For soon-to-be-wed couples, there was nothing more frustrating about lockdown than having to cancel or postpone ceremonies and honeymoons. But now that restrictions are easing, couples up and down the country are set to walk the aisle and celebrate their new-found status once again. That’s why we’ve set about researching locations across the country to bring you the UK’s best and worst wedding and honeymoon destinations.
And for those looking for a little more inspiration, we’re also looking at the most popular wedding themes and bridesmaid dress colours to help you create the perfect wedding, down to the last shade of material.
After scouring a selection of wedding destination databases, we supplemented our findings with search data from Google to create the UK’s most popular venues. We then ranked each venue on factors that people consider when choosing a wedding destination:
Assigning points based on each factor, this gave us an overall score for each wedding venue out of 100 and produced a full ranking of venues from best to worst. We also used additional data from Google to reveal:
After a quick glance at the reviews for Cambridgeshire’s South Farm on wedding planning website Hitched, it’s easy to see why it’s the number one wedding venue in the UK. “The service was 5-star!” gushes one, “we had the most magical day” raves another, while a third notes “people still mention how wonderful this venue was”.
Throw in onsite accommodation and parking, one of the highest average temperatures between May and October, and – most importantly – low rainfall, and the stage is set for a wedding to remember.
And while Oxfordshire’s Caswell House had the highest average rainfall and one of the lowest average temperatures, it still garnered a more than respectable sixth place – showing that couples are willing to risk a washed-out wedding providing there are other positives.
Both the South East and East of England were well accounted for in the top ten too: seven for the latter, and three for the former – with no other regions getting a look in in the rankings.
Avg. Venue Score
Despite the South East dominating our top ten, it was actually the East that came out in first for the best region to get married in overall. Both the West Midlands and Yorkshire fared very well too, with the pair of them sharing second place and an average venue score of 81.
Those scores drop off pretty significantly as we reach the bottom. Wales scored 59, while Scotland’s score of 53 is a whole thirty points lower than the East’s 83-point top spot. If you’re thinking of being wed in Scotland, then watch out for the wedding venues dragging the average down in this neck of the woods.
Making plans for your own wedding and need some inspiration? Below you’ll find our full rankings of the 113 venues we investigated in our research. Whether you travel across the country or stay close to home, we’re sure our list will help you find the perfect venue to share the occasion with your nearest and dearest in.
Our advice: it might be best to steer clear of the bottom two venues especially. Harelaw Farm and Eilean Donan Castle – both in Scotland – came second last and last, with scores of just 35 and 29, respectively. High rainfall and chilly temps are to blame here, while Eilean Donan offers no onsite parking either, which could pose a problem for guests coming further afield.
For some couples, a regular wedding just isn’t enough. Their big day has to be based around a theme to really set the tone. That’s why we also looked at Google search data to see which themes proved the most popular among those set to tie the knot.
With 1,000 average monthly searches, rustic proved to be the theme favoured the most. Think leaves, branches and foliage as decorations, woodsy, farm-set ceremonies, and homely table arrangements at the reception.
Whatever it brings to mind for you, it was far and away the winner; the next most popular choices, festival and woodland, shared 320 average monthly searches each. And with their airy, country feel, they aren’t a million miles from the rustic theme.
So, what about themes that were a little different? Fourth place went to the 1920s; Gatsby-style, art deco-inspired affairs where roaring fashions, jazz and cocktails add a touch of old-world glamour to things. Beach and Christmas weddings also proved popular too, each sharing 260 average monthly searches apiece.
When it comes to travelling in a pandemic, your mileage may vary. Nevertheless, spending your honeymoon abroad is most definitely a superb way of celebrating your marriage.
And when it comes to the most desirable locations to visit, the Maldives was way ahead of the rest, with 4,400 average monthly searches compared to Turkey in second place with 1,600 searches.
The colour of the bridesmaids’ dress is yet another important topic for any wedding. And while our number one colour, green, may not be the most daring of options compared to say metallic or brown, it’s a safe option that goes well with just about any theme and venue.
Speaking of brown, it took the bottom spot with just 1,240 monthly searches. Khaki dress, anyone? We thought not!