Garden wedding venues: the best places to have an outdoor wedding
From botanical gardens to fairytale woodland, we recommend the best garden wedding venues for you to have the perfect licensed outdoor wedding. Lead photograph Ruby Walker
Surely there can be a no more romantic setting for saying your wedding vows than a beautiful garden, surrounded by mature trees and sweet-scented blooms?
Many betrothed couples are seeking alternatives to an indoor wedding, preferring to have their wedding ceremony in outdoor wedding venues with a scenic backdrop. While celebrant-led ceremonies are a great option for an outdoor wedding (these are ceremonies conducted by a self-employed celebrant and can take place in any setting), they are not a legal marriage or civil partnership ceremony. The couple would have to have a separate ceremony conducted by a registrar or religious official for their marriage to be deemed legal.
Fortunately, in recent years licensed outdoor weddings have become an increasingly viable option in the UK, with venues building permanent garden structures, such as gazebos, pergolas – even bandstands – to host a licensed outdoor ceremony.
Many of these garden wedding venues have wonderful backdrops for confetti-throwing and group photos, and provide lawn games and other entertainment for guests. Some venues have an on-site florist that can provide your floral displays, and many have excellent back-up options for the ceremony if the weather doesn't behave on the day, which, in the UK, is an understandable thing to worry about.
From historic walled gardens to fairytale woodland, we recommend the best garden wedding venues for you to have the perfect outdoor wedding.
The best outdoor wedding venues in the UK
Outdoor wedding venues in the south west
The stunning approach to Pencarrow House is a mile-long drive flanked by rhododendrons, camellias and blue hydrangeas. You can tie the knot under the wisteria-clad Arbour then enjoy the surroundings of the Grade II listed gardens.
In the walled garden is a permanent marquee – a traditional canvas tent with hand block-printed lining, lit up with twinkling lights. For a touch of boho festival chic there are lit areas in the gardens and woods, and guests can camp on the estate overnight.
Pencarrow House, Bodmin PL30 3AG; weddingsatpencarrow.com
Temple of Minerva Botanical Gardens, Bath
Tucked away in tranquil botanical gardens in the romantic city of Bath, you'll find the Temple of Minerva (pictured in top photo). This replica Roman temple is licensed for up to 35 guests inside, and if you open up the triple doors this allows for an additional 65 people on the terrace. The Temple has underfloor heating, so is suitable for year-round celebrations.
After the ceremony guests can gather on the lawn for confetti throwing, lawn games and prosecco, then wander among the gardens with its Victorian plant collections, stunning pool and unusual trees.
Temple of Minerva, Royal Victoria Park, Marlborough Ln, Bath BA1 2NQ; heritageparkweddings.co.uk
Outdoor wedding venues in the south east
Notley Abbey, Buckinghamshire
This historic country house on the Buckinghamshire-Oxfordshire border was once the home of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. The outdoor ceremony takes place in the Walled Garden, which features a licensed ‘nook’ in the wall where the registrars sit. Parts of the Walled Garden are ruins of the old Abbey, which was dissolved by Henry VIII during the Reformation.
There's also the option of having your ceremony in the new wedding gazebo, on the lawn alongside the River Thames.
Notley Abbey, Aylesbury Rd, Haddenham, Long Crendon, Aylesbury HP17 8TN; bijouweddingvenues.co.uk
Wasing Park, Berkshire
On this 18th-century parkland in the Berkshire countryside you can say your vows in the Victorian summerhouse, which is beautifully hand painted with flowers, cherry trees, birds and butterflies. Following the ceremony guests can enjoy drinks and canapés on the lawns or in the glass-walled Garden Room, before dining in the Grade II listed Castle Barn.
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Next to the venue is the estate's boutique guest accommodation, which features a honeymoon suite and 25 guest bedrooms.
Wasing Park, Wasing Ln, Reading RG7 4NG; wasing.co.uk
Hockering House, Norfolk
The beautiful gardens and parkland of Hockering House are just 15 minutes from the centre of Norwich. Licensed ceremonies can take place under a pergola adorned with flowers backdropped by elegant topiary, or in an enchanting woodland glade, with straw bales for guests' seating.
The venue has its own glamping site – fully equipped bell tents are available for guests that wish to stay overnight, or they're welcome to pitch their own tent.
Hockering House, Heath Road, Hockering, Norwich, NR20 3J; hockeringhouse.co.uk
Outdoor wedding venues in central England
The Walled Garden, Nottinghamshire
This Victorian walked garden is situated in 135 acres of glorious parkland. The ceremony takes place in the converted greenhouse, its back wall lined with rambling roses. Tulips line the raised wall in spring and flowers bloom throughout summer in the lower beds.
Hidden behind a line of pleached hornbeams is the Georgian style marquee, which can accommodate up to 220 guests for your post-ceremony celebrations. The ceremony can also be held in here if the weather is bad on the day.
The Walled Garden at Beeston Fields, Old Drive Wollaton Rd, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 3DA; walledgardennottingham.co.uk
Wootton Park, Warwickshire
The lakeside ceremony area of this wedding venue is incredibly scenic – backdropped by landscaped grounds, hills and woods. After the ceremony there are lots of idyllic features for photo opportunities, including the island bridge, tree swing and lush flower beds.
Guests can be accommodated in the farmhouse, glamping pod and campsite. There's also the option to book the farmhouse for the night before your wedding, so you can start your special day with soak in the hot tub.
Wootton Park, Wootton Wawen, Henley-in-Arden B95 6HJ; woottonparkweddings.co.uk
Pendrell Hall, Staffordshire
This Victorian country house has six acres of grounds, with immaculate lawns surrounded by lush planting and mature trees. The ceremony takes place on an elevated ornate bandstand, which you can have decorated with flowers of your choice.
After the ceremony guests can enjoy the walled gardens and Victorian landscaping, and play garden games on the lawn. Perhaps you'd like to arrange a group photo or confetti throwing in front of the fountain?
Pendrell Hall, Codsall Wood, Staffordshire WV8 1QP; pendrellhall-venue.co.uk
Outdoor wedding venues in the north of England
The Old Swan Hotel, North Yorkshire
You'll find this charming Victorian hotel in a quiet part of the spa town of Harrogate – its illustrious guests have included crime writer Agatha Christie, who stayed here in the 1920s.
Wedding ceremonies take place in the romantic Garden Pavilion, with guests seated on sashed chairs on the immaculate lawn. After the ceremony you can mingle in the garden for receptions drinks and canapés, before enjoying a wedding breakfast in the Garden Room or the glass-ceilinged Wedgwood Restaurant.
There is a bridal suite in the hotel, and four-poster bedrooms for your guests.
The Old Swan, Swan Road, Harrogate HG1 2SR; classiclodges.co.uk
Newton Hall, Northumberland
This Georgian country estate on the Northumberland coast offers a stunning array of choices for an outdoor wedding ceremony. You can say your vows on the Terrace, which has a retractable roof, or on the Wedding Hill, which has glorious panoramic views.
For a remarkable indoor option there is the chapel, which was recently discovered within the original glass house and has been restored to its former glory. The plants and vines that kept it hidden for so long have been cut back to make a lush indoor garden, and next to the altar is a waterfall that cascades down ancient rocks.
Newton Hall, Newton by the Sea, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 3DZ; newton-hall.com
Outdoor wedding venues in Wales
Talhenbont Hall, Gwynedd
The setting for Talhenbot's outdoor ceremony is spectacular – an amphitheater style terrace overlooking woodland and the river Dwyfach. After the ceremony guests can enjoy champagne and canapés on the vast lawns and pose for photos by the quirky Mandarin summer house.
This beautiful area of North Wales has been awarded dark sky status, so be prepared for incredible starry skies after the sun has gone down.
Talhenbont Hall, Chwilog, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 6SZ; talhenbonthall.co.uk
Llandough Castle Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
This 14th-century fortified manor house is surrounded by four acres of beautiful gardens, including a croquet lawn – where the wedding ceremony takes place – potager, pond and tranquil woodland. In bad weather, there's the option of having the ceremony in the Victorian Orangery.
If you wish you can use the in-house florist to create your bespoke florals using locally grown seasonal flowers.
Llandough, Cowbridge CF71 7LZ; llandoughcastle.co.uk
Outdoor wedding venues in Scotland
Myres Castle, Fife
On this 44-acre estate you'll find a walled garden, maze and a 16th-century castle – surely the dreamiest setting for an outdoor wedding. Ceremonies can take place in the Vatican Garden under the shade of a copper beech tree, or on the front lawn, backdropped by the castle. In bad weather, a tented canopy can be erected to protect you from the elements.
The castle has 10 double bedrooms, and the Gate Lodge can sleep up to four people.
Myres Castle, Station Rd, Auchtermuchty, Cupar KY14 7EW; myrescastle.co.uk
Taypark House, Dundee
Situated in Dundee's elegant West End, Taypark House is a former Scots Baronial mansion house, surrounded by stunning mature gardens with views of the Botanical Gardens, River Tay and distant hills of Fife.
After your outdoor wedding ceremony you can sample some the finest gins from around the world in the rustic outdoor Gin Bar. The venue has recently converted their stables to accommodate up to 120 guests for a delectable wedding breakfast.
Taypark House, 484 Perth Rd, Dundee DD2 1LR; tayparkhouse.co.uk
Looking for romantic places to pop the question? Here's our guide.
Abigail is a freelance writer and editor based in Hereford.
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