Rustic romance can be found at Asylum Chapel in Peckham, the licensed wedding and civil partnerships venue that dates back to 1826. Exposed stone walls, eroded brickwork and ornate stained-glass windows set the tone for a ceremony that will still nod to tradition, while also appealing to contemporary brides. It also holds up to 120 guests and can cater for a toast and canapés once the vows are complete.
Eco-conscious brides take note: Sunbeam Studios is the world’s most sustainable photographic and events space – no mean feat considering the scale of the shoots and events it produces. It’s run on 100% renewable energy and heated using green gas in winter. Visually, it provides the perfect backdrop for a modern city wedding; a listed building with high ceilings and oversized windows, the monochrome design elements add detail while still remaining neutral enough to complement any colour palette.
Those dreaming of a garden wedding but worried about the quintessential British weather should consider the conservatory at the Barbican. Filled with lush greenery and over 1,800 species of plant, it’s a tropical oasis in an urban jungle. The licensed venue can host the ceremony and a reception for up to 220 guests, making it one of the largest spaces in our edit. Meanwhile, the dining room offers a completely different experience to the conservatory and its floor-to-ceiling windows showcase unforgettable views of the city skyline.
In Hyde Park, The Serpentine Gallery hosts some of the art world’s most reputable exhibitions and in 2019, French restaurant Chucs also opened in its grounds. Zaha Hadid (the esteemed Iraqi–British architect) designed the building, which features a dramatic white roof extension and walls made entirely of glass. For a seated dinner, it can hold up to 120 guests and a further 170 for a standing reception. The tranquil setting makes it the ultimate venue for design lovers looking to combine the calm of the countryside with the convenience of the city.
Located in the City and spanning an impressive six floors, The Ned (a restored bank that celebrates 1920s and 1930s design) is so much more than a hotel. Boasting original features like striking dark-green marble pillars and 18th-century crystal chandeliers, the Saloon room is one of six Grade I-listed event spaces in the hotel. Flooded with natural light, fitted with original parquet wood floors and large enough to host up to 120 guests for a sit-down meal, it strikes the ideal balance between old English charm and modern elegance. Despite being set in such a vast building, the space still feels exclusive and intimate, too.
Journey a little outside of London to The Grove for an authentic countryside wedding, still within easy distance of the capital. The Potting Shed is just one of its event rooms but it’s by far the most unusual. Surrounded by a picturesque Victorian walled garden and designed to look like a greenhouse, it feels like you’ve invited your closest friends and family into your very own home. Understated with a clear focus on quality and attention to detail, it can host up to 150 guests.
Natural light, raw materials and a blank canvas summarise this west London space, which comprises five different rooms and two courtyard settings for brides to choose from. Those with a vision can get creative here – an on-site team can help execute just about any plan and works with several carefully-chosen suppliers. There’s also an in-house bar team whose job it is to work with couples to design a bespoke cocktail menu to suit their day.
Modern grandeur can be found at Syon Park in Isleworth which is set among acres of greenery and offers brides a range of rooms and spaces to choose from. The conservatory feels particularly special. Fondly referred to as the ‘Cactus House’ and decorated with tropical plant life throughout the year, it’s easy to forget this is a London location once you step inside. Built with a high domed ceiling to offer 360-degree views of the grounds, it can hold up to 160 guests for dinner.
The Old Dairy
Contemporary charm meets history at the Old Dairy in Clapton. As the name suggests, it was once used to house east London’s cattle before the area became more metropolitan. Today, there’s little evidence of its former purpose, except the white-washed walls, stone flooring and exposed beams which provide the perfect canvas for brides with a clear creative vision. Licensed to hold the ceremony and comprising a small entrance room, a main hall and separate side rooms, there’s ample opportunity to fill each corner with personal touches. Alternatively, if stripped-back and minimal is more in-keeping with the theme of the day, it also makes a strong statement left bare.
Severndroog Castle in Shooters Hill is proof a little magic can be found if you know where to look. Built with tall turrets and surrounded by woodland, it sparks fairy-tale nostalgia and suits both romantic and more gothic tastes, depending on how it’s interpreted. The outdoor viewing platform will also remind guests of their city location, while, inside, intimate rooms feature 18th-century design details including arched windows, ornate chandeliers and dark wood flooring. Fully licensed, it can also hold up to 55 guests.