London’s best wedding venues that are both iconic and alternative

Fun group shot at Lords Cricket Ground Wedding

We feel pretty sure many an excited pair of hands has typed the words ‘London’s best wedding venues’ into a google search looking for inspiration and ideas for their big day. I know we did! After more than ten years as wedding photographers in and around the capital we’ve worked at a huge amount of them, so we feel qualified to give something of an inside view.

We have picked five of what we consider to be the best London wedding venues for both their iconic value, and also their quirkiness and ability to add an extra measure of “memorable” to your day.

London eye engagement photo silhouette

We have not been paid anything to favour any particular venue, or received favours in return, and what may also be obvious but is worth stating, is that what may be the “best” for one couple and their families may not be right for another. We’ve also added a sixth recommendation as a wild-card.

Of course there is nothing wrong in picking a classic London Hotel venue such as The Dorchester, Savoy or Claridges for a wedding day, or more boutique hotels such as The Goring or Brown’s. We photograph at these all the time, and they are all great in themselves. So too are dedicated venues and manor houses, golf retreats and the like around the home counties. However the focus of this article is fantastic alternatives around central London.

So here we go, in no particular order, and with our wild-card choice at the end. All photos are ours, with relevant links to previous posts by ourselves from wedding days there.

The Official London Eye

Opened on the very last day of the previous millennium, 31st December 1999, the London Eye has quickly become one of the most iconic and visited sites on the capital’s skyline. Standing at a height of 135 metres it is an unbelievably imposing piece of architecture leaning over the Thames on the Southbank. Great news is that its capsules are licensed to host civil wedding ceremonies and drinks receptions.

London Eye wedding photographers coca cola kiss photo

For a couple planning their wedding on the wheel they can expect VIP treatment and personal coordinators to look after their every need. Proceedings usually start with the wedding party assembling in the Eye Lounge across the way for some champagne and nibbles, and then when the time comes a fast track escort to their private capsule.

Bride and groom walking to their London Eye Wedding ceremony

The inside with be decorated with flowers, and registrars will be there waiting to greet you. For the first cycle of the wheel the wedding ceremony and register signing will commence. For a second cycle its time for a traditional drinks reception. We have absolutely loved every wedding we have photographed on the London Eye, and of course so have all the brides and grooms! You don’t get much more memorable than this.

Here is a recent wedding there from the blog: London Eye Wedding Photographers Time Out Recommended

London Zoo Weddings

Probably no one has photographed more London Zoo weddings than we have. One of the many great things about a big day at the zoo is that you have a choice of venues for both the ceremony and reception. For larger gatherings there is the Prince Albert Suite which can cater for between 80 to 240 guests. For a more intimate affair there’s the Mappin Pavilion for groups of between 45 to 80.

London Zoo wedding photographers couple outside Reptile House image

The catering and general service from the staff is absolutely excellent, some of the best we have ever experienced. As part of their packages your wedding party can have free time around the zoo to explore between the drinks receptions and wedding breakfasts, and you can build in extra experience such as time with meerkats, or exclusive access to the wonderful carousel. Come rain or shine there is always plenty to see, do and photograph.

London Zoo wedding at the penguin pool

Check out our latest London Zoo wedding on the blog here: London Zoo Wedding Photographers Time Out Recommended

Weddings at Lord’s Cricket Ground

Fun group shot at Lords Cricket Ground Wedding

We don’t think you necessarily have to be a cricket fan to enjoy a wedding day at one of England’s most famous and historic sporting grounds. It has everything you need for a fantastic day, from a grand and elegant ceremony in the famous Long Room, to excellent service and various locations for your drinks receptions. Guests can take a fascinating tour onsite of the history of cricket, and there are plenty of areas for photo opportunities. Depending on the size and requirements for your wedding breakfast you can have The Long Room turned around, or walk over to the nearby dedicated Thomas Lord Suite to eat and then party the night away in style.

Wedding ceremony longroom Lords

Read about our latest Lord’s Cricket Ground wedding here: Another great wedding at Lord’s Cricket Ground

Tower Bridge Weddings

Tower Bridge is probably about as iconic as you can get if you think “London.” Since it’s completion in 1894 it has come to be a symbol of the power and beauty of the capital. The wonderful news of course is that you can get both your wedding ceremony and reception on there, with a choice of  locations, all of which we have of course photographed in.

Tower Bridge wedding ceremony photo

The main venue is the North Tower Lounge, with the ability to use the walkways for yourselves and guests too. There is a special bonus for the wedding couple and their photographer, in that they can go right to the top of the tower and photograph on the parapets with it’s great views across The Tower of London and the Thames. It certainly gives me a nice dose of vertigo everytime!

Wedding couple inside Tower Bridge

You can choose the Victorian Engine Rooms for a wonderfully quirky and alternative reception too.

And from the blog here is a typical Tower Bridge wedding: Tower Bridge Wedding – The inside story

Weddings at The Gherkin

Modern chic and very tall, a wedding at The Gherkin, or 30 St Mary Axe as it is also known, is as unforgettable as the fabulous building itself. Run by Searcy’s, your ceremony will be surrounded by glass steel and incredible views of London that literally have to be seen to be believed.

London Gherkin wedding kiss black and white image

Every time we work there it feels like an honour, what it must feel like for a bride and groom must be truly incredible. Never mind that you are marrying the love of your life, just a glance out of the window at the same time is guaranteed to provoke an extra sense of awe! Impeccable service and attention to detail comes as standard there, and epic is pretty much the name of the game at The Gherkin.

London_Gherkin_wedding_photographer

Here’s an example from the blog once again: Gherkin Wedding Photographer

Well there you have our top five picks for London’s Best Wedding Venues, but we wanted to add in an outside wild-card too, because this place is so alternative and quirky it is absolutely definitely worth a look and some research in your wedding planning.

Here it is:

Islington Metal Works weddings

Tucked away behind Angel station in north London is a hidden wedding venue gem in the shape of Islington’s Metal Works. It’s not famous in the sense of the other wedding venues, but what it lacks in fame it makes up for in terms of character quirkiness and sense of fun. Surprise surprise it used to me a metal works, but now it’s a music and event venue and has great spaces for your drinks reception and wedding breakfast. Guaranteed to be memorable, we urge you to consider it if you are looking for something a little different from the norm.

Bridesmaids sit on tank again at London Islington wedding day image

Read about a typical wedding there on the link here: Islington Metal Works wedding day starting at Hampstead’s St Stephen’s church

Couple photo from Islington Metal Works wedding

couple's first dance at Islington Metalworks wedding

Well we hope that was helpful! Feel free to get in touch.

By David Green

About Big Day Weddings

David and Joanna Green are Time Out recommended, award winning fulltime London wedding photographers. Mum and dad to four wonderful children and three family dogs. Lovers of all things photographic and wedding related. Covering Greater London and destination weddings in the UK and Europe.

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