19th September 2018
Tips for choosing your perfect wedding venue in Bath
Choosing a wedding venue is a bit like buying a new home. You have a budget and a rough idea of what you want, but when you find the right one, you’ll know.
Bath is a wonderful place to get married. From historic city centre venues such as the Assembly Rooms, to beautiful stately homes in the surrounding Somerset countryside, you are spoilt for choice in Georgian Bath.
Which type of venue you choose will be guided by personal taste but also by what type of wedding you want. Are you looking for a rustic setting, a grand residence or something completely different? Do you want to stamp your own mark on your wedding, or are you looking for one venue that provides all the services you need?
Questions to consider before looking at venues might be:
What’s your approach to your wedding?
Consider how much you want to do yourselves before you begin your venue search. Some venues may provide just a space for the wedding, while others may offer a full range of services. A full-service venue might make planning the wedding far easier, but you may have less opportunity to design it your way.
How is the space used at the venue?
Some venues rely on one main room for all parts of the wedding day - ceremony, wedding breakfast, and reception. Guests may be moved to another area while the room is being changed, so this is something to ask about when viewing potential venues.
How long will it take to travel between venues?
Many couples have more than one venue to attend during their wedding day. This might be a church ceremony followed by a reception elsewhere. Bear in mind the distance between venues and how long it will take you, and your guests, to travel between them. Consider also where you and your partner will be getting ready in the morning, as this may create another journey. Lots of travelling, and potential traffic jams, can add stress to the day.
Where will you stay the night before the wedding?
It is worth asking about accommodation options when visiting potential venues. Some have fantastic rooms for you to stay in - and your whole wedding party, if you so choose. Staying at the ceremony venue does offer some distinct advantages: you have longer to get ready, there is no travelling to do in the morning, and you may get a great backdrop for your ‘getting ready’ photos!
Here’s my guide to some notable venues that I’ve shot at in Bath and the immediate surrounds:
Bath city centre
Bath’s Roman history and stunning Georgian architecture can create a fantastic wedding setting. Early evening sunshine on Bath stone and opulent Georgian interiors can work brilliantly in wedding photography.
If you’re considering the Roman Baths for your big day, you can choose between a sunset or sunrise ceremony, as the Baths are open to the public during the day. I recently photographed a wedding here in the morning and the couple followed this with a boat trip from the city centre and then back to the beautiful Pump Rooms for the evening reception.
For even more Georgian grandeur, why not consider the Assembly Rooms, a series of elegant rooms that were frequented by Bath’s fashionable elite in the late 1700s.
In recent years, the local council has gained licences for many of the city’s beautiful parks, creating a number of new outdoor wedding venues, such as the bandstand or the Temple of Minerva in Royal Victoria Park.
City hotels can make practical venues for weddings and receptions. Consider how the space will be used on your big day, if there is any outdoor space and what the venue interior may look like as the backdrop for your photos. The beautiful Royal Crescent Hotel, in one of Bath’s most prestigious addresses, is a stunning boutique hotel with a fabulous garden and the wonderful crescent lawn right outside - perfect for wedding photographs.
Around Bath - Stately homes
Bath is surrounded by beautiful countryside, idyllic villages and some wonderful stately homes. Hamswell House in the Cotswolds, on the borders of Somerset and Gloucestershire, is set in 50 acres of gardens. I like it simply because it is is a beautiful setting. The venue offers a ceremony in the Orangery and a marquee reception in the grounds, and you truly feel that it’s all yours.
Another well-established setting is OrchardLeigh House in Frome. This big stately home now offers outdoor ceremonies in its Italian walled garden, followed by a reception in a light, bright airy room overlooking the garden. Orchardleigh offers great options for staying the night before or after your wedding. They even have a village within the grounds of the main house, which provides the option of having your wedding party stay all in one place.
Guyers House, in between Box and Corsham is another lovely house with a beautiful garden with accommodation options for your wedding guests.
Around Bath - countryside settings
If you’re after a rural wedding that you can make your own mark on, Court Farm at Standerwick is a great venue. With a fantastic barn and lots of space, you can choose from lots of options to create that perfect rustic, farm vibe.
I can’t complete this post with mentioning Priston Mill, situated between Bath and Bristol. It is memorable for me as my wife and I got married here in 2010. I have captured many weddings here since then and it’s a popular choice, due to its lovely rural setting but close proximity to Bath. It also offers good food, and you can choose from two settings, the water mill or the tythe barn.
Finally, Wick Farm, just outside Bath, is medieval farm converted to a wedding venue with two barns and lots of scope to personalise your wedding.
Venues with a difference
If you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, you might want to consider the Little Theatre Cinema. Offering a retro, 1930s vibe with an art deco interior, you can have your ceremony with a film screen backdrop, followed by popcorn and fizz. Take advantage of the location of the cinema; right outside the door is the famous Cross Bath. You can even put your own movie posters up outside the venue.
If you’re really after some wow factor and you want a church ceremony, you could choose Bath Abbey. As you walk out, find yourself at the centre of attention as you step into Bath’s busy tourist crowds in the Abbey churchyard!
Check my website again soon for my next blog post in this tips series and get in touch if you’d like to speak to me about photographing your wedding.