So it's happened! He (or she or you!) proposed! After months or even years of will-they/won't they, you welled up with tears at the sight of your perfect person on one knee or at the top of a mountain or in a beautiful restaurant or just at home when the moment struck in the middle of the living room, there was a ring or maybe not a ring but there were definitely words and a question asked and all your remember is nodding furiosuly and thinking 'I need to call my mum!!!'
In the days to follow you proceed to buy stacks of wedding magazines, book to attend dozens of fairs and Pinterest the crap out of your future table decorations. But before you buy the dress and begin the endless argument over the guest list (including whether or not to include children, see my previous post here), you have to make some very basic decisions:
WHERE and WHEN.
Everything else is just details but until you choose your location and date, you'll be spinning your wheels.
One of the biggest early fantasies of every newly engaged couple is the idea of sneaking off to a beautiful remote Mediterranean island with just your best friends...
It's a beautiful idea, we're all swooning with the romance of it and for you lucky brides that manage to do this, I'm in complete awe of you! It's the dream! (and may I introduce myself once again, I'm Kate, I'm a wedding photographer and I'm willing to travel ;) )
However, for many of us, due to finances or family obligations or a fear of flying or any multitude of reasons, we find ourselves sticking slightly closer to home.
So then the challenge becomes creating a day as unique as one on a private Mediterranean island but on our own special little island, right here in the UK (or in your home state or province or country). There are so many options for creative venues, interesting barns or listed buildings, teepees in fields or medieval churches in forgotten villages...you don't necessarily need to stay close to home just because you're not travelling abroad!
If you're interested in an intimate beach wedding, why not opt for a 19th-century windmill on the eastern coast of England, just steps from one of the most beautiful untouched beaches and a short walk from the seaside village of Blakeney?
Cley Windmill located in idyllic Cley-next-the-sea on the stunning Norfolk coast is such a place and can accomodate weddings ranging in size from just the two of you to twenty-two guests...the size of the place keeps the day super intimate and so so special. Plus the food is GORGEOUS.
Small and intimate not your style? What about something a bit bigger, a bit more traditional, perhaps a bit spookier? Samlesbury Hall, located in Preston, Lancs., is reknown for being one of the most haunted places in Britain! The main building dates back to 1325 and is maintained by a local charity. The Great Hall can be trasnformed for up to 120 guests for a truly spectacular ceremony and their team has all the bases covered in terms of providing everything you may need (including the option of a hog roast in the evening!)! There are even Eco-pods for camping to add an extra quirk for your guests!
Want to split the difference between tiny and massive? Excited for a big house party with your nearest and dearest? Look no further than Didsbury House Hotel, a luxury Victorian townhouse that can be hired completely, with your guests taking over all 27 rooms! Part of the Eclectic Hotels Group, weddings here are run by true professionals and you can relax knowing that it's all taken care of!
The point is that there are thousands of wedding venues with so many options within driving distance that will not break the bank or leave you worrying about finding something that fits your own personal style. With a little digging and a lot of imagination, your backyard (even literally, why not?!) can offer everything you need. The most important part of choosing your venue is recognising that feeling, that magic that takes over when you walk into a space and know that those vows are going to ring out loud and true in front of the people that love you most in the world.