This was the era of poets and Jane Austen’s love stories. Go big on romance and add a Regency vibe to your reception with one of these beautiful venues
Words: Hollie Bond
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire
may be best known for the scandals and love affairs (one of them involving Lord Byron) that have played out within its Regency halls. But, despite its racy reputation, it remains one of England’s most charming manors. There’s an iconic bridge over a lake that cries out for a horse-and-carriage arrival, and a generously proportioned ballroom that can easily host 150 guests. This space was Mr Darcy’s ballroom at Netherfield in the BBC’s much-loved 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice
(you know, the Colin Firth one). With Brocket’s handsome façade, hand-painted wallpapers and marble fireplaces, fabulous big-day photos are guaranteed.
tel 01707 368700
West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire
West Wycombe Park has a bit of everything for a lover of 18th-century architecture, from Palladian façades through to neoclassical temples in the grounds. Rather suitable, we’re sure you’ll agree, for recreating a scene straight out of one of Jane Austen’s classic novels. Everything from Cranford and Sense and Sensibility to Doctor Thorne and The Duchess has been filmed here thanks to its versatile spaces and pretty Georgian interiors. Play out your own love story along the open-air South Colonnade in summer or warm guests up in the ornate reception rooms during the colder months.
tel 01494 524411
Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire
This is the perfect combination of country and city. Just 17 miles from central London, it’s one of the largest privately owned houses inside the M25 – having been in the same family since 1754. The Georgian manor is surrounded by 2,500 acres of land too, giving you the sense that you’re deep in the countryside. Pray for good weather because the symmetrical Palladian exterior (featured in Mr Selfridge and Gosford Park) is a spectacular backdrop to reception drinks. Inside, head to the elegant Drawing Room for dinner and The Dining Room for dancing.
tel 020 8441 0755
The Orangery at Goldney Hall, Bristol
It’s part of Bristol University, but the Orangery at Goldney Hall feels a long way from academia. The main reception space has a wall of windows overlooking the 10-acre grounds – so the light floods in, highlighting delightful period details. The gardens have photo-ops aplenty too, with a shell-studded grotto, rotunda and ornamental canal. Don’t take our word for it, though: you can see its romantic credentials on screen in series three of the BBC’s Sherlock – in which it provided the backdrop for John and Mary Watson’s wedding reception.
tel 0117 954 5501
+ Historian, TV presenter and chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley is just the person to ask about the most memorable weddings of the era. This is what she has to say about biggest celebrations: ‘Neither George III nor George IV had met their German princesses before. Both got married privately, at evening ceremonies. George IV’s relationship went predictably badly, but George III’s went unusually well.’
+ The tradition of having a chimney sweep at your wedding dates back to George II. One of his horses bolted during a procession and the only person able to stop it was a chimney sweep. George decided then that they were the bearers of good luck.
Fancy something from a different time in history? Click below to step back in time on your big day and star in your own period drama.
This article was first published in SquareMeal Weddings 2017