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TIPS AND IDEAS FOR HISTORIC WEDDING VENUES

Natasha Jackson

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Historic wedding venues invariably offer an element of prestige, glamour and the ‘wow’ factor to couples wanting to create a truly memorable event and it is especially appealing to hosts anticipating a good proportion of out of town/country guests. But historic houses can be more expensive and with additional restrictions so it’s useful to have some idea of the what to look for. 


Inherent historic interest

A venue laced with history, elegance and an established reputation creates a topic of conversation amongst the guests and is especially interesting for overseas or regional visitors. If the venue has a landmark view or landscape, or it is a showcase of British history in some way, the advantage is even greater. Why not book a local historian to engage with guests and bring the location and history relating the house and its contents to life? For your once-in-a-lifetime celebration every element creates special memories. Be sure to ask if there are any restrictions inherent in holding your wedding in an historic house as sometimes the age of the building is a factor.

Trinity House is the home of the General Lighthouse Authority and myriad maritime paintings and artefacts are on display throughout - a local Blue Badge Guide conducts tours of the house on a regular basis and can be contracted for private weddings. As the carpet in the Court Room is the second largest single-loom in the country (after one at Windsor Castle), red wine is not allowed to be consumed in this room (only).

Location

Weddings are one of the few occasions when guests will travel great distances to attend so it’s especially important that the location is impressive with a prestigious address, whether this is rural or urban. Either way, proximity to key domestic rail and air transport links will facilitate a higher degree of acceptance. It is usually better to be able to see the landmark vista than be inside or a part of it. If the church service or registry is in a different location to the reception, it is always a good idea to arrange transportation from one to the other. 

Trinity House offers a direct view of The Tower of London from both The Library and Court Rooms and is located within a short walk of the Tower Hill underground and close to medieval churches.

The Court Room in Trinity House


Inherent theme

The décor of the venue is an important (and sometimes costly) component of the budget so choosing a venue full of beautiful works of art and antiques means less expenditure on dressing up an already ‘busy’ room. If the venue’s interior already offers a lot to intrigue and pique the interest of guests, don’t overload the senses by adding anything else other than (spectacular) floral arrangements. View the venue at the same time of day and in the same season as your proposed wedding date if possible. 

Trinity House is home to life-size paintings of royalty and illustrious personages, spectacular Trompe l’oeil ceilings, ships models and many other artefacts besides - including the brass bell from the Royal Yacht Britannia, which children delight in ringing.

What's included

Glossy brochure and website images can be deceptive and all the little extras that go into making an impression really do add up. Always confirm with your venue what is included in the venue hire charge and don’t forget, these charges invariably do NOT include VAT. Don’t be afraid to ask for complimentary access to support services and/or areas or items of interest which, after all, make that venue unique. Does the venue offer free A/V (audio/visual) equipment such as microphone/speakers? Will the venue provide an MC (Master of Ceremonies) or wedding/event supervisor? Will there be access to artefacts and treasures to dress the tables? 

Trinity House offers complimentary use of an impressive ceremonial sword to cut the wedding cake; includes use of leather crested chairs and quality tables, and always includes the close supervision of a senior wedding manager on site who can, on request and given sufficient notice, act informally as an MC.

Preferred suppliers

Most historic venues will offer a selection of preferred caterers and suppliers, and it really is important to choose from this list. Working with a company whose team know the venue inside and out will not only make planning easier but will also ensure that every idea is achievable. If possible, it’s a good idea to visit the venue with your wedding photographer. Being able to view the space with a creative professional eye will help ensure that your vision of your special day will be captured in that way. Inspect the venue and view the setting at the same time as the proposed event so that optimum lighting requirements can be organised…this also ensures a sufficient amount of time is allocated on the day to get all the shots of the bridal party in the best setting(s).

Trinity House has several distinct locations for bridal photography and the tall south-facing sash windows allow maximum natural light; there is the added bonus of access to Trinity Square Gardens just outside the house.

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