Most of us have dreamed of our perfect picturebook wedding in a beautiful venue – but choosing the location has often been tough. There are many picturesque locations in our region but there are some limits to where you can tie the knot

2The law says it’s not possible to get married, say, in your home, because a condition of the licence means that the venue has to be willing to host any ceremony – fine if you don’t mind complete strangers using your back bedroom for the next few years. It’s not possible to get married outdoors or in a temporary building, such as a marquee, but there are still plenty of options in Yorkshire for a memorable civil ceremony – many are featured in these pages.

But what if you’re planning to get married in a church? Time was that virtually all weddings took place there – but this was a time when almost everyone went to church every Sunday, and the only other option was a register office ceremony high on efficiency but low on glamour.

However, many couples still believe that, if you’re after romance, only a church will do. Until very recently, you could only get married in a particular venue if you lived in the parish, or got special dispensation from no less than The Archbishop of Canterbury. The aim was to stop picturesque churches getting flooded with requests while less conventionally lovely modern churches were ignored.

However the Church of England have now altered their rules, so it’s possible to get married in a church if you have a family connection to it – if your parents or grandparents were married there, for example, or they live in the parish. This doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be able to walk up the aisle of your choice, as the vicar will have the final say. Yet it certainly means there’s even more chance that your day will have the perfect setting.

In recent years, though, the venues for civil ceremonies have reached such high standards they can offer as much spectacle as the traditional service. What’s the difference? Unsurprisingly, it’s a matter of religion – bible readings and songs with religious references are out.

But what if the venue of your dreams isn’t licensed to hold weddings? Well, that doesn’t mean it can’t play some part in the day. In this day and age it’s increasingly likely the happy couple will have lived together for some time, with the wedding itself simply making “official” a relationship already strong. The actual ceremony itself takes a back seat to the act of celebrating the relationship and getting family and friends together, and some couples now decide to get the formalities over with at a register office before joining the guests at the main venue.

There are hundreds of picturesque venues in Yorkshire, and many offer the opportunity of adding a marquee. Of course, you can’t get married in there, but couples often decide to opt for it to create more space. The great bonus is that, while many buildings look beautiful, they weren’t originally designed for the stresses and strains of a 21st Century wedding and can sometimes prove a tight squeeze. The marquee works as a completely blank canvas, explaining why many top venues now offer them in addition to their existing facilities.

Today’s marquees are far removed from the flimsy tents structures of yesterday – they’re heated and can be configured to ensure almost any theme will work wonderfully. There’s also a practical side, too – you can keep the party going into the small hours far enough away from those people who want to have an early night.

Nowadays more of us are basing the entire day in one venue, where you can get married, enjoy the wedding breakfast, hit the dancefloor and stay over in comfort. This has the happy side effect of cutting down transport costs – and you know that, if there’s a chance guests could get lost between venues, they probably will.

The most important thing about the wedding is, of course, the two people getting married – but a delightful venue can only help heighten the romance.



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