Finding the perfect wedding venue in Cambridge, or elsewhere for that matter, can feel overwhelming at first. There are so many options with various costs and vendor requirements.
Do we want to spend that much on a venue or should we put it towards our honeymoon? Photographer? Caterer? Where do we start? AH!
We get it! Not only have we been in the wedding industry for years, but we have also walked down “the wedding planning” aisle ourselves. We are here for you each step of the way and hope that our expertise and extensive insight into amazing wedding venues in Cambridge will help you and your fiancé take a deep sigh of relief. So, let’s begin!
To find the perfect venue for you, we advise that couples start at the bottom. To begin, schedule a night where you can cuddle up on the couch, heat yourself some tea (or, hey, pop open a bottle of wine!) and discuss your vision for the wedding day.
What is the vibe you two want to create?
What best represents you?
What are your negotiables?
What are your non-negotiables?
What is your budget?
These days, you can get married in so many unique spaces … from stately homes, banquet halls, and restaurants, to farms, barns, wineries, industrial spaces, forests, gardens, etc. What type of space best represents you? Are you hoping for a small wedding venue in Cambridge? A quirky wedding venue in Cambridge? Narrowing down the type of vibe that represents you will help save a lot of time while venue shopping.
For example, for us, Andy and I wanted an informal, chic summer wedding to represent our engagement in Paris one year earlier. Our non-negotiables were outdoor ceremony space, summer wedding date and ability to have dinner and evening reception in the same room. And our negotiables were location, catering and on-site accommodation.
Are You a Hands-On Couple or Prefer to Outsource?
After deciding on your vibe, budget, and negotiables, it is time to consider how hands-on you want to be throughout the entire planning process. Some venues offer blank canvases that allow you to organise, detail and plan the entire wedding yourself. For those who prefer to outsource the planning, there are plenty of venues that offer all-inclusive services that alleviate the workload for couples.
Most dedicated wedding venues in Cambridge have onsite teams who are there to provide ideas, options, and suppliers to help decorate the venue, source food, etc. Many will also provide day-of wedding coordinators who bring it all together. Whereas with other exclusive hire venues, at-home, garden, or field weddings, you may have to do the majority of these things yourself or hire an external wedding planner to assist.
One major decision we advise our couples to consider is the logistics of moving yourself and guests between the two locations on the wedding day. More and more, wedding venues in Cambridgeshire are offering both ceremony and reception locations on-site. This saves couples precious time on their wedding day! We shoot a lot of non-traditional ceremonies all over Cambridge but especially appreciate venues that can accommodate a reception space. This means fewer logistics to coordinate and more time for your guests to embrace the festivities!
Indoors or Outdoors?
When you and your fiancé were discussing your wedding vibe, did you envision an indoor or outdoor wedding? If you envisioned an outdoor wedding, there are plenty of Cambridge venues that offer beautiful outdoor ceremony locations. Yet, in true Cambridge fashion, the weather is indeed unpredictable. Many of our couples prefer to choose a venue that has an outdoor option with a back-up indoor option. However, some of our couples prefer to leave it up to the weather gods for their wedding day, risking a damp ceremony. Whatever your preference is, various venues will cater to your comfort level.
For those of you who are on a hunt for a wedding venue, here is a list of our favourite venues in and around Cambridge (in no particular order).
Longstowe Hall is a historic estate with a lavish landscaped garden. The Hall offers lakeside views for outdoor weddings. The stunning Rose Ball Room with an oak fireplace is a safe and beautiful indoor back-up option for weather-related changes. After the wedding, host a garden party (quintessentially English) before having dinner reception in the marquee. There are endless photo opportunities in the stunning grounds and gardens. Take a look at Harriet and Tom’s wedding here to get a better feel for this venue.
Childerley Hall offers a relaxed, informal atmosphere. The venue is in one of the longest English timber-framed barns surrounded by beautiful grounds. It is an all-in-one venue with ceremony, reception, and dancing floor in the same barn. The venue is a blank canvas and couples can put their stamp on the décor. The Hall provides early access to the venue the day before and this is very helpful – especially if you are planning and organising the wedding all on your own. Childerley offers in-house caterers who create delectable food (Trust us, we have tried it!). The venue has absolutely stunning gardens, which are a perfect backdrop for your photos.)
South Farm is a secluded countryside venue surrounded by barns, granaries, and stables. The venue offers an in-house catering team utilizing homegrown food, including fruits, veggies, and locally sourced ingredients. It is a working farm that is self-sufficient and sustainable in many areas. The farm offers a variety of locations for both indoor and outdoor civil ceremonies. The venue is privately-owned with on-site planning and catering.
Madingley Hall belongs to the University and just four miles outside of Cambridge. The Hall is an elegant historic country house with beautifully landscaped gardens and getting ready spaces. It provides an unpretentious and comfortable atmosphere. The gardens and house are a photographer’s paradise.
Thirty-one separate colleges and campuses make up Cambridge University. Unfortunately, not all of the colleges are available for civil ceremonies for non-college members. And only some of them are available for wedding receptions. If you’re engaged and connected to one of the colleges, or if you’re not connected but would love to find out what options you might have, head over to the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Ceremonies website or reach out directly to the relevant college and ask about their current policies.
Anstey Hall Hotel is a historic country house with an eclectic mix of furniture and a breath-taking English garden. The venue offers a traditional English atmosphere. Couples have their choice of rooms to use for the event. The venue is also licensed for civil ceremonies.
The Old Hall is a country manor with gorgeous surrounding grounds. It boasts of beautiful views over the lakes on Ely and its famous cathedral. The Old Hall is located in a wide-open space with gorgeous sunset views. The Hall is also perfect for outdoor and indoor weddings.
Awesome! If you’re planning a wedding in Cambridge and have questions about our experience with the above venues, then please get in touch. We are an open book. And if you love our style of photography for your wedding day, we’d love to hear from you too. Head over to our Contact page and we will be in touch!