Your own dream wedding

Lena and Chopper Cookson
Lena and Chopper Cookson. May the force be with them…

Everyone wants their wedding to be an ‘out of this world’ experience, but for some couples that may become a reality as Virgin Galactic are taking bookings for the first weddings in space.

However, if the thought of a gravity-defying wedding isn’t quite up your street, there’s an abundance of fun and interesting venues right on our doorstep. Thanks to the Marriage Act of 1994 which allowed marriages to be held in any premises approved by the council, couples can get married in a whole range of locations from the weird and wacky to majestic stately homes. One British couple even got married in their local McDonalds where they met, whilst Star Wars fanatic Yorkshire lad Chopper Cookson married his Russian bride Lena in Amsterdam dressed as a Stormtrooper and Lena, a sexy Darth Vader, the possibilities are endless.

For those couples wanting to take the plunge and have a truly memorable wedding, The Sea Life Centre in Blackpool may have just the answer. Couples can choose to marry in front of the tanks or in full diving attire in the Shark Tank. Or if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground but still want a touch of nature, The Wellbeing Farm in Bolton may be more to your taste. Fun and quirky, weddings take place in a barn surrounded by animals including llamas. Or, for those wanting to talk a walk on the wild side without compromising on splendour, Oakfield House situated in Chester Zoo may be the perfect option. Get married in their stunning Victorian mansion before embarking on an evening safari where guests can visit over four hundred exotic species.

Marriage is often considered the start of a long and prosperous journey, so it’s not surprising that many couples are choosing to start that at The East Lancashire Railway where thousands of journeys have begun. With gleaming steam engines and the option of dining upon a private Pullman carriage, the railway offers a memorable and quirky wedding experience. They have a range of packages available from Wedding Breakfasts in a 1920’s observation saloon to Railway Receptions at the Bury Transport Museum, home to the railways very own real ale bar. The railway has a lot to offer couples on their big day.

Love Lights The Way
Love Lights The Way

Or if you prefer to travel by boat, the Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre in Huddersfield may be the perfect location. The longest canal tunnel in Britain, Standedge takes you beneath the beautiful Pennine countryside and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. Able to accommodate 200 guests, the room is a blank canvas meaning you can decorate however you please giving ultimate flexibility whilst still remaining unique.

For couples with an appreciation for art, most art galleries also offer weddings including The Hepworth at Wakefield. The perfect place for the modern wedding, couples can get married in amongst world-class 20th century modern art and contemporary exhibitions. With a variety of stunning backdrops including a waterfront, boatyard and historic mill, and a dedicated wedding team, The Hepworth can create a truly personal wedding experience. The Manchester Art Gallery also offers an unforgettable setting for couples wanting to get married, hiring out its famous Gallery 11 so they can marry surrounded by paintings by artists such as Lowry and Valette.

For couples looking for a more metropolitan feel without losing the uniqueness of their venue, there’s a number of options in Manchester including Hope Mill Theatre which, situated in an old mill offers an industrial chic with theatrical flair, All Star Lanes which offers guests the chance to partake in a bowling tournament or for something truly wild, The Manchester Museum where guests can choose to get married under the watchful eye of Stan the T-Rex.

Love on the rocks at The Devonshire Fell
Love on the rocks at The Devonshire Fell

However, not all couples want to get married in weird or edgy venues, but that doesn’t mean they have to settle for a venue any less spectacular. The north has a range of stunning country houses, hotels and mills to get married in, many of which belong to James’ Places. Venues such as the beautiful Mitton Hall in Whalley and Holmes Mill in Clitheroe offer bespoke weddings with legendary attention to detail and host wedding fairs year round.

“Not all couples want to get married in weird or edgy venues, but that doesn’t mean they have to settle for a venue any less spectacular”

For those wanting a true country wedding, Bartle Hall is the perfect choice. Set in 16 acres of Lancashire countryside, the charming and characterful mansion offers the perfect setting. Over the border in Yorkshire, Devonshire Fell in Burnsall, Skipton offers stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales combined with city chic in their sixteen bedroom, Edwardian hotel. Also in Yorkshire, Bolton Abbey’s Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa offers a variety of options from Marquee weddings to Winter weddings and high end ‘Duchess’ weddings, there’s an option for every type of couple.

With a memorable venue for every taste finding one in the north to suit you shouldn’t be hard and with a venue secured, thoughts may drift to how to decorate it. Full of bright ideas on this front are Love Lights the Way who specialise in offering lighting solutions including light up letters that can spell any word. There’s one thing for sure, no matter where you choose to get married in the north, the photos are going to be spectacular.

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