Planning a wedding and want a horsey theme? How about holding it in one of these five fabulous equestrian venues? (Although you may need to be marrying a real-life Prince or Princess Charming when it comes to picking up the bill!)
Perfect for Perdita
If you’re after an original place for an intimate wedding, or you’re a fan of the glamorous sport, then how about Beaufort Polo Club’s club house? Set in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside that formed the backdrop to Jilly Cooper’s classic bonkbuster Polo, this could be the perfect place to celebrate tying the knot with your very own Ricky France-Lynch. Or Luke Alderton. Or Red – but we digress! A small and friendly polo club, formed in 1928 by followers of the Beaufort Hunt, you can watch polo at every level from two to 20 goal. The club also plays host to the Gloucestershire Festival of Polo, with entertainment and a tented shopping village.
Wedding packages: Perfect for parties of up to 70, hire of the club house includes support from events team, and access to the club house’s caterer. For larger parties, the Beaufort Marquee can be made available.
Pricing: Venue hire charges start at £850 plus vat.
Jump at this chance
One of the most prestigious showjumping venues in the world, host to the British Jumping Derby and the Longines Royal International Horse Show, if you’ve ever dreamed of being the star of Hickstead, the good news is that you can – only in wedding regalia rather than white breeches! Set in rolling Sussex countryside and steeped in sporting history, all the honeymoon suites have views over the famous four-acre International Arena, and brides and grooms can arrive in horse-drawn carriages, be dropped off by helicopter, or even enjoy clay pigeon shooting on their big day, if they want!
Wedding packages: There’s a suite of ceremony and reception rooms to choose from, and the events team works with the couples to create a bespoke wedding package.
Pricing: The venue hire is £2400 (for exclusive use of three rooms; the Pommery Bar, Beethoven Suite and Member’s Restaurant). The wedding breakfast is from £28 per person and evening buffet from £18 per person.
Bring your boy
Choose to have your ceremony and/or reception at Nurstead Court in Gravesend, Kent – a fabulous Grade 1 listed house with a Mediaeval aisled hall – and you’ll get exclusive use of the function rooms in the house and the Garden Marquee, which has stunning views over the undulating Nurstead Park, where horses graze and the revamped old BE cross-country course can be admired. The bridal party can decorate the marquee as they please so a horsey themed wedding would be quite welcome. You can be photographed with their horse, or arrive in a horse and carriage. To continue the equestrian experience, the honeymoon cottage is located in the renovated Old Stables – and best of all, there’s a livery yard on site so your horse can share your big day with you! After all, you wouldn’t want to leave him at home, would you…?
Wedding packages: All packages are bespoke and the events team are open to ideas!
Pricing: From £1250 for the hire of the house and marquee. £450 for the hire of the drawing room for the wedding ceremony. A three-course wedding breakfast is from £38 per person and the venue can also put on barbecues, carveries, hog roasts etc.
The Scottish experience
Home to the Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun Horse Trials, a CCI2*/CIC3* event that takes place in June and attracts both established and up-and-coming riders including Zara Philips, Blyth Tait and Nicola Wilson, Hopetoun, near Edinburgh, is also one of Scotland’s finest stately homes. A beautiful example of 18th Century architecture that’s been the seat of the Hope family since the 1600s, with breathtaking landscaped grounds, it’s also an incredible and extremely stylish place to get married.
Wedding packages: Hopetoun hosts both ceremonies and receptions, Couples can choose simply to hire the premises, or can opt for the full all-inclusive ‘Hopetoun Wedding Experience’ package with services provided from trusted suppliers including all the catering, favours, log fires and a professional piper and master of ceremonies. Couples can choose from a variety of suites and rooms – but the Adams Stables, hosting weddings for 160 guests, is definitely the most horsey option!
Pricing: A private matter between couples and the venue.
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Lap of luxury
Weston Park in Shropshire is another familiar name for British eventers, as it’s a regular fixture on the events calendar. The Weston Park Horse Trials take place in April and October, and it also runs regular BE80/90/100/Novice events. But instead of riding hard through the Capability Brown-designed parkland, imagine looking out over it with a glass of champagne in your hand! The 17th Century stately home has a rich equestrian history – in the 19th Century, the 3rd Earl of Bradford ran a very successful stud, which produced his Derby winner, Sir Hugo, and paintings of horses by George Stubbs are amongst the priceless art works that decorate the walls. Perfect venue for a horsey wedding, right?
Wedding packages: With private, exclusive use of the house, there are 28 bedrooms available for the bridal party to stay in, and every need taken care of, including catering from award-winning head chef Guy Day.
Pricing: Hire of the house and 10 bedrooms for bed and breakfast is £7,500. The wedding package including champagne reception and three-course wedding breakfast with wine is £150 per person.