Think getting married in a castle is out of your reach? A wedding at Haldon Belvedere could be just what you’re looking for. While space in the tower is limited, venue prices do start from as little as £595.
I photographed a wedding at the little castle at the end of July. How does it rate as a wedding venue?
What Haldon Belvedere offers
The Palk room on the first floor, accessed via a spiral staircase, holds up to 55 people for wedding ceremonies (including the couple, two registrars, and any photographer, videographer and musicians). A further 15 – including any who can’t make it up the stairs – can watch via an included video link from the ground floor Lawrence room.
The typical packages give access to the Belvedere for three hours. For example, if booking for an afternoon wedding, suppliers would normally have access from 2:00 pm, with guests arriving from 2:30pm for a 3:00 pm ceremony. Following a ceremony of around half-an-hour, you’d then have further access to the castle and grounds until 5:00 pm, when you’d typically depart for your reception at a separate venue. Drinks and canapé packages are available to be served by the Belvedere’s helpful and cheerful bridal team, at additional cost.
There are lovely spaces outdoors available for mingling and photos: a roof terrace with fantastic views, a large lawn to the north side of the castle, and the traditional ‘King’s Bridge’.
When available, the spacious and elegant Haldon Belvedere apartment on the second floor
Things to look out for
Space at the Belvedere is tight, so be sure your ceremony guest list won’t exceed the space available. The spiral staircase, while beautiful, won’t be suitable for those with impaired motion – or for brides with very bulky dresses.
If you’re unlucky with the weather (as were the couple I photographed there in July) and you’re unable to access the outdoors spaces, then the photo opportunities become much more limited and the Lawrence room for the drinks reception can seem rather crowded. In fact, on their wedding day, the rain was so heavy that I couldn’t see the ground from the rooftop terrace – I didn’t even try to take the couple up there!
A stunning venue for smaller ceremonies, but sadly loses much of its charm if the weather is bad.