Wedding Alternatives: Locations
As surprising as it may sound, wedding customs have changed little since the Middle Ages. Vows are exchanged, guests indulge in a feast, the cake is cut and an evening of music and alcohol-infused merriment ensues. Naturally, wedding fashions have evolved, but at the heart of matrimonial celebrations there are many traditional bridal rituals that remain honoured today. This is, of course, with one huge exception: the location.
No longer necessarily bound by the restrictions of religion, brides are free to choose if they wish to marry in church or not, or even marry in church and then extend the celebrations in a less conventional space. Either way, the world is the modern bride’s oyster.
Teaming up with fellow weddings guru Emma Hla, of Coco Wedding Venues, today we present you with our pick of the most unusual locations in which to marry, as part of our on-going blog series Wedding Alternatives. A word of warning: stunning scenery and cooler-than-cool venues will follow. Steel yourselves, brides, because things are about to get dreamy.
“Desert Chic” is gaining recognition in the weddings world, and we can see why. From the earthy colour palette to the soft, romantic quality of light at dusk, the desert gets our seal of approval from all angles.
From Chicago to London, greenhouse weddings are a winning fusion of foliage and peace of mind; perfect for nature lovers who want the effect of an outdoor wedding without the worry of potential rain. Emma of Coco Wedding Venues highlights her favourite greenhouse space: “The Barbican is so on trend right now it hurts. Botanicals, glass houses and the tropics are firmly on the wedding radar and this is the perfect venue for the 'outdoors in' vibe.”
Weddings held inside museums are nothing new, but we’re now seeing museum exteriors feature far more often, with brides embracing the hustle, bustle and architectural grandeur of the urban environment.
The great outdoors
When you can’t decide between an indoor wedding and a blessing in the forest, simply combine the two with a temporary structure amongst the trees. For an alternative angle on the landscape - and highly unusual photographs - say your vows beneath the dramatic arches of a landmark bridge.
In wine there is truth, and in cellars there are wedding breakfasts. Ideal for a South of France wedding in the height of summer, this venue keeps your guests cool and keeps the wine flowing.
Winter romance has never looked so picture-perfect: high altitude, snow-capped peaks, look-out points, vast skies and all-round smiles. The true epitome of a white wedding.
Bookworms and scholars, look no further than the dignified elegance of a library, where all the great literary love stories are archived. Awe-inspiring high-ceilings and intricate architecture make for a strong lasting impression and timeless photography.
For a daytime ceremony, the stripped-back natural beauty of ancient ruins means that little is required in the way of additional styling. Acting as an enclosure, ruins provide structure for the layout of your ceremony, a sense of magic and intrigue, and unbeatable hide-and-seek opportunities for children.
You want to get married in a church but your partner doesn’t. The solution? Asylum Chapel: the Grade II listed former chapel now used for film shoots, art exhibitions, theatre productions and of course weddings. It’s a unique space where ideologies meet, and where styles merge, and Emma explains why it remains a firm favourite on Coco Wedding Venues: “The Asylum is hauntingly beautiful - bombed in WWI, the chapel is now a blank canvas space with a pretty incredible 'alter'. I love the flexibility of this venue as it's 'dry hire' so it can be anything the couple want it to be - dramatic, simple or utterly romantic.”
Providing that vertigo isn’t an issue, there’s nothing more peaceful than a ceremony at great height, with breathtaking views, a gentle breeze and only nature as your soundtrack.
Whether it’s an abandoned warehouse or an empty loft, any space can be rediscovered and given a new lease of life with touches of your personality.
For any brides tempted by the idea of an unconventional location or venue, Emma offers the following three top tips on how not to fall at the first hurdle:
- Hire help - some unusual spaces or 'dry hire' venues can be a little daunting when it comes down to the logistics, so it's always best to seek out some assistance. From planners to stylists, just reach out and chat through your thoughts.
- Take the time to do your research - seek out directories, look on wedding blogs, search on Instagram for hidden gems. Then, book in the road trips and arm yourself with the right questions. We have a couple of articles on Coco that can help with this!
- Breathe... This is my tip to any bride taking those first steps into the wedding venue world. You probably won't find the 'perfect' venue, but you'll definitely find the one that makes your heart flutter. But in the process of searching, it's important to hold onto the fun element of this part of the planning. You'll no doubt be tackling this task with your loved one, so ensure this first tick is happy, enjoyable and stress free.