8 Quirky & Unique Hertfordshire Wedding Venues For Untraditional Couples
I met up over (ahem several) drinks with a couple the other day and they were telling me that they’re one of the last of their friendship group to get married and because of that, they’ve seen a lot of traditional wedding venues, they didn’t want to feel like they were treading old ground, so they went for something different. Now, I love a barn, a marquee, a fancy house, a beautiful hotel. I really do. I also know that when I get married, I’m probably going to want to go small and low-key, I’m thinking pub garden. I’m in this amazing position where I get to experience every kind of wedding – different traditions and cultures, different venues and styling…and there’s honestly not a wedding that passes where I don’t think, “wow, I can’t believe this is what I do for a living.”
I’ve photographed around 270 weddings (and counting!) so I’ve seen more than my fair share of wonderful things and a whole lot of Hertfordshire wedding venues. Google can most definitely do the work for you on the bigger venues, so, I’ve made a little list of some of the more unique, quirky and untraditional wedding venues in Hertfordshire that you might have missed in your search. If you’re planning an un-weddingy wedding, or just wondering how to pull something off that will feel super personal, maybe a bit smaller, a bit more customisable, or just something you’ve not seen too much of before, here’s my list…
I live in St Albans and I’ve noticed, we’re really not spoiled for choice here, for a city (yes, we’re a city) with so many churches and a gorgeous cathedral, we’ve not got a great variety of venues. Although guys, I do love a classic St Michael’s Manor wedding. So half of these are St Albans-centric because I always get excited to discover a wedding venue right under my nose.
Henry Moore Foundation
Henry Moore Foundation, Much Hadham
Kicking it off with a great one (note here, they’re pretty strict about sharing photos featuring their sculptures, so trust me there’s more to this place than these pictures let on – but feel free to email me for access to a gallery). You’ve got a whole load of options here, there’s the sculpture garden at your disposal, plenty of space for a marquee or tipi, drinks in the garden, and a barn lined with tapestries. I covered Gemma and Chris’ church wedding, with a marquee wedding breakfast and dancing in the barn…and Louise and Leighton’s wedding where the ceremony, wedding breakfast and dancing all happened in the barn.
They hold a very limited number of weddings at the Henry Moore Foundation every year, so, it’s not a venue you see on the wedding social media trawls all that often, but, whenever I do catch a glimpse of it I get excited. Also, the staff here are super lovely and you have so much space to explore!
The Loft, St Albans
If you’re going small(ish) The Loft might be just the right venue – it seats around 50. It’s within easy reach of some great ceremony venues – St Albans Registry Office, basically next door to The Abbey, a whole lot of other St Albans churches and even St Michael’s Manor is a little walk down the road.
I’ve been doing a lot of weddings here lately! The food is delicious (I basically had to message everyone I know about their chocolate fondant, it was so good); the staff are lovely; there are exposed beams everywhere; and it’s got this cute little lounge upstairs with very photogenic windows. I’m into The Loft in a big way and you should totally book me if you’re getting married there, I want to be the go-to The Loft St Albans Wedding Photographer.
If you’re a more of a low-key couple, a pub might be right up your street. Ashley and Kevin’s wedding at The Gate was an absolute joy. While you can’t get legally married here, they opted for a blessing at the bottom of the garden and it was a really lovely, warm set up with everyone circled around them. There was a super delicious barbecue, an outdoor and indoor bar and plenty of space for everyone. You know those lazy bank holiday Sunday’s you spend in a pub garden all day? This wedding felt just like that – so informal, no seating plan, eating when you want, a couple of speeches and dancing outside with a live band.
The Gate isn’t as fancy as some of the London pub weddings I’ve covered, however, I think that’s kind of the charm of it…and there’s plenty of opportunity to make it your own.
Brook Farm, Cuffley
Ooh, Brook Farm! It’s seriously so beautiful, have your ceremony on an island under gorgeous trees. Then you’ll have all this wonderful green space available to you for games, drinks and whatever kind of marquee/yurt/tipi you can dream of. This one is perfect for all size weddings and to really relax in some gorgeous scenery. Abbie and Sam’s wedding at Brook Farm was absolutely gorgeous – so bright and colourful and mainly, it just felt so easy and natural. Everyone really relaxed into the day, in fact, they skipped the first dance because they were having so much fun chatting in the evening sun.
Your House / Backgarden
OK, this isn’t a venue you can go book strictly speaking. However, I’ve covered a lot of at home weddings and I love love love them! And while it’s amazing if you have some huge manicured lawns to host a wedding, I’ve seen them work in much more modest gardens with a bit of clever thinking. A yurt works well for a smaller space because they’re round. Barbara and Gus held their religious ceremony carried out by Gus’ Dad in the gardens too, having their legal ceremony elsewhere. Big bonuses – it’s totally unique, you get to make all the decisions (depending on how much you love a spreadsheet this may either be a good or a bad thing), they usually feel like a big garden party so great for informal couples, and it kind of feels like you’re inviting everyone into the family.
Pro tip – if you are planning a back garden wedding I’d recommend either spending a bit on an MC or co-ordinator, or at least designating someone responsible to be in charge. Venues do a lot of this hard work for you behind the scenes and you’ll be surprised how easy it is for things to slip by a couple of hours (because you’re having too much fun to be thinking about practical things!) and miss out on prime dancing time. Though, to be honest, I have been known to step in as an unofficial co-ordinator if I see things are getting off course….
Tewin Memorial Hall
Tewin Memorial Hall, Tewin
Village halls! I love a village hall wedding! I can’t quite put my finger on it, there’s something that feels so…cosy about them. They’re personal and it feels like everyone is family. Tewin Memorial Hall is super beautiful and Tewin is adorable with the lovely little village green out the front. You’re also literally a minutes walk away from some huge fields and wedding photographers love a big field. We just do, give us some tall grass and a setting sun and we’ll be grinning the whole night through.
Home Farm Glamping
Home Farm, Elstree
From what I can tell, Home Farm Glamping doesn’t market itself all the heavily towards weddings. It’s a really beautiful space, those little paths in the grass make me really happy. You could really create your own wedding festival here, with some amazing glamping tents (I took a look inside, if I could justify staying in a tent 20 minutes from my house I’d be all over it) and a lot of space for extra camping – their website says there’s space for 51 people to stay, so that’s a lot of space to keep the party going. There’s a huge opportunity for personalisation here. Oh and the bathrooms are in proper cabins, which is a nice luxurious touch from the standard wedding loos you get at outdoor weddings.
Kingsbury Barn, St Albans
OK, so, this is a barn…because I love a barn wedding. It is maybe a little more wedding-y than my other suggestions. However, did you know you can have your wedding reception just behind the Waffle House? For me, this one stands out because I have lived in St Albans pretty much all my life and didn’t know there was this gorgeous (and it seriously is beautiful) barn hiding behind one of my favourite brunch spots. From what I can tell, these guys don’t market themselves as a wedding venue, so you may well have missed them in your search.
From what I gathered at Madeline & David’s wedding, the barn isn’t licensed for loud music and late night shenanigans, so, you’ll need to relocate for your dancing – Madeline and David returned to their church hall for a big party, but, I also think a quick walk through the park to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks would be a great evening option.
Bonus – Hitchin Lavender Farm
Hitchin Lavender Farm, Hitchin
No photos for this one, boo! I have a wedding booked in here for later in the year. It’s been a dream to cover a wedding here and I’m so excited!
If you have any questions about your quirky wedding or need an untraditional wedding photographer, feel free to pop me a message. I genuinely love hearing about your plans and bombarding you with ideas.
Hi, we read your piece about Kingsbury Barn and we totally fell for the place. We live in St Albans and wandered past today as there was an art exhibition on. We learnt the owner was called Mr Singer, by any chance do you have more details around how we can contact him? Or ideas around prices, availability.
Finally, we still need to find a photographer so would be interested to know your availability next year as well!