The Evolution of the Wedding Venue

Hello again and welcome back to my Maria’s Bridal Boutique Blog! This time I wanted to delve a little into the evolution of the Wedding Venue and when it became possible to marry at a location other than a Church, or Registry Office.

Nowadays, the choice of Wedding Venues is huge! It is possible to get married almost anywhere, with almost any type of theme! From traditional, rustic and country style weddings, to Disney, or Harry Potter themed extravaganza’s, the world, literally is your oyster!

So how did we come to get all these opportunities to make our wedding fantasies become actual reality?

Prior to The Marriage Act 1994, marriage and Church ceremonies could only be conducted in Churches and Registry Offices. Now then, I bet not many of you knew this, but The Marriage Act 1994 was originally introduced as a Private Members Bill by the one and only Gyles Brandreth! (For people younger than me, he was a Conservative MP before entertaining the nation on the One Show and appearing on Celebrity Gogglebox!!) The Act meant ‘approved premises’ could also solemnise civil wedding vows. Venues must be approved by their local authority, but this meant much greater choice for couples wanting a civil ceremony somewhere other than the local Registry Office!

These rules only apply in England and Wales. Did you know in Scotland, couples can marry literally anywhere and the emphasis is on the Celebrant carrying out the ceremony, rather than the venue holding the appropriate licence!

Moving forward to same-sex partnerships, civil partnerships became legalised in 2005, followed by same marriages, which began on 29th March 2014.

Now, Maria’s Bridal Boutique is situated in North Somerset, and I am lucky to be surrounded by a whole bunch of fabulous venues of all sizes and styles. For this article, I thought I’d take a look at a few of the less traditional ones!

Aldwick Court

This Estate and Vineyard first started hosting weddings in 2013 and more recently a couple of them have been wearing dresses from my Boutique! Now anyone who knows me, knows I love wine (in fact prior to owning this Boutique, I was a qualified WSET holder working for Majestic Wine!), so I personally cannot think of anything more lovely than to be surrounded by the Mendip Hills and vines!

Aldwick Estate


Wookey Hole

For atmosphere, acoustics and unbridled magicalness (new word alert!!), you can’t top getting married somewhere as steeped in history and wonder as Wookey Hole! I have been lucky enough to visit cave formations in Majorca, Lanzarote and Madeira, as well as Wookey Hole and the sheer majesty and natural wonder of these venues lend themselves perfectly to something as special and wonderful as a marriage ceremony.

Wookey Hole Wedding

Chew Valley Tipis

For those on the hunt for something more relaxed and rustic, yet without the compromise of the stunning scenery, there is Chew Valley Tipis. The Chew Valley lake is somewhere I often take my family and my late Father in law particularly loved coming here to feed the swans. Primarily a 500-acre organic farm, this idyllic location is also host to the exceptionally popular local festival Valleyfest!

Chew Valley Tipi Wedding

The Grand Pier – Weston Super Mare

If you want your wedding to be fun, thrilling and by the seaside, this is the place for you! There is nothing better than eating an ice cream on the beach and Weston is one of my favourite places to do it! This venue offers something for everyone and any children at your wedding will love you forever having access to all the rides and activities on offer! My children particularly love the 2p slots in the arcade and the sidewinder ride ?

Grand Pier Wedding

And although in the current climate, micro weddings are all we are allowed, for now, these and many other venues have adapted and are able to offer packages to suit all your requirements! So whether you are after, serene, relaxed, magical or full-on fun, remember how far we have come and especially remember the one person we have to thank – Gyles Brandreth!