Okay, okay – so your dreams of getting marred a la Prince William and Kate Middleton are probably never going to come true – after all, Westminster Abbey is a bit out of reach for the average Joe and Jane. But you can, if you wish, steal their date (April 29, 2011), her ring (find copies here) and even experience your own romantic English wedding in one of several “royalty-approved” locations.
Bride On Board
A serving RAF officer, Prince William could have married immersed in military heritage. Handily located in the heart of London, HMS Belfast can accommodate 350 guests with plenty of space on the quarterdeck for speeches and dancing and splendid views of Tower Bridge and the London skyline.
A Greener Groom
A choice certain to please the father of the groom, His Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales, the Eden Project offers eco-friendly weddings with food sourced from local suppliers. Happy couples can choose from a ceremony among the lush foliage at the very top of the Rainforest Biome or in the gallery overlooking the grounds; in the evening the Mediterranean Biome can be lit with low lights that create the illusion of thousands of stars across the biome canopy.
Nothing makes the monarchy look better than being reminded of the follies of their predecessor – and there are few grander follies than the Brighton Pavilion, built for the extravagant George IV. Weddings take place in the Red Drawing Room, while photos can be taken outside in the beautiful Regency gardens.
Back to Basics
A Royal Couple getting married in a pub? Unlikely we know (although it was good enough for Kate Winslet) but for those choosing to keep it simple, The Fleece Inn – a 15th century inn in the Cotswolds is the perfect choice. The ceremony takes place in a cosy 16th century thatched barn, with the centuries-old joys of a traditional English pub for the reception.
A Holy Enjoyable Day
The joy of seeing the paparazzi wading around as the tide comes in would no doubt have added to the general air of bliss if the royal wedding were to take place at Holy Island in Northumberland. The fairytale castle of Lindisfarne would make a dream backdrop for any ceremony, steeped in history and once owned by Sir Edward Lutyens.
A Castle of Course
For sheer grandeur, a wedding located at Highclere Castle in Kent offers the options of either a marquee in the grounds, or a ceremony inside the house – with a spectacularly dramatic staircase for the bride to sweep down.
In Vino Veritas
A celebratory glass or two is integral to a successful wedding – so what better place to hold the ceremony than at a vineyard? Denbies Vineyard, in the heart of the beautiful Surrey hills, can arrange weddings surrounded by 265 acres of vines, with pre-reception drinks held in the atmospheric candlelit cellars.
A Coastal Celebration
Steeped in royal history, Pendennis Castle was built in the 1540’s on the orders of Henry VIII, and has protected the Cornish coast from invasion for five centuries. The circular fort is a spectacular wedding location, set high on a headland with panoramic views across the sea and several different room options, holding up to 160 people.
A Light Touch
Dungeness? No we’re not crazy. Climbing a spiral staircase to a circular room with panoramic views out to sea is surely romantic enough for even the royal couple. Dungeness Lighthouse in Kent is an unusual venue for a truly unique wedding, with space for thirty people at bridge level and just ten in the Gallery.
What could be more perfect for an English wedding than a flower-filled garden – and gardens don’t come much more idyllic than the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship Wisley in Surrey. Wedding guests can enjoy a private tour of the garden and an evening reception in the Conservatory.
What do you think about these English wedding location suggestions? Do you have another favorite? Leave it in the comments, below.
[Image via Flickr user Peter Rivera]