Micro Wedding Venues in Brighton

Micro Wedding Venues in Brighton

Even before COVID, micro weddings were a thing – we just didn’t have a name for them. There’s nowhere better in the UK, in my humble opinion, to have a low-key and lovely day than my hometown. Here’s my list MICRO WEDDING VENUES IN BRIGHTON. Some have got the licence and some would have to be legal ceremony elsewhere or reception only. Brighton is a wonderful city full of charm, but sometimes you need some insider knowledge to find the gems.


1. Brighton Town Hall

This one might seem obvious but there are more options with Brighton Town Hall than the main ceremony room that most folk go for. There is also the tiny Fitzherbert Room, the grand Council Chamber on the top floor and the Old Police Cells in the basement.

2. THE ROYAL PAVILION

The Royal Pavilion is the whole reason that the city of Brighton exists. It was King George IV’s party pad by the sea and the fashionable and hedonistic of European society followed his example and moved here.

The interior is a unique celebration of all things exotic, mixing regency splendour with decor inspired by India and China. You can hire The Red Drawing Room for a micro wedding and they can host receptions in three different spaces. My favourite is the William IV Room with its hand painted Chinese wallpaper and hanging lanterns.

3. THE SECRET GARDEN

This little hidden oasis in the city was originally one of the gardens for the grand houses in Sussex Square. The Secret Garden would have been accessed through a tunnel and it is the only one that now remains. From summer 2021 it will be open for socially distanced weddings.


4. PELHAM HOUSE

Just outside of Brighton, over in the super pretty town of Lewes is the gorgeous Pelham House. It’s an elegant Georgian Town House with beautiful gardens. At the moment they are offering deals on weddings and can take you on a virtual tour. You can have a ceremony, reception and stay over in their stunning bedrooms. It’s a great option if you want that country house weekend party feel.

5. ROCKWATER HOVE

This is a new venue in the city and I’m not even sure if it can cater a wedding but it’s worth an ask. Right on the promenade, Rockwater House is much more than a cafe, it’s a community hub for health and fitness too. They also have Shacks By The Shore so you could on a nice summer day get hitched at the Town Hall and then stroll Alina the beach to these beach huts serving drinks, street food, ice cream and cakes. You and your guests could hire some deckchairs nearby and have a super chill reception.

6. WHITE CLIFFS CAFE

This is a little gem, just along the coast a little at Saltdean. It’s an Art Deco building right on the beach at the foot of some cliffs. It has that faded British Seaside vibe, incredible sunsets, friendly staff and terrific food. White Cliffs Cafe will work with you on creating your wedding and making the best of their space.



7. PUB DU VIN

Both the Pub Du Vin and Hotel Du Vin in Brighton have rooms licensed for weddings. Expect relaxed, elegant spaces with good service. The drinks and food are so good here with modern British and French influence. They also do a wonderful breakfast.

8. WAGNER HALL BRIGHTON

This brand new venue is a blank canvas with big potential. I think the Fig Tree Garden looks like a possible winner. Think festoon lights, paper garlands, bright colours. You could even have an outdoor cinema, treating your guests to watch a movie as your evening entertainment. Imagine snuggling down in blankets with little snack trays. And if the weather isn’t so good, Wagner Hall do have indoor space.


9. OEUF CAFE

This quirky cafe in Hove is another place that’s pretty close to the beach. They have a sustainable approach and focus on offering cocktails, brunch and afternoon tea. The interior at Oeuf is bright and airy plus they have a sweet little garden.

10. THE BANDSTAND

This venue most definitely has the best views for a wedding and it is licensed for ceremonies. It is best when the weather is fine but just in case it doesn’t play ball that day, the cute cafe underneath is also licensed. Find out more about The Bandstand here.

11. WILD FLOR

Great for Foodies, this small but perfectly formed restaurant has an upstairs room that can host a micro wedding. Wild Flor describes itself as a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant serving good good and world class wine. You can count me in!

12. THE GINGER DOG

The Ginger Dog in Kemptown is part of Brighton’s leading gastro group that also includes the Ginger Pig, Gingerman and Ginger Fox, all of which could accommodate your micro wedding reception. But the Dog has a private function room and it’s also not far from the beach. The food in all of these venues is utterly exceptional ‑ I should know, I’ve photographed a lot of it and yes I did get to taste it!

13. THE GINGER PIG

Close to the beach huts in Hove, this jewel in the Ginger group crown has a private dining space that leads into a private patio. You can also stay at The Ginger Pig as they have some utterly gorgeous rooms upstairs including two killer suites. The food is always the real star at any of the Gingers and I can personally vouch for their cocktails as my husband used to work there making them!

14. THE GARDEN BAR HOVE

If your style is more laid back pub vibes, then have a look at The Garden Bar a little outside of the main city. It’s light and airy with three possible spaces for a reception including it’s very lovely garden.


15. THE CELLARS AT THE OLD SHIP

Underneath the city’s oldest hotel is a unique venue for a micro wedding, The Cellars at the Old Ship. You get to it via a candlelight tunnel which opens out into cellar rooms that look like a film set. You can host an intimate celebration here and of course partake in some of the fine wines stored down there.

16. BLANCH HOUSE

This original Brighton Boutique hotel can host your wedding in its super chic rooms. They have specific micro wedding packages from £125 per person. The cocktails here are incredible and you are right on the beach so super easy for your photo session.

17. FABRICA

Right in the heart of the city, FABRICA is a former church that is now an Arts and Event Space. Yes it’s big and doesn’t have a license for ceremonies but it would be a wonderful space for an alternative ceremony and party. There is a small kitchen so catering can be brought in and it’s a blank canvas for any theme.

How To Have a Luxe London Elopement

How To Have a Luxe London Elopement


This glamorous couple had a luxe, laid back elopement in London. They simply married at their nearest town hall with just the two of them and two witnesses. Then I met up with them for a two hour photo shoot. We drove around town in a chauffeur driven white Roll Royce, stopping to shoot at some iconic London landmarks. Then we headed back to the luxury of their incredible suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. They were the first to stay in it after it had been redecorated so everything was brand new. It is such a sophisticated and elegant space with gorgeous light. We drank champagne and then shot around the hotel before they went off to meet their friends for dinner.

They kept all the planning low key but ramped up the glamour and spent their day together, laughing and kissing and making the most of their time together. They didn’t have to please anyone else or rush about. It was very fun and very chic.

And so it is, just like you said it would be. Life goes easy on me, most of the time. And so it is, the SHORTER STORY, no love, no glory, no hero in her sky …


Do I Really Need Group Photos at my Wedding?

Do I Really Need Group Photos at my Wedding?

Listen, I know how you feel.. you just want a laid back, fun wedding. The idea of group photos fills you with dread, so do you even need them at all? Can you get away without planning any? Let me pitch it from the photographers point of view…


Often the first thing people say to me when we meet is, “I hate having my photograph taken” and multiply that with twenty family members who feel the same and it can be a little disheartening to hear. Luckily I am used to it but I don’t burst into the dentist’s surgery wailing “I hate coming to the dentist!” so please spare a thought for us wedding photographers who constantly have to somehow get around this issue.

And you know what? I will confess that they are my least favourite part of shooting a wedding. A lot of wedding photographers are the shy and retiring type, happiest when they are in the background so it’s hard to suddenly take charge of a large group and draw attention to yourself. It is true that it would be easier to herd kittens than it is to corral tipsy wedding guests into one place. In fact I’ve decided that I’m going to invest in a pack of sheepdogs that I’m going to specially train at the fine art of rounding up giddy Aunts and frisky Uncles. I will then sell these fine samples of canine escorts to other wedding photographers throughout the land. Expect to see me on Dragon’s Den with them very soon!

In the meantime what can we do about this very British of dilemmas? What can we do together to make the whole thing easier, quicker and actually quite fun for everyone involved?

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FIRST UP, DO HAVE GROUP PHOTOS

Yes, I know you would rather be getting on with the party and the thought of standing around forcing a fake smile for ages while various long lost relatives are wheeled in around you might fill you with dread… Or maybe you just can’t face putting divorced parents within any kind of proximity to each other, but trust me on this – in years to come it won’t be those table detail photos that gain more significance to you, it will be the groups shots. I look back on mine and see much loved faces of those that are no longer with us and very sadly missed; I see the pudgy little freckled face of my 8 year old nephew who is now off to university. The group shots are are an absolute marvel to my kids and they love looking at them way more than any other photo in our album. 

MAKE A LIST

I get a lot of super laid back clients and they sometimes feel that making a list isn’t needed. “We can just pull a few people together on the day”, they say. Well the reality is that you will probably be far too busy to do this and so it will be up to the photographer to pull these people together. But we don’t know who anyone is so it can be really easy to overlook someone who actually really matters to you. Your slightly drunk and overly confident workmate might fling themselves in front of the camera more times than Kim Kardashian, while your Nanna sits quietly in the corner. Making a list with your photographer beforehand means nobody will be missed and then we have a really good sense of who is who at your wedding.

KEEP IT SHORT

I once met Hugo Burnard, the photographer who shot the weddings of Will and Kate and Charles and Camilla. I thought that royals would have nothing but formal lineups but he said the opposite was true. Hugo does in fact only shoot two group images and he says nobody needs anymore. The first shot is all immediate family on both sides, the second is all the bridal party. That is it! While that might be a little extreme, he does have a point, how many do any of us really need?

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My advice is to allow five minutes per shot (it’s not taking the images that sucks time, it’s getting folk into the shots in the first place!) and don’t have lots of the same people coming in and out of photos. A good idea is start with one family and do the biggest lineup first and then take people out as they are no longer needed. Then do exactly the same in reverse with the other side of the family.

It will look something like this:

All the bride’s family

Bride’s immediate family

Bride’s parents

Both sets of parents

Groom’s parents

Groom’s immediate family

All the groom’s family

You can also add in any shots with your friends that you want, and of course there will also be photos of you with your bridesmaids and the groom with his groomsmen too.

Now, if you’re allowing those five minutes per shot, it doesn’t take a maths genius to see that these soon add up very quickly and we haven’t even factored in any divorced/ step-family situations. If this list terrifies you and you want to keep things simple then you could just follow the Royals’ lead and just do one shot of all immediate family on both sides and then maybe both sets of parents.

ASSIGN AN OFFICIAL HELPER

So, you know those friends that offer to help with any jobs that need doing at the wedding? Make use of them. It could be an usher, although they are not always the most forthcoming or practical (especially after a few beers!) The best kind of person to ask is someone with a bit of confidence and some knowledge of who is who. Make sure there is a printed copy of that list on the day for them to work from and my advice is ask them to just shout out the people needed. Better still, if you have a wedding coordinator or an MC then get them to do this. People honestly never mind and it can all be done in good humour, but if your official helper goes off to collect people one by one, it will not only take forever but chances are they will get waylaid in conversation, the canapes, the booze or all of the above.

 

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DEDICATE TIME TO THE GROUPS

Set aside a decent amount of time to accommodate the group photos. My advice is get them over and done with as soon as the drinks reception starts. Then you can relax and mingle. If you don’t do them then, often guests will start doing their own versions, you will totally lose people who are meant to be in the shots or you risk running out of time to do them at all.

Also set aside that time in your mind as well. Every single person there is going to want to have a chat or take a selfie with you and that part of the day between the ceremony and your food absolutely whizzes by. All the guests will be there well into the night but your photographer or the daylight will not. I like to do them wherever the drinks are served, that way folks don’t feel like they are missing out on anything and it gives them something to do with their hands. I do however try to get them done before any canapes come out as that is NEVER a good look!

LEAVE THE FRIENDS SHOTS UNTIL LATER

I prefer to do these on a much more informal basis. People often form natural groups anyway at these bashes and everyone relaxes as the drinks flow. You will get serious face-ache if you do group after group all at the same time. Make a point though of telling your photographer of any photos you want with particular people though as we are not mind readers and we want you to be happy at the end of the process.

Follow these really simple tips for your wedding and the group photos don’t have to be a drag. Trust me, you won’t regret having some done and although I’m sure you won’t be buzzed about this part of your day, it really doesn’t have to be painful for you, your guests or your photographer. Situations change, families shift and years from now you will see that these images are a social document of the people who are important to you right now.

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Please note a version of this article first appeared in Rock n Roll Bride Magazine…

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