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by Emma Hla

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Image by Kristen Marie Parker courtesy of Port Eliot Estate.

Our couples (that’s you by the way!) know what they like. They have their own individual styles but keep an eye on emerging trends from fashion, interiors and design. They of course want their wedding & their wedding venue to reflect all of this and more…

The venue search is one of the very first steps of wedding planning and it’s often the point at which you’ll feel those first stressful ‘planning’ moments where it seems the venue of your dreams just doesn’t exist. The wish list that you can find yourself penning prior to the search can be, let’s say, optimistic. Sound familiar…? Well don’t worry, I’ve been there myself.

The crushing reality is that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ venue but I can say with confidence that you will always find the right venue that gives you all the feels and connects with your big day plans. So whenever I tell a newly engaged bride-to-be to relax, breathe and enjoy the venue search journey I really mean it. It’s a wonderfully romantic part of the planning process.

So shall we take a look at what we predict you’ll be loving this year in the world of wedding venues…?

Home-from-Home

We know that our couples will visit on average 4 locations before they find ‘the one’ and a relaxed affair with family & friends is still the top priority for wedding days so couples are wanting to find a venue they feel at home in – warm, welcoming and super friendly.

In 2016 we saw the rise of the ‘back-garden wedding’ where the at-home vibe overflowed. This isn’t going away for 2017, but not all couples are fortunate enough to have a tipi-sized field as a garden so we’re seeing home-from-home venues becoming increasingly popular. One such venue is the wonderful Weekend Weddings at The Copse.

Here you can be as formal or as laid back as you like. Here you can choose all your suppliers and organise your reception your way. Here you can stay with 18 guests and relax and enjoy getting ready for your wedding, staying three nights at the weekend, or one or two nights in the week.

Luxe Woods

Sticking with the outdoor trend, we love the strong statement greens making an appearance in Pantone’s 2017 colours. So where better to find this trend than in the woods, but not just any ol’ woods, I’m talking luxe woods.

Hygge has been a key word on everyone’s lips and it continues into the wedding world. Think log cabins, toasty wood burners and secret woodland hangouts where there’s an abundance of blankets, kisses and whiskey.

Sound like your kind of thing…? Then fforest weddings are the ultimate woodland wedding venue. The 200 acres of fforest farm are part of an area of unspoilt natural beauty, wrapped in woods, wildlife and wonder. fforest Farm is the perfect location for a relaxed, informal, weekend-long celebration with family and friends. It’s yours for the weekend with its choice of event spaces from giant hat tipis, dining and party barns, garden pavilion, private tiny stone pub, large communal firepit and secret woodland sauna.

This is what I mean when I say Luxe Woods!

Room with a View

Leaving the woodlands and the back gardens behind, let’s head into the city. The city wedding has many guises, from chic and elegant to raw and industrial. But I’m crushing on a ‘Room with a View’. Yep, if you’re going to marry in a big city then let’s see it! Ceremony & Reception venues with floor to ceiling windows, vistas of cityscapes and a roof garden to boot are hot property. A personal favourite is Ace Hotel London.

The 7th Floor of Ace Hotel London Shoreditch offers a super-functional, 3,000 square foot patchwork of events spaces — with wide windows dolling out dreamy views of Shoreditch and greater London. While you’re up on the 7th Floor, you’ll have access to the bird’s-eye bar and terrace that take over the whole of our 1243 square foot rooftop. It’s decked out with furnishings by Michael Marriott, a first of-its-kind lighting installation by Fabien Cappello and panoramic views.

I instantly feel like one of the cool kids when I stay at this place.

Winter Gardens

The botanical and tropical trend was serious for 2016 and I think we’ll continue to see this in 2017, but possibly softer and with a more fine-art edge. Instead of orangeries and hot-houses think Winter Gardens and Glass Houses. The Port Eliot estate is a wonderful example with its romantic chandeliers entwined with flowers. Walled Garden weddings are a true English classic, but the unusual will always draw the attention of our couples; Le Petit Chateau feels like an exotic garden but it can be found in Northumberland. Your guests will wander awestruck through the majestic grounds.

No Curfew!

Individuality is really key to our couples; and the desire for flexibility is stronger than ever. As well as being able to choose their own suppliers, these guys also want to be able to party until the early hours – so this is my little nod to the no curfew-wedding venue!

The Wedding After Party can be found in many forms – a late license, an underground drinking den, a retirement lounge or it can be as civilized as a morning-after-the-night-before brunch. Some of our most popular venues for this are Ash Barton in Devon (there are no neighbours to complain about noise!), Aynhoe Park and their eclectic library and RSA with their vaulted underground rooms.

elopements

In 2016 I predicted the elopement would be a serious option for couples. Well I can only see the intimate wedding getting bigger for 2017. The trend for micro nuptials with maximum style is HOT and the expert in this area is Ever After in Devon. They’ve put together everything a couple might need for a luxury micro wedding including the venue, the bouquet, the photographer, the champagne and canapés and the wedding breakfast prepared by a private chef, plus overnight accommodation in their 18th Century honeymoon cottage!

We’re also loving new additions such as the magical Godwick Hall at Godwick Great Barn in Norfolk, the Wee Weddings at the mighty Crear in Scotland and the super romantic Grotto at St Giles House in Dorset.

Inspired…?

Then head to the Venue Finder to start your wedding venue search.

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