22 of the best small wedding venues for every budget across the UK
It may seem as if Covid-19 has put the world on pause, but even in the toughest of times, people still manage to fall in love – and even get married.
According to a survey taken in eight countries last May by wedding planning website The Knot, 66 per cent of people decided to reschedule their weddings to a later date. That means almost 30 per cent went ahead with their vows despite hurdles due to the pandemic.
That’s where we cue the micro wedding. Coronavirus has forced couples to rethink not only how they plan to celebrate, but also how many people they can celebrate with. Smaller weddings are safer, easier, cheaper, and simply less likely to be cancelled due to the ever-changing restrictions.
Beautiful venues across the UK accommodate smaller, more understated affairs, with packages designed specifically for intimate dos even before Covid. Here, we take a look at some of the UK’s best venues for small, but perfectly formed weddings (Covid and lockdown-permitting, of course).
This intimate castle venue has acres of charm. Choose a civil or humanist ceremony in either the on-site chapel or the castle itself and stay over with 12 of your nearest and dearest. The wedding can also be tailored to suit the happy couple with help arranging the fine details that make a wedding wonderful such as the ceremony, catering, hair, make-up, flowers, Ceilidh band, entertainment and bagpiper.
Twelve people can stay in the stunning house on the shores of its own private lake. Enjoy the exclusive use of indoor and outdoor saunas, an indoor pool, hot tubs and a private jetty, before saying your vows in the large conservatory with up to 60 guests. Larger weddings can be accommodated in a marquee. You won’t want to leave.
Getting married in a treehouse may sound whimsical (and it is) but just picture it. Aerial walkways, fairy lights strung between branches, dancing on the decking, saying your vows under a leafy canopy; yours will be a wedding that’s talked about for years to come.
With a capacity of up to 120 this isn’t officially a tiny wedding venue, but it is ideal for those who want a secluded, intimate event. And of course, you don’t need to invite 120 guests. Arrive through hand carved tunnels, say your vows on the terrace and gaze at the incredible sunset over your own private beach.
If you want to get married in an historical venue then how about a 900-year-old building? Hidden away in the Kentish countryside you’ll say your vows and enjoy your intimate reception in this ancient church, where the only light is provided by candles and braziers. You have your first dance amongst the autumn leaves and fragrant herbs which cover the stone floor, where you can also choose to confirm your vows if you wish.
Markenfield Hall is a private family home so unlike many venues it does not offer wedding packages. This allows you to create a big day as individual as you are. There’s a chapel, gardens to explore within a moat (yes a moat) and even black swans to witness your marriage. It’s also a magical location for a winter wedding.
With only 28 people allowed in the circular living room (including the bride and groom) this is a petite but perfect place to get married. Have a larger reception after the ceremony elsewhere or hire the whole windmill, keeping things low key with just your closest family and friends on hand. Some great photo opportunities await.
Brickhouse Vineyard is only 20 minutes from Exeter but it feels a world away from the city, set amongst 20 acres of fields, woodlands and organic gardens. While the venue can cater for up to 60 people, it specialises in elopement weddings. That’s right, a day just for the two of you or you and your nearest and dearest. The staff will even act as your witnesses so it really will be a truly private affair.
Getting married on an island in the middle of the River Thames may sound like a fantasy but it is actually a reality. Hire Temple Island, which is about a mile and a half downstream from Henley, for a classic and timeless wedding. The Etruscan room in the temple itself can host 40 people for lunch or dinner, but if you change your mind and decide to go large, then a marquee on the lawn will seat up to 120.
The Old Vicarage, Nottinghamshire
Maximum capacity: 60 daytime + additional 20 in the evening
This chic boutique hotel is the perfect choice for brides and grooms who want a fun but intimate wedding ceremony and reception all in one very pretty spot. Make your promises to each other in the adorable bandstand and enjoy drinks on the manicured lawns and revel in your first dance under the chandelier in their brand new conservatory, the Orangery. And with eight stylish bedrooms you can just stumble upstairs at the end of the night.
Now this is a venue for truly tiny weddings. Either do it elopement style with just the two of you or invite up to four guests. There’ll be no organisational stress, no family conflict, just a special day created purely for you. The ceremony takes place in the picturesque summer house where the doors can be thrown open for an alfresco feel in the warmer months or say your vows by a toasty log fire during autumn and winter. Oh, and dogs are welcome.
If magnificent scenery is what you’re after then this country house in the beautiful Connemara region of Ireland might be the one for you. Delphi Lodge prides itself on an experience that feels genuine and warm with log fires burning day and night, and large old world bedrooms with breathtaking views of the lakes and mountains for those staying over. The entire lodge can be exclusively booked for a minimum of two days, with self-catering cottages on offer for any additional guests.
A ceremony by the sea is the type of wedding people dream of. At North Beach House your ceremony is also guaranteed some privacy as Northcott’s clifftop grounds are sheltered from other properties meaning all guests (or just the happy couple as they cater for elopements too) can dance the night away in peace.
An elegant classically styled room with several mirrors to reflect the natural sunlight and beautiful view of the sandy beaches of Dwyryd Estuary. Depending on how you choose to layout the space, the room can fit 10 to 14 people: a theatre style allows you the most guests, though there’s also private dining and boardroom.
On the 5th floor of this Mayfair club is a contemporary space with a terrace reminiscent of a stylish outdoor tapas bar. A package for weddings includes a three-course meal cooked by Great British Menu winner Sabrina Gidda, along with canapés, champagne reception, flowers, and a complimentary wedding cake. The club’s co-founder even had her own wedding there and the artwork on the walls is curated by renowned art curator Beth Greenacre, known for her long-term collaboration with icon David Bowie.
Errichel House, Scotland
Maximum capacity: 40 for the ceremony and 150 for the reception
Based on a hill farm in the town of Aberfeldy in the heart of Scotland, Errichel offers both sustainable and luxurious accommodation and food for couples who enjoy the finer things in life without the guilt. Not only does the cottage have spectacular views of Highland Perthshire, but the entire day can also be personalised to suit the bride and groom (which includes a three-course sit down dinner in their Award winning AA Rosette Star Thyme Restaurant).
Full of history and charm, The Priest House is Grade 1 listed and looks onto the surrounding hills. The Oak Room in the building has dark oak beams, open fires and many opportunities for candles. The Priest House also only accept one event on any day meaning you’ll have exclusive use of the House and grounds so you can truly enjoy the big day with your loved ones.
Pauntley Court, Gloucestershire
Maximum capacity: 24 for petite; 40 for intimate; 130 for large
Pauntley Court is something out of an enchanting period drama with beautiful gardens and pastel coloured walls. They give you the option to say your vows at their elegant Normal church situated onsite, the ballroom or in their formal gardens. You can also choose from three top local caterers.
The Headland is a luxury hotel in Cornwall overlooking Fistral beach. The red-brick hotel and its surrounding area is so beautiful it has been used for the filming of several TV shows and films, including the 1987 production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. The various wedding packages (even for elopements) are all designed to show off the best that the hotel has to offer. Think handpicked menus with the best Cornish produce, fine wines and breath-taking views of the ocean.
Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
Maximum capacity: 40 for The Parlour; 100 for Elizabethan Long Gallery
Haddon Hall’s Elizabethan Long Gallery is a 110ft long architectural masterpiece with large Venetian bombee glass windows. It is also known as one of the most beautiful rooms in England. It’s even more intimate alternative is The Parlour, a Tudor panelled room created in 1545. After the ceremony, you have the option of am English tea party or glamorous drinks with canapés under a vintage marquee. The choice is yours.
People might seem a little confused when they receive an invite to a wedding in a barn, but they’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they see. The Grade I listed Wool Barn has been restored to look like it did in its glory days which means it will make for the most exciting photographs. Unfortunately, The Wool Barn isn’t licensed for ceremonies so the venue makes for a great wedding party, but the legal part may have to happen elsewhere.
If a place with character is what the happy couple are looking for then an indoor wedding at Battle Hall may fit the bill. The wedding package includes an overnight stay for the couple and 14 guests with extra day guests for the ceremony itself. Vows can be said in the Ceremony Room which boasts rich oak panelling and a bespoke dining table, before moving on to the traditional looking drawing room or library for the celebration.
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