Soooo… I’m not a fan of faceless hotels as wedding venues. I love nothing more than quirky, unusual and unexpected wedding venues… old cinemas and theatres, beaches, donkey sanctuaries (yes, really!) and heritage railways are the future! I have photographic proof… you’re going to LOVE this!
I spotted this styled shoot on Alexandra Jane‘s website. Alex is a lovely wedding photographer from Oxfordshire and the talent behind the gorgeous images of Hayley and Alex’s beautiful barn wedding from last month.
The most exciting thing for me is the venue for today’s shoot: a heritage railway station where you can have your actual reception on the train! Proof if ever you need it that the secret to finding an unusual wedding location is to be open-minded.
When you’re looking for an unusual venue, remember you can do the official bits at a local registry office if needs be – because then you won’t need a licensed venue for your reception. Ask around: museums and stations, school buildings with character, village halls and plenty of attractions and theatres are realising they can host wedding receptions – and tons of brides and grooms agree it’s a fantastic opportunity to create a unique wedding!
Today’s shoot was a collaboration between Oxfordshire wedding suppliers: Alexandra Jane Photography, Make-up for Brides and The Little Bridal Boutique. Flower arrangements were created by Wild Thyme (the A-board and table flowers) and Bizzie Lizzie of Thame (bouquet and buttonholes). The shoot took place at the fabulous Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway.
Venue: Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway
Bridal gowns: The Little Bridal Boutique
Hair & Make-up: Make-up for Brides
Headwear: Jo Barnes Vintage
Bouquet & Button Hole: Bizzie Lizzie, Thame
A-board & table flowers: Wild Thyme, Watlington
Crockery: Floral Vintage crockery
Supermodels: Blu & Simon
Photography: Alexandra Jane
Alex told me, “We had been passing ideas back and forth that we wanted to use a lot of local suppliers because there’s some very talented people in South Oxfordshire but we also wanted a venue that hadn’t been used before.”
“The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway hold wedding receptions on their trains, something which I think is completely unique and fitted perfectly with the ideas we had in mind. The railway is all run by volunteers who are really lovely and made us feel so welcome.”
“We hired fantastic vintage crockery from Floral Vintage Crockery – what a stunning addition to any wedding. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anyone in the timescale to make a naked cake so the cake was a combination of an M&S Victoria sponge and a Costa Coffee mini sponge on the top! It was beautifully decorated by Sally & Cat. On the day we had real life couple Simon & Blu to model for us through the wind and rain, we all had such a super day!”
Top tips for finding and styling an unusual wedding location
- Be open minded! Your ideal wedding venue won’t necessarily look like the perfect spot for your reception at first… but your imagination is the key!
- Don’t be shy to ask: ‘have you ever considered having a wedding here?’ – but try and find the right person to ask
- Be inspired by your venue’s history. Alex used the heritage railway’s natural charm and built upon its character
- Think creative! If vision isn’t your thing, see if a local wedding stylist can help bring your alternative venue to life
- Believe in your dream. If Mrs Smith down the road thinks it’s an odd place to get married, grin and feel great about your choice!