Wednesday 13th May 2020
Unique is such a buzzword when it comes to weddings, isn’t it? So much so that you can be forgiven for feeling a little sceptical whenever you see a wedding venue labelled ‘unique’ or ‘alternative’. It seems like they all are at times!
However, we here at Tailored Entertainment totally understand the desire to find a location for your wedding that genuinely sits apart from the dozens of standard cookie-cutter venues you’ll find out there on your search. But actually, you know, finding them is another kettle of fish altogether. In fact, it can be a total slog trying to find a truly individual and even unusual wedding venue that really stands out.
Well we’ve decided to take our decades of collective experience in wedding entertainment and use it to provide a bit of a guide for finding a genuinely unique wedding venue in the UK. And along the way we thought we’d bring you our twenty-favourite unique, quirky UK wedding venues too! We’ve split our run-down in to five categories covering all aspects of modern wedding venues – big and small, lavish and intimate, cityscape and rural idyll. Whatever you’re after from your wedding venue, you’ll find a helping hand in here.
So if you’re sat there wondering ‘how can I make my wedding different? How can I make my wedding stand out?’ Here’s ten alternative wedding venues that will get you well on your way!
If you’re after an unfussy wedding with a select guestlist, you may be wondering what you can do to make your small, intimate wedding unique. A great trick for getting small weddings right is finding a venue you can hire out completely. This will bring a sense of exclusivity that’s difficult to achieve in larger venues. Pub venues and small, boutique hotels are perfect. Here’s two of our favourites!
GLAZEBROOK HOUSE - SOUTH BRENT, DEVON
We wrote about this venue in a previous blog on unique Devon wedding venues, as it’s one of our favourite spots for small, intimate weddings. Glazebrook House Hotel is a fascinating space that has won several awards for its interior design and features cleverly placed think-pieces that will keep your guests engaged for hours. What’s more, Glazebrook is set in some of the south west’s most beautiful surrounds, meaning it’s great for both summer and winter weddings!
THE SECRET GARDEN - ASHFORD, KENT
As the name might suggest, this is one of Kent’s best kept secrets when it comes to utterly unique wedding venues. Hidden away inside the walled gardens of Braeburn Estate is this brilliant little wedding venue putting together holistic wedding packages that are bespoke to each and every couple. The Secret Garden is a marvellous venue for its beautifully secluded gardens and stripped-back Victorian splendour, but it’s Glass House package is the thing that really sells it for us. This pretty little sunroom is the very definition of intimate wedding chic, comfortably housing up to 30 guests. If you’re looking for somewhere special to celebrate your big day with a small group of loved ones, this is the venue for you.
HIDDEN RIVER BARN - CARLISLE, CUMBRIA
Hidden River Barn is that rarest of wedding venues that just, somehow, seems to get everything right. Located on the edge of the sleepy River Lyne just outside Carlisle, this little quirky wedding venue really does have it all. The recently converted barn space is cleanly designed with an attractive, contemporary aesthetic that still comfortably incorporates a rustic, riverside feel. Hidden River Barn is, rather conveniently, located on the site of Hidden River Cabins – a selection of beautiful eco lodges and group accommodation, all of which offer their own private hot tubs. What more could you ask for, really?
THE BAY TREE HOTEL - BURFORD, OXFORD
Situated in the chocolate-box Cotswold village of Burford, The Bay Tree Hotel specialises in exclusive ‘house party style’ weddings. What does this mean? It means your guests stay on site with you in one of the hotel’s 21 rooms, and you all enjoy a weekend’s exclusive use of this stunning 16th century coaching inn.
The thing that always impresses us the most about this beautifully unique wedding venue is the use of the space. It’s filled with wonderfully cosy nooks and higgledy-piggledy hallways and yet the party rooms still feel spacious and light. Combine all this with the beautiful ‘secret garden’ style outdoor space and you’ve got a pretty sensational wedding venue on your hands.
If you’re planning a big wedding boasting a large guestlist, it can be even harder to find a truly unique wedding venue that suits the size and scale of your plans. However, you don’t have to resign yourself to big, empty fields and forgettable chain hotels. There are some incredible alternative venues out there that will cater for 300+ guests and still bring a serious wow-factor. Here is two of our favourites.
AYNHOE PARK - BANBURY, OXFORD
If you’re after an unusual wedding venue with serious spectacle, there’s only one place you should even be considering. Aynhoe Park is, quite simply, unlike any other wedding venue in the UK. Set amidst 250 acres of countryside designed by the pioneer of British parkland, Capability Brown, Aynhoe is a 16th Century manor house the likes of which we guarantee you’ve never come across before.
It’s interior design is the work of music producer and aesthete James Pearce, and manages to deftly mix austere English tradition with absurdist sculpture and artwork. The effect is arresting, at times hilarious and always truly, truly breath-taking. Budget-wise, this venue is not for the faint-hearted – but if you’re after something impossibly grandiose and unforgettable, there’s nowhere else to turn.
FIRLE PLACE - LEWES, EAST SUSSEX
This gorgeous spot on the south coast was brought to our attention by one of our most popular festival-style wedding bands, the brilliant Festival Nights. Nestled deep in the South Downs is Firle Place, a country house that was chosen as the setting for the recent major motion picture release of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ – and if its good enough for Jane Austen, it’s good enough for us!
Like all great large-scale venues, Firle Place boasts numerous options for your wedding depending on size, style and budget. But our favourite option must be the Georgian Riding School. It’s just so rare to get a barn-style wedding space this large anywhere in the UK…it would comfortably fit 250 with room for plenty more. Add in the sumptuous grounds and the on-site church, and all this adds up to a genuinely unique wedding venue that you absolutely must go and see.
SANDY COVE HOTEL - ILFRACOMBE, DEVON
The North Devon Coast contains some off the most jaw-dropping scenery this country has to offer. There’s lots of wedding venues littering its sandy shores, but few manage to be quite as impressive as Sandy Cove Hotel. This tastefully designed contemporary venue is another to have featured in our roundup of the best wedding venues in Devon, and for good reason. This remarkable place has a whole host of wedding day packages, all of which allow you and your guests to make the most of the impressive cliff-top location regardless of the time of year. If you’re after a beach wedding that’s chic, stylish and sumptuously beautiful – this is the spot for you.
BROUGHTON HALL - SKIPTON, YORKSHIRE
We’ve been banging the drum for Broughton Hall for a very, very long time. It’s featured in a previous blog all about how to make your Yorkshire wedding spectacular – and if you’re after a wedding venue with serious spectacle, there’s few to rival Broughton Hall. There’s a rich vein of history running right through this unique wedding venue, having been owned by the same family for almost a thousand years. But instead of languishing in it’s past, it celebrates it whilst still managing to feel seriously modern.
What really staggers us about Broughton Hall is the sheer variance of packages on offer. They have three separate wedding spaces, all of which are beautifully unique in their own right. The ‘Utopia’ garden space is outward looking, light and contemporary. The ‘Eden’ party house is relaxed and intimate but with a real sense of English aristocracy – your own slice of Austen-esque countryside living. But for those after a seriously impressive wedding celebration, the stately home package is like nothing else we’ve seen out there in the UK wedding market. Ancestral opulence is the order of the day with this stunning wedding location that can cater up to 300 guests, and sleep over 60 in the rooms of the manor house.
A sun-drenched countryside wedding is one of our all-time favourite things. Here in the UK, we’re blessed with an abundance of riches when it comes to country wedding venues – scores of which are special in their own, individual way. But you’ve got to really go out of your way to find something genuinely unique with rural wedding venues. Try looking for places that don’t specifically operate as a standalone wedding venue. These kinds of privately owned properties tend to be ran by the family that has owned them for generations, bringing an unmistakeable rustic authenticity to the whole venue. Here’s two that fit that bill perfectly.
TALL JOHN'S HOUSE - BRECON, SOUTH WALES
Wedding venues in Wales seem to get the rural countryside retreat vibe better than anywhere else in the UK. This place is a special one indeed. Nestled in a valley in the Brecon Beacons, Tall John’s House is the kind of wedding venue that takes some besting. The house and grounds are utterly magnificent and have played host to weddings since as far back as 1588. The house itself offers accommodation and a beautifully restored stone barn that can cater for up to 150 people. A venue suggested by another of our South Wales wedding bands, the fantastic Bootleg Boogie Band, this is a truly special place to tie the knot.
PENTNEY ABBEY - KINGS LYNN, NORFOLK
There’s a lot of really lovely barn wedding venues out there, many of which offer really impressive wedding day packages at surprisingly reasonable rates. But if you’re after a truly unique barn wedding venue, this spot out in Norfolk takes some beating. Pentney Abbey boasts all the same advantages of barn wedding venues that you’ll see anywhere in the country – great all-in-one wedding packages, a beautiful rural location, onsite accommodation…but it’s real USP is the buildings themselves. The ceremony venue is set up in an imposing 13th century medieval gatehouse with beautiful stonework and surrounds. You can really feel the weight of history in this place.
YORKSHIRE HEART VINEYARDS - HARROGATE, YORKSHIRE
We love a vineyard wedding. And as UK vineyards grow bigger and better known for the quality of their product, many are offering boutique wedding packages alongside their impressive wine production. What makes this particular vineyard wedding venue so unique, you may feasibly ask us? Well, let’s be honest – Yorkshire is hardly a county known for its wine, is it? In fact, we can’t think of a vineyard wedding venue to be found this far north on these fair shores. That in itself merits it a place in this list, but the wedding packages on offer at Yorkshire Heart Vineyards are what really seals it. Setting up in a sizeable onsite marquee, the focus is on creating a relaxed atmosphere that allows your guests to really let their hair down. It’s a seriously great place to tie the knot!
PYNES HOUSE - UPTON PYNE, EXETER
This venue featured in one of our recent blogs on great winter wedding venues in the south west, and we just had to mention it again here. One Soul, one of our brilliant Devon wedding bands introduced us to this extraordinary venue just outside of Exeter, and we’re so glad they did. Pynes House is believed to be the inspiration for Barton Park in Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’. Steeped in history and nestled in sumptuous countryside, this stunning venue can be hired exclusively for your wedding day – plus its big enough to comfortably house a large wedding party if the weather turns!
City centre weddings are such a tough one to really get right. Finding a venue that encapsulates all that’s brilliant about city centre weddings isn’t easy – you’ve really got to know what you’re looking for. Logistics are so much more of an important factor when it comes to city centre wedding venues – especially in big cities like London and Birmingham. Luckily, there’s a few forward-thinking entrepreneurs out there buying up old industrial buildings and turning them into stunning, quirky wedding venues with real appeal for your whole guestlist. Here’s two of our favourites very much in that mould.
LOFT STUDIOS - KENSAL GREEN, LONDON
London is overflowing with effortlessly cool contemporary wedding venues, most of which you’ll find in East London or a long the river. However, the problem with many of these venues can be twofold. First off, they’re expensive to hire. Goes without saying, right? But central London venues carry other budgetary considerations too – additional supplier costs like ULEZ, congestion charges and parking can add an eye watering amount onto the cost of your wedding – not to mention the same strain being placed on your guests!
If you’re willing to step out of the east London bubble, there’s some seriously cool wedding venues to be found a little further afield. Loft Studios in Kensal Green is a great example of this. A wonderfully quirky wedding venue that can cater for large parties as well as small, it’s location in North West London makes for easy transport links and eases the cost burden on your guests and suppliers. Win win!
WE THE CURIOUS - BRISTOL CITY CENTRE
Ever fancied tying the knot beneath a canopy of stars? Then boy, have we got the venue for you! This brilliant city centre spot featured in our round up of the best unique Bristol wedding venues, and we’ll take any excuse to bring it to your attention once again. We The Curious is one of the country’s leading interactive science centres, helping to cultivate a culture of curiosity in the heart of the city of Bristol for over twenty years. It’s wedding packages offer the opportunity to hold your wedding ceremony inside their incredible sphere-shaped planetarium, and the evening party packages offer seating for up to 250 and incredible sunset views over the Bristol harbourside.
OH ME OH MY - LIVERPOOL CITY CENTRE
Having previously featured in our roundup of the best unique Liverpool wedding venues, we’d take any opportunity to sing the praises of this brilliant wedding venue in the heart of Liverpool. Even from its website, Oh Me Oh My is at pains to tell you it’s a ‘secret space’. But we want to help get the secret out, cause this beautiful place is everything a wedding venue should be and more! Situated in an old bank in Liverpool’s financial district, Oh Me Oh My manages to be one of the most stylish and refined Liverpool wedding venues without being stuffy and overwhelming – with plenty of space to cater for large, diverse weddings. Their rooftop bar is simply jaw-dropping, offering photo opportunities that you’re not likely to better anywhere else in the city. If you’re planning your wedding in Liverpool, this place should be right at the top of your list for a site visit.
THE WEST MILL - DERBY
This place was put on our radar by one of our biggest midlands wedding bands, Just For Tonight. The West Mill, located in Derby’s Cotton Quarter, is a beautifully renovated industrial mill that dates back to the early 1800’s. Set across five floors, this red-brick building is imposing in design whilst still managing to feel cosy and intimate. Combine all this with is epic riverside location (great for photos) it really is the full package. It even offers ample parking for guests and suppliers…and for a city centre venue, this is a rare treat! This is a wonderfully unique wedding venue with a real, contemporary, city centre feel.
The environmental impact of your wedding day can be significant. You’ve got guests driving from myriad locations across the country, suppliers sourcing materials from wholesalers across the globe…and let’s not even start on the honeymoon! Left unchecked, your wedding’s carbon footprint can be enough to bring you out in a cold sweat.
Well the good news is, there’s scores of newly launched, unique Eco-friendly wedding venues across the country that hold sustainability at the heart of everything they do. These venues aren’t necessarily hard to find, but quality is the key here. You don’t have to scrimp on luxury if know what you’re looking for. Here’s a couple of our favourites!
ABBEY HOME FARM - CIRENCESTER
Abbey Home Farm in Cirencester is a family run, working organic farm that specialises in eco-friendly weddings and events. All their food is grown and harvested on site and cooked by their team of in-house chefs. You can even have your flowers supplied from their very own wildflower meadow! This is an alternative wedding venue with a real sense for sustainability. What’s more, it’s a stunning little place to tie the knot. You really can’t lose!
THE CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY - SNOWDONIA
Nestled somewhere in the foothills of Mount Snowden is The Centre for Alternative Technology; one of Europe’s most dynamic and progressive charities dedicated to tackling the climate emergency through real, substantive change. Overlooking the sumptuous views of Dulas Valley, the venue itself is a stunning example of sustainable architecture in action. It’s 180 capacity venue space and 24 on-site rooms are built with eco-friendly materials and powered via biomass fuels and solar power. The onsite vegetarian café can supply delicious food for you and your guests, and to top it all off – it’s got it’s own funicular! We here at Tailored think that’s by far the coolest part of the whole venue.
GREENACRES WOODLAND WEDDINGS - RAINFORD, MERSEYSIDE
Greenacres Woodland Wedding Venue is a magnificent place. Tranquil and beautiful, and set amidst silent woodland, is their minimalist wedding venue that manages to keep sustainability at the very heart of everything it does. Unlike many wedding venues in the UK, this place feels like it’s truly part of the landscape, rather than sitting within it. With their wedding packages you get exclusive use of the venue, an on-hand wedding coordinator who will take you through each stage of your wedding planning process and access to their list of brilliant suppliers, all of whom are scrupulously vetted in order to maintain the venue’s commitment to sustainable wedding celebrations.
WISE WEDDINGS - TONBRIDGE, KENT
You’re not going to find anywhere quite like Wise Weddings in a hurry. Located on a family farm in the village of Five Oak Green, Wise Weddings is a beautifully unique eco wedding venue that will leave your guests absolutely entranced. The party itself all takes place in a marquee on the main lawn, but the real fun begins when you make your way into the enticingly lit woodland that surrounds the marquee after dark. What you’ll find is a series of tree houses, hidden high up in the canopy of leaves. You can travel from one hideaway to another by rope bridges and ladders…you can even stay in them overnight! This Alice In Wonderland inspired treasure trove of surprises is a truly special place.
So there you have it! If you fancy chatting a bit more about all things wedding planning, feel free to give us a call and chat to our expert team. We can’t wait to hear from you!
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