Every year, more and more Britons flock to far-flung shores and tropical climes to tie the knot. From beach weddings in Bali to clifftop ceremonies overlooking the Aegean, the holiday wedding is a trend on the up. In our opinion, however, it is also one that should be stopped in its tracks.
Britain, for all its drizzle and complaining, has some of the best countryside architecture in the world. From the Yorkshire Dales to the Highlands of Scotland, the stately homes and historic castles of rural Blighty are a darn sight more regal, impressive and worthy of hosting your big day than anywhere you can find on the continent.
Here are our top six picks for the greatest British wedding venues for a country wedding. But which will you choose?
For the grandest of weddings: Dundas Castle
With its atmospheric, 600 year old Keep, and the 18th century house with 17 sumptuous bedrooms, five-star Dundas Castle is the ultimate venue for grand weddings. A romantic hideaway boathouse is a nice find, and the opportunity to marry in the magnificent, 600 year old Great Hall with its vaulted ceiling offer one of the most stunning and unique places to get married in Britain.
For a fairytale wedding: Chateau Rhianfa
The Château was built in 1849 by Sir John Hay Williams, Baronet of Bodelwyddan as a gift for his wife Lady Sarah, so where better to celebrate your marriage? Over recent years, the venue has taken great care to preserve the treasured French-style architecture to ensure historic charm and unique character. It really is like a fairytale and, what’s more, no-one’ll have wedding pictures like you.
For a peaceful wedding: Hodsock Priory
An historic country house wedding venue set in 800 acres of countryside on the border of Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire, Hodsock Priory is as calm as it sounds. Perfect for a more tranquil wedding, the team also offer a Three Day Wedding package, with breakfasts, brunches, dancing and bar times all set within the peaceful surroundings of the property.
For a continental wedding: Holkham Hall
Holkham Hall, Home to the Earls of Leicester, is one of the grandest and most beautiful wedding venues in the country. In north Norfolk, this fine Palladian house is surrounded by a romantic deer park with a lake, temple and woodland. But the real gem is the magnificent Marble Hall, based on a Roman temple and the perfect continental-tinged place for your ceremony to take place.
For a regal wedding: Cowdray House
Situated at the heart of the 16,500 acre Cowdray Estate, this is one of the most royal places you could tie the knot. Extensive landscaped grounds and a manicured croquet lawn with a far-reaching view of the South Downs make a superb setting to hold a drinks reception and, what’s more, the Buck dining hall with its vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows has hosted many a monarch over the years.
For the larger guest list: Wentworth Woodhouse
One of the largest private houses in Europe, this house is Grade 1 listed building is the perfect place to host a wedding party of huge proportions. With more than 300 rooms, there’s plenty of space to keep your wedding party entertained, and the 180-acre park could be our favourite prospect on this list for wedding photos. But is it your favourite?