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Why choose the National Trust for your wedding?

Written by
Helen BeerAssistant Editor, National Trust Magazine
A bride and groom walking towards a sunset in the meadow at Calke Abbey with a glowing sun on the horizon and ancient trees in the background
A bride and groom at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire | © The Light Painters

Every year, hundreds of couples celebrate one of the biggest days of their lives at the places we care for. We asked some of them why they chose a National Trust wedding.

How your special day helps look after special places

It’s no surprise that National Trust places are so often chosen for proposals and weddings. Beautiful landscapes, history-steeped houses and castles, rustic barns, wild coastline and even a theatre licensed for marriages – at Smallhythe Place in Kent – means there’s a perfect romantic spot for every couple.

But a Trust setting is about more than providing a good-looking backdrop. There’s something special about knowing that the place where you shared one of the most significant moments in your lives is being looked after for ever. Couples who marry at Trust places have the satisfaction of knowing that the venue fees go straight back into looking after it.

‘At East Riddlesden, weddings are our main source of income, and most of our conservation work has been done as a result of money from them’

– Chloe Judge, former Wedding Coordinator at East Riddlesden Hall

With many places offering a year’s free membership for Trust newlyweds, they can return time and again, as well as finding new places to explore.

Read on to hear from couples who celebrated their wedding days with us.

A view of the exterior of the south front of Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
Kedleston Hall where Aelia and Stuart married in May 2012 | © National Trust Images/Rupert Truman

Aelia and Stuart Youngs, Kedleston Hall

Aelia and Stuart married at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, in May 2012.

‘We wanted our wedding to be a true mix of our backgrounds, as Stuart is English and Aelia is British Indian. We looked at many Trust sites, but Kedleston was perfect on three counts.

First, we wanted a quintessential English country house; second, there was a historic connection to India as Lord Curzon was viceroy there; and, third, we both have a keen interest in architecture, and the great Robert Adam designed it.

On our wedding day, Kedleston Hall was closed to the public, so we felt like the venue was all ours and we were able to use many of the main rooms in the house. One of our highlights was having an English tea party in the Great Kitchen. The kitchen at Kedleston made cakes and sandwiches, and we followed this with a curry and dancing in the arches below.’

The mill and garden at Quarry Bank, Cheshire
Quarry Bank, where Claire and Hannah married in May 2015 | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Claire and Hannah Garrett, Quarry Bank

Claire and Hannah married in May 2015 and held their reception at Quarry Bank in Cheshire.

‘We got engaged in the Lake District and started looking at wedding venues, but it seemed as though most were grand country houses which just didn’t feel like us.

When we found out that we could have our reception at Quarry Bank, we liked the link to industrial, working-class history, and to Manchester, which is where we now live. We chose the kitchen garden as a setting for a lot of our photos as Claire is a keen gardener; it’s set on a hillside looking down on the mill, so it was perfect for photography.

We’re looking forward to coming back with a family one day, having picnics here and making it a place we continue to build memories together.’

Sunset behind a ruined building in Northamptonshire
Lyveden, where Helen and Martin married in August 2015 | © National Trust Images/Mike Selby

Helen and Martin McHugh, Lyveden

Helen and Martin held their wedding reception at Lyveden, Northamptonshire, in August 2015.

‘We weren’t members of the Trust, but we fell in love with Lyveden when we saw it. It’s an unfinished Elizabethan house with a beautiful garden. The Operations Manager made the planning so easy for us. She made suggestions but ultimately, we were able to design our own day, which suited us as we are quite laid-back.

Our guests all commented on the dramatic backdrop, which looked better and better as the sun went down. Seeing everyone relaxing outside was a real highlight, as are our incredible photos.

Our Trust membership has been a real incentive to try places we wouldn’t normally think of – and we’re planning a trip back to Lyveden to reminisce.’

These testimonials first appeared in the National Trust Magazine spring 2016 issue.

A bride and groom enjoying their wedding photography in the Orangery at Calke Abbey, surrounded by tropical plants and the faded, peeling plaster of the Orangery


From castles and ruins, to abbeys and even pubs, we have a wonderful selection of venues for your wedding day.

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