Small Wedding Venues in York – Full list of all 13 approved venues in York suitable for small weddings (2021 update)

The ultimate round up of ALL the small wedding venues in York, registered for legal ceremonies, and suitable for small or intimate wedding receptions of 2-40 guests. York is a beautiful and historic city. Spring, summer, autumn and winter - all year round this city is the perfect destination for a romantic break - so it's an excellent romantic backdrop for your dream wedding.
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Wedding Venues in York

This guide to Small Wedding Venues in York is specifically designed for couples who want:

  • a small wedding (2 to 40 guests)
  • within York city centre

There are 30 registered (or licenced) wedding venues in York. Of these, only 13 wedding venues in York city centre are suitable for small weddings.

York wedding venues

After sharing the benefits of having a small wedding, and highlighting why York is the perfect place to get married, I will share my guide to small wedding venues in York (including photos, a mini fact file, and links for each).

I have excluded from the guide chain hotels where the ceremony room is a generic conference room the same as in any other city.

This is a complete list of all the approved marriage venues licenced by City of York council.

  1. Bedern Hall
  2. Deighton Lodge
  3. Hospitium
  4. Merchant Adventurers’ Hall
  5. Merchant Taylors Hall
  6. National Railway Museum
  7. The Bootham Suite
  8. Thirteen Thirty One
  9. Villa Farm
  10. Woodstock
  11. York Castle Museum
  12. York Mansion House
  13. York Maze
  14. York Racecourse
  15. De Grey Rooms
  16. DoubleTree
  17. Elmbank Hotel
  18. Grand Hotel & Spa
  19. Grange Hotel
  20. Grays Court
  21. Hilton York
  22. Hotel Du Vin
  23. Mercure York Fairfield Manor
  24. Middlethorpe Hall
  25. Middletons Hotel
  26. Novotel York
  27. Park Inn by Radisson
  28. The Principal York
  29. York Marriott Hotel
  30. York Pavilion Hotel

Click here for a guide to all 12 barn wedding venues within 30 minutes of York city centre (some of these are not on the York registered venues list because they fall in different authorities – eg. North Yorkshire)

  • 1. York Barn at Villa Farm
  • 2. Poppleton Tithe Barn
  • 3. Woodstock
  • 4. Deighton Lodge
  • 5. The Normans
  • 6. York Maze
  • 7. White Skye Fields
  • 8. Sandburn Hall
  • 9. Woollas Barn
  • 10. Hornington Manor
  • 11. Priory Barn and cottages
  • 12. Barmbyfield barns

What are the benefits of having a small wedding in York?

Whether local to York, planning an elopement in York, or a destination wedding in York – spending time in this city to celebrate your love is a great idea!

Small weddings are a concentrated blast of love.

You can handpick your favourite people and actually spend time with them. Less wedding planning than a big wedding, your love celebration won’t become a chore. Not having to cater for a hundred people means you can lavish luxury on yourselves and your nearest and dearest. And logistically, you have so much more flexibility with a smaller group of people.

Before I photographed my first intimate wedding I was a little anxious that it might feel awkward. Like they might look at me as an intruder in an intimate family celebration. That it might be too quiet and I wouldn’t be able to take the candid photos I normally can by watching from afar – surely it’s difficult to blend in when there are only 10 people in a room.

Not at all! It was amazing! Instantly my eyes were opened to this alternative to big day celebrations. It was a perfect wedding, and I felt like part of the family. Rather than acting as an outsider, I felt welcomed into the fold – I got to know everyone individually and was able to understand their connection to the bride or groom.

Some reasons you might choose to have a small wedding

  • You don’t like big crowds – speeches to a room of 100, or walking down the aisle with all eyes on you may feel daunting
  • Budget – You can now afford to really push the boat out if you are only paying for 20 guests rather than 100!
  • Spoil yourselves! A big wedding may have you scrimping for years, but a small wedding – this is your chance to really spoil yourselves and live the life of luxury without sacrificing the deposit on a house!
  • Less stress – wedding planning might be fun, but it can also be a big stress. And, as I remember, the cause for many pre-wedding disagreements!
  • Flexibility for people with children – big weddings have a more rigid structure, which often results in hungry and bored kids.
  • Involve important people – maybe you view your wedding as the blending of 2 families, or if you already have children together, you might want them to share the celebration – with an intimate wedding, you can focus more on important people without diluting your attention.
  • Logistics – it’s much easier to get 10 people sitting around a table for a meal than 150!
  • A big holiday – instead of one big wedding day, why not make this small wedding a week-long holiday with your loved ones.
  • Dogs – maybe your dogs want to come too. It’s much easier to arrange this at a small wedding
  • Planning from abroad – you might struggle to fully plan a big wedding remotely, but small weddings are much less hassle!
  • More control over the experience everyone receives – it is easier to ensure your guests’ enjoyment when there are fewer of them
  • Time with the people you choose – you don’t need to waste time talking to Uncle Jim’s neighbour’s new girlfriend. 
  • Relaxed timings – organising crowds of 100 requires strict timing, but with 20 people – your schedule doesn’t need to be as strict
  • Guests feel more involved – guests will feel valued and in return will be more supportive, not just one of a massive crowd
  • Done it all before – Let’s face it, big weddings are often an excuse to throw a big party for everyone you know. If you’ve had the big party before and you’re not particularly bothered about hosting a party to make everyone else happy… you have the freedom to think about what really matters to you when celebrating tying the knot.
Small wedding at Middlethorpe Hall wedding venue in York

“Small wedding” and “destination wedding” FAQs

  • Do you want a small wedding?
  • Do you want to get married in York?
  • Should you choose a registered venue or not?

    These are all crucial questions you’ll need to answer before knowing if a small wedding venue in York is right for you – this article will guide you through the process of answering the questions, and then list all your options if you do indeed decide you want to get married at a small wedding venue in York.

What makes York the perfect place for a small wedding?

It’s lovely to be a tourist in York, even locals should spend a day as a tourist occasionally! What a wonderful gift to your wedding guests – the freedom to explore and experience York.

Whether local to York, planning an elopement in York, or a destination wedding – spending time in this city to celebrate your love is a great idea!

York has more attractions per square mile than any other UK city – and most of them are beautiful, well preserved historic landmarks. You can walk across the whole city in 30 minutes, so everything is within reach!

Plus York has some of the best small wedding venues!

York Minster wedding photo of bride and groom

York has plenty of attractions to entertain you and your wedding guests

  • Visit York Minster. Legend has it that if you kiss under the heart of Yorkshire window at York Minster, you’ll stay together forever.
  • York Museum Gardens are a free, public park that contains the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, York Museum, an observatory, and the hospitium (one of the wedding venues listed below!). The gardens are beautiful, and there are large areas of grass and lots of benches.
  • Take a boat trip on the River Ouse. YorkBoat have a variety of river cruises available (including sightseeing tours from £10.50 per adult), or you can even hire a boat for your wedding reception!
  • To see a lot of York quickly, while learning about the history, try a Hop on Hop off bus tour. Book yours here: Type in York to the search. You’ll have two choices; bus only for £16 (ticket lasts 24 hours), or for £25 an option which includes the river cruise!
  • Take a stroll around the city on York City walls. Mainly built in the 13th Century, there are 2 miles of walls to walk, and they are a great way to view the city. Plus, they are free!
  • Walk through the Shambles, an amazingly preserved medieval street, and take a ghost walk in the evening.
  • If you plan to make this a little holiday for your family and friends, consider getting everyone a “York Pass”.

Where to stay in York

Accommodation for groups

After the past year, we all appreciate being able to spend time together with loved ones so much more. Hiring a large place to stay is a great way to maximise your time with wedding guests. As long as you allow everyone enough breathing space, staying together makes transport easier, and increases the special bonding moments you will have with everyone. 

Here’s a list of the best group accommodation in York

Accommodation for couples

Maybe you are planning an elopement, or the thought of staying with other people isn’t the way you want to start your married life.

Luxury contemporary hotel in city centre

The Malmaison is a really luxurious place to stay, especially if you choose a club room or higher. They have an amazing roof top bar. And location-wise, it’s very central.

The rooms can be pretty dark (which adds to the romance) so not the best for having makeup done – but if you are visiting York to scout out wedding locations – a stay in the Malmaison really makes the trip feel luxurious and romantic.

>>> full blog about the best romantic accommodation in York for couples <<<

THE LIST: 13 registered small wedding venues in York

Please note: There are a few large chain hotels I’ve not included in this list of small wedding venues, as the ceremony rooms are essentially conference rooms and have little unique/ York value.

If you’re happy to get married outside the city walls, why not consider one of these
<<< barn wedding venues within 30 minutes of York >>>

Registrars Fee – Required at all York wedding venues

You’ll need to pay the following fee and book the registrars from York Registry Office to attend any of the small wedding venues in York (excluding York Registry Office) listed below.

  • Monday to Thursday: £613
  • Friday and Saturday: £711
  • Sundays and Bank Holidays: £769

This fee will not include the hire of your venue, it only covers the registrars’ attendance.

Regardless of where you intend to marry, you must both give notice at your own local registry office in person at least 28 days before your wedding. This task is required in addition to the booking of your ceremony.

York Registry Office

1. The Mansion House

A 300-year-old elegant Georgian mansion house purpose-built for the Lord Mayor of York to entertain, now an interactive experience of York’s past and present. The whole house is licenced for weddings, so you can choose any part you wish. Right in the centre of York, on St Helen’s Square near Betty’s.

Mansion House in York near Bettys

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 100 for the entire house
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum, you can choose a room to suit.
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes – perfect!
  • Is there accommodation on-site? No,  but it is very central.
  • Is there parking on site? No, but located in the main shopping area, so parking and public transport nearby.
  • Link to brochure: This is the private dining brochure
  • Link to website: The Mansion House, York

In the pedestrian zone, at the end of Coney Street near Bettys. Drag and zoom out on the map to get your bearings!

Further info about the Mansion House, York, as an intimate wedding venue

You can hire one room, or the whole house. You need to get caterers in, but they have a list of recommendations. They are licenced for drinks, so the caterer can provide alcohol… but no dancing is allowed due to the structure of the building.

Imagine having your wedding breakfast in the same dining room used to host George IV, Prince Albert, and our current Queen!

This is one of my absolute favourite small wedding venues in York! Pricing starts at £300 for single room hire for 3.5 hours, up to the whole house for 7 hours at £950.

2. Bedern Hall

14th Century medieval hall close to the minster, but in a quiet residential area with a very small courtyard and a garden.

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 80 for ceremony, 62 for wedding breakfast
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes
  • Is there accommodation on site? No.
  • Is there parking on site? No.
  • Link to website: Bedern Hall weddings

Bedern Hall is located within the city walls, to the north east of the city centre. A very short walk from the base of the Minster, but tucked away so lots of people don’t even know it’s there!

This venue is very popular with couples as an alternative to hiring a private dining room in a restaurant. People often get married in York Registry Office and then walk the city walls to Bedern Hall for the reception.

There is a very small outside area at the front, and one even smaller, covered and heated area at the back, and a small room where drinks are often served, in addition to the main hall.

Note – there is to be no music after 10.30pm

They have in house catering, an alcohol licence and confetti is allowed. It is only a 4-minute walk from Bedern Hall to the Doubletree by Hilton hotel, so a perfect place for guests to stay. Also nearby are the Goodramgate apartments – there are 14 apartments which sleep 2-10 people each, so great if you want to organise self-catered accommodation for a large group of guests!

3. Grand Hotel and Spa

Grade 2 listed Edwardian, 5 star hotel. Wood panelling, grand staircase. Just within the city walls near the train station with views of the Minster.

the grand with arrows

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 150 for ceremony and wedding breakfast
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes, they have 2 rooms so you can choose the most appropriate size, they often host small weddings with as few as 10 people.
  • Is there accommodation on site? Yes
  • Is there parking on site? No
  • Link to website: The Grand, York

Further info about the Grand, York, as an intimate wedding venue

A pet friendly hotel – they allow dogs.
There is a spa on site
Vallet parking is available at the hotel for £35, but there is no onsite parking.
Helicopter transfers can be arranged by the hotel concierge.

They advertise a last-minute wedding package and Sunday wedding package from £90 per person on their website. This includes room hire for ceremony and reception, various drinks, 3-course wedding breakfast, and accommodation for the happy couple. 

4. No 1 Guesthouse

An elegant Georgian townhouse, award winning grade II listed hotel just outside the city walls (7 minute walk).

grange hotel arrows

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 70 guests
  • Minimum capacity: 16 for a private dining room (smaller parties can be accommodated in the restaurant)
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes, though for fewer than 16 guests you will be around other hotel guests.
  • Is there accommodation on site? Yes
  • Is there parking on site? No – parking is reserved for hotel guests, but Marygate car park is only a 5 minute walk.
  • Link to brochure: Grange hotel wedding brochure
  • Link to website: Grange Hotel 

Further info about the No 1 Guesthouse, York, as an intimate wedding venue

This hotel used to be called The Grange but is now under new ownership.
However, as the hotel is only a 3-minute walk from the registry office, it might make sense to save £500+ and have the ceremony at York Registry Office if you were not taking advantage of a reception package.

5. Grays Court

Grand and historic (dating back to 1080) luxurious independent boutique hotel. The oldest inhabited house in York. 0.5 acre private garden bounded by the bar walls in the Minster quarter. Also licenced for outdoor weddings.


Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 80
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum specified
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes! The Minster room (with views over York Minster) seats up to 16 and the website specifically mentions a wedding breakfast for 9.
  • Is there accommodation on site? Yes, 12 luxury en-suite rooms
  • Is there parking on site? No, parking is for hotel guests only (and then only 7 of the 12 rooms) – but this is very central and Monk Bar car park is a 5 minute walk.
  • Link to brochure: Grays Court wedding brochure
  • Link to website: Grays Court

Further info about Grays Court as a small wedding venue

Due to being grade I listed, the Minster room on the first floor is not wheelchair accessible.

There is a summer house with wisteria growing in the garden which is licenced for outdoor wedding ceremonies. And there are 4 different rooms in the hotel all perfect for a wedding ceremony.

This really is the ultimate elopement wedding venue in York! Total luxury, secluded and peaceful, but right in the middle of the historic city with fantastic views overlooking the Minster. Built in 1080 this hotel has hosted kings and the garden is walled by the famous York city walls! 

Weddings at Grays Court have a very sophisticated and elegant feel – while some small venues have a very informal relaxed vibe, Grays Court is perfect for couples who want fine dining and sophistication for a select few guests.

The location of Grays Court is so close to the Minster, you only need to take a short stroll for some of the best wedding photo spots in York, and the gardens of Gray’s court are stunning!

6. Hospitium

Beautiful listed 14th century building within museum gardens


Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 110 for the ceremony, 150 for evening celebrations
  • Minimum capacity: Not specified
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? I think yes for a wedding of 30+, but I’m not too sure about a very small wedding.
  • Is there accommodation on site? No
  • Is there parking on site? No, but Marygate carpark is a short stroll
  • Link to website: Hospitium wedding venue

Further info about the Hospitium as a wedding venue in York

Full disabled access with lifts
Wedding guests have access to the museum gardens even after it is closed to the public in the evening.
The ruins of St Marys abbey are also within the museum gardens.

I have a full blog post about The Hospitium as a wedding venue here.

Catering is provided by Bradshaws of York.

7. Hotel Du Vin

Luxury grade II mansion house hotel, just outside the city walls on The Mount, half a mile from the train station

hotel du vin

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 100
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum mentioned
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes. The Library seats up to 12 people, and I have photographed a very small wedding reception here and it was lovely.
  • Is there accommodation on-site? Yes, 44 bedrooms
  • Is there parking on site? Yes, but limited and as a first come first serve basis for residents only. The Queen Street NCP is close.
  • Link to brochure: Example pricing given for 50 guests
  • Link to website: Hotel du vin, York

Further info about the Hotel Du vin, York, as an intimate wedding venue

Capacities of various rooms:
Library up to 12 people
Ouse room up to 24 people
Runiart room (which has a mural of roman feast on walls) seats up to 30
You can hire the ceremony room for £300. Package prices for 50 guests are listed on the brochure.

8. Merchant Adventurer’s Hall

A stone and timber-framed 14th century medieval guildhall in York city centre

Merchant Adventurers Hall in york

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 180
  • Minimum capacity: No specific number given
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes – weddings ceremonies smaller than 20 people will be in the Governor’s Parlour
  • Is there accommodation on site? No
  • Is there parking on site? No
  • Link to brochure: Merchant Adventurers’ Hall wedding brochure
  • Link to website: Merchant’s Hall York

Further info about the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York, as an intimate wedding venue

No high heels allowed in the great hall! The ancient wooden floors are too precious, so heel protectors will be required.

With lovely open fires, this makes a really lovely winter wedding venue in York, this is a wedding I photographed at the Merchant’s Hall in December, and below are a few photos from a wedding in August.

If I’m being totally honest – it is a very dark venue, and the green-tinted lights on the beams in the main hall are quite tricky for a photographer. but other than these two things, it’s a wonderful venue. There are so many different areas that give guests plenty of space and variety throughout the day – which is rare in small wedding venues.

9. Merchant Taylors Hall

Grade I listed Medieval building, with beams and an open fire, about 300 meters to the east of York minster, just within the city walls


Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 120
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum given
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes – they specify that the small hall will seat 32 at round tables, so presumably fewer will be possible.
  • Is there accommodation on site? No
  • Is there parking on site? Yes! Parking for 10 cars.
  • Link to brochure: Merchant Taylor wedding brochure
  • Link to website: Merchant Taylors Hall website

Further info about the Merchant Taylors Hall, York, as a wedding venue

3 different spaces can be hired together or individually to accommodate the number of guests you have.

10 parking spaces right outside and disabled access. The hall has it’s own gardens – great for photos and drinks outside. These photos below from their website show how beautifully they can accommodate very small weddings.

I am always surprised how the Merchant Taylors’ Hall isn’t more popular as a wedding venue – it is lovely and so central, but nicely hidden away. I think perhaps it’s just not very well known! Here are a few photos I took at a wedding in November – it is a dark venue, but that makes it lovely and cosy! This was not a “small” wedding, but I think the place would work really well for a small wedding too!

10. Middlethorpe Hall

A National Trust country house hotel with spa and amazing gardens in 20 acres, just 2 miles south of the centre of York in Bishopthorpe, but still within the A64 ring road

Small wedding venue in York

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 56 (or more if choosing to have a marquee)
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum specified
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes – they specifically mention the Upstairs Sitting Room for 4-12 guests, and have a wedding package for up to 12 guests.
  • Is there accommodation on site? Yes
  • Is there parking on site? Yes
  • Link to brochure: Middlethorpe Hall wedding brochure
  • Link to website: Middlethorpe Hall website

Further info about Middlethorpe Hall as an intimate wedding venue

OK, it’s not within the city walls, but it’s so beautiful and would be a lovely base to explore the city from. If you fancy a walk, it’s only 2 miles along the river Ouse (through Rowntrees Park) from Middlethorpe Hall to Clifford’s tower in York City Centre.

And driving, that will only take you 7 minutes!

There is a spa on-site and they also have their own chapel.

With a walled garden, lake, ha-ha, wildflower meadow and many massive trees, this really is an idyllic country retreat!

The Middlethorpe Hall wedding package specifically for fewer than 12 guests:

  • A Four Poster Bedroom for the bride and groom on the honeymoon night with fruit basket, homemade chocolates and a bottle of house champagne and full English breakfast.
  • Hire of the Library or Upstairs Sitting Room for your Ceremony and of the Yellow Room for your wedding breakfast;
  • Cake stand and knife;
  • Standard printed menus, place cards and table plan.

The cost of this wedding package is £950 Monday to Friday and £1,250 Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays

The cost of the meal and beverages is excluded. 

An intimate September wedding at Middlethorpe Hall

As a York wedding photographer, I photographed this intimate wedding at Middlethorpe Hall in September.

My favourite things about this venue:
The light in the drawing-room is absolutely fantastic for photos, the amazingly tall tree and massive lawns (including ha-ha), the beautiful gardens. The whole place feels so spacious without any sense of being empty when you only have a few guests. There are so many places to explore and wander. It really feels like a lovely classy country retreat even though it is so close to the city.

11. Middletons Hotel

6 different listed buildings make up this unique and historic hotel within the city walls.


Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 40
  • Minimum capacity: 2
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes – they host weddings from 2 to 40 people.
  • Is there accommodation on site? Yes – plenty, including cottages which can accommodate groups of up to 6 people
  • Is there parking on site? Yes for guests
  • Link to website: Middleton’s Hotel website

Further info about Middleton’s Hotel, York for weddings

There is very little info on their website (so I phoned up for most of this info), but they do mention last minute availability – so possibly a good choice if you want to plan a wedding with not much time.

Onsite car park charged at £10 per night

Recent and £1mill refurb will make sure each property celebrates its unique history.

Middletons hotel see themselves as an intimate wedding venue, they have done weddings for only 2 people in the past, so there is no lower limit at all.

There are 2 options when it comes to licenced venues to choose from – the sun lounge, which is at the back of the Lady Ann building (and is the most popular choice) or the Organ Factory (which unfortunately is up some stairs, so not wheelchair accessible). Wedding breakfasts can be hosted in the conservatory restaurant or the Sawmill restaurant.

12. National Railway Museum

It’s the railway museum! What is more York than this?


Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity: 250
  • Minimum capacity: No minimum specified – they mention 12 guests
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes, The Pullman-style carriage “Countess of York” has been converted to host up to 12-24 guests for a ceremony.
  • Is there accommodation on site? No
  • Is there parking on site? Yes
  • Link to brochure: Countess of York brochure
  • Link to website: Hire the railway museum website

13. York Registry Office – Bootham Suite

York’s Registry Office – just outside the city walls in a smart Georgian townhouse

York registry office building

Mini fact file

  • Maximum capacity:50 
  • Minimum capacity: no minimum
  • Is it suitable for small weddings? Yes – just the 2 of you, or up to 8 in a small room, or up to 50 in the larger room.
  • Is there accommodation on site? No
  • Is there parking on site? No – Marygate Car park is just around the corner
  • Link to website: York Registry Office

Further info about York Registry Office

There is no need to pay the extra fee for registrars to attend – this will be included in the ceremony price at York Registry Office (£296-£403).

I have written a guide about weddings at York Registry Office here. It’s a lovely example of a registry office and has a nice mature garden at the back for photos.

Most people will walk into the city centre and make the most of the many restaurants nearby for their reception.

Next steps to planning your wedding in York

Often the first thing a couple book when planning their wedding is the venue. Until the venue is booked, and the date is confirmed, it can be very difficult to book any other wedding suppliers.

The second thing people tend to book is their wedding photographer.

There is no harm in contacting a wedding photographer before you have booked your venue. In fact, I frequently receive messages from couples who haven’t decided where in York they will get married. They will ask my opinions on certain venues (I’m totally unaffiliated with any venue, so I can give my honest opinion) or advice about the timings and practicalities of a wedding in York (lots of my wedding couples are planning a wedding in York as an elopement).

I love to be part of the wedding planning journey from early on, and I love to offer advice about weddings in York – so please send me a message if you have any questions at all!

I’m a York wedding photographer, and if you’d like to learn more about my services, please visit my homepage, portfolio, or pricing.

I have a special wedding photography offer for mid-week weddings in York where there are fewer than 30 guests.

Please like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram for regular tips and photos related to weddings in York!

Don't go! I spent so long putting all this together for you, hang about and have a look!

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Katie and David chose a perfect wedding venue just 2 miles south of York – Middlethorpe Hall – a wonderfully restored and beautifully maintained national trust property with stunning grounds. Here is a selection of their wedding photos from their post lock-down September wedding.

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