There’s little more romantic than getting married with the sea for a backdrop – here we round up the best places to do just that. Words: Madeleine Barber
WHY HERE? This out-of-the-ordinary venue caters for the cool and the quirky. It offers drinks receptions on the beach, picnics in the sand dunes, and grand decoration throughout.
THE CEREMONY Outdoor options include Wedding Hill and the Wedding Terrace. Indoors, get married in The Glass House or the heart of this venue, The Hall. True beach-lovers can wed on the Northumberland shoreline too.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Newton Hall provides ceremonies for up to 150 guests, wedding breakfasts for 150 and evening celebrations for 250.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Fantastic! Options include a fish-and-chip feast, barbecue on the beach, Northumbrian hog roast, or themed menus such as a Mad Hatter’s tea party. Drinks provided are local and artisan.
WHAT DOES IT COST? From £2,930 for a midweek wedding with a minimum of 30 guests, including food and drinks.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit newton-hall.com.
WHY HERE? Tunnels Beaches is nestled in rugged Devonshire cliffs, completely secluded and on a private beach. A paved patio surrounded by a wooden fence gives off a sweetly rustic vibe.
THE CEREMONY Couples can choose a thatched gazebo overlooking the sea, a contemporary function room or a network of hard-carved tunnels inside.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Invite 88 guests in the day and 130 in the evening.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Think beach barbecue, but prepared by a gourmet chef and without the burnt food and sandy salads.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Venue hire prices start from £2,250. The guide price for an all-inclusive wedding in low season is £8,500.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit tunnelsbeaches.co.uk.
Photo: Matt Fryer
WHY HERE? To have the golden shore at your fingertips. Spend the evening of your wedding watching the sun set on the horizon while dancing on the sand to the roar of the ocean.
THE CEREMONY Take your vows in the conservatory-style Compass Suite before filing down to the beach terrace for an alfresco blessing.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? The Compass Suite holds 100 guests during the day and 150 for evening celebrations.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Guests can fill their tums with fresh seafood, meat and vegetarian options, or opt for a beach barbecue menu.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Suite hire costs £450, or packages start from £51 per person, including complimentary accommodation for the happy couple.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit fjbhotels.co.uk.
Photo: Digitally Different
WHY HERE? This 15th-century castle resides in 3,000 acres of grounds, overlooks a seven-mile beach, and at the right time of year, offers views of the Northern Lights.
THE CEREMONY Marry in Sinclair Palace, a beamed hall with grand entrance, bar and catering kitchen, before celebrating in the historic Great Hall or Drawing Room.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Invite 180 guests to the ceremony.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? An example menu offers hand-dived scallops, Scottish beef Wellington and a trio of desserts. Alternatively, work with the head chef to create a bespoke selection of dishes. Ackergill Tower also has its own private pub: The Smugglers’ Inn.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices start from £95 per person, which is for the Lace Wedding package.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit amazingvenues.co.uk.
LA GRANDE MARE
Guernsey, Channel Islands
WHY HERE? Receptions at La Grande Mare are just a stone’s throw from the beach on the north coast of the island.
THE CEREMONY La Grande Mare doesn’t offer space for ceremonies, but it recommends a service at St Joseph’s Church, a short trip from the hotel.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Utilising the conservatory, up to 200 guests.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Couples can choose dishes from a menu of 43, including a host of seafood options, British meat and vegetarian feasts.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices start from £49.50pp, which includes room hire, food and accommodation for newlyweds.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit lagrandemare.com.
WHY HERE? With vistas of Padstow’s pretty harbour to one side and the azure Camel Estuary to the other, brides and grooms choosing this grand Victorian hotel are spoilt for choice when it comes to wedding photo backdrops. The Metropole offers a 25 per cent discount on room hire for couples booking their ceremony and wedding breakfast here.
THE CEREMONY Choose from the Drawing Room with its period fireplace, the Estuary Room or the Harbour Suite.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? The Metropole can cater for up to 104 daytime guests and 120 guests in the evening.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Select a pre-order set menu or a menu from which guests can choose between two choices on the day. Typical options include local crab, Cornish duck and lemon tart with mini meringues.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Room hire from £250; wedding breakfast from £200
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit the-metropole.co.uk.
Loch Goil, Argyll & Bute
WHY HERE? Laws in Scotland mean that couples can get married almost anywhere. Choose The Lodge for small but beautiful and intimate weddings surrounded by tree-peppered mountains and the still waters of sea-Loch Goil.
THE CEREMONY Settings to tie the knot include the shores of the loch, the Orangery, or inside the Arts and Crafts room beside a roaring fire. After the ceremony, wedding breakfasts can be hosted in the dining room, conservatory or quirky treehouse.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Perfect for smaller weddings, the lodge caters for 2 to 70 guests.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Ingredients used are organic and locally sourced, some even from The Lodge’s garden, and vegetarian and vegan menus are available.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Packages start from £3,000, which includes exclusive use of the grounds, a two-night stay for two adults, flowers, a candlelit reception, post-ceremony champagne and canapés and food throughout the stay.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit thelodge-scotland.com.
THE CARLTON HOTEL
Kinsale, County Cork
WHY HERE? Next door to Oysterhaven Bay, wedding guests can watch boats bobbing in the River Stick estuary below while they wait for the bride and groom to arrive. The Carlton Hotel offers 30 per cent off spa treatments for the bridal party, floral arrangements for the table and a champagne reception, all on a complimentary basis.
THE CEREMONY The hotel is licensed for indoor and outdoor ceremonies, which both utilise the West Cork coast as a backdrop.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Up to 240 guests.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Expect mouth-watering meals, including homemade soups, fish courses and refreshing sorbets. Childrens’ menus are also available.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Prices start from €55 per person for the Charlesfort Winter Package.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit carltonkinsalehotel.com.
Near Portscatho, Cornwall
WHY HERE? This lovely, laid-back Georgian countryhouse’s rolling green grounds look out onto the blue waters of the Roseland Peninsula. A family friendly-hotel, it’s also a great option for weddings with children.
THE CEREMONY Depending on the size, ceremonies take place in the restaurant area or drawing room. Some couples get married in nearby characterful local churches or on the beach down the lane.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? Up to 65 people can be catered for inside; bigger weddings with up to 170 guests are held in a tipi or marquee on the hotel lawn.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? It’s entirely bespoke. Whether you want fine dining, an all veggie weekend, tapas, a beach barbecue, or homemade mini pasties as a midnight snack, you’ll work with the team to design your own perfect menu.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Contact the Rosevine for details. Each wedding is costed individually, according to couples’ specifications.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit rosevineweddings.co.uk.
ST BRIDES SPA HOTEL
WHY HERE? Available on an exclusive-use basis between April and September, St Brides Spa Hotel weddings enjoy sweeping views of Carmarthen Bay.
THE CEREMONY Floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the vistas.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? For the ceremony invite 60 guests, then choose the Cliff Restaurant for a wedding breakfast of 96 guests and an evening celebration with 120 friends and family.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? Handpick your perfect menu with the Head Chef.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A one-night midweek booking costs £12,500, or pay £25,000 for two-nights. Add £45 per person for the food.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit stbridesspahotel.com.
ST IVES HARBOUR HOTEL
St Ives, Cornwall
WHY HERE? This hotel boasts 180-degree views of St Ives Bay, including stunning Porthminster Beach. The on-site spa is ideal for pre-wedding pampering.
THE CEREMONY Walk down the aisle in the Harbour Suite and make your vows with the glistening sea in sight before making your way to the Lower Wedding Terrace through a trellised archway.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? The Wedding Suite holds up to 160 guests, but in the evening the hotel can host 250 people.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? For the wedding breakfast, choose a three-course meal or barbecue menu followed by cheese platters and sorbet.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Hire of the Harbour Suite costs £500, but there are package offers available from £105 per person.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit stives-harbour-hotel.co.uk.
THE CASTLE ON THE COAST
WHY HERE? It’s perfect for a princess wedding. The majestic castle is set amongst landscaped terraces, Italian gardens and a Japanese teahouse with only the sound of the sea and a tropical waterfall to break the silence.
THE CEREMONY Both the castle and its grounds are licensed for weddings, so take your pick – fairytale fortress or coastal gardens? Choose the lawns and you’ll be treated to panoramic ocean views. Other options include the library, conservatory and drawing room.
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY? The castle’s dining room seats 60 people, but for larger parties of 100, opt for the Orangery, which is available between April and September.
WHAT’S THE FOOD LIKE? The Castle works with outside caterers. Options include a team run by a chef who worked with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage and another company that’s cooked for the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Paloma Faith.
WHAT DOES IT COST? A two-night weekend starts from £13,900 for venue hire.
HOW DO I BOOK? Visit kateandtoms.com.