I love living in Oxfordshire. If you’ve read this post, you’ll know that I’m someone who has been bitten pretty heavily by the travel bug. I’ve lived in many amazing places all over the world, but this green and historic English county has captured a large piece of my heart! Oxford and its surroundings boast a wealth of incredible venue possibilities for your wedding – from quirky jaw droppers, to the ultimate in relaxed luxury, and everything in between. Today I’m excited to be sharing my top unique Oxfordshire venues with you. If you’re newly engaged and on the hunt for a venue that will knock your socks off, then keep on reading!
My Favourite Oxfordshire Venues
A country house like no other, quite frankly this is my dream wedding venue. The 17th Century house is grand and glorious, set in stunning grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. The team at Aynhoe Park offer intensely personal, bespoke weddings in what is an extraordinary space. What makes this place so special is its twinkle. There are quirky surprises and splendid eccentricities around every corner. I’m talking a taxidermy giraffe floating up to the ceiling on giant white balloons, glitter balls bigger than you or I, a polar bear in flying goggles, and a TARDIS – to name a few. With 28 seriously luxury bedrooms on site, you can make a weekend of it with your guests and plan a multi day event that’s sure to wow.
This private members club in the Cotswolds ticks all the boxes if you’re looking for no holds barred luxury with a contemporary, design led edge. Weddings are only available to Soho Farmhouse members, and only available midweek, but what it lacks in flexibility of dates, it makes up for in just about everything else! Weddings are held in the absolutely stunning Hay Barn, with its domed ceiling, wood panelling and beautiful rustic chandeliers. Go for a spot of pre wedding pampering at the on site Cowshed Spa; stay overnight in one of the beautifully appointed bedrooms or luxury wood cabins – this place is exclusive, and every last element has been gorgeously thought through and tastefully designed. It’s a space I would love, love, love to shoot!
The Isis Farmhouse
Oh how I love this place! The Isis Farmhouse is hands down my favourite pub. It’s found right on the Thames, and you can often find me here on summer evenings looking out over the water with a glass of something cold and refreshing. The owners here are incredibly flexible and laid back, and the whole place has such a lovely chilled out atmosphere. Hire the on site barn, and make your entrance to this riverside gem in what is to my mind the MOST romantic way possible – by boat.
The Jam Factory
This gorgeous space in Oxford city centre is part restaurant, part bar and part art centre. The Jam Factory is a beautifully eclectic space with loads of natural light, and the fresh and delicious food is to die for. Named after its origins (it really did used to be a jam factory), this lovely place is perfect for a foodie, slightly bohemian wedding. I love that you can get married surrounded by works from local artists. Fun fact: a jar of the jam that used to be made here can be seen in one of the original drawings in Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as Alice falls down the rabbit hole.
Another of my favourite riverside pubs along the Thames. The Perch is one of the oldest pubs in the city, and over the 800 or so years that there has been a watering hole on the site, it’s played host to some of the most iconic poets and authors, not to mention Inspector Morse! This pub is rocking a traditional chocolate box English look, with its gorgeous thatched roof and beautifully sunlit garden. Something I particularly love about The Perch is its marquee. This purpose built structure is already decorated in a stylish but casual way, meaning you don’t have to worry about kitting out a truly blank canvas. Bring flowers, bring personal touches, and get ready for an incredible party.
I can’t talk about my love of Oxford without mentioning its museums. The possibility to get married among such astonishing history is a rare and very special one. The Ashmolean is well and truly an Oxford institution, with beautiful art, sculpture and other ancient artefacts wherever you turn. Having figures painted by the Old Masters watching over you as you say your vows is an experience unlike any other, and is enough to give shivers up my spine!
If modern art is more your thing, then Modern Art Oxford is the venue for you. A light and contemporary space with an industrial vibe and some amazing and striking art on display, there is a range of different areas available for hire. This is a venue with strong personality, and I love that it retains its character even when decked out in full wedding finery.
Then of course, there’s the Natural History Museum. Architecturally marvellous, with incredible acoustics and it’s attached to the incredible Pitt Rivers Museum and it’s wonderful collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts. Not only is it gorgeous, it’s also one of the only places on the planet where you can get married under a DINOSAUR. (I’m afraid there’s no way of saying that without using overexcited capital letters!)
Now, this one’s a little bit of a wild card, as it’s not technically a wedding venue (stay with me.) It is, however, one of the loveliest manor houses I’ve ever encountered. Built in the 18th Century and crammed full of period features, this seven-bedroomed house is warm and elegant. I’ve shot several brides getting ready at Baldon House, and each time I visit I’m struck again by the presence and beauty of the place. While it’s not licensed for ceremonies, it would make the perfect spot for an intimate humanist or other celebrant led wedding, either on the sweeping lawns, or in the dining room with its dark wood panelling.
A Field, A Garden, A Marquee
Oxfordshire is a green and glorious part of the world. Get creative and put your stamp temporarily on a tiny part of it. I’m a sucker for a marquee wedding, or a festival style boho extravaganza with teepees. Weddings nowadays don’t need to be tethered to bricks and mortar venues. Grab yourself a field; use your parents back garden; get out and about and explore to find an outdoor space you can make your own (with permission, of course!). To help get you started on your search for the perfect green space, here are some of my favourites:
Cotswold Field of Dreams – Views that make you stop in your tracks and incredible flexibility when it comes to choosing suppliers, this gorgeous field near Chipping Norton is perfect for a marquee wedding.
Maybush Weddings – This riverside venue is what festival wedding dreams are made of. The team at Maybush can facilitate everything you possibly need, from fabulous food to showstopping teepees, lighting, firepits..you name it, they can help you achieve it!
Springfield Lake – 7 acres and a beautiful lakeside location give you the chance to let your imagination run wild.
I hope you’re feeling inspired by some of these venues. If you’re looking for an Oxfordshire photographer to capture your day in all its brilliance, then why not drop me a line? I’d love to hear about your wedding plans.