If like most of our clients, the idea of endless corridors of hotel carpets that would have looked dated in the 70s don’t float your boat, you might be looking for a more alternative wedding venue in Yorkshire. We’ve shot about 200 weddings now all over the region and come across some real gems that you need to know about before you end up settling on one that even your granny would call naff. From rural, to barns, to marquees, valleys, hills and dales, to urban, industrial, gritty and raw. There’s a lot of choice for whatever you’re into and to fit every personality. So, in no particular order, here’s our Top 10 alternative wedding venues in Yorkshire.
You’re going to need a sling to keep a hold of your constantly dropping jaw when you see this wedding venue! Whenever we have shot a wedding at Natural Retreats we’ve been blown away by the stunning way colours dance in the summer here; lush green hills, peppered with orange and yellow flowers, and what seems like thousands of the cutest little bunnies you will ever see in one place. You can’t take a bad wedding photo here; whether you are at the top of the hill having your ceremony (either in the charming purpose built barn or within the hand built stone circle) or down in the woods where all the accommodation is – each nook and cranny offers something different to the last – it’s a wedding photographer’s dream!
This is an ideal venue as well if you’re looking to combine your wedding day with a few days RnR; either a couple of days before hand or for a mini-moon. We at J&L HQ have been discussing taking a trip ourselves to Natural Retreats to enjoy the peace and quiet of this awesome venue to take in its glorious landscape and some photos for ourselves!
We’re massive foodies at J&L HQ so we totally dig how important your wedding meal is if you are into your food. Can it get any better then, if you are a foodie, than having your wedding at this Michelin Star restaurant in this quintessential Yorkshire village, just a stones throw away from the pretty market town of Helmsley? Although you know you’re in for some excellent food, the owners of the Star Inn have managed to make this Michelin Star experience seem really chilled out and relaxed, which suits us down to the ground, and really feeds into a carefree wedding atmosphere where what really is important on your wedding day shines – having a good time with loved ones and friends, sharing outstanding food and drink and enjoying the surroundings.
The Inn itself is atmospheric and cosy – perfect for intimate wedding ceremonies. Outside is the garden complete with chickens and quails all freely strutting their stuff, proving lots of entertainment for kids and adults alike as they seemingly enjoy a party as much as anyone! The Star Inn is well suited to small, intimate weddings or elopements and is ideal for those who want to celebrate their big day in a way that feels like a home away from home.
I don’t think we’ve done a wedding at The Faversham that wasn’t steeped in fond memories for either the couple or their guests. As fellow Loiners we too have many memories of our own student days spent at what was then, The Faversham nightclub opposite Leeds University. Although no longer a nightclub, you can’t help but get into the party mood when you’re here and it really shines as a wedding venue for couple who want their wedding day to have a party vibe or those who love a good dance! Perhaps you even met your fiance here while busting a move on the dancefloor!?!
While it still has great entertainment space (well geared towards live music), the conservatory with it lovely tiled floor and copper lights is a great spot to exchange your wedding vows and have your wedding reception. The lawns surrounding The Faversham are excellent for hosting lawn games or for just enjoying the sun with your mates while you reminisce and take in the day.
For wedding portraits you’ll gain new appreciation for the architecture and new green spaces surrounding the University, allowing for some really cool urban photos. We have even been known to get permission from the Brotherton Library to do a quick shoot among the stacks.
If you’re looking to dance the night away, relive some unidays memories or are after a wedding venue that is truly unique, The Faversham would be an excellent choice for your special day!
Okay, technically not in Yorkshire but only just outside it! Another wedding venue on our list that is ideal for foodies – The Inn at Whitewell, so good Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon filmed an episode of the hilarious The Trip there! We particularly like this venue because everything you need to have for your wedding: somewhere to get ready(the Piggeries), a place to exchange your vows (Saint Michael’s Church) and then a space for the party (the Inn itself) – all within meters of each other! No stress about getting to where you need to be at this wedding!
The Inn at Whitewell has all the charm you would expect for a well established gastropub, nestled within the twisty roads near Clitheroe, Lancashire. We particularly like the marquee they have set up for bigger weddings, with it’s festooned twinkly lights – perfect for a first dance.
And who can forget what must be one of our most frequent requests as wedding photographers when we shoot here – ” Are you willing to wear waders and get into the river so we can have an awesome shot on the stepping stones? ”
When we were last at Denton Hall it was framed by golden wheat fields so of course we had to stop for a portrait shoot to take advantage of this midsummer delight with the Hall sitting proud on the hill! Denton Hall has all the grandeur that you would expect from a stately home but, as a testament to the staff work there, there is no trace of stuffiness, just all loveliness! There are so many sumptuous rooms to explore with lush high ceilings and the grounds themselves look onto miles of greenery. There is even a deer park onsite in which many a guest can spend the day spotting these majestic animals.
If you’re looking for a wedding venue that has a lot of class, you would do well to consider Denton Hall.
The Priory – or what we like to call ‘our home away from home.’ This is not just because we have shot a lot of weddings here (although we have…) but the staff here are so top notch and run the day so impeccably that we can’t imagine a more accommodating venue in Leeds. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here and everything is taken care of for you smoothly and crucially unobtrusively. You won’t need to ask for something to be done, it will just be done and you wont have to give it a second thought- giving you more time to get on with enjoying your wedding day without sweating the small stuff.
This all feeds into a very relaxing wedding atmosphere, right down to getting ready in the cottages on site, to having plenty of space on site so that there isnt any of that awkward ‘turn around’ time for rooms (everything will already be set up for you), to the pretty courtyard and nearby fields.
We love The Priory because like any good venue it looks stunning every season, whether you’re having a winter wedding, a spring shindig, a summer spectacular or wondrous autumn celebration, The Priory offers your wedding photos something different regardless of season. We can honestly say a wedding at The Priory is never the same as the one before it – it is a truly special venue.
We’ve mentioned food a few times already, but what if you’re a veggie foodie? May we introduce you to the Cheerful Chilli!? It’s a charming venue-come-restaurant sitting right on the top of Otley Chevin, with gorgeous views from Surprise View on one side and the magical pine forest on the other. You’re spoilt for choice for photos here. It has the rustic charm on an old barn and you can bring the party outdoors whether you’re after hay bales for lounging on, or bringing in your very own ice cream van. It’s a perfect spot to make it your own but gives you that little, extra special room to dip away from the party for a short stroll together in the woods… maybe even bring your dog!?
This is where it all began for us, back in 2010 when we short our very first wedding. Nestled in the sleepy villages North of Leeds, it’s an unassuming building tucked away out of site but offers so much, it’ll blow your mind! East Keswick Village Hall is the perfect blank canvas. If you’ve got a wild imagination and boundless creativity and hotel venues are just too regimented and stiff for you, take a look at this place. You can make this hall whatever you want it to be. We’ve seen it festooned with elegant floor to ceiling drapery, covered in thousands of lights, bands, dance-offs – the possibilities are endless.
But stepping outside, you’ll have more room than you know what to do with and a view that is unrivaled. With good weather, it’s the type of venue where you can just lose track of time sitting outside on the grass, sipping cocktails and occasionally being interrupted by an inquisitive cow from the adjacent field. In fact, I’m sure a lot of couples book it just for the cows!
For photos, there are endless fields to dive into and enjoy the best of rural life.
We were lucky enough to be one of the first wedding photographers at The Normans, just outside of York. It’s truly unique in its offering. Farm buildings galore for the rustic charm that also offer a safe haven for photos if you’re blessed with a ‘British’ (wet) summer! The enormous stone barn with it’s double height ceiling and gorgeous wall of fairy lights is licensed so you can have your ceremony right there without having to move between venues. There’s no change-over problems here either with a separate marquee offering oodles of space for whatever your plans may bring.
If a farm/barn wedding venue is top of your list, then you’ll not go too wrong with The Normans.
So there you have it, some of our favourite wedding venues for those that can think a little outside of the box! If you pick one of these as a result of finding them here on our blog, do let us know, we’d love to find out about your plans and why you picked it!