If I had to choose just one of the many reasons why celebrant-led weddings are so fantastic, I'd definitely mention wedding venues. You see, with a celebrant-led ceremony, you can choose any venue you like. It doesn't need to be licensed for civil ceremonies, you don't have to worry about the availability of a registrar and, without these restrictions, the world is your wedding venue oyster.
Coco Wedding Venues has to be your new best friend when you're searching for your venue. It's stylish, easy to use and I love the venue categories too. Coco also lists lots of venues that don't have licenses and are perfect for celebrant-led ceremonies. Here are ten of my favourite locations for weddings that prove that not having a wedding licence is absolutely not a problem...
1. STANSTEAD BURY
Oooh yes, Stanstead Bury in Hertfordshire is an absolute jewel. It's a gorgeous Grade II listed manor house that makes the most gorgeous backdrop for a marquee or tipi wedding. I love the fact that you can bring your pets and work with your choice of suppliers to make your day super personal.
2. HEATHFIELD HOUSE
Dorset's Heathfield House is pretty much the country house that you've always dreamed about. It's perfect for intimate weddings and you can hire the whole estate for a truly exclusive event. Enjoy your own 300 acres on the fringe of the New Forest that comes with a private chef, waiting staff and full housekeeping.
3. WILLINGTON LODGE
Heading a little further afield now, we whiz up to Shropshire and Willington Lodge. Surrounded by walled gardens, ponds, stables and picturesque fields, this luxurious bed & breakfast is perfect for a celebrant-led wedding. It's warm, friendly and the Morris family who own the Lodge are just the best hosts.
4. FERN & FIELD
If you've been dreaming about an outdoor ceremony then Fern & Field is likely to be just what you've imagined. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the High Weald of Kent, Fern & Field host a limited number of weddings every year so that the working farm is protected but my goodness, those bluebells...
5. WISE WEDDING VENUE
You'll find Wise Wedding Venue tucked in 10 acres of established oak and silver birch trees (I swoon!). There are ceremony-perfect clearings tucked among the trees but it might just be the treehouse that steals your heart. Wise Wedding Venue is the most wonderful escape from the everyday.
If you're looking for a London vibe then Area might be just the spot for you. This blank canvas venue in the heart of creative Shoreditch has room for up to 150 guests and space for you to do just what you want. The huge windows overlook a private courtyard oasis and there's also a dedicated events team on hand to help you out.
7. GLYNDE PLACE
Just a stone's through from Brighton and Lewes, Glynde Place in Sussex sits at the foot of the beautiful South Downs. You've got space for up to 200 lucky guests and Glynde Place simply ooze old school elegance. The spaces indoors that could be available for your celebrant-led ceremony are just heaven.
Oh how I love Beagle. This tip-top venue sits under three restored Victorian railway arches just next to Hoxton overground station. There are four indoor spaces for weddings and a great outdoor heated terrace that features a retractable roof! Beagle has scooped a host of awards since opening and it's easy to see why.
9. KNEPP CASTLE ESTATE
Home to free-roaming animals and natural beauty, Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex is the thing that wild weddings dreams are made of. You can pitch up to 10 bell tents in the grounds too for your guests and who knows, you might have a few extra visitors in the form of deer or an Exmoor pony or two.
10. FIRLE PLACE
An absolutely gorgeous private estate, Firle Place in East Sussex is a truly memorable venue for your wedding. You've got oodles of options for your ceremony (and reception) so all you need to do is choose between the lawns, orchards, 18th Century herb garden and, of course, the historic house itself.