There are so many reasons why London is my favourite place in the world. It’s a huge melting pot of cultures and styles, and it does everything with serious flair. When planning a London wedding, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to venues – from blank canvas warehouses dripping with urban cool, to sumptuous private houses and everything in between.
The days of the cookie-cutter hotel wedding, complete with package caterers, chocolate fountains and (shudder) spandex shiny chair covers are well and truly over. This fabulous city and its surroundings is home to an array of incredible ceremony and reception venues that will truly reflect who you are, whether your style is urban cool, boho luxe, bright and quirky or anything in between.
Last year I wrote about the light-filled loveliness of my favourite Orangery-style venues, and it was one of my most-read posts. So this year I’ll be sharing lots more venue goodness with you, letting you in on some of my favourite spaces and hidden gem locations in London and beyond.
Each month, I’ll share my top ten venues in a certain category. We’ll be looking at oases in the city – the pockets of green you don’t expect to find in the Big Smoke; blank canvases- where the only limits are your imagination; paradise for foodies – restaurant venues with a difference; and lots more.
However, there are some London gems that defy categorisation – that are totally one of a kind. If you’re looking for a unique city venue with real wow factor, here are my top ten:
UNIQUE LONDON WEDDING VENUES
You can’t get more hidden gem then Fitzrovia Chapel- nestled amongst the modern architecture of its surrounding buildings and perfect for more intimate ceremonies of up to 60 guests, this secular chapel in the heart of London is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Originally part of the Middlesex Hospital, the chapel was completed in 1929. Its Gothic architecture, stained glass windows and exquisitely ornate mosaic ceiling in shades of gold and azure make it a total gem for a civil wedding ceremony.
A ceremony venue in Southwark that is guaranteed to leave you with goosebumps – The Asylum Chapel is an effortlessly dramatic space. It was built in 1826, bombed during the Second World War and is now wonderfully decaying. I love styling this venue with flowers and candles – soft and romantic details that contrast beautifully with its ruined stonework. This stunningly atmospheric space is available for ceremonies of up to 120 guests.
CEREMONY + RECEPTION
A paragon of urban boho in the chaos of London’s West End, this private member’s club is a vibrant new player in the city’s wedding scene. Situated in a 300-year-old Soho townhouse, the venue is thoughtfully restored and eclectically but tastefully decorated throughout. This is a space that is adored by its staff, and loved by its members. It’s licensed for ceremonies too, so you and your guests can relax and spend the whole day in comfort.
One for book and library lovers, Queen Mary’s stunning octagon space allows dining in the airy and elegant former college library. It’s the ultimate in romance for any couple with a love of literature. The walls are lined with colourful books and busts of famous writers, and the domed ceiling floods the room with light. This gorgeous space seats 100-220 guests. The senior common room is also available to hire for your ceremony, looking out over the lawns and clocktower.
Imagine saying your vows on a stage that has been trodden by stars for more than 150 years. Wilton’s Music Hall in London’s East End is the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world – having been open since 1859. After falling into disrepair, it has been partially restored, and its main hall oozes with faded glamour. Say your vows on the stage, pose for portraits on the grand staircase, then party the night away in the auditorium. This truly unique space caters for a limited number of weddings per year (so get in quick!) and is suitable for 100-300 guests.
A restaurant venue with a difference, this West London eatery offers an array of eclectic spaces for your wedding ceremony and celebration. From the light-filled conservatory, to the shabby chic dining room, intimate bar area and large dance space, this is a venue with oodles of atmosphere. The eccentric decor and colourful feature walls are enough to make any photographer’s heart happy, and the labyrinthine layout allows you to get really creative and give your guests surprises around every corner. A short walk from Kensal Green tube station, this venue is best suited for more intimate weddings of up to 80 guests.
Cecil Sharp House is England’s award-winning folk arts centre, and the headquarters of the English Folk Dance Society – just 10 minutes from Camden Town underground station. The large and airy Kennedy Hall is a delightful space for up to 200 seated guests. Light pours in from its high windows and it contains a colourful wall-to-wall mural by 1930s artist Ivon Hitchings. This grade II listed building also has a gorgeous garden, which is perfect for champagne receptions.
If you want your evening reception to have a playful, nostalgic edge while still being breathtakingly elegant, this is the venue for you! This Bethnal Green institution features a world-renowned collection of childhood collectables – from dolls and bears to clothing, games and furniture. The main hall is available for hire after the museum is closed to the public, and its iconic Victorian marble floor and high arched ceiling make for an impactful and chic event space for up to 300 guests.
Adaptable, modern, eccentric and oh-so-cool – One Friendly Place is a four-floored former spice warehouse in Deptford that is bursting at the seams with character. Spaces can be hired individually or together and include an industrial style studio, 1500 ft roof terrace and conservatory with just the right amount of dilapidation. A range of eclectic props and furniture are available for hire alongside the venue – from neon backdrops to velvet sofas and colonial lawn chairs. Less than five minutes’ walk from Deptford Bridge station, this temple of quirk can house 100-250 guests.
This Georgian mansion can be found in Vauxhall, where it is now dwarfed by the sleek modern architecture of Thames House, gleaming apartment blocks and the new American Embassy. I love that the skyline of London is such a hodge podge of styles and eras, and am thrilled that this grand old house from the 1700s is standing proud among its much more modern cousins. Brunswick House doubles as an antiques shop, and each room is stuffed with amazing curios and historical items. Have drinks on the ground floor, enjoy critically acclaimed cuisine in the upstairs dining room, then descend to the cellar for dancing.
Looking for a unique London wedding venue? As a creative London wedding planner, I offer venue finding as part of my full wedding planning service, whittling down a shortlist of the best of the best for your needs. It makes your life easier, saves you loads of time, but more importantly, I can find you some absolute gems that you might not have heard of on your own! Get in touch today firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what sort of venue you’re looking for.
Photography Credits: Fitzrovia Chapel photography by Fiona Kelly | The Asylum photography by Laura Babb | Wilton’s Music Hall photography by Razia Jukes Photography via Love My Dress | Museum of Childhood photography by Peachy Photography | Friendly Place photography via website and Rock my Wedding | Brunswick House wedding photography by Camilla Arnhold Photography via Rock My Wedding here