Finding your Essex wedding venue

May 22, 2023 | Wedding advice & ideas

Chances are you’re engaged (congratulations by the way!) and are about to start looking for your dream wedding venue. The wedding venue is usually the first part of the wedding planning journey and it sets the theme and feel for your wedding day. More often than not the wedding venue accounts for the majority of your wedding spend, so of course, it is very important that you choose wisely. 

In Essex there are over 100 wedding venues to choose from, this might sound like a lot and a scary amount to research but don’t fear. I recommend starting your research online and working out what style of wedding it is that you are looking for. In Essex, the main style of wedding venues includes: barns, country houses and gardens. Once you’ve established which of those is your vibe you will have narrowed your search and maybe you already have 3-5 strong contenders.

The best way to further narrow down your search is to go and do some viewings, wedding venues regularly host open days/evenings, wedding fairs and private venue tours. Information about these events are usually shared on venues websites, note, you might have to register your interest to attend. These events/tours are great as the venue staff can help to answer any questions you might have and most importantly you’ll get to see the venue in person.

Suffolk tipi wedding in garden.

3 main factors when choosing your wedding venue:

There are so many factors in choosing your perfect wedding venue, but here are the three main things to take into consideration.

The Feel

Getting the right ‘feel’ for your venue is super important. I’ve spoken to so many couples over the years where they said they chose their venue because it ‘felt like the one’. This could be the place where you say ‘I do’, ask yourself these questions when you do your venue visits: 

+ Can I imagine getting married here?
+ How does the venue make you feel?
+ Does it feel like the one and are you excited about it?


Along with ‘feel’ another important factor we have already touched on a little is ‘budget’. I would assume most wedding venues will be able to provide a rough pricing guide before your visit so you will know in advance if it is within budget. Questions to consider asking venues: 

+ Are there any hidden fees/add-on costs?
+ What is the payment plan?
+ Do they offer deals/off-peak/last-minute offers?  


Location is the third factor when choosing your wedding venue. Some things to consider:

+ If travelling further afield does the venue/nearby have suitable accommodation for you and/or guests?
+ If guests are travelling from abroad how close is the airport?
+ Finally consider how long the travel will be for guests.

Are you having your ceremony and reception in the same place? 

Before moving on to wedding venues something to take into consideration is whether you’d like your ceremony and reception at the same place. Most venues are licensed to host both so it comes down to personal choice. More often these days couples opt for a full day at one location with the perks being:

+ No time lost travelling on your wedding day
+ Guests not getting lost on the way to the reception
+ Guests can usually check into rooms earlier
+ Save money on transportation for you and your guests

If you are opting for a ceremony in a different location for example because you’d like a church service I’d recommend keeping the location within a 30-minute (or less) radius of the reception venue to reduce travelling time on the wedding day. Want the church wedding without the travel? Some venues have churches within walking distance or a very short car journey, examples of Essex venues with churches nearby include: Gosfield Hall (walking distance), Hutton Hall, (walking distance) Braxted Park (very short drive), Fennes (very short drive).

Outside ceremony set up at Houchins.

Which Essex venues have outside ceremony locations?

With the growing popularity and our increasingly warm summers in the UK, it is understandable why so many couples opt for outside ceremonies. Some things to consider when planning an outside ceremony:

+ They are weather dependent and it can change on the day if rain is forecast
+ Consider a plan B location in inclement weather
+ On very hot days in direct sun consider supplying umbrellas to keep guests cool

Some of my favourite Essex wedding venues that host wedding ceremonies outside: 

Baddow Park House | The Great Lodge | Houchins | Tuffon Hall | Blake Hall | The Warren Estates | Hatfield Place

Barn wedding venues in Essex

Out of all wedding venues in Essex, I would say barn venues are the most popular, simply because there are just so many barns that have been repurposed for the wedding industry. Reasons why you might pick a barn venue, could include:

+ The rustic and relaxed style and charm
+ Most are in rural locations surrounded by gorgeous countryside views, including seasonal farmland
+ The history behind the barn
+ Lots of photography backdrop locations

Some of my favourite barn wedding venues in Essex include:

Villiers BarnLodge Farm BarnApton HallThe Great Lodge | The Barn Brasserie | Houchins | Channels | Blake Hall | Gaynes Parks

Manor House wedding venues in Essex

Maybe barns aren’t your vibe and you are looking for something more stately and traditional this is where Manor Houses come in. Reasons why you might pick a manor house wedding venue, could include:

+ More traditional feel
+ Manicured gardens
+ Lots of different rooms you can use

Some of my favourite manor house wedding venues in Essex include:

Baddow Park House | Gosfield Hall | Braxted Park | Fennes

Le Talbooth wedding photographer.

Looking for something a little different?

Maybe you’re not a fan of barns or manor houses and just want something a little different for your Essex wedding. Below I have hand selected some venues that have unique qualities that you might just love!

+ The Compasses at Pattiswick – ideal for a laid back wedding day and the perfect location for stunning sunsets.
+ Hedingham Castle – think dreamy candle lit castle vibes.
+ The Old Parish Rooms – an old converted Parish filled with beautiful natural light.
+ Le Talbooth – imagine arriving to your drinks reception by boat, well here you can do just that.
+ East Mersea Hall – still boat themed this venue has a boat couples can use during their couple portraits! 
+ DIY garden wedding – still not found what you’re looking for? Maybe a DIY wedding is the way to go, with 100 % personalisation :-).

Looking for your wedding photographer? I’d love to hear from you!