Congratulations! You’re engaged and now the fun part of wedding planning begins for your special day (if you hadn’t already started before the engagement, or even before you met your husband-to-be).
The item at the top of the list (apart from your dress), should be your wedding venue. You might already have an idea of the kind of thing you are looking for, but trying to find that perfect place to say, ‘I do’, can make you want to rock back and forth in a darkened room.
Venue hunting can be troublesome enough, never mind, trying to find wedding venues in London. London is packed with all sorts of weird and wonderful wedding venues. From London landmarks, to stately homes, and quirky outside spaces.
Yes, most venues in London are expensive, and you may start wondering how much selling a kidney would fetch you, but there are deals to be had.
Before you even do an internet search for London wedding venues, you need to know a few details first.
The most important details are what area to look in, how many are on your guest list, and don’t forget it needs to be within budget.
Firstly, you need to get a binder otherwise you’re going to get confused about what venue does what. Keep information on any venues you are considering, and this will make your life a whole lot easier.
The location is a helpful way to shortlist your options. You need to be close to the venue on the night before your wedding. You could possibly stay at the wedding reception venue the night before, but this will cost more money. Or you need to live close by. If you and your partner don’t want to see each other before the wedding and are in separate places, then you both need to be close to the venue.
Then you need to decide how many are on your guest list. Guest lists can be their own kind of fun and a source of contention for every couple. When you do finally whittle it down, you need to have the numbers for the ceremony and numbers for the reception. Venues will have a minimum and maximum number of people permitted, so always check what the capacity is before getting carried away with how wonderful a venue is.
If you want to have the ceremony and reception in different places, try to make them close otherwise you are giving your guests a lot of hassle or you will have the added cost of transport. Especially in London where it could take a while to get from one place to the other. If you are getting married at a church that your family has always attended, then the location of your wedding reception will be dictated by that as it needs to be close to the church.
Stick to your budget. While a venue is one of the more important aspects of wedding planning and there can be a little negotiation with the budget, it needs to be realistic. Remember, if you overspend on your venue, you’re going to have to underspend somewhere else. Or start married life with a whole lot of debt.
Once those most important decisions are made you can start to consider your dream wedding venue.
Do you want outside space or not? Outside space is great for photographs but if you can do these elsewhere or even on another day then you might not need this. And if it is raining, does the outside space have cover or will you not be able to use it at all?
Is your wedding venue exclusive? Some venues will hold more than one wedding on the same day. Make sure to find out whether the venue is exclusive or not and whether you have to pay more for this.
Venues can offer a wide range of different benefits. They might include the bridal suite and another room free or you may have to pay extra for these. Some venues will offer the tables, chairs, and chair linen included with the package, but for some you will only be paying for the venue and will have to arrange everything else yourself. While a cozy barn wedding might be your dream, organizing everything yourself may be too much stress.
Make sure you get all the details of each venue and compare them. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the venue on throwing in something for extra.
Here is a list of some of the most beautiful wedding venues in London to get you started.
The Ned hotel is close to London Bridge on the North bank. This former bank building has a 1920s and 1930s design. There are nine restaurants, 250 bedrooms, a rooftop pool, gym, spa, hammam, and a bar in the original bank vault.
Weddings take place on the 6th floor, which include six rooms and two outdoor terraces looking out at the London skyline. You can have exclusive use of their venue for both the ceremony and reception. They provide the wine and food and can provide the flowers and music.
Relax the night before your wedding at the spa and soak away those wedding jitters. Get your hair styled the next day at the spa for walking down the aisle.
The Ned gives a modern twist on classic décor. Oil paintings line the wood paneled walls. Columns rise up to the ceiling with intricate carvings etched above your head. The light glints of a large crystal chandelier that illuminates the room. The wedding suite has a four-poster bed, with period features, and arching windows.
With packages starting at £30,000 for 100 guests, you would expect nothing but the best.
This wedding venue is located on Regent Street, and the hotel is grade two listed. It boasts 160 bedrooms with a ceremony capacity of 150 seated guests and reception capacity of 250. There is the option for exclusive use of the venue. The hotel offers in-house catering and a bar. There are bars, restaurants, a wellbeing center, and an outdoor terrace overlooking the bustling streets of London.
This opulent hotel reminds you of stepping into the Palace of Versailles. Walking down the aisle here would certainly be eye-catching, with gold and white ornately decorated ceilings, painted with couples. Rows of chandeliers illuminate the gold of the walls and ceilings. The small outdoor terrace is packed with greenery and seating to watch over the buzz on the famous street below.
This five-star hotel is in the swanky location of Mayfair. There is the option of having your wedding ceremony in the neighboring Farm Street Church and the reception at the hotel or have it all at The Connaught. Their wedding coordinators can help with details like organizing flowers and photography which can help keep you sane throughout the wedding planning process.
Their capacity for ceremonies is 120 and 200 for receptions. They have in-house catering and a bar and 122 rooms for guests to stay.
The hotel is modern with hints of an art deco and classical décor. There are a number of rooms to choose from for your big day. The Georgian Room has pastel green walls, silver chandelier, oil paintings adorning the walls, and period features. The Maple and Silver Room are both decked in wood paneling for a cozy space. The Mayfair room has art décor lighting with silver and bronze double doors, a modern twist of a classic style.
Claridge’s is an iconic name, situated in the well to do Mayfair area. This five-star hotel has a history of state banquets and royal visitors. Stars like Katherine Hepburn and Queen Victoria have graced its halls. Dubbed the ‘annex to Buckingham Palace’ as Queen Elizabeth has hosted banquets here. If you want to live like royalty for the day, then this hotel certainly has the wow factor. It can host intimate dinners from 60 guests or larger parties of up to 400 people.
They offer a complimentary wedding suite and special rate for guests. This is convenient for guests, but only if the hotel is affordable to your guest list. It is useful to provide a number of accommodation options of varying prices for your guests with the wedding invite.
Claridge’s oozes grandeur with large classical style rooms. Gold drapes adorn the windows. You can certainly make an entrance through the white double doors with gold trims. And it wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory large crystal chandelier. The bedrooms have the air of luxuriance with velvet chairs and art deco design flooring.
If you’re looking to leave your guests with an impression then you may not find a venue as classy as this wedding venue in London.
In the quirky, hipster area of Soho, this hotel includes 91 rooms, 24 apartments, 13 stores, a restaurant, bar, outdoor dining, rooftop terrace, spa, theatre, and bowling alley. Phew. There is certainly enough to entertain your guests while you are off posing for photographs.
The roof terrace is protected by an awning with balls made of wicker draping down. Filled with trees, pots of greenery scattered and bronze sculptures. Wicker chairs with lime green cushions and iron tables give a shabby chic vibe. The ceremony can be held here for a nature themed day. Enjoy the next day with a wedding breakfast to recount happy memories with guests.
The quirky bedrooms are striped blue and yellow with large headboards almost reaching to the ceiling. Patterned sofas sit beside large windows with pictures of birds lining the walls.
This historic house is set on the banks of the river Thames. The Tudor style building sits proudly in red brick with arched windows. There is a chapel on site and four rooms for ceremonies.
A courtyard is scattered with sofas for guests to lounge. The garden is filled with greenery and lights strewn overhead.
Hold the ceremony in the conservatory overhung with a fabric ceiling for those typical British weather days.
Inside the chapel are simple white walls with black wood panels. High windows filter in the light and a large gold chandelier creates a warming glow.
This grade two listed townhouse was built in the 18th century. Situated in Mayfair, it is an opulent setting for your special day. They cater for both smaller parties of 50 to larger occasions with up to 400 guests. Both the ceremony and reception can be held here with an events planner to help with your arrangements.
The French style house includes white wood paneled walls, white and silver ceilings, and marble flooring. The house is packed with original features including an elegant marble staircase with iron banister. The high ceilings exude grandeur with gold mirrors and thick drapes lining the high windows. A courtyard allows guests to gather in the beautiful surroundings of this exclusive wedding venue in London.
This majestic stately home sits in sprawling gardens. Battlements line the roof of this impressive stone building. Stepping inside is like being transported to a period drama. The long hallways are decked with vintage furniture and rows of books line the walls. The large rooms are decorated with ornately carved fireplaces and statues standing guard around the room.
The gardens include the great conservatory, an impressive glass structure filled with palm trees and exotic flowers. Ceremonies or receptions can be held here amongst the greenery as the windows let in the sun. For larger parties, receptions can be held in the walled garden marquee. This country setting is just nine miles from Charing Cross and one of the last great houses of London.
A unique way to celebrate your day could be in one of London’s iconic landmarks. The Cutty Sark is the famous tea clipper ship, now anchored in Greenwich. Its impressive black and gold exterior gleams as the sunlight hits, its sails rising high into the London sky.
Stroll along the wooden deck high above the ground. Suitable for both intimate and large parties. The interior boasts a gold ceiling and shiny tiled floor. If you’re claustrophobic it may not be the best choice though.
With sweeping views across London, why not have your wedding high above the city? This gleaming modern glass building is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Located on the North bank near all the main London attractions, it is convenient for guests coming from elsewhere as it is in central London. Then after the wedding, they can do a bit of sight-seeing.
Walking up the aisle, the large windows light up the way. As the day turns to dusk, the lights twinkle across the city.
What better place to get married than Shakespeare’s theatre, where the tale of the love story of Romeo and Juliette has been played out on stage (we’ll not talk about the ending). Near to London Bridge, this venue offers a private mezzanine, stage, sweeping staircase, and full-sized model oak tree (I’m not sure why you would need this, maybe you can think of something).
Walk up the aisle under wooden beams with stone archways at either side. Have your wedding photographs taken by the Thames or on London Bridge, illuminated in pinks and purples at night. A theatre could be just the place for your wedding, after all, it is your day in the spotlight.
Ever want to dine with dinosaurs? Now you can, with your wedding at the Natural History Museum. With its Victorian architecture and archways, sweeping stone staircase, and bones of a prehistoric creature suspended from the ceiling above your head.
The lights illuminate the archways in multi-colors. Decorate the room with flowers and candlelight or whatever way you dream of your ideal day. This could be a really fun venue and free entertainment for guests.
The oldest botanical garden in London is nestled in the midst of the bustling streets of London on the banks of the river Thames. It enjoys a country garden feel with the convenience of being located right in the heart of London. There is a ceremony room or a church within walking distance.
The gardens can be exclusively hired with marquee hire optional. You need to select all your own suppliers, which depending on what way you look at it, either gives you freedom to create the day of your dreams or gives you a lot more hassle. They can provide in-house catering and have a wedding coordinator to help you organize your day.
There are greenhouses packed with pots of plants for guests to browse, the scents of the medical herbs and plants floating through the air. The landscaped gardens create a beautiful oasis for your wedding day and are a great venue for unique photographs.
This venue is certainly quirky and unique. Minutes from Queens Road Peckham Station in south east London. It is a grade two listed building from 1826. Bombed in World War two, it still looks like an abandoned building inside.
Outside resembles a Greek temple, with white columns holding up the ceiling. Inside there are bright colored stained glass windows set high in the walls. The walls are half brick, half plastered with patches of blue, and rafters cross above your head. It has a very shabby chic vibe with simple wooden chairs at either side of the aisle and fairy lights creating a romantic atmosphere.
While this option is a lot cheaper than others on this list, starting from £1,400, it is a ‘dry hire’ venue, so you have to arrange everything else yourself. They do provide simple wooden chairs, lighting, and candles as part of the package. They have wedding coordinators to help you design this unusual space with a list of recommended caterers.
You will need a wedding reception venue and they suggest AMP studies which is an eight-minute walk from the chapel. AMP fits with the shabby chic theme. It is two railway arches with a covered courtyard. A brick tunnel with an open space where you will need to again hire everything yourself.
In Eltham, this red brick Tudor building sits beside the water in 13 acres of parkland. Inside there are wooden beams along the ceiling and dark wooden floor to dance the night away. It is a quaint venue with stained glass windows and fireplaces in the rooms. Perfect for a winter wedding, to cozy up beside a roaring fire.
Outdoor there is plenty of green space for guests to mingle. The perfect place to have your ceremony, weather permitting. A wooden bridge leads towards the house, the water slowly trickling underneath. Their website includes a virtual tour which is very handy, especially during these restricting times.
Located beside the Thames in Twickenham this venue is like an enchanted forest. Two marquees stand on the lawns with woodland surrounding them. The river glides past and you could even make your entrance by boat.
As the dark starts to fall, have a bonfire beside the river with tree logs sticking from the ground to sit on. Sit on the swing amongst the apple trees for a relaxed wedding day. The location is secluded and creates a very boho vibe. The Orleans House Gallery next door can be included in the package.
The Lamb Tavern is a pub and restaurant in Leadenhall Market. Located by Bank and Monument, and Liverpool Street stations. This unique building dates from 1780. Located in the indoor market, it has ornate columns and high arching ceilings. The cobblestone street has outside seating. The exterior is a mix of golds, reds, and greens. Inside has the traditional English pub feel with a cozy ambience.
This intimate pub is based in Kensal Green. It is a smaller venue with room for up to 82 people. It has a traditional pub vibe with white wood paneling around the walls and dark wood dining tables. There are a number of dining rooms to explore.
There is a touch of elegance in each with distressed turquoise walls, gold framed paintings, and shabby chic furniture. Thick patterned curtains are draped over the large windows, a comfy leather chair stands in a corner beside a cozy fireplace. The distressed wood paneled bar sits below a glass ceiling, bringing an open feel to the intimate space.
With a stage for the ceremony, everyone will get a good view of you in your dress. It is an intimate and elegant setting for your big day.
This isn’t a traditional pub but a brewery. They have an open plan space for hire with ‘dry hire’, so you have to provide the rest yourself. This can give you the freedom to personalize the space as much as you want and choose from a wide range of options like food trucks.
It is a different setting for a wedding with large steel vats of beer in the room, but it has plenty of space and the white walls make it feel open.
In south west London, opposite Wandsworth Common, this Victorian building blends traditional with modern. It has the traditional pub vibe with brick walls and comfy leather chairs.
A light wood ceiling inset with skylights and a conservatory with a glass ceiling over the dining tables keep it modern. There is a garden for guests to mingle outdoors which also makes a good place to have photographs taken.
Located in Hammersmith, West London, this building dates back to 1722. It is a beautiful riverside setting with seating on the deck to admire the view. It is a traditional pub with dark wood panel walls, leather seating, and chairs with patterned backs. It makes a cozy and intimate setting to celebrate your wedding day.
In North London, Islington, is a rustic, modern bar. It is bright with floor to ceiling windows all along one wall. Depot is spelt out in large electric letters against the window. Serving craft beers, the pub has a cozy feel with booths and wooden benches.
The cobblestone courtyard outside has seating, with stringed lights above your head. Ferns and greenery adorn either side. It’s the ideal wedding venue for a casual, boho wedding.
Venues do not come cheap but there are some things you can do to get the price down.
Book during the week as it is generally cheaper. If you are doing this, give your guests plenty of notice. You may think the world revolves around your wedding, but other people have jobs to go to. You don’t want to be a bridezilla or have a half-filled wedding venue.
Some wedding venues will give you a discount if your wedding is within six months. If you’re organized and decisive, a wedding can be planned within a couple of months.
Can you supply decorations or chair covers yourself? If you want a shabby chic barn wedding and need to supply all the decorations yourself, can you make them? Do you know anyone who is arty and might be kind enough to help you out with this? If you don’t know any arty types, second-hand wedding decorations can be bought through buy and sell websites at reasonable prices. And afterwards you can always sell them on again.
Can you cut the guest list? Each bum on a seat is costing you money so get brutal and scratch off any names that aren’t necessary. Or pick the people who are likely to be on the stingy side with your wedding present and score them off the list. Joking, of course.
One easy way to do this is to not include children. Parents get a night off and you don’t have children screaming while you are making your all-important vows. And you save money.
Think outside the box as they say. A wedding venue can be anywhere. Your local pub, favorite restaurant, or place you met your other half. Know someone with a nice garden? You can have it there. Obviously, ask them first. Don’t be shy in asking establishments if they would cater for a wedding because you never know your luck.
Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to request an extra room free for the wedding night or any other extra that is important to you. They can only say no but if they say yes, you’ve saved money.
Once you have shortlisted your list of favorite wedding venues in London to around ten or less then go to view them. If anything is a deal breaker, be sure to ask before visiting to possibly save on a wasted journey.
Have a list of questions to ask the venue and ask for a run through of how everything would go on the day. Find out timings for when everything is happening, so you know what to expect.
Get to know who will be taking you through the day. If you have any questions even after you’ve booked, do not be afraid to ask.
Remember whichever venue you choose; it is you and your partner’s day to show how much you love each other and are committed to each other. It is vowing to spend the rest of your lives annoying the other one. So, enjoy it.
Once you have picked your perfect venue and your dream wedding day is done, you have the honeymoon to look forward to. This could be another way to save by having a staycation. There are so many beautiful places across the UK to enjoy. See here for our blog on romantic UK getaways.