When it comes to getting married, the county of Essex is among the most popular locations in the UK. While the county may be best known these days for reality show The Only Way is Essex, there is plenty more to the area than glitzy nightclubs and beauty salons.
In fact, Essex is home to some of the most stunning wedding venues around, ranging from traditional settings such as grade-listed manor houses and long-standing hotels, all the way through to quirkier options including intimate windmills and cosy barn venues. Just a short drive from London and with much of the county accessible by train, Essex has proven itself to be a wedding destination worth talking about.
Any weddings expert will tell you that choosing the right venue is crucial to ensuring that your day goes off without a hitch (apart from the obvious one that is). In Essex, you can find a wealth of wedding venues that can cater to your needs, whether that be pastoral landscapes and jaw-dropping interiors, or more practical requirements, such as on-site accommodation and car hire to ferry your guests to and from the venue.
Of course, the fact that Essex is home to so many lush fields and rolling hills means that it is also a great location for couples who are looking to host outdoor ceremonies. If you have your heart set on getting hitched in the summer, there are plenty of wedding venues Essex has to offer which can see you swap vows outside, while there are also marquees, tipis and yurts on hand to combat the unreliable British weather.
To help you choose from the plethora of gorgeous wedding venues in the area, we’ve rounded up the best wedding venues Essex has to offer, explaining along the way why each one could be perfect for your big day. Read below to see our top picks and start your wedding planning journey.
Traditional wedding venues Essex
If you have always dreamed of a traditional wedding day, you’ll be glad to hear that Essex is home to a number of old-school wedding venues, oozing class and grandeur. Check out our pick of the best below.
What: Mesmerising Gosfield Hall is the kind of country manor house that Essex is famous for. Weddings here are destined to make a statement – the Queen Charlotte’s Gallery features large windows that let in plenty of natural light, while the 120-foot long aisle means the wedding party can make a truly memorable entrance. Getting married in the warmer months? Gosfield is also home to acres of manicured grounds, with outdoor ceremonies an option.
Where: Hall Drive, CO9 1SF
What: Braxted Park is among the most in-demand wedding venues in the whole of Essex and it’s not hard to see why. You will pull up to the imposing estate via a driveway lined with trees which adds to the sense of grandeur, while beyond the house itself you can find a secret walled garden and a charming pavilion. The most popular space to get hitched is in the Roman Orangery, which is flooded with natural light thanks to large windows.
Where: Braxted Park Estate, CM8 3EN
What: Le Talbooth provides a winning combination of countryside chic and high-glamour; the outside of the building boasts a Tudor aesthetic and a riverside setting, while the marquee can be dressed with glittering chandeliers and colourful floral centrepieces. On-site accommodation is available in the form of luxury bedrooms, while a dedicated events manager is also on hand to make sure everything goes to plan.
Where: Gun Hill, Dedham, CO7 6HP
What: 4-star Orsett Hall is a hotel, restaurant and spa which also boasts a handful of function rooms, as well as a gorgeous on-site chapel. It’s one of those rare wedding venues that offers the full package, with extra touches that are available including luxury cars for hire, a hair salon and full-service spa, plus a florist. When it comes to summer weddings, there are 12 acres of landscaped gardens for your guests to take advantage of.
Where: Prince Charles Avenue, RM16 3HS
That Amazing Place
What: An exclusive use wedding venue with a memorable name, That Amazing Place is perfect for those who want to add a touch of exclusivity to their special day. The country manor house comes complete with 13 on-site bedrooms, while you can host your ceremony in one of the traditional, light-filled events spaces, before moving to the outdoor marquee for your reception and dancing the night away.
Where: Hubbards Hall Farm, Off Churchgate Street, CM17 0NH
What: Found just outside Colchester, Prested Hall is a 15th century manor house which boasts four separate event spaces, including a whimsical outdoor gazebo. Prested Hall is best suited to intimate weddings with a maximum of around 60 guests, but you can still have the wow factor thanks to the Instagram-friendly surrounds. Last year the venue introduced the option to have two alpacas, named Cappuccino and Iced C, join your reception for selfies.
Where: Feering, CO5 9EE
What: It’s difficult to overestimate the beauty of Boreham House, an 18th century Georgian property that is set in 35 acres of grounds and features a large lake at its front. Inside, the venue is just as alluring, with high ceilings, charming fireplaces and a striking staircase featuring carved wooden accents and cast iron railings all present. Boreham House is an exclusive use venue too, which means you’re guaranteed total privacy on your special day.
Where: Main Road, Boreham, CM3 3HY
What: If you have your heart set on a grand affair for your wedding day, the stunning Tudor manor house Leez Priory should be right up your street. The exclusive use venue features three main events spaces to choose from, each with a grand, old-school feel thanks to high ceilings and wooden beams. For summer weddings, make the most of the croquet lawn and lake backdrop by hosting your cocktail hour outdoors.
Where: Hartford End, CM3 1JP
What: If you want your wedding day to be an entirely uninterrupted affair, surrounded by friends and family, Parklands is a viable choice. Set in the grounds of a deer park, Parklands is a 17th century Georgian Manor House which can host weddings of various sizes, as well being licensed for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies. An in-house wedding coordinator is on-hand to make sure things go smoothly, including sorting accommodation on the grounds.
Where: Quendon Hall, CB11 3XN
Stock Brook Country Club
What: Found in the Essex countryside surrounded by 275 acres of manicured land, Stock Brook Country Club has been hosting weddings for more than 25 years. The venue is home to a handful of event spaces – The Banqueting Suite overlooks the gardens and includes the option to have a ‘curtain’ of twinkling fairy lights behind the bridal table, while The Rosewood Suite boasts access to a private garden which features a giant chessboard.
Where: Queens Park Avenue, CM12 0SP
What: An organic family-run farm that doubles up as a wedding venue, pastoral Colville Hall is best suited to engaged couples that are looking for a taste of the countryside on their big day. You can either tie the knot in an outdoor ceremony or opt to use the venue’s Orchard Barn, which can host up to 200 guests. Meanwhile, the lush 10 acres of gardens are perfect for photographs of the happy couple and the bridal party.
Where: Chelmsford Road, CM6 1RQ
What: Found deep in the Essex countryside, High House is set among six acres of gorgeous gardens and offers exclusive use to guarantee exclusivity and intimacy on your wedding day. It’s a truly stunning venue, featuring a thatched gazebo in the gardens where you can host your reception, and a truly mesmerising bridge over a pond, that’s the perfect place to take your official wedding day portraits.
Where: Old Heath Road, CM3 6EW
Alternative and unique wedding venues Essex
If you are looking to host a wedding to remember, check out our top pick of Essex wedding venues that take an alternative and unique approach. Ranging from rustic barns to a private island, these unique venues should have what you’re looking for.
What: If you want a wedding venue that’s steeped in history, it’s hard to beat Colchester Castle, the largest surviving Norman Keep in the whole of Europe. Weddings here can take place in the Secret Chapel, which is found at roof-level and is accessed via a grand staircase, while the wedding breakfast can be hosted in The Charles Gray Room, which can be opened out to give your guests a view of the museum galleries while they dance the night away.
Where: Colchester Castle, CO1 1TJ
What: Oak timber beams and rosewood flooring characterise the Baronial Hall at Crondon Park as a traditional, rustic wedding venue. The secluded setting also means your guests have the chance to travel in style (perhaps via a party bus or vintage cars?), while the extensive gardens provide the perfect backdrop for a fireworks display at the end of the evening. There’s on-site accommodation too, including a country-style Bridal Suite.
Where: Stock Road, CM4 9DP
The Essex Barn at The White Hart
What: The White Hart is a 15th century coaching inn which doubles up as a wedding venue, while The Essex Barn is a rustic wedding venue found on its grounds. The barn is adorned with hung tapestries, while its surrounding gardens are filled with flowers. The Essex Barn can host up to 200 guests for your special day, while the bridal party can make the most of on-site accommodation, with 13 bedrooms to choose from.
Where: Pool Street, Great Yeldham, CO9 4HJ
Smeetham Hall Barn
What: Owned by the same family since 1906, Smeetham Hall Barn is a rural and romantic wedding location which is available for exclusive hire, which means you can host every part of your day at the same venue. Smeetham Hall Barn is surrounded by 400 acres of lush greenery, while the option to bring your own alcohol without any corkage fee will surely appeal to couples who are trying to stick to a budget.
Where: Smeetham Hall, CO10 7EU
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa
What: Planning a summer wedding? Make the most of the warmer weather at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, which offers tipi weddings. Here, you can enjoy an outdoor ceremony before throwing your reception in Big Hat Tipis, which are dressed with twinkling fairy lights and a dance floor. There are glamping tents available too if you want to stay overnight, which gives the whole occasion a dreamy, bohemian feel.
Where: Keepers Lane, Leavenheath, CO6 4PZ
What: Able to host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, Maidens Barn is an exclusive use wedding venue that is perfect for couples who want their big day to be a rustic, romantic affair. The vaulted barn features exposed brick and wooden beams, while the surrounding grounds provide plenty of photo opportunities for both the happy couple and their friends and family. On-site accommodation is also available, with 13 rooms to choose from.
Where: High Easter, CM3 1HU
What: If you have got your heart set on having a quirky wedding, there are few venues more unique than Rayleigh Windmill. Grade-II listed and set across six storeys, the windmill is licensed to host weddings and civil ceremonies, guaranteeing giving your guests a day to remember. The venue is best suited to intimate nuptials, with the ceremony room featuring a large brick fireplace, original wooden beam work and windows that allow for natural light.
Where: South Street, SS4 1BW
What: If exclusivity is of utmost importance for your big day, it doesn’t get much for exclusive then a private island all to yourself. Osea Island is available to hire for your big day, and guests access the island via a 10-minute boat journey to give the day a sense of glamour. There’s lots of history here too, with the space previously being used as a naval base during the war. Although totally secluded, Osea Island is actually only an hour from London.
Where: River Blackwater
The Barns at Lodge Farm
What: The Barns at Lodge Farm is an exclusive-use venue which provides a handful of events spaces suited to weddings. You can host your ceremony in the traditional Granary barn and enjoy your cocktail hour in The Yard, before heading to The Grain Store for late-night dancing. If you’re planning a summer wedding, there’s a field which is perfect for outdoor ceremonies, as well as permitting marquees and tipis.
Where: Epping Road, CM16 6FS
Now that you’ve got the venue sorted, check out these 18 fun ways to entertain your wedding guests.