Fancy getting married at a restored Victorian train station within a private English country estate? Fawley Hill, near Henley-on-Thames, contains everything a vintage-loving, railway-crazy couple could want. There’s the Victorian-era Somersham Station, the steepest standard gauge railway track in the world, and a railway museum, as well as beautiful outdoor spaces.
Your quirky railway wedding ceremony
Somersham Station is chock-full of original features such as the ticket booking hatch and rail paraphernalia – and it’s licensed for ceremonies of up to 89 people. The Great Eastern No. 1 carriage is also parked there, and is the perfect place for you to sign the register and get your picture taken on its balcony.
There are all kinds of other quirky features in and around the station too, including a Victorian carousel and a traditional red phone box, all of which are perfect props for a vintage, retro wedding.
A versatile vintage venue
Versatility and choice are key here: it’s a blank-canvas venue with no restrictions on suppliers, so you can really make the day your own.
If you want a more traditional day, you can have a sit-down meal and dancing in the station museum, surrounded by rail paraphernalia, tin advertising and an O gauge model railway.
Or, if you want a more bohemian, festival-style vibe, you can have a marquee on the top field next to Ironhenge – a stunning structure made from the pillars used in the undercroft of St Pancras station. Another option is to have a woodland wedding, with a backdrop of forest, wildlife and traditional gypsy caravans.
Fawley Hill has its own wedding planner too, so you know your day will go smoothly. Take a look at their website to find out more.
When Lizzie got in touch a few months ago to say she and her fiance were planning a railway wedding at the East Anglian Railway Museum, and would I be interested in featuring it, I of course said yes! Well, the pictures are in, and it looks like one of the best railway weddings I’ve ever seen – take a look for yourself….
Lizzie and Jonny both wanted a cool, quirky venue, and once they’d seen the East Anglian Railway Museum (EARM), it was pretty much love at first sight. They didn’t originally have a theme as such, but the vintage look of the station quickly set the tone of the whole day.
They adorned the railway bridge and Goods Shed with bunting, and decorated the tables with tea lights, picture frames and DIY lace-covered jam jars full of lavender. Lizzie’s dad (a lifelong miniature railway fan!) also made them a beautiful set of vaudeville style marquee lights in their initials. The wedding invites were also in the style of train tickets.
As the museum doesn’t have a wedding licence, Lizzie and Jonny had their ceremony in nearby Braintree Town Hall, then hired a vintage Routemaster bus to transport their guests to the reception at EARM, which added to the (unintentional!) vintage/transport theme.
Once at the venue (which they had sole use of), the guests entered through the ticket office, crossed over the bridge and had drinks and canapés on platform 2. That was followed by rides on the miniature railway and ice-creams from a retro ice-cream bike – perfect for a hot August day! Later on there was dinner and dancing in the Goods Shed. There were also train carriages along Platform 2 and in the Goods Shed that were open to guests throughout the day.
All in all it sounds like the perfect cute, quirky railway wedding – we hope Lizzie and Jonny are always as happy as they look in this wonderful picture!
If you’d like your railway-themed wedding to be featured on our blog, get in touch.
Set in a Grade I listed building in London King’s Cross, the Parcel Yard is the first station pub to be granted a wedding licence. This historic pub has retained many of its original features and is the perfect backdrop for a vintage railway wedding. And of course, it’s also in the perfect location for a honeymoon dash to the continent on the Eurostar!
There are 5 separate rooms now licensed for marriage ceremonies: The Waiting Room (capacity 80), The Board Room (capacity 12), The Games Room (capacity 20), The Station Master’s Room (capacity 40) and The First Class Lounge (capacity 50).
Jonathon Swaine, Managing Director of Fuller’s Inns, said: “This is fantastic news for The Parcel Yard, the first of its kind, allowing the pub to delve into another market. It is a unique and stunning venue, in one of the most accessible transport hubs in the world, and already enjoys a considerable reputation in the beer and food world. I cannot wait to congratulate the first couple to marry in the pub. I am certain their special day will be made all the more unique by having their ceremony in what is believed to be the first station pub with a marriage licence. ”
If you end up being that first couple, please let us know here at Railway Weddings – we’d love to share your story and pictures on our blog!
My last blog post was about Severn Valley Railway becoming a licensed wedding venue, so imagine how pleased I was to hear from a couple who held their reception there recently! Here’s Michelle and Andy Bevon’s real-life railway wedding story:
Andy (36) and Michelle (34) had been together for 8 years – after being friends for a long time before that – when they decided to get married while taking a trip on the Severn Valley Railway one day. “There was no romantic proposal,” says Michelle. “We just both enjoy the nostalgia of a steam train so decided this was the perfect setting for our reception.”
And perfect it is – just ideal for a vintage wedding.
Michelle and Andy chartered a vintage steam train and carriages for the event. “Chartering our own steam train made it extra special as we had the whole thing to ourselves,” says Michelle. “All our guests loved it and months on they’re still talking about it!”
A silver service, 3-course wedding breakfast was served on the beautifully decorated train, and the guests made good use of the station pubs at each end of the journey too!
The journey ran from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster and back (journey time around 3 hours), with a stop at Kidderminster for drinks at the station pub and entertainment on the concourse from vintage singing group String of Pearls, for that extra touch of retro glamour!
I think these pictures are incredible – and I’m sure you all do too! It looks like a wonderful day, and definitely shows Severn Valley Railway as a good choice for anyone wanting a railway-themed wedding. And I wish Michelle and Andy a very long and happy marriage!
Train decoration by Melissa at Bow Beautiful Events and wedding photography by Camilla Watkins at Camillarosa photography. Flowers by David Austin Roses.
Good news – there’s a new railway wedding venue in town!
The Severn Valley Railway is the latest addition to Britain’s railway wedding venues. The Engine House Visitor Centre in Highley, Shropshire is now fully licensed to host wedding and civil ceremonies. It’s also the only venue in the UK where you can marry on the footplate of a steam locomotive.
If you choose the railway’s full wedding package, you get to travel to your ceremony at the Engine House in style aboard a splendidly appointed period observation saloon from Kidderminster. Once there, you can get married on board a Travelling Post Office carriage or inside the SVR’s most prestigious wedding location, the historic King George VI Royal Carriage. There’s also a licensed restaurant, with spectacular views over the River Severn, as well as other event spaces.
After the ceremony, you can hold your toasts and speeches in a private room before re-joining the train for the return journey to Kidderminster, which includes a buffet in the observation saloon for up to 23 guests.
If you want to hold your ceremony elsewhere, you can still have your wedding breakfast with SVR. This includes a 3-hour return journey from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, exclusive use of a beautiful dining carriage attached to a steam-hauled train, and a 3-course wedding breakfast silver served for up to 56 guests.
The Valley Suite at Kidderminster – a licensed function room on the station concourse – is also available for evening receptions or wedding parties and can accommodate up to 100 guests.
If you’re looking for a railway-themed wedding venue that has all the glamour and luxury of the Golden Age of Travel, there’s no better place than the St Pancras Renaissance.
This grand old Victorian railway hotel, which Sir John Betjeman once described as ‘too beautiful and too romantic to survive’, recently had a £150 million makeover after years of neglect. Now restored to its former glory, it’s simply stunning, both inside and out. It’s the perfect venue to choose if you want to introduce a subtle, elegant railway theme to your wedding.
And if you want a taste of what your wedding day could be like in this lavish venue, head to the St Pancras Renaissance on Sunday 9 March for ‘A Wedding Journey’. From 11am to 5pm, the hotel will be transformed into a fully set up wedding venue so couples can see how it would look on their own special day.
Wedding planners will take you round all the areas you could use for the various parts of the day, including the ceremony, pre-dinner reception and evening celebrations, as well as showcasing the hotel’s stunning backdrops for your wedding photography. You’ll also get to sample champagne and canapés, and speak to a range of suppliers including florists, cake-makers, photographers and stationers.
Sound like a journey you want to take? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this free event and to book your place.
If you’re looking for a unique way to treat your loved one this Valentine’s Day, a romantic ride through the countryside on a vintage train could be just the ticket. Most heritage railways put on a special Valentine’s Day service, many with fine dining and fizz on the move. What better way to sweep your sweetheart off their feet? Here are our highlights of the UK’s love trains.
If you really want to impress your Valentine, you can’t do better than a trip on one of these iconic luxury trains. There are four journeys to choose from.
Valentines Golden Age of Travel on the British Pullman
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Day Leaves from: London Victoria Price: From £370pp What you get: 5-course meal with champagne, wine and cocktail; on-board entertainment; gift set of champagne glasses; guaranteed table for two.
Valentine’s Day Lunch on the Northern Belle
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Day Leaves from: Leeds/York Price: From £250pp What you get: 5-course meal with champagne and wine; a red rose.
Valentine’s Dinner on the British Pullman
Date: 15 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: London Victoria Price: From £455pp What you get: Seasonal tasting menu with champagne and wine; gift set of champagne glasses; guaranteed table for 2.
Valentine’s Day Dinner on the Northern Belle
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: Chester/Manchester Price: From £250pp What you get: Dinner with champagne and wine.
This beautiful heritage railway in Sussex has two special Valentine’s Day journeys – afternoon tea in the vintage lounge cars of the Wealden Rambler or an evening meal on the Golden Arrow, its luxury Pullman train with a First Class dining car.
Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Day Leaves from: Sheffield Park Price: £43pp What you get: Afternoon tea with luxury teas, sandwiches, cakes, tarts, scones, meringues and shortbread.
Golden Arrow Evening Pullman
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: Sheffield Park Price: £75pp What you get: 3-course meal with choice of menu.
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: Bolton Street Station Price: £49.50pp, £160 for table of four What you get: Glass of bubbly; 4-course meal.
For a night of old-fashioned romance, reserve two seats on Vintage Trains’ steam-hauled Pullman dining train. If you want to go all out on the classic gestures, you can order champagne, chocolates and roses so they’re waiting at your table when you arrive.
Valentine’s Day Express
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: Tyseley Warwick Road Price: £130pp (£45pp if not dining) What you get: 4-course dinner with champagne; guaranteed table for 2 (for extra fee); photo opportunities.
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: Loughborough Central Price: £69pp What you get: Pink champagne; canapés; 6-course meal; red rose.
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch
This special Valentine’s heritage steam train journey will take you on a 28-mile round trip, breaking at Dungeness Station for a 4-course meal in the Light Railway restaurant. The Light Railway isn’t licensed so if you want to celebrate with fizz, you’ll need to bring your own.
Date: 14 February Day/evening: Evening Leaves from: Hythe Station Price: £46pp What you get: Complimentary drink; 4-course meal; Valentine’s gift.
This beautiful heritage railway line in Yorkshire is offering a great economy option for Valentine’s Day. It may not have the luxury of some of the other dining journeys on our list but you get a fair bit for your money and it beats a boring meal in a restaurant hands down.
Valentine’s Day Lunch
Date: 15 February Leaves from: Leeming Bar Price: £25pp What you get: Buffet lunch; glass of fizz; rose.
So there you have it. Whether you opt for sophisticated luxury and glamour or old-fashioned classic romance, we hope you enjoy your vintage Valentine’s voyage!
David Nicholls knows how to write a romance, that’s for sure. I sobbed for hours after finishing his bestseller One Day (later made into a film starring the gorgeous Anne Hathaway). Hurrah then for The 7.39, his new two-part BBC drama set against a backdrop of an early morning train commute.
From the previews and interviews I’ve read, it sounds like it’s going to be a Brief Encounter for our modern times. Sheridan Smith, no doubt terrific as always, and David Morrissey star as the strangers who meet and fall in love on their journey to work. The spanner in the works is that Morrissey is married (to the wonderful Olivia Colman) and Smith is engaged.
It’s not giving the game away to reveal that they do indeed embark on an affair – these aren’t the repressed 1930s after all. The drama lies in what happens afterwards – the messy aftermath for everyone involved.
This promises to be an entertaining and emotional drama, which highlights the romance of the rails. When you’re on a train – even a packed commuter train – it’s easy to feel removed from your everyday life. You’re neither here nor there. You’re in some strange hinterland, which can give you a sense of freedom. It’s easy to see how affairs can happen in these circumstances.
As Nicholls says: “What if people felt this attraction towards each other but tried to keep it in the carriage, just one hour a day of enjoying each other’s company? What if it seeped out of that contained world and into the rest of their lives? That seemed a great starting point. Hopefully if we have done it right the viewers who have commutes will be looking around the carriage in a completely different way the next day. That’s the intention; there was something about that world that seemed a perfect closed space for these passions to boil up in.”
That’s not to say I condone it of course – but I am very much looking forward to losing myself in this good old-fashioned modern rail-themed romance!
The 7.39 is on at 9pm, Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 January, BBC1.
I’m super-excited to be able to share another real railway wedding with you – Jude and Paul, who got married at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in April last year after nine years together. Hope you enjoy their story as much as I did!
Self-confessed train geeks Jude and Paul have a long history with the railways. “Paul had a model railway as a child – and has one now too! He’s always loved trains,” says Jude. “My family visited steam railways on holiday throughout my childhood. I always enjoyed the train rides but as I’ve got older I’ve grown to love the architecture of railway stations too.” Their love of trains has been a feature of their relationship too: “In the 10 years we’ve been together pretty much every holiday we’ve been on has involved a trip to a steam railway or railway centre,” she adds.
It’s no surprise then that this train-crazy couple would choose to get married at a railway. “We’re not religious so we knew we didn’t want to marry in a church,” says Jude. “We started talking about options and a railway venue seemed perfect.” The only question then was, which one?
“We had to have a steam train running on the day and I was looking for a lovely station building,” says Jude. “Ideally we also wanted somewhere we could have the whole day – ceremony and reception – so it would be easy for guests.”
After searching online, they found a venue that ticked all their boxes – the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. And not only did it have everything they wanted, they later discovered that there was a nice link to Jude’s past. “We found out that I had visited the centre as a child with my family,” says Jude. “They showed me photos, one of which my brother and I recreated on my wedding day 30 years after the original was taken!”
Jude and Paul really made the most of the venue’s flexibility on the big day. “We used the main station building for the ceremony and reception,” says Jude. “It’s a lovely big open plan space over two levels; we had the ceremony in the lower level area and the wedding breakfast on the higher level area, which is set out as a platform with an engine and carriages either side. We also used the smaller Oxford room within the same building for our bar area.”
The couple also had the use of a steam train for the day, part of which was a brake van that they had renovated in the six months leading up to their wedding – with a little help from their family and friends.
And that wasn’t all they did themselves. They also designed their own gorgeous vintage train-themed wedding stationery, including invitations, seating plan and table names. “The invite design was based on the architecture of the station building and the other stationery was all in railway signage style,” says Jude.
“We also thought it would be really fun to include traditional Edmondson tickets in the wedding invites and Paul found a supplier who could personalise them for us. They turned out brilliantly and some people even brought them along on the day, so Paul and I went through the train carriage asking for tickets for a laugh!”
There are so many other details like this that I love about this wedding that I can’t possibly fit them all in but just a few extra snippets: they had an informal, fun hot dog and chips evening buffet; their dog, a Corgi/Jack Russell cross called Al, was their ring-bearer; the favours were mini ‘fire’ buckets of retro sweets; and their wedding cake, made by Jude’s aunt, was decorated with icing representations of Al the dog, their five guinea pigs and, of course, a train – so cute!
It really does sound like a fabulous day that totally made the most of the vintage railway wedding theme. And, in keeping with the train theme that’s been a feature of their relationship since the start, this year they spent their first wedding anniversary in the St Pancras Renaissance, the recently refurbished historic railway hotel in London – a perfect place for them to celebrate 10 years together. We wish Jude and Paul a very happy journey together and hope that their marriage will always stay on track!
It’s here! The first ever real-life railway wedding on Railway Weddings! I’m so excited to introduce Laura and Joe, who are planning a vintage, wartime-themed wedding at the beautiful Bluebell Railway in Sussex next June.
“We really wanted to give our guests a day to remember,” says Laura. “It’s important for us that people don’t get our wedding mixed up with all the others they have gone to (something we’ve done before!) so we wanted something different.”
Laura started looking into alternatives and was excited to find that the railway was an option. “My Dad used to take us to a steam railway every holiday so I have lots of great memories associated with old trains,” she says. She’d visited the Bluebell Railway on one of these childhood holidays, and it turned out Joe had too, so having part of the wedding day there seemed like a lovely way to connect their past and their future. Laura says: “At first Joe wasn’t impressed by the idea (and the in-laws still aren’t!) but after seeing the pictures from other weddings and visiting the stations along the Bluebell Railway line, he was won over.”
The theme developed as their plans progressed, evolving into a combination of vintage, railway, travel and wartime. “My sister calls it the ‘make do and mend’ wedding as we’re making the small touches ourselves,” says Laura. These ‘small touches’ are lovely, well-thought-out details like using train tickets as invites, designing the order of service to look like a timetable and sending postcards from the Bluebell Railway as thank you cards.
“The station looks like a set from a war movie (in fact some have been filmed there),” she adds. “Plus, Joe will be getting married in his Army uniform so it probably will look like a wartime wedding in the pictures!” The station in question is Sheffield Park, originally built in 1882 and now painstakingly restored, making it the perfect backdrop for a stylish photo shoot. It really will look like Laura and Joe have stepped back in time!
In keeping with the theme, Laura, Joe and their guests will be transported to Sheffield Park on board a vintage bus after their ceremony, which they’re holding at a small church in West Sussex. There, the glamorous Golden Arrow Pullman steam train will await.
The Golden Arrow Pullman is a faithful recreation of the famous 1920s luxury train that once whisked the rich and sophisticated between London and Paris. This time though, it will be taking the newlyweds and their guests on a three-and-a-half hour circular journey through some of Sussex’s most stunning countryside, from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and back again. As they settle back into the luxury seats and enjoy the scenery, they’ll be served a sumptuous three-course silver service meal.
Back at Sheffield Park station, Laura and Joe will get to ride on the footplate of the historic steam engine, bringing to an end a fabulous day that’s sure to be as different and unforgettable as they hoped.
We’ll catch up with Laura and Joe next year to find out how their Bluebell Railway wedding went – check back then!
Are you planning a train-themed wedding – or have you already had one? We’d love to feature your story too so drop us a line.