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My Top Five Fave Wedding Venues in Warwickshire

March 27, 2011

Doing what I do, I often get asked about where’s good to get married.

And while every couple have their own reasons for choosing somewhere – not least location, availability and price – I know from experience that the type of place a wedding is held really does set the tone for the occasion.

Whether formal or informal, simple or stately, Warwickshire is well blessed with array of wedding reception locations and venues served by civil ceremony licenses and frequenting them as often as I do, I’m bound to have my favourites.

So in reverse order, like all the best chart run-downs, here are my top five venues around these parts…

5. Wethele Manor

Popular wedding venue outside Leamington Spa

Wethele Manor, Weston-Under-Wetheley, near Leamington Spa (www.wethelemanor.com)

Located just outside Leamington, this has to be the venue I am booked to attend the most often and the one closest to home.

Wethele is a charming farmhouse set in a beautiful stretch of Warwickshire countryside (along with neighbouring llamas) and while it’s not the most striking building on this list, that’s more than made up for by the open grounds and the completely relaxed atmosphere created by brother and sister owners Simon and Rebecca.

Ceremonies are held in a converted barn and wedding breakfasts are held in a large marquee that opens out onto the gardens and meadow beyond. It’s perfect if the wedding party includes lots of kids and as the dancing spills out on a bright summer’s afternoon there’s really no place to beat it.

Wethele Manor wedding images by Rachel Spivey photographer

A popular venue with relaxed couples who want their guests to enjoy a fuss-free good time

4. Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall

Grand interior of Stratford Town Hall

The Town Hall, Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon (www.stratforduponavontowncouncil.com/townhall)

Obviously famous the world over for its Shakespeare connections, Stratford-upon-Avon has its Town Hall slap-bang in the middle of this historic town and offers an altogether more auspicious location.

The hall’s grand interior and New Place gardens just over the road, always make for some great images – particularly if you throw in the odd sightseeing bus and, as on one notable occasion, a hoard of Japanese tourists.

Wedding photographs in Shakespeare's Stratford by Rachel Spivey

Being in a busy town centre, a wedding at Stratford Town Hall can sometimes draw a crowd

3. Walton Hall

Barcelo Walton Hall wedding venue built in the 1500s

Barceló Walton Hall, Walton, Near Wellesbourne (www.barcelo-hotels.co.uk)

What photographer wouldn’t want to work in a location that looks like Merchant Ivory film set? The 4-star luxury country retreat Walton Hall provides just that.

It is stunning from every angle. Inside and out. When the sun is shining, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide lots of light inside the grand rooms (when it isn’t you should see the chandeliers doing their job!) and the grounds abound in formal gardens and picturesque nooks and crannies.

A stunning location to get married – Walton Hall, near Wellesbourne

While Walton Hall is gobsmackingly gorgeous, I've never had a bride be outshone by the place

2. Mallory Court

Exquisite country hotel and wedding venue, Mallory Court near Leamington Spa

Mallory Court Hotel, Harbury Lane, Leamington Spa (www.mallory.co.uk)

Providing a perfect balance between informal and ‘high class’ is the gorgeous Michelin-starred Mallory Court Hotel.

They call themselves ‘the epitome of a quintessential English country house hotel’ and I’m inclined to agree, though what sets this particular venue apart for me are the (mainly French) staff. They are always appreciative that, as a photographer, I’m there to do a job and they make sure I know the plan for the day, who all the key staff are and that I’m more that adequately fed and watered!

Chic, yet comfortable, Mallory Court provides an idea wedding location in Warwickshire

Chic, yet comfortable – Mallory Court gets the vibe just right

1. Lord Leycester Hospital

The Lord Leycester Hotel in Warwick's historic town centre

Lord Leycester Hospital, 60 High Street, Warwick (www.lordleycester.com)

Topping my list (and ironically the first wedding venue I ever shot) is the quirkily charming Lord Leycester Hospital in the middle of Warwick.

Once the home of The town’s mediaeval guilds it has been a charitable home for ex-Servicemen and their wives since the reign of Elizabeth 1, and it is the ex-soldiers who preside over proceedings as Tower of London-style ‘Yeomen Warders’ who are just one of the elements that always make a wedding here unique.

The higgledy-piggledy charm of the timber-framed buildings may not be to everyone’s tastes, but they provide a distinctive backdrop and the balcony over the enclosed courtyard makes for a great group shot. (If it was good enough for the BBC to film an episode of Doctor Who there, it’s good enough for me.)

Rachel Spivey photographs weddings at the Lord Leycester

On wedding days the buildings are closed to the public, so the party gets the place to themselves

Inside, the Guildhall and larger Great Hall are understated yet impressive with their genuine armorial touches, but hidden away around the back is the icing on the (wedding) cake – The Master’s Garden is a beautifully tended walled garden, ideal for me to sneak couples away to for some photos among the flower beds.

Inside the Guildhall and in the Master's Garden

Historic rooms, kindly old gentlemen in Beefeater hats and a secret garden – what's not to love?

If you’d like to know more about these places, please click the links. They haven’t paid me to do this, they’ve just have earned their Rachel Spivey thumbs up for being good at what they do.

Apologies if your venue is not on this list, it may be that I have yet to shoot there.

Though I am sure it’s just a matter of time before I do.

Cheers

RS x

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 12:10 am

    All these location are beautiful I have been to Town Hall in my friends wedding . the picutes were great . The location and the food was also good. I would rate this place 10/5 as per my experience . thanks for the article

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