As part of their Festival of Love and also to celebrate the year in which same-sex marriage became legal, South Bank Centre is creating the Big Wedding Weekend! No, it's not the Moonies, it's something altogether completely fabulous. All couples, gay or straight, young or old, are invited to marry, or to renew their vows, on the stage of the iconic Royal Festival Hall. This is followed by bubbly, all-day dance and entertainment, an optional wedding buffet and of course you and your guests get to enjoy the wonderful Thames-side setting. This is how it works - there will be 8 ceremonies over the weekend, each one lasting 90 minutes, with 20 couples who will all declare their vows separately in front of their family and friends. In their words "it will be an amazing, emotional and unique celebration of human love - a wedding like no other". The other big appeal, following on from our last blog about budget weddings, is that it won't cost more than £2,000 all in!! And you can even choose a package for £1,000. We think this sounds fantastic, maybe this is the future to stop spiraling wedding costs...? For more info about packages, prices and to book your slot (some are sold out already, so hurry hurry) go to Big Wedding Weekend
And if you do get married here, we'd love to hear about your experiences... we might even go along ourselves (atlhough not to get married!)
This is such a topical debate at the moment! On this week's Radio 4's You and Yours guest Kirsty Allsopp talked to host Winifred Robinson, and very firmly (almost bossily) made the point that people should not spend anything like the average £15,000 on their wedding day and instead should pour that money into a house or put it aside for a rainy day! Whilst we don't necessarily agree with the sentiment of NOT celebrating your wedding, we do think it's important to work within your own personal budget. The recent lavish celebrity weddings do send some people off on a crazy, whirlwind, money-spending spin (and if you listened to the Your and Yours programme and heard Rod Liddell's former wife Rachel Royce describing their £30,000 wedding, then you'll know what we mean (although she had no regrets, despite him leaving her three months later!!). So here are our pick of a few less expensive weddings - if you want to keep things within budget but without sacrificing the style! If you are up north, check out Southport's Bold Hotel (lead image) which is situated on one of the town's oldest and most beautiful boulevards. And down south, it's worth checking out the Antoinette Hotel in Wimbledon, a beautiful suburb in London. And even more centrally is the C&B Paternoster Square hotel, situated in the shadow of St Paul's cathedral.
We've chosen two fantastic examples of stunningly grand wedding venues - Four Seasons in Hampshire, and Oulton Hall in Yorkshire - perfect for the current (not-going-anywhere) trend of the Downton Abbey theme. Four Seasons Hotel is a beautiful Georgian manor house, seamlessly blending English country living with 21st century modernity. This 5-star gem is absolute luxury but offers various different wedding packages so not totally unaffordable! Heading up north, Oulton Hall is one of the De Vere hotels, with a sweeping driveway which is one of the grandest in Yorkshire. Again, it perfectly marries an old-world charm with swish modern interiors and only 20 minutes drive from Leeds city centre. So grab your Art Deco wedding gown, and your long-stemmed white lily bouquet and become Lady Mary for the day!
'Tis the season... and a cool way to get married...
We are entering the season of the festival but you don't have to get married at Glastonbury (pictured above) to have a festival style wedding - a 'Wedstival'. We've chosen our favourite 'festival' venues from across the country and we can guarantee that Great Aunt Bertie will be relieved that she isn't having to use a chemical toilet....
South Farm on the Cambridgeshire / Hertfordshire borders is a delightful place. Set in 20 acres of landscaped grounds and beautiful gardens surrounded by a smallholding, the main house adjoins a courtyard of lovingly restored timber framed barns (pictured below), granaries and stables. Not only that, they have a number of enchanting Romany Caravans or camping in one of our paddocks. How lovely does that sound?
A bit further north is the glorious Whetstone Gorse, set in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside, in the south of Leicester. A working farm, Whetstone Gorse offers a wide range of leisure and event facilities, including camping. Pictured below is their beautiful gardens.