London is scattered with fabulously quirky wedding venues from grand, historic buildings to unexpected, hidden treasures. And if chosen wisely these locations can really pack a welcome punch to your big day… with very little effort on your behalf (my kind of wedding planning!).
So following on from my article on Harrow School, we travel into the heart of the city to explore a site that you probably never imaged could be a wedding venue.
What is it called? Wellington Arch
Where is it? On the north-west side of Hyde Park, just a couple of minutes away from Hyde Park Corner station. You’d struggle to find a location any more central than this, unless of course you were following in the footsteps of Kate Middleton and tying the knot in Westminster Abbey.
Ceremony or reception? Reception.
Some history, please: This imposing structure was designed in 1825 by Decimus Burton [you’ve gotta love that name!] for two purposes – to act as an outer entrance to Buckingham Palace and as a monument of victory to mark Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. It was completed in 1828, but was dismantled 55 years later and relocated 20 meters away to help ease the traffic around the park.
The original crowing statue of the Duke of Wellington was replaced with Peace Descending on the Quadriga of War, which remains the largest bronze statue in the UK.
Why this one? Imagine a lovely ceremony at a London church or town hall, followed by a ride for the wedding party on a quirky red routemaster, which eventually pulls up outside Wellington Arch. The expressions on the guests’ faces are guaranteed to be struck with surprise (in a good way!); no one would ever expect a wedding reception to take place within the walls of this majestic masterpiece.
After dinner, invite guests up to the balcony of the arch and sip some bubbles while taking in views of Westminster and the park at sunset – the knowledge that few others are ever likely to enjoy that same vista will make the experience all the more special.
If you are after somewhere pretty for your wedding snaps what could be better than London’s ultimate back garden – Hyde Park?
What’s on offer? This is ultimately a very intimate venue, and perfect for those who want to splash out on a smaller number of guests. The venue has a capacity of 80 people for drinks and 36 people for dining.
What’s the damage? + = Somewhere in between!
Wellington Arch is available to hire through English Heritage all year round, seven days a week, during the daytime for £2,500. The evening hire price will set you back a little more at £3,500 (this is excluding VAT).
Anything else you need to know? Caterers (as well as florists and entertainment) must be booked through the venue’s approved list of suppliers, and they have a comprehensive list of high end companies that serve a range of cuisines. There are no budget options here, but as your numbers are smaller, you may find the budget stretches a little further per head.