!