Hampshire Wedding Venues – my top ten
So I thought it was time I used my deep (well, I live here), and highly scientific (nope) knowledge of Hampshire’s wedding landscape to do a quick run down of some of our killer wedding venues.
So, in no particular order other than the order it occurs to the swirling snow globe of pointless information that is my brain, here we go with my top Hampshire wedding venues!
The Grange, Northington
Okay, so this incredible building has been a presence in my life for years, although I have only just started shooting weddings there. It’s an incredible 19th Century Greek revival building, saved from demolition in the 70’s (though not before it was gutted & stripped – which is what perversely gives it it’s unique character and visual punch). It houses the Grange Opera Festival and its exterior is open to the public – so go visit!
For weddings, it is a FEAST. It’s Palladian features, secret passageways, crumbling facades & incredible textures mean every room is a photographic dream. I have shot editorials here, wedding industry shoots, and the most gorgeous weddings, since 2012. And my heart sings every damn time.
The events team is run by the wonderful Julia, and she has a ton of contacts to help your wedding go smoothly. The last wedding I shot there was styled to perfection by What Peggy Did Next, and Wild Renata Flowers, see below for some images from shoots and drop Julia a line if you are looking at getting married there https://thegrangehampshire.co.uk/plan-an-event/private-hire/weddings/
Also if you are looking for a Northington Grange wedding photographer, hire me. Just do it. Shh. No need to say anymore. It’s fine. I’ll send over the contract & now we are BFF’s.
Avington Park was somewhere I visited as a child, and had friends who lived on or near the estate – I’d been known to take a sneaky dip in the lake as a teenager (very sensibly not possible now), and I have now shot weddings there for the last decade – every one a joy. I just love it. It’s one of those venues that has a character and class all of its own – I don’t even bother checking the weather forecast because it doesn’t matter. Whether you shoot your portraits on the sweeping grounds or the sweeping staircase, or any of 100 other places on this site that make your heart beat faster, there are no compromises.
Sarah & her team keep the character of this incredible building intact, while still making it a welcoming place for a wedding, where guests can relax and explore and be completely charmed. And hang out with the world’s most truculent peacocks (and there is stiff competition) who only ever seem to appear during dinner. Hampshire wedding venues at their best.
As you approach Somerley House, you know you are going somewhere pretty special – the estate is huge, and the drive long enough to have you doubting you’ve taken the right turn, then you sweep around to the left to be greeted by the most impressive and gorgeously designed building. It’s size is immense, there is no denying that, but I am reliably informed size isn’t everything, and it’s Somerley’s details that I love as much as the grandeur. The most stunning oak tree in the world, reaching out to the house, with the bench underneath, so covered in the most beautiful patina of algae, it’s like the trees are trying to reclaim the wood. I would basically move into the stables if they let me. And the view from the terrace, whether shrouded in mist or in the dying light of the day, is something I could drink in forever.
Tell me more…
Somerley offers three types of weddings – a marquee based day in the grounds, a rustic woodland wedding, or you get to swan around in the incredible house itself, and pretend by some weird turn of events it is in fact yours. The Picture gallery is the single most impressive room I have ever seen. When guests come in for dinner, I make sure to position myself just inside the door to get all the ‘Oh My God’ reactions to it. The artwork alone will keep you fascinated (excellent if the speeches are dragging a bit..). Have a look at the gallery below to see more, or contact the BRILLIANT Alex via the website here (https://www.somerley.com/hampshire-wedding-venue/) to find out more.
Winchester Registry Office
Winchester register office moved into the current rooms at the top of Winchester high street a few years ago from their previous, somewhat, um, municipal premises. This means Winchester is a bit of a destination for weddings. The new registry office is housed next to The Great Hall, in the C19th Castle Hill buildings, in one of three rooms, the most attractive being the peacock coloured Basing Room.
The Green Man Pub
The perfect pairing with the Basing Room, is this gorgeous, quirky, city centre pub, just a few minutes walk away. The Green man isn’t expansive, but it’s perfect for a more intimate city chic wedding – they have an upstairs banqueting room which needs no more decor than is already there, and the design chops continue downstairs in a room perfect for party time. Also, the food is KILLER. I have tested this out a lot.
Houghton Lodge Gardens
I love Houghton. I shoot here a lot and I am never bored. I love the lawns rolling down to the river where swans glide by & mayflies swarm. I love the kitchen garden with its tunnels of roses, beds of lavender, and riots of colour wherever you look. This is a venue that is open to the public for their horticulture, and you can tell. Sophie, Daniel, & their team know how to landscape, and every corner of Houghton is so thoughtfully laid out, and are an absolute treat when the sun goes down. I could shoot all day as the sun filters through the incredible mature trees and onto the water below. Is it summer yet? I can’t wait to be back there this summer. Also, did I mention the dragon? No? Well, I’ll let you visit & find that. It’s the most surprising & charming of Hampshire wedding venues.
Houghton offers smaller ceremonies in their incredible cottage ornée house, or you can get married off site & arrive at Houghton later if you have a bigger crowd. There is nothing quite like pimms on the lawn in front of a beautiful tipi on a summers evening here. Sigh.
Giant. Beautiful. Impressive. But, above all friendly, and there aren’t many abbeys or large churches that can say that – everyone is welcome, everyone is included – even that pesky photographer….
The Barn at Avington
The Barn at Avington is a relatively new kid on the Hampshire wedding venues block, and very different to anything you will find locally – barns dont have to be rustic & woody, they can be industrial white spaces, surrounded by beautiful farm land, and ready for you to inject your personality in to. Think pom poms, ribbons, neon, mad colourful fiesta decor. And you get the barn, the accommodation, and camping pitches for your friends as part of the package. So pretty much a mini-glastonbury, right? Plus is comes with human powerhouse Beth, who will guide you deftly, and work her shiny dungareed butt off to make your wedding-based dreams come true.
St Cross Church
This is by far the most beautiful church in Winchester. The incredible views as you enter, of the almshouses and the water meadows beyond, give you a sound track of jaws hitting the gravel. Then you go into the church itself, (in the words of our patron, Ron Swanson, ‘Say what you want about organised religion, but those bastards knew how to construct an edifice’). And the LIGHT, PEOPLE. At certain times of the day it streams in from the high windows and, well, see for yourself.
It also has the added bonus of you being able to have drinks in the UH-mazing Masters Garden, and even celebrate your reception in a marquee overlooking the water meadows.
This is an option not much takes about, but quite a few weddings I shoot take place in gardens and orchards and fields and barns belonging to family.
Below are a few images I’ve taken from such weddings, but they have huge benefits – control, choice over what you do and when, no venue restrictions, and pets are welcome. Even horses. And once, an alpaca.
While many people have a lot of land to hold their celebrations (people, 110 acres is *not* a garden), that’s not always the case – a fairly normal garden can hold a small marquee, or a ceremony under that apple tree you hid up with your sister when your mum was calling for you. And that’s the trade off, there may be a little more work involved, a little more planning, a few more favours to call in, but it means you get to make more memories in a place already full of precious memories.
Well that was my wee summary of some off the best hampshire wedding venues in the area. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions too! There are new venues coming online all the time, Hale Park, Pylewell, Syrencot, and I still have a few incredible venues on my wish list – St Giles House, MC Motors, LAS VEGAS! (Seriously, I got married in Las Vegas myself, and I am DYING to go take pictures of someone there. I have precisely one from my wedding). Not exactly Hampshire though.
If you are getting married and want some wedding photography to skip hearts with zero cheese. (Believe it or not, you can have photography that is more than standing with a rictus grin for 11 hours). Vibrant, natural moments, and minimum awks. I am sure you can find someone who does that, oh what now, I DO THAT. Drop me a line .
WHERE AM I BASED?
I shoot creative, modern wedding photography in Winchester, Hampshire, and throughout the UK. Wherever you are planning to say 'I do', and to whom, please get in touch.