On a hot summer day there’s nothing better than inviting your friends over, cracking open a beer and taking your meal outside. Equally, if you’re getting married in summer or spring it may seem tempting to throw an outdoor reception. You get a slightly cooler event than trying to pack your guests into a hot hall and Mother Nature provides the incredible décor.
But for those of you who want to marry in London, it can be hard to find a way to incorporate the great outdoors into your wedding – particularly if you’re looking at the city centre. While London may have a lot of lovely parks not all of them are available or suitable for wedding hire. If you’d love to take advantage of London’s bustling scene but also inject some natural tranquillity into your wedding here are The Wedding Secret’s top tips for an outdoor wedding in London.
One way that Londoners get around the issue of garden space is to transform their rooftop into a delightful small garden or seating area and a lot of venues in London have had the same idea. If you’re desperate for a wedding with some fresh air, why not book out a venue with an accessible roof?
Southbank Centre is an amazing venue in central London. By hiring their St Pauls Roof Pavilion, you get access to; a sleek and modern top-floor room, balcony spanning the length of the room and exclusive access to their rooftop courtyard.
The rooftop courtyard offers incredible, panoramic views of the London skyline and the sleek modern room with massive floor to ceiling windows is a great place for you to retreat to if the British weather starts acting up.
Similarly, lots of London buildings have found ways to accommodate for the limited space by incorporating internal courtyards into their design. The courtyard gives you a pleasant and sheltered little area inside the building walls and is often an ideal place to throw a reception full of relaxed elegance.
Merchant Taylor’s Hall is one such venue, not only is the inside beautiful but the courtyard is a stunning little paved courtyard perfect for a cool summer evening. The courtyard is boarded by lovely flowerbeds and the central feature of the area is a charming water fountain complete with a statue of a little lamb carrying shepherd boy.
A London pub is a wonderful thing – nipping to the pub during lunch or after work is practically part of our cultural heritage – and nothing is better for a cosy meal with family and friends than the delicious food at your local favourite. So, it follows, that a great place for an intimate wedding reception for you and your closest friends would be a pub garden.
One particularly lovely location is The County Arms, a charming traditional pub found in South London. The pub boasts a relaxed and comfortable garden, complete with lawn, sofas, parasols and a terrace.
While a balcony may not be an outside reception in the strictest sense it is still a great way to give your guests a great view, somewhere to chat and a place to cool off after the dancing. It’s also a great way to hedge your bets as, in the event of rain, your guests can pack up and head back inside without the whole party having to wind to a close.
The London Rowing Club is an incredible industrial-style Victorian building that has barely changed since its opening 150 years ago. Of those few changes made, one is the renovation of the 2.5 meter balcony on the outside of the building. The balcony gives you an incredible view across the Thames and surrounding greenery.
If you’re dreaming of something a bit more spacious for your reception, imagining a fairy-tale of rolling fields and stunning forests and lakes, then why not look around for some of London’s old manor houses and historical buildings?
The Georgian upper classes were very fond of their sprawling grounds and even in London the Mr Darcy’s of the time were still able to ensure that their manors had sprawling grounds. Many of these houses are willing to accommodate a marquee on their grounds, giving you a great place to take in the surrounding beauty.
Kenwood House and Boreham House are both Georgian manors with large grounds that are perfect for marquee weddings. Kenwood House is connected to Hampstead Heath and looks over its rolling hills, featuring a flower garden (where your marquee will be set up), a long gravel drive and a rare rhododendron garden. Boreham House is equally stunning, with a vast manmade lake filled with dozens of colourful waterlilies.
Head out of the centre
When picturing your London wedding you may have fantasised exclusively about the city centre, the Shard, the Thames, the London Eye! By heading just slightly out of the main centre you can find a wide range of incredible venues with sprawling grounds and gardens that still have access to all the best facilities that London has to offer.
Only about 40 minutes away from London Bridge, Eltham Palace is an incredible, affluent building in Eltham. It was built in the 1930’s by a millionaire couple and the stunning grounds and incredible architecture reflect their wealth. Cross the bridge into their moated gardens and enjoy a reception on the picturesque terrace before wandering through the gardens where you can take in the stunning rock garden, sweeping lawns and elegant Greek inspired column complete with coiling wisteria.
These are just a few tips to help you host your outdoor wedding in London. Other options include; checking out local golf clubs or venues with large conservatories, windows and skylights – for an outdoor feel that you can enjoy in summer and winter. If you want to look through some of your other London options why not head over to The Wedding Secret to check out our selection?