01 June 2015

Amazing places to get married

For many people an important part of getting married is the place it happens; a wedding venue is a chance to indulge their passions and reflect their personalities. And from tying the knot on a Star Wars set to saying ‘I do’ in shark-infested water, you won’t believe the lengths some people go to.

With the average UK wedding now costing £21,0001, tying the knot can be an expensive occasion, and the more creative you get, the more you often need to spend. If you’re putting money aside for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, then Nationwide’s range of savings accounts can help. Here are just some of the amazing ideas that could help make your big day right for you:

As seen on screen

A Star Wars-themed wedding – complete with stormtrooper ushers and Darth Vader leading the conga – is pretty geek-chic, but fans can take it to another level at the dreamy Italian hotel on Lake Como, which was the lush setting for Anakin and Padme’s wedding scenes in the movie Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Sunsets, mountains, meadows, R2D2 whistling and beeping away on the terrace – it doesn’t get much more romantic than that for the sci-fi fanatic.

For a statelier English affair, you could have the run of Highclere Castle, the exquisite setting for the Downton Abbey TV series. Hold the ceremony in its grand reception, stroll its lawns for photos and then banquet in the staterooms like a true Crawley.

A steamy affair

For train enthusiasts, a wedding is a perfect moment to indulge in their hobby and stoke a little of that romance associated with the age of steam. And there’s no shortage of options. Whether you host it in its old booking hall or signal box, tying the knot on the Midland Railway in Derbyshire includes ceremony, wedding breakfast on a steam train and a rail-themed reception. You can also get hitched at the National Railway Museum in York amid the splendour of a restored Pullman carriage or - for a grander occasion - among the iconic locomotives of its Great Hall.

This sporting wife

Whether it’s groom or bride with an obsession for the home side, many of the Premiership’s most hallowed grounds (Anfield, The Emirates, Old Trafford) run a sideline as a wedding venue with a serious soccer slant. Few can rival FC Barcelona’s epic Nou Camp stadium (PDF) though. Think pitch-side bubbly, names on the scoreboards, photos in the dressing rooms and dinner overlooking the floodlit centre circle.

If cricket’s more your game, how about holding your big day at the ‘Home Of Cricket’, the ornate, Grade II-listed pavilion at Lord’s in central London? The tranquil oasis in the city will bowl any guest over.

The ultimate thrill-seeker setting

As if the jitters of the big day weren’t enough to contend with, how about saying ‘I do’ through a respirator on the ocean floor while hungry sharks mass above you? It’s exactly what you can do at Stuart Cove in the Bahamas – where, presumably, the wedding march is the theme from Jaws. Or if you really want to scream your way into married life – how about exchanging vows on a Las Vegas rollercoaster? Outside the ‘New York, New York’ casino on the Vegas Strip, you can get hitched while being hurled around in a NYC taxi cab-themed carriage at nearly 70 miles per hour, 200 feet in the air.

All things wild and wonderful

You could add a little animal magic to proceedings with a wedding at ZSL London Zoo. From a ceremony in the Grade-II listed Mappin Pavilion – where emus and wallabies wander the gardens – to a reception in ‘Tiger Territory’ or one of the other animal houses. You can even book animal encounters for the happy couple and guests. Or how about going underground for a venue? At Wookey Hole you can get married in a cave surrounded by stalactites and ancient rock formations, all lit up by candlelight.

For dramatic natural settings however, nowhere beats Scotland where (unlike England) you can get hitched outside provided there’s a registered official on-hand. This means whether in snow or high summer, you may even get married on top of the majestic Ben Nevis.

Get away from it all

Love the idea of a remote location for your nuptials? How about a lighthouse on the edge of a cliff? Nash Point Lighthouse on the heritage coastline of the Vale of Glamorgan offers seclusion and unrivalled sea views. Warn any elderly relatives though - once the ceremony is over, Nash Point sounds its giant foghorn.

Or what about exchanging vows to the romantic creak of wooden sails turning? The jewel that is Cley Windmill on the Norfolk coast has uninterrupted views of fields, reeds, saltmarsh and sea and features a gorgeous sitting room for ceremonies. If that isn’t quirky enough, you could try a Scottish treehouse overlooking Lake Goil. This childhood dream of a place is a 5-star retreat where couples can tie the knot in the canopy against a backdrop of hills and lake, but like any treehouse, space is limited. Capacity is 24.

Next steps

If you’re planning to get married or honeymoon abroad, you need insurance. If you’re a Nationwide FlexPlus account holder, you and your betrothed get worldwide travel insurance, including cover for your wedding abroad as standard, all for £10 per month. You’ll also have the option of extending your insurance to cover a range of different activities.

Commission-free cash withdrawals abroad is just another benefit Nationwide offer their FlexPlus account holders, so you can rest assured when spending money abroad that you're only paying for your purchases.

Nationwide acts as an intermediary for Nationwide FlexPlus Current Account, which is underwritten by U K Insurance Limited on behalf of Nationwide Building Society.

1 BBC News, ‘Hold the bubbly: How to have a wedding on a budget’, July 2014: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28368323

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