Planning a wedding? Don't do anything until you've consulted our comprehensive wedding guide for all 21 Muddy counties. The dreamiest venues, florists, photographers and more- you're welcome!
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HERTS & BEDS
If you’re looking for a venue that can cater for pretty much any style of wedding, five-star country estate, The Grove in Chandler’s Cross has it all – 300 acres of glorious grounds, complete with lakes and waterways (so photo opps aplenty!), an 18th century mansion to call home for the night, and the obligatory romantic sweeping driveway. You can go as grand and lavish as you like here, but we quite like the idea of a reception in the potting shed – a converted greenhouse within a pretty walled garden. Moggerhanger Park in Bedford is another stunner. The Grade I-listed house was fully restored and re-opened in 2012 as a venue. It has its own chapel, walled garden for marquee weddings and 22 en-suite bedrooms for your wedding party in a countryside setting that’s just 50 miles from London.
If it’s the countrified feel you like, bring some rural festival chic to your day with the help of Swig and Filly whose mobile bars include a quirky converted vintage horse trailer and a 1970s Champagne tricycle for smaller venues. On that note, Forever Green‘s floral designs are gorgeous and master florist Nicky can bring your own ideas to life or share her wealth of knowledge and advise you on themes and colours if you haven’t a clue where to start. Of course, now you’ve done all the hard work you’ll need someone to capture your special day. Ian Scott Photography is a husband and wife team who have shot weddings at loads of local venues, so know them like the back of their hand, meaning you and your memories will be in safe hands.
Hurley House, Hurley
We’ve struck ‘I do’ gold. Going for modern English romance and looking for an intimate, chic wedding venue that oozes style with lush interiors and surrounded by stunning countryside? Nailed it! The award-winning Hurley House Hotel has it all, plus a pretty foxy rep for fine food. You’ll discover this boutique beauty just 10 minutes outside Maidenhead, 20 minutes from Heathrow and less than an hour from London. Each wedding is entirely bespoke (no restrictive packages), so all your Pinterest dreams can come true. The hotel is a fully licensed venue for the ‘I dos’, has 10 luxurious bedrooms and different reception spaces that can cater for small groups in the restaurant or private dining room and up to 180 in the fabulous Garden Pavilion. For ultimate privacy, book the whole place for glam home from home vibes. Oh, if you’re worried that you’re turning into Bridezilla (*the pressure, the pressure*), book in for a beauty treatment or three and relaaax. Your perfect day is one click away, more info here.
Forest Edge Tipis, Hampstead Marshall
If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise – a magical woodland wedding venue festooned in twinkly fairy lights. Forest Edge Tipis, set up by local wedding pros Angela (a florist) and Aimee (a stylist), offers a unique space for couples hankering for a relaxed, rustic vibe or boho formality, without the hassle. This is a blank canvas venue in the village of Hampstead Marshall (just outside Newbury) for couples who want take their nuptials outside, without having to source the boring bits like power, loos, water, furniture and staff. Simply focus on the fun stuff: flowers, music, decs, food and music. Although not currently licensed for wedding ceremonies, you can have a blessing or humanist ceremony, and the reception (aka mother of all parties) – tipis seat up to 150 people, there’s a chill-out tent attached and all the outdoor space you could wish for. Let’s be honest, the photographic opportunies alone are reason enough to book. But if you say ‘I do’ here in 2019, you’ll get £250 bar tab thrown in (T&Cs apply).
Shaw House, Newbury
Slightly off-radar and all the better for it, Shaw House is a swoony Grade I listed manor house in Newbury now open for exclusive-use weddings. Having hosted many monarchs, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles II and Queen Anne, there’s an emphasis on elegant grandeur and period features aplenty – big stone fireplaces, wood panelling, sweeping staircase, and leaded glass windows and more. Funnily enough you could always get married her, as it’s the local registrar’s office, but you couldn’t have your reception here until very recently. What a waste! No packages, your day will be unique to you, working alongside a wedding organiser to plan your big day. For smaller weddings, you can seat 80 guests but for bigger affairs, a marquee or tipi will pop up on the lawn. The rooms here have hosted many a right royal knees up, and is now ready for your guests to unleash their inner Beyoncé.
Venue sorted, let’s crack on with the rest of the to-do list. If you’ve yet to buy the bling, we’re big fans of the Antique Jewellery Boutique who have the most spectacular antique gems for all budgets. If it’s really personal, Strange The Jeweller in Wokingham can design a one off. Looking for hot wheels to get you to the church on time? They don’t get much hotter than a zingy orange tuk tuk from Hello Tuk Tuk – it’s fun, funky and guaranteed to turn heads. If you’re after floral bouquets and displays with an edge, check out Draco Floristry. Shakirah’s style is super cool and creative. A well stocked bar is a must but go one step beyond the wine warehouse and create a wine list that’s unique to your big day. GrapeSmith can curate wines reflecting your travels or personal tastes; keep the bubbles flowing with Berkshire-based Prosecco Colucci (very similar to Veuve Clicquot but not as expensive) or create your very own gin. Andy Rogers at Bar Fifty Six can distill and label a bespoke gin and a lovely keepsake that’ll last longer than your guests hangover.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Guess what Oxfordshire dwellers? You can now get married in a museum , and it’s a biggie – The Ashmolean, no less. Just imagine how cool those big old pillars at the entrance will look in your wedding pics. Plus rather thrillingly, you can choose whichever bit of the place you like to do the deed as every public space and gallery is licensed. The Mallett Gallery, for example, holds 100 guests and comes with sweeping staircase so you can make your entrance in style, chandeliers, a harpsichord and priceless paintings by Old Masters. Afterwards just head up to the cool rooftop restaurant to celebrate your new status!
The Tythe Barn, Bicester
How’s this for a personal recommendation – Muddy HQ’s Kerry Potter got married at this deluxe converted barn near Bicester a decade ago and says it was totally divine. It’s a stunning setting – expansive manicured lawns, pretty pergolas and pathways, surrounding a large Oxfordshire stone barn with exposed beams, perfect for decking with fairy lights, flowers or bunting, and with capacity for 120 guests. Owners Emma and Will Deeley are experienced party planners, with faultless attention to detail, and with their in-house catering company Absolute Taste, the food is top-notch. They’ve recently added a cute, wooden shepherd’s hut on site, which is charmingly rustic but comes with mod-cons such as underfloor heating and a proper bathroom – perfect for a wedding night sleepover.
Soho Farmhouse, Great Tew
Be prepared to spot an A-lister or three in your peripheral vision as you use Soho Farmhouse for your wedding venue. I’ve been to a lot of parties in the Barwell Barn which holds 80 for dinner or 150 for drinks, and as with everything here it’s rustic cool all the way. Or hire out the Marquee Green for parties up to 250. You can stay onsite in cabins, teepees or new this year, ‘piglets’ (small rooms that sit in clusters of four in a secluded wildflower meadow). If you get overwhelmed with being the centre of attention, wander up the road and knock on the Beckham’s door – they’ll be able to offer advice on how to handle it and David makes a lovely cup of tea.
Our tipple of choice is The Magnum Company because, well, its Champers (although they now sell gin, port and cider by the magnum too). There’s even an online calculator to give you an idea of how many bottles you’ll need for your wedding. For flowers, take your pick (pun intended) between bespoke bouquets by Oxfordshire-based Nong Smitinand Flowers, gorgeous pastel bouquets by Henley-on-Thames based florist Just Joey on the Moon, elegant vintage style arrangements from elizabeth. a bespoke floral design service, or Watlington-based Babylon Flowers, that have been used umpteen times by Muddy Founder Hero. Harriet Thorpe is a regular Muddy HQ make up artist, based in Wallingford who also works in TV and film and highly recommended. Banbury based graphic designer Lyn Shields Design has your invitations and order of service covered and for baked goods and puds Cotswold Baking or Belistore (run by award-winning pastry chef Richard Reynolds) are your go-tos for stunning cakes. To capture the day, Wendy Aldiss Photography is a dead cert – she covers the Home Counties and London and her wonderful reportage work been featured in glossies such as Condé Nast Brides. Finally, for the wedding breakfast or afterparty, Stretch and Tents are a stylish and versatile alternative to your classic boring white marquee, plus its several sister brands can deck out your wedding venue with vintage props and authentic Moroccan furnishings, lanterns, bars and more.
The Willow Tree, Bourn
You’ll meet your prince charming for sure at the enchanting Willow Tree. This fairytale wedding venue is tucked away in the village of Bourn, which you’ll find midway between St Neots and Cambridge. The Willow Tree has an informal vintage vibe about it – its unusual layout offers flexibility to create the day of your dreams, either inside or out – or both. There’s an elegant shabby chic restaurant, with an open fireplace and antique chandeliers so it’s cosy and intimate in winter. There’s also an al fresco terrace, a beautiful country garden with its own Tipi and large fire-pit, and a whimsical meadow at the back. The latter is a relatively new addition to the venue and is an idyllic spot to host a large gathering or erect a party marquee. If you want somewhere to host a civil ceremony (The Willow Tree can conduct a blessing) then its little sister The Eltisley, in nearby Eltisley, has a license for the whole shebang.
Orchard Tea Gardens, Grantchester
The Orchard Tea Gardens in Grantchester offers a slice of quintessential England and if you’re planning a wedding it’s a blank canvas that offers endless possibilities. Grantchester is a pretty village located a few miles outside Cambridge and The Orchard is famous for attracting many a literary luminary from Virginia Woolf and poet Rupert Brooke, to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. More recently the village has become known for the vicar-turned-sleuth hit ITV series, Grantchester This old orchard provides a perfect backdrop for a vintage wedding – whether you love 1930’s Art Deco, a homespun 1940’s look or a more modern boho festival feel. Outside there’s heaps of space under the apple trees and The Pavilion (named after the original building) provides an indoor area with doors opening onto the gardens. Although there isn’t any accommodation in the small village (there are three watering holes however!) it’s only a short drive into Cambridge, which offers a bed for the night to suit most budgets.
Enlist the help of Vanessa from Rocks & Frocks, a specialist wedding and events planner. She can help with small intimate affairs to large extravaganzas and will stop you from going slightly crazy. Don’t forget the barnet! Syrupp Hair in Buckden will plan your hair well in advance if you have the time, and the bride can either come to the salon or a stylist will travel to your home or hotel, whichever suits you best. Finally book Health Close and Beauty to make sure your wedding makeup is professionally done – they have all the tricks of the trade to make sure it lasts for the duration of the day and will advise you on colour choices.
Fancy boats bobbing in a Cornish harbour as the backdrop for your big day? Hello Amélies Porthleven! This gorgeous fishing village is a foodie mecca and Amélies, housed in an old smokehouse, is one of the most popular restaurants in town. Owner Sam coordinates the weddings personally; she’s really creative and has loads of ideas for menus, drinks and quirky touches but it’s absolutely not about packages — every wedding is unique. The venue is licensed for ceremonies and can accommodate up to 70 guests in the main restaurant, while the new glass-covered terrace is perfect for drinks and mingling. There are loads of places to stay in the village, so there’s no need for taxis and you’ll run into guests all weekend. For photos, the harbour, slipway, beach and cliff-tops offer up lots of stunning options.
Nancarrow Farm, Zelah, Nr Truro
The ultimate in rustic chic, Nancarrow Farm is one of Cornwall’s most sought-after wedding venues. This working farm is nestled in rolling countryside, not far from Truro — great for train links and accommodation for any up-country guests. In the heart of the farm is a cluster of beautiful, renovated barns that offer a self-contained events space, where you can relax and feel at home for the course of your celebrations. There’s a light-filled, oak-beamed barn for dining, which seats up to 130, an atmospheric hay barn for your ceremony and a luxe B&B, with accommodation for 18 guests (plus a few more in 4 furnished bell tents). Bur for me, the best thing about Nancarrow is the food. Expect a feast incorporating the farm’s own organic meat, cooked slow over the outdoor fireplace.
Trefusis Estate, Nr Falmouth
An amazing find for boho brides! Wedding venues don’t get more magical than a sunny glade in an ancient bluebell wood. Part of the grounds of Trefusis Estate near Falmouth, the woodland backs onto fields that overlook Mylor harbour. One of the fields is available for wild camping, if your guests are so inclined and furnished bell tents can be arranged. The wedding feast is served in weather-proof tipis (so much cooler than a marquee), with a fire pit in the centre and a converted airstream for a bar. Weddings here are managed by Hailey at Little Cornish Wedding Company and she has Cornwall’s best suppliers on speed dial to help bring your day together — from woodfired soul food to foraged floral arrangements. Up to a week’s hire of a luxury cottage on the estate is also thrown into the bargain.
Now you’ve got the venue sorted, you’ll need a few artistes to take care of the extras. Like your drinks sparkling? Get a truckload, from vintage prosecco van, Bring Me Bubbles. If cocktails and craft beer are more your flavour, call The Buffalo Bar. When it comes to food, look up Woodfired Weddings for hearty, smokey and rustic fare or try Little Gem Catering, for mouthwatering menus crafted by Ryan Venning (former head chef at Porthminster Café). Call on Muddy award-winning florist Ruby Alice or Loulabel to deck your halls. Recruit super snapper Ross Talling or Arianna Fenton to capture all your special moments and invite photo van Snapshot Shirley along for some comedy posing. Finally, for the most beautiful and delectable cakes anywhere, look no further than Cornish star bakers, Peboryon.
Danesfield House Hotel, Marlow
This exquisite Grade II listed, late Victorian country house hotel certainly has the wedding wow-factor – George Clooney had his wedding party (well, one of them!) with Amal here in 2014. Set in 65 acres, taking in Italian gardens and a croquet lawn, with views of the Thames, it’s midway between Henley and Marlow, and a 30 minute whizz from London. They offer a range of flexible wedding packages, with spaces to suit from 5 guests up to 200. The Versailles suite is the show-stopper – as the name suggests it’s big on palatial splendour, with its lofty ceilings, elegant mirrors and crystal chandeliers. And your wish is their command, whether you want a magician to entertain your guests, bespoke stationery or your wedding make-up sorted. Plus if you’re worried that you’re turning into Bridezilla (*the pressure, the pressure*), go chill in the spa, it’s a corker.
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges
Ding flippin dong! Set within 300 acres of beautiful parkland, landscaped gardens and lakes with its stunning white Palladian Mansion, Stoke Park in South Buckinghamshire is an undeniably gorgeous setting. The hotel can cater up to 146 guests with food with celeb chef Chris Wheeler at the helm, there are 49 5AA Red Star bedrooms including the Pennsylvania Suite, voted Most Romantic Hotel Room in the UK by The Sunday Times (and verified in person by Muddy’s ed-in-chief Hero!), 11 spa treatment rooms when the pressure gets too much and a choice of 8 rooms including the Fountain Terrace in which to hold your ceremony. Best of all, there is still some availability for later this year – and if you book from next month you’re entitled to late discounts, saving up to £50 per person. Push back your veil, pick up your train and leg it to the bookings area!
We are massive fans of Bucks Make-Up Studio, based in Wendover, for all your blushing bride needs – Tamsin there has regularly spruced up Muddy mugs for events and she also happens to be the lead make-up artist for the likes of Emily Blunt, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and Rachel Weiss. Paul Wilkinson Photography is a multi-award winning portrait and weddings photographer, and the preferred snapper for Le Manoir hotel which tells you a thing or two. Wendy Aldiss Photography is another dead cert – she covers the Home Counties and London and her wonderful reportage work been featured in glossies such as Condé Nast Brides. With over 10 years experience of floral arrangement, Herbert & Isles are sticklers for transforming a venue and creating stunning bouquets to suit your individual whims and fancies, Wild Rose is amazing at inventive modern bouquets, and Joanne Caldwell in Marlow has romantic blooms covered. For your dress, bomb down to Beaconsfield and the chic, friendly Elie Sanderson Bridal Boutique, and when all the organisation get too much for you, dip out to Bodhi Tree Spa in Chalfont St Peter to unwind with a full range of treatments (yes for you too, gentlemen). For the wedding breakfast or afterparty, Stretch and Tents are a stylish and versatile alternative to your classic boring white marquee, plus its several sister brands can deck out your wedding venue with vintage props and authentic Moroccan furnishings, lanterns, bars and more. And finally, if you fancy a holiday after all that organising – and who wouldn’t? – head to Beaconsfield-based Turquoise Holidays pronto for 5 star luxury honeymoons. Don’t forget to send us a postcard.
Beaconside House, Bideford
If you want to make a weekend of it, Beaconside House is fabulous, seriously F.A.B. Think private 25-acre playground, a home-from-home Victorian pile and four cottages for up to 50 of your nearest and dearest, plus two pools – indoor and outdoor – and a hot tub. I know! I’d only been there ten minutes and I was wondering who I could re-marry. Say ‘I do’ under an oak pergola overlooking rolling Devon hills, or in The Beacon, a brand-new barn-like space, framed by glass chandeliers and sleek oak beams arching into a lofty drape-filled apex, all a-shimmer with fairy lights and the peachy gleam of a copper-topped bar.
Owners Mark and Ali are so in tune with what a wedding should be – the way you want it – they will move a wedding planned outdoors in the bluebell wood to indoors within ten minutes of the ceremony if rain stops play. Dog-friendly, eco-friendly thanks to a recycling ethic and biomass boiler, bursting with potential for fun and good times – perfect for the high-spec country maid or an urban girl with a country heart.
Jeweller Kate Pearse of Glasswing Jewellery creates dreamy engagement and wedding rings from (ethically sourced) diamonds combined with Devon and Cornish seaglass, including romantic finds from the couple’s beach walks, where he or she popped the question. Muddy loves Angelchops having personally sampled far too many of their scrummy sponges. They specialise in rustic icing-free ‘naked’ cakes, perfect for a boho wedding, and fresher-than-fresh as they have to baked the day before the Big Day to keep its bounce. Add the colour and pizazz to your venue with Bumblebee Balloons‘ showstopper installations: giant metallic lettering taller than the pageboy; mesmeric orbs that magically ‘float’ above the top table or their tip for the next big thing – balloons and blooms for ultimate wedding lift-off.
Hatton Court Hotel, Upton St Leonards, Gloucester
It’s the little things that count at this traditional Cotswold country house wedding venue, with a dedicated wedding co-ordinator and staff that will go the extra mile. Craft your own special day with all the wonderful quirks you’ve always dreamed of – they’ll make them come true. And it’s all against the dreamy backdrop of stunning grounds, gorgeous Cotswold views, a romantic country hotel (photos to die for? check) and garden marquee that allows you to experiment, design and decorate to your heart’s content. The food is a biggie here – their chefs know their biscuits and will create bespoke menus to compliment your celebrations, all with fresh, seasonal ingredients, plus we love the Big Suppers the hotel can organise the night before the big day, complete with sharing platters to get everyone mixing. This one has ‘happy bride’ written all over it.
Cotswold House Hotel and Spa, Chipping Camden
We’ve fallen head over heels for this manor house hotel’s bijou wedding offerings. A Regency stunner in picture perfect Chipping Campden, the Cotswold House Hotel has to be one of the most romantic places to get married, and when it comes to putting on a ceremony, the boutique hotel has all bases covered. We’re talking small and intimate rather than Royal wedding numbers with the Montrose Suite – a pitched roof and exposed beams beauty – holding 90 guests, or the Fig restaurant, the hotel’s über elegant dining space, seating 50 for a ceremony, 30 for a wedding breakfast. Everything is on hand for bride, groom and guests, with 28 rooms that can be block booked for the big day – there are suites with hot tubs people! – and there’s even a spa tucked away in the gorgeous gardens which provides all manner of pampering possibilities. And those gardens are the perfect backdrop for photos.
The Great Tythe Barn, nr Tetbury
Discover a real slice of quintessential England at The Great Tythe Barn in the heart of a private estate in the Cotswolds. With accommodation for 90 guests, this stunning Grade II listed, sixteenth century barn is a stonker of a venue packed with original features (think exposed stone walls, fireplaces and oak beams), with the added bonus of gorgeous lawns for a drinks reception and picture postcard perfect photos. Ready for the party now? Bop ’til you drop under a canopy of fairy lights as the barn transforms into a rocking dance floor, and no need to keep an eye on the time or worry about taxis – within the grounds are ten self-catering cottages, twelve bed and breakfast rooms, and The Tythe House, so you and all your guests can stay over. Create a whole wedding weekend and celebrate the night before and the morning after in local Tetbury, mere walking distance away. This one’s got the wow factor, for sure.
First things first: the ring. If your bestie’s boyfriend asks, you need to send him to Aimee Winstone. She’s a Gloucestershire-based fine jeweller who makes exquisite, bespoke pieces including engagement and wedding rings. The hen? Not so keen on a boozy night out with L-plates and a flammable veil? Tsk, spoilsport! Then try Cotswolds Discovery Trail for a bespoke hen day out – they’ll create a package just for you. Harriet’s Organic Hairdressing will make you look like a princess while giving your hair a health boost. Lash Junkie turns up the volume on your lashes giving you an irresistible doe-eyed look. And, when you’re ready for your close-up, James Fear Wedding Photographer knows how to get your good side. Oops a daisy! does the best posies and venue decorations and displays. The Little Pickle are caterers to die for and Sibling Distillery knows how to get a party started with its superior range of gins.
Pylewell Park, Lymington
Nothing says wedding quite like a grand old country homestead, and the 17th-century Pylewell Park in Lymington definitely fits the bill. With the Grade II listed house, 27 acres of rolling New Forest gardens, a 15-acre lake and its own private beach, you have loads of space to work with whatever you want your ceremony and reception to be. They can even provide glamping for guests on the grounds as well.With exclusive use of the venue, you can have up to 200 of your nearest and dearest to share in your special day at this perfect spot in the Hampshire countryside.
Either tie the knot in the beautiful, modern Pylewell Pavillion with its epic views across the Solent, floor to ceiling glass, chandeliers and terrace. Or, for a more traditional country house vibe, get married in the house itself, complete with its very own bridal wing. For a religious service, there’s also St Mary’s Church just a few minutes away from the house.
Understated and in-tune with the countryside, Riverside Lifestyle is a hidden gem of a venue, just outside Winchester. 200 guests can party the night away in a marquee nestled near the lavender on Riverside’s field – the perfect spot for a festival-themed wedding! They’ll provide bell tents to stay in after the celebrations if you wish and you also get full use of Riverside Cottage which sleeps up to 10 people, with additional self-catered accommodation available to hire as well. If you want something smaller and more intimate you can hold your ceremony in Riverside Lifestyle’s yurt that seats up to 66 people. Riverside can sort the catering and have a selection of local suppliers to assist you with your menu. Phew.
A slick city location and amazing views over the sea, we’re loving Southampton Harbour Hotel‘s city meets surf vibe. The 5 star hotel has two options when it comes to your nuptials. The Bow suite can hold up to 200 guests for a civil ceremony complete with breathtaking views across the marina on its own terrace. It also comes with a wooden dancefloor, sound system and private bar to give your wedding that exclusive feel. For a more intimate affair, The Needles suite can host up to 120 guests for ceremonies and 80 for wedding breakfast and evening receptions, still with that amazing view over the water.The bride and groom to get their own luxury bedroom as part of the wedding package and guests can get discounted rates to stay too. Nice!
For a bridal bouffant that is something truly special then make an appointment with Lymington salon, Jack & The Wolfe. Jack and Lydia are internationally renowned stylists, specialising in modern cuts and colours, as well as dreamy boho-inspired do’s for your big day. For a super snappy photographer that specialises in feminine artistic photography, ideal for recording those perfect wedding memories, then Cotton Candy Weddings is a must (they even snapped our Hants Muddy Editor’s wedding). If you’re looking to bring in an outside caterer then we really rate the bespoke service from the Little Kitchen Company who won Best Hampshire Wedding Caterer in 2018. Fancy adding an additional bit of sparkle to your decor? Then check out the fabulous foliage of Twilight Trees. They create the most amazing faux trees to twinkle up your nuptials. If you want to arrive in real style then how about a retro ride from New Forest Classic Cars, with everything from vintage E-Type Jags to an Austin Healey convertible to make you and the groom swoon. And, for a wedding present that’s really special, forget the tableware and sign up to the Wykeham Gallery‘s special wedding list service – your guests can donate towards your chosen piece of art to commemorate your marriage and also become an integral part of your new wedded home.
ISLE OF WIGHT
The Enchanted Manor, Niton
If you have always wanted a fairytale wedding, complete with trumpeting cherubs and magical fairy vibes, then The Enchanted Manor in Niton is a dream come true. This 5 star B&B, tucked away on the southern coast of the Island, is equal parts quirky to magical. Specialising in wedding parties from 2 – 60 people, you can have an intimate ceremony as Lord and/or Lady of the Manor. You also have full access to the gardens that are filled with eccentrically beautiful statues, plus a huge range of suppliers to choose from including harpists and even live doves. The house itself has some pretty cool historical links to Robert the Bruce and Marconi as well.
The George, Yarmouth
Tucked between Yarmouth Castle and the town’s historic pier is The George. This 17th-Century townhouse even has its very own private beach complete with a stunning view over to the mainland, making it the ideal spot for an Island wedding. You can choose to hold your service inside the beautifully maintained hotel that once hosted King Charles II, or opt for a relaxed outdoor ceremony overlooking the beach – complete with marquee. And, if you hire out exclusive use of the venue you also get to use the 17 bedrooms for the perfect beachside wedding with friends and family.
If you’re looking for an all-together more low-key affair then how about popping to the registry office followed by The Hut in Colwell Bay. This beachside bar and restaurant can only be accessed by ferry and is super popular with celebs for its intimate private surroundings and excellent seafood. If you need some help planning your big day then call in the big guns with wedding planner extraordinaire In Any Event. Channel the Island spirit through your tipple selection with Mermaid Gin from the Isle of Wight Distillery and while we’re on the sea vibe, head to Isle of Wight Pearl for the perfect jewellery compliment your wedding ring. Finally, for something wonderfully different, stay at Tom’s Eco Lodge at Tapnell Farm in Freshwater. These quirky treehouses and sustainable dwellings make a super unique place to unwind after all that wedding fever.
The Salutation, Sandwich
The Salutation, a stunning country-house sitting in the heart of Sandwich, takes a very novel approach to weddings. Awarded the most Romantic Hotel of The Year in the Good Hotel Guide (2019) they deliberately host only a small number of weddings each year, aiming to make each one as unique as the next. The Salutation team ensure your day is entirely bespoke, working with the happy couple to generate ideas, menus and schedules that truly reflect your individual style. Hear, hear to that!
Bewl Water, Lamberhurst
More outdoorsy than traditional? Panoramic views across the reservoir and hundreds of acres of outstanding natural beauty makes Bewl Water the picture perfect location for your special day. Licensed to host both ceremony and reception means couples can choose to marry to the backdrop of the South East’s largest stretch of open water. Weddings are held at The Boat House, which is perched by the edge of the water, away from the main visitors centre, plus luxury glamping Bell Tents are available including a special bridal tent for you to spend your first night together under the stars.
Goodnestone Park, nr Canterbury
Found your Mr Darcy? For the ultimate in fairy-tale romance, follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen’s brother and tie the knot at Goodnestone Park which sits in 15 acres of land and manicured gardens, close to Canterbury in Kent. The house has been sensitively – of should that be Sense and Sensibility – restored to its former glory and is available to hire for weddings. For those wanting a religious ceremony, the historic Holy Cross church is a stone’s throw from the house.
Planning a wedding in Kent? Don’t book anything until you’ve read our Kent Mega Muddy Wedding Guides. Part I is a list of brilliant local venues and suppliers (like photographers to capture those special moments or cool styling inspo from the likes of Kent Party Props). And Part II covers everything bridal (think bridal boutiques, florists and beauty salons). We’ve done the research – so you can just get on with the small matter of having your Best. Day. Ever.
LEICS & RUTLAND
Ladywood Estate, Rutland
Fancy arriving to your wedding in a helicopter? Well you can at Ladywood Estate! This grand country venue comes complete with parkland, lakes and woodland making it picture perfect for those all important wedding shots. The Wedding Pavilion is housed in a converted barn and can cater for up to 400 guests with additional areas for a dance floor, bar and more. The Orangery is also available and is a perfect spot for a champagne reception and opens up to a pretty, private terrace but for a truly romantic quirk, stay in the scenic Victorian Boat House, accessed by a private road giving you complete and utter privacy after your celebrations.
Based in Charnwood Forest in North Leics, Sassy Blooms creates stunning artisan bouquets, centrepieces and even hanging floral chandeliers (!) PLUS the florist won a Muddy Stilettos Award last year- how about that for an endorsement? On to the tipple, cool mobile bar Tin & Tonic is our weapon of choice (it’s a gin bar, if you haven’t guessed already), a beautifully converted vintage horsebox that was made locally in Leicester. The team can even create a bespoke drinks menu tailored to your wedding. Rochelle O’Brien will work wonders on you hair and make up and now the wedding is sorted, head to Ragdale Hall’s luxurious spa (another Muddy Award winner) for a well deserved pamper before the big day.
The Dairy Barns, Hickling
For a rustic, country style wedding, the Dairy Barns is the perfect Norfolk venue. Surrounded by beautiful countryside and only a few miles from the beaches of Sea Palling, Waxham and Horsey, from the exterior it looks like a traditional working farm – you can’t miss the neighbouring highland cattle, a great photo opportunity if you dare! For a safer option you have views across fields and farm land all the way to the sand dunes and sea beyond.
The Red Brick Barn has underfloor heating, exposed brickwork and beams and caters for 70-100 guests. The Old Cattle Yard turns into an outdoor dance floor at night complete with straw bales, fairy lights, blankets and those endless Norfolk skies. First dance under the stars anyone? The venue sleeps up to 32 people with accommodation available in barn rooms and cottages.
Hockering House, Hockering
Set in the heart of Norfolk (15 minutes from Norwich), this beautiful country house is surrounded by five acres of private gardens and parkland, so it’s perfect for a secluded wedding where you can dance all night. The team at Hockering House love a themed wedding and positively encourage the bride and groom to be as creative as they want. From quintessential English tea parties to casinos, there’s not much that hasn’t been done including ring bearing alpacas, dogs and birds of prey! Depending on the size of the party, ceremonies can be held in the house, on the lawn or in the enchanting woods. If you prefer a church ceremony, you can hire the venue for a marquee reception. Also good to know that Gorsey Meadow camping and glamping is on the estate and guests are welcome to pitch their own tent or hire one of the fully equipped bell tents to create a little VIP wedding village.
The Fire Pit Camp, Wendling
Surrounded by seven acres of countryside, The Fire Pit Camp has everything you need to create a boho festival style wedding. Licensed for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, the exclusive venue consists of a shabby chic furnished warehouse bar, camping field with bell tents for hire (and/or pitch your own), a football pitch and natural play area. Plus there’s Leila the Double-Decker Bus and Priscilla the Vintage Mini Caravan – perfect for photo booths, play dens, chill-out areas, fancy-dress, whatever you fancy really. As the sun sets, kick off your heels and relax in a comfy sofa by the fire pit.
Finally and pièce de résistance – The Wren’s ‘love’ Nest for the bride and groom. A remarkable yet unassuming structure of hazel branches that are bent and woven to create a split level dome with mezzanine bedroom.
From wedding planning to styling to prop hire, One Curious Dream has it covered. For a wedding photographer, look no further than 2018 Muddy Award winner Richard Jarmy and for a wedding cake that tastes as good as it looks, cake designer Beth Haxby. A wide selection of designer dresses can be found at The Norfolk Bride, Holt and for the perfect wedding hair – Hairsmiths in Norwich. After the dress, the next most important thing is of course food and drink! Bubbles & Pips a pretty little horse box pop up bar and Squilla & Squidge, street food in a VW Campervan – both fab little wedding extras.
Elms Meadow, Pytchley
Step forward four very hip, giant, joined-together tipis in the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside in Pytchley (close to Kettering and Wellingborough). A permanent spring and summer fixture on an arable farm that has been owned by the same family for 250 years this is great for an informal or festival-themed wedding or summer BBQ shindig, the tipis offer a unique experience and ensure your dream wedding/party becomes a reality (or your Muddy Awards do, since Northants is having their 2019 winners’ drinks here). The four tipis are perfect for every moment of your wedding, from busting a move on the dance floor to relaxing by the firepit, they’ll have your back for every memorable moment.
Cranford Hall, Kettering
This Georgian mansion (still a family home) has a huge amount of character as well as being able to be tailored to your needs in more ways than one (Muddy always feels very Gatsbyesque here). Weddings are held in the adjoining ‘studio’ room, which holds up to 125 guests, however, if you long for a more intimate affair, the Brewhouse is perfect for a smaller sized party of up to 25 people. If your dream wedding is of the scale of up to 500 guests, a fairytale-esque marquee is also available. All party sizes have an in house catering service available to feed (and water) your beloved guests, and as well as a gorgeous interior, the nurtured gardens are just as impressive. The owners have been known to throw an amazing party or two in their time, so you’re on solid celebratory ground! Guests often bring giant lawn games to while away the hours and did we mention we held one of the Muddy Awards there? Yup, it’s a goodie!
Kingsthorpe Lodge Barn, nr Oundle
The rustic, natural and beautiful Kingsthorpe Lodge Barn is a stunning wedding reception venue that’s sure to wow your guests. It’s nestled on the Northamptonshire/Cambridgeshire border and is set within a working organic farm just 5 miles from the historic market town of Oundle. The venue is owned by Brigitte and Eddie, who are proud to offer something a little different to other venues – a space filled with character and charm that allows you to create the wedding reception of your dreams! The original character of the barn has been maintained over the years, with exposed stone walls, wooden beams and original brick pillars imbuing a rustic appeal to the impressive double-height structure. Lambs, geese and even piglets have been known to make an appearance in the pastures (great Instagram fodder)!
One of the best, not to mention prettiest, mobile bars in the county is undoubtedly Bells and Whistles vintage horse box (we are spoiled in Northants). For a wedding photographer, look no further than Fritz Photography; passionate and beautiful photos guaranteed. For sublime food, Burnt Lemon Chefs are the absolute bomb or get your chops around Portfolio Events for fresh, local and innovative cuisine. For a beautiful bouquet, check out Magnolia the Florist and for keeping the rugrats in check KidsStop will sort all of your childcare needs in the funnest way possible.
North Cadbury Court, North Cadbury, Somerset
Magical, no? Sparkling fairy lights, glowing candles and roaring fires in the huge fireplaces of elegant rooms make the 16th century North Cadbury Court our favourite place in Somerset for a country house wedding. There are two huge receptions – the historic wood-panelled North Hall and a ballroom overlooking the 1,500-acre estate – for banquets and dancing. Cosy library and sitting rooms for drinks receptions and chilling. Twenty-five beautiful bedrooms, some with four-posters *sigh*. Lots to do, whatever the weather, with a spa, gym, indoor swimming pool, underground disco and casino within; lake, tennis, croquet and golf without. Get married in the house or in the village church right next door. Perfick.
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath, Somerset
Get hitched at the best address in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath. The five star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, a Grade 1 listed Georgian townhouse hotel in Bath’s iconic Royal Crescent, is all golden Bath stone, high-ceilings, sash windows and muted colours. There are 45 rooms and suites (with views over the city), a 3 AA rosette restaurant, a luxury Spa and Bath House, an acre of glorious gardens – and of course, impeccable service. Marry under a pergola in the honeysuckle and rose scented Wedding Gardens, in one of the elegant rooms in the house or The Dower House Restaurant. It could all be yours, all yours…
Rock up in a style in a 1959 sky blue Cadillac de Ville from American Dream Wedding Cars, wearing a gown handmade by red carpet and designer three-times winner of Best Bridalwear Designer of the Year Sassi Holford (shops on the Fulham Road, London and in Taunton). Exchange bespoke wedding rings from Eleanor Christine Jewellery (you could even create them yourselves in Ellie’s Frome studio). Make the centrepiece of your reception a splendiferous multi-tiered wedding cake made from truckles of Godminster‘s West Country cheeses – now that’ll be a showstopper.
Fiesta Fields, locations throughout Surrey and Sussex
If you want to channel a truly boho festival vibe for your wedding, there’s only one thing for it – get married in a field! Think tipis, tents, camping and glamping. Fiesta Fields have eight stunning properties throughout Surrey and Sussex and offer packages offering just the site only to deals that include the bare necessities (posh loos, generators, that sort of thing) right up to packages where pretty much everything is included. Just BYO bride, groom and guests!
Lingfield Park Resort, Lingfield
Fancy getting married at the races? At Lingfield Park on the Surrey, Sussex and Kent borders, you can. Or, you might prefer the dramatic backdrop of the racecourse, but without the crowds. Either way, Lingfield has you covered. With several ceremony spaces and event spaces that cater for intimate gatherings or big weddings with up to 450 guests. There’s also a luxury Marriott Hotel at the racecourse, so it’s just a short stumble to bed for the wedding party and guests (and the bride and groom) after the party’s over. Plus, there’s a day spa for a spot of wedding-day pampering and a golf course for those who fancy a round of golf.
Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking
If you want a romantic wedding amongst beautiful grapevines, then you can’t go past England’s biggest wine estate in the heart of the Surrey Hills. Set on 265 acres of vineyards with stunning views out over the vines, Box Hill and the North Downs, Denbies Wine Estate has everything the loved-up couple might want for their wedding day including a choice of three reception rooms and a pretty outdoor courtyard for the ceremony. Move into the candle-lit wine cellar for reception drinks, before a wedding breakfast in either the Conservatory Atrium (250 guests) or the Garden Room (up to 70 guests). As you’d expect from a wedding specialist, Denbies has a specialist wedding team to help with the planning.
Brooklands Hotel, Weybridge
Say your vows against the dramatic backdrop of the Brooklands racing circuit in the stylish and sleek surroundings of Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge. You’ve got everything under one roof, including a top-rated day spa and guest accommodation, plus a range of versatile event spaces. You’ll also have a dedicated wedding planner to help plan your day, and a dedicated host to make sure it all runs smoothly on the day. brooklandshotelsurrey.com
Every bride needs a dress and there’s a stunningly curated selection at May and Grace bridal boutique in Haslemere. The owner Emilie Crease, a former fashion designer, has put together a gorgeous selection from five handpicked international designers. If you’re not getting married in a church, you’ll need an independent ceremony celebrant – and Soozi Leeves is the girl to help you create the ceremony you’ve always dreamed of. We’re also fans of Love Me Do celebrant, Michelle, who as well as officiating, can also offer her farm in Chertsey as a venue.
For a wedding album that you’ll love forever, you’ll want something imaginative and inspired – and that’s were artistic photographer Ruth Gibbs from Life Is In The Detail comes in. Ruth is the photographer that photographers love!
We love Woking-based Flowers by Rosie Orr, who’s designed flower arrangements for top telly shows including Downton Abbey and The Crown, and chic indy florist Hannah Martin, based at Walton-on-Thames, who spent six years as events manager at top London florist McQueens and has designed for high end fashion labels and a whole host of celebs. Entertainment? Lolly and La La’s Entertainment Agency provide singers, DJs, magicians, cover bands and comedians – and they’ll only work with the best, so you’re in safe hands. One last thing, on every wedding to-do list is the wedding favours – and we’ve got that covered too thanks to Surrey company Just Because Treats which produces indulgent, gluten-free and delicious South American treats.
The Arabian Tent Company – countrywide
Based in Sussex but operating country-wide, British Wedding Award winner The Arabian Tent Company boasts the largest collection of unique marquees in the UK, all beautifully handmade in India. The most popular design, Cornish Cream, is block printed, as is the Raj Tent, while embroidered flower panels grace the Arts & Crafts-inspired William Morris. For festival-style weddings, the Mexican motifs on a cream background of Viva La Fiesta, influenced by Frida Kahlo and Day of the Dead celebrations, are a sure fire winner. Looking for something really colourful? How about a Bollywood Boudoir, Arabian Tent or Purple Palace? Sister company pearltents.co.uk meanwhile does bright, white and elegantly traditional. Both can also hire you all the trappings, from dance floors to Moroccan lanterns.
Weald & Downland Living Museum near Chichester, West Sussex
Are you a history fan, or after a rustic or back-to-nature vibe? Get wed at the Weald & Downland Living Museum where over 50 buildings spanning 950 years have been relocated and painstakingly rebuilt within parkland in the South Downs. It’s a wonderful backdrop with plenty of unique settings for photos. For the ceremony itself, there’s the Downland Gridshell, a dramatic modern building made of bent oak. Or, have a simple woodland blessing in the Roots ceremonial clearing beneath a Hornbeam tree then party the night away in a marquee erected in the Greenways Field.
The Bell, Ticehurst, East Sussex
A countryside wedding in a pretty village needn’t mean you can’t shake things up a bit. Quirkily decorated pub with rooms The Bell at Ticehurst sits close to the Kent and East Sussex border. Here you can make a brash entrance on a red carpet along a tabletop in the Stable with a Table (ideal for smaller ceremonies) then get stuck into communal feasting afterwards. Alternatively, go traditional with a formal layout in the Assembly Hall, or take the whole thing outside with up to 50 guests. Afterwards, start married life in the Love Nest, the most special of the pub’s garden cabins, where you can get steamy with a double shower and a copper bath next to a wood burner.
For a wedding as individual as you are, QQW is your go-to organiser. The initials stand for Quintessentially Quaint and Weird and the company specialises in themes from vintage to steampunk, Medieval to rockabilly, kitsch to chic! A celebrant can work with you to add those personal touches to the ceremony itself and we hear great things about Claire Bradford from Creating Ceremony – a national award winner (and self-confessed ‘incurable mushbucket’) recommended by a host of Sussex venues. For personal prep, go natural with makeup from Glow Organic or get top-to-toe spruced up by Muddy award-winners The Beauty Bar in Wadhurst. Looking for a fun hen break? Check out the Girls Go Glamping overnighters from Canvas & Stars at Chiddingly for bell tents with beds and a hot tub stint with Prosecco, or plan a day at the races at Fontwell Park or a pampering break at Park House Hotel & Spa (both also wedding venues). In Brighton, hangout in Hotel Pelirocco with its fun themed rooms and retro makeover parties, tackle Escape Game Brighton, get an afternoon tea at stylish Brighton Harbour Hotel (also a fab spa) or vintage Metro Deco, and stitch anything from bunting to, err, nipple tassels at Sew In Brighton.
Bowood Hotel, nr Calne
Oh my God, I’m going to ditch the hubby and get married again, just so I can do it here. There are acres of ornate gardens, endless views over the idyllic Wiltshire countryside, gorgeous rooms to bed down in after the main event and – major bonus – one of the best spas in the county to relax in and while away all those pre-wedding nerves. We love their outdoor Wedding Pavilion for the perfect backdrop to your special day, and the team here are hard to beat when it comes to catering for your every whim. A gorgeously romantic setting, divine food, Pimms alfresco on the lawn…it couldn’t be more perfect. Right, Mr Right. Where’ve you been hiding?
Grittleton House, Chippenham
This beautiful Victorian Manor House is truly a venue fit for a princess. Grittleton House brims with stunning features, impressive balconies, sweeping double staircase and original features, an elegance worthy of any fairy-tale. Why not get ready in the majestic drawing room and enjoy a glass of fizz before making your entrance? After the ceremony greet your guests with champagne and canapes in the Italian Gardens with plenty of opportunities for those all-important photographs. Then it’s time to tuck into your scrumptious wedding breakfast in one of the State Rooms. It’s a full-on romance fest here, ladies. Stunning grounds, venue to die for, delicious food, attentive staff…you won’t be disappointed if you throw your Big Bash here.
The devil’s in the detail and here are some outfits that get the detail right. We love Vaughan’s Kitchen for inventive catering with a twist, and Fabulous Functions for everything gorgeous and indulgent, from table centrepieces to silk flower walls to sequin table linen, no less. After a theme? They’ll even come and style the whole event for you. If you’re going retro your best bet is the wonderful Nanny Nellies Attic for vintage china and all things gorgeous and chintzy. Florist? That’ll be our Muddy Award winner Kate Robinson Flowers, with bouquets inspired by the changing seasons and the beautiful rural countryside. Photographer? Muddy favourite Photography by Sally-Anne, for gorgeous snaps with bags of character. Bubble Bar Events for a converted horsebox serving cocktails (yes, please!); Silver Fox Gin to keep your guests watered; and Charlotte Tillyer for utterly gorgeous locks on the night. And then, phew, all is confetti-d, toasted and finally done. Mr & Mrs can retreat for the night. How about Intrepid Campers for funky VW camper van hire or Wanderlust Camper Co for the perfect solution for a cool couple to rest their weary/drunken heads after the event?
Wootton Park, Henley-in-Arden, nr Stratford-upon-Avon
Relaxed, warm and romantic with a stunning lake, Wootton Park’s secluded exclusive-use wedding barn is set in 360 acres of beautiful Warwickshire countryside, landscaped gardens and woodland with panoramic views across open fields. This family-owned wedding venue offers the ultimate in rustic chic and can host weddings for up to 150 guests with a civil ceremony inside the barn or in the breathtaking outdoor lakeside ceremony space.
You can design your own flexible bespoke package here to make your day unique. One bride and her bridesmaids rowed to her ceremony across the lake to the Jaws film score and Handel’s The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba; while another couple hosted a Fete-style wedding with outdoor games and a maypole. It’s becoming ever more popular to ditch the wedding cake in favour of a brownie or doughnut stack. Instead of a wedding breakfast, wedding planners have seen a growing trend for a late ceremony with evening street food and outdoor music during reception drinks. No need to leave the venue either at the end of the night – the renovated 16th Century Farmhouse has a large Venetian-themed bridal room with a romantic star-lit barrel-vaulted ceiling and 7 en-suite guest rooms. There’s also the Bakehouse, heated Glamping pods with hot tubs, and camping so guests can take advantage of the pitch-perfect grounds.
The Stratford Park Hotel, Snitterfield, Stratford Upon Avon
One of the hottest wedding venue trends for 2019 is for stripped-back barns. The spectacular oak-beamed barn at this independent, family-owned 32-room hotel is both rustic and contemporary with its chandelier centre-pieces and exposed brickwork. Set in the idyllic Warwickshire countryside, it can accommodate up 120 guests for the civil ceremony and up to 165 in the evening. Just outside is a beautiful courtyard to the front, and a terrace to the rear so on a sunny day you can make use of space far beyond the barn itself. The courtyard is perfect for outdoor receptions, they’ve had everything from pizza vans to Prosecco bars and barbecues. There’s a “nothing off the peg” approach as the experienced wedding team pull out all the stops for your big day!
The Billesley Manor Hotel, Alcester, near Stratford-upon-Avon
If you’re looking for a truly romantic, historic and atmospheric setting for your wedding day this stately Elizabethan manor is where Shakespeare wrote As You Like It. It’s located in the same hamlet as All Saints’ – 11th century stone church where the playwright is believed to have married Anne Hathaway. Civil ceremonies can take place indoors, for up to 125 guests in one of four rooms with three dating back to the 16th Century, including the ornate Great Hall and the Stuart Restaurant. Alternatively, couples can now tie the knot outside in the Topiary Garden, with up to 80 guests, from May 2019. The 72-room hotel, which also has a spa, swimming pool and tennis courts in 11 acres of countryside, will be unveiling a new-look from May 10 following a major refurbishment. Extra-spacious luxe four-poster rooms such as the walnut-panelled, Shakespeare Suite, ooze romance and guests can even request a ‘romance upgrade’ which includes rose petal messages. The wedding package includes an in-house Master of Ceremonies, complimentary Four-Poster accommodation on your wedding night, champagne on arrival, free Leisure Club membership before the big day and a dance floor.
Amazingly, Beyonce, has been spotted wearing a ring designed by the super-talented 2018 Muddy award-winning jewellery designer Tara Osborne – which puts a whole new Warwickshire slant on her hit single, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)! Based in Ettington near Stratford-upon-Avon, she offers a bespoke service where you can share ideas or work together to make something different. Newport-born florist Hannah Bosbury of Green and Wild, in Warwick creates the most beautiful wedding blooms from boho to wild and natural and floral chandeliers. A preferred wedding supplier for the Royal Pump Rooms and Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa; The Swallows Nest Barn, Warwick; Shustoke Barn, Coleshill, and Hampton Manor, Hannah’s a big fan of British grown flowers. Warwickshire-based make-up artist Bryony Dalton, started her career 10-years ago having graduated with distinction honours in Theatrical and Special FX Artistry. Since then she’s attended the Academy of Freelance Makeup in London and been working for the likes of Bobbi Brown and Space NK in elite make-up artist roles. She now mostly specialises in weddings and was named ‘Make up Artist of the year‘ for the West Midlands at The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA) 2018.