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Our little black book of enchanting places


Where to say 'I do'

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Buck Hall, Cowdray HouseOnce upon a time, weddings were all the same: church or registry office followed by a reception in a hotel or a marquee. For most of us, Four Weddings And A Funeral wasn’t so much a movie as a documentary. Now, of course, you can get married virtually anywhere. So if you haven’t even thought about the ‘when’ or ‘where’ yet, here are six ideas to inspire you.

On a country estate

A number of estate houses have made themselves available for exclusive use in recent years. They work well for weddings, as they’re more personal than a hotel but are often just as luxurious, plus you get the chance to play Lord and Lady of the Manor. One of our favourites is the 12-bedroom Cowdray House, the former family home of the 4th Viscount and Vicountess Cowdray in West Sussex. We think its double-height Buck Hall (above), with enormous stone fireplace, stained glass windows and minstrels’ gallery, would be hard to beat for a romantic wedding breakfast, though if you need to seat more than 150, Cowdray can also organise a marquee on the lawn.Sea Wine Cellar & Restaurant, Anantara Kihava Maldives VillasUnderwater

We’re not suggesting a wedding with the fishes: everyone stays bone dry at this enchanting underwater wine cellar and restaurant called Sea, set under the Indian Ocean. Sea belongs to Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, a luxury resort of 70 beach and overwater pool villas in the Baa Atoll, so you won’t have to go far for your honeymoon. On the other hand, if you’d prefer a scuba wedding, Kihavah can help with that, too... Wedding platform, Bulgari BaliOn the water 

If you don’t fancy getting hitched under the Indian Ocean, how about on it – or at least, on a petal-strewn infinity pool at the beautiful Bulgari Bali? In fact, you’re spoilt for choice at the Bulgari as the hotel also has a stone wedding chapel overlooking the ocean, a traditional gazebo festooned with scented blossoms or you can opt for a beach ceremony. This is Bali, after all.  Soane Gallery, Dulwich Picture GalleryIn an art gallery

For a more cerebral ceremony, how about tying the knot surrounded by Rembrandts, Gainsboroughs and Canalettos? My favourite London gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, is licensed for civil ceremonies. Weddings take place in the Soane Galleries, hung with more than 300 Old Masters, and guests also have access to the Gallery’s gardens.The Little Theatre Cinema, BathIn a cinema

Film fans can get married in Screen One or Screen Two at The Little Theatre Cinema in Bath. Included in the price are personalised cinema tickets, popcorn for up to 30 guests and drinks served in the auditorium or in the courtyard garden. You can have your own films, photographs or a single image projected onto the big screen behind you as you say your vows – the only limit, says the cinema, is your imagination.Bodmin Jail, CornwallIn jail

The jail in question is Cornwall’s Bodmin Jail, which you might recognise from last year’s Poldark series. Built in the 18th century, the prison was closed in 1927. Parts of it have now been restored and couples can get married in the prison chapel or the jail itself. Brace yourself for the inevitable jokes about marriage being a life sentence.


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