Sussex wedding venues for the perfect day
Tying the knot, hoping for a ring or just planning a big shebang? Muddy to the rescue, with the first in a two-part guide to the ultimate Sussex wedding.
First up, let’s find you the perfect venue. From rustic barns to sumptuous marquees, walled gardens and even the odd castle, we’ve got something for all tastes – yes, even those who prefer something a little more understated. And don’t forget to check out the second part of our ultimate Sussex wedding guide for catering, cakes, photography, flowers and all the extras.
The complete wedding
Torn between a barn, a marquee or a garden wedding? For the best of all worlds, check out Trading Boundaries over near Sheffield Green, which will play host to the Muddy Awards winners drinks this year. This gorgeous venue will host ceremonies from next Spring, and is the complete one-stop shop with a recently refurbished 18th century barn, unique and intimate Indian Marquee, and award-winning restaurant. Book the whole place and you’ve got exclusive use of all the facilities plus the gloriously landscaped gardens. Think daytime celebrations out in the marquee and lovely grounds, before moving into the fairy-light festooned barn for the evening do. The stage is set – literally, the venue includes a stage for dancing the night away – for happily ever after. Fancy checking it out? There’s an Open Day on August 29.
Channel Harry and Meghan and have a castle wedding. You can tie the knot in East Sussex at 15th century Herstmonceux Castle which has a moat and 300 acres of carefully managed woodland combined with themed and formal gardens.
Herstmonceux can host your big day in the ballroom, conference room or Elizabethan room, holding up to 180, 60, or 30 guests respectively, or outside in the cloisters.
If a 300 foot Edwardian Pergola, a sunken garden, walled kitchen garden and arboretum are your thing then you’ll love award-winning West Dean Gardens. With a 19th century flint mansion besides, West Dean is perfect for weddings and other special occasions, indoors or in a marquee or tipis. There’s also accommodation for adults to stay over.
For an atmospheric outdoor wedding, the walled garden at Cowdray is set against the backdrop of the Cowdray Ruins. Alternatively you can tie the knot at the grand Cowdray House or in the clubhouse on the golf course.
Are you a history fan, or after a rustic vibe? Get wed at the Weald & Downland Living Museum near Chichester where more than 50 buildings spanning 950 years have been relocated and painstakingly rebuilt within parkland in the South Downs. For the ceremony itself, there’s the Downland Gridshell, a dramatic modern building made of bent oak. Or, have a simple woodland blessing in the Roots ceremonial clearing beneath a hornbeam tree then party the night away in a marquee erected in the Greenways Field. The museum itself has plenty of ye olde worlde settings for photos.
Or what about an eco-wedding? Surrounded by a 60-acre nature reserve, WWT Arundel Wetland Centre has a number of unique spaces for hire for private functions including one for up to 200 overlooking the lake. Booking your bash there will help wildlife conservation – win.
Country house wedding
Traditionalists wanting that perfect country house hotel are spoiled for choice here in Sussex. Choose from four stunning ceremony and reception suites at the breathtaking Alexander House in East Grinstead. Award-winning service, elegant interiors and grand architecture are all guaranteed. Entertain up to 200 evening guests in the lavish Shelley Suite with private garden and terrace, or have a smaller and more intimate gathering in the beautiful Garden Gazebo.
For the ultimate country wedding, Cottesmore Hotel Golf and Country Club can accommodate up to 200 evening guests for your big bash. Have the ceremony outside in a tree-lined glade, or go for the oak-beamed barn room with vaulted ceiling. Have your reception in the mirror-adorned Challis Suite which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the French styled courtyard, complete with fountain. Guests can stay over in the 26 rooms and the health club including swimming pool, hot tub beauty salon and steam room are all on hand.
The lovely 19th Century manor house at Highley Manor near Haywards Heath can cater for up to 250 guests for a lavish evening do. There’s seven acres of land, a Honeymoon Suite plus 18 guest bedrooms, and you’ll get exclusive use of the function room and grounds. There’s even a Getting Ready Room, complete with a large hair and makeup station with free-standing mirror, and space to hang dresses and suits.
For a unique rustic wedding check out the Muddy Award-winning Pilgrims Rest in Battle. This 600-year-old Wealden House Hall has endless unique features including huge inglenook fireplaces, ancient beams, oak floors and even a secret tunnel. Professionally styled to create a stunning backdrop, you won’t need to spend much time or money on decorations, as it’s all ready and waiting for you to make your mark. It’s described by the owners as a ‘grand old lady with historic soul’, with the revels of centuries gone by steeped deep in the walls.