The Hospitium York – Wedding venue in Museum Gardens
This guide is written for people who are considering getting married at the Hospitium, and for those who have already booked their big day at The Hospitium – hopefully, you will find lots of tips and useful information. I am a wedding photographer and have photographed (and therefore experienced) multiple weddings there.
Is the Hospitium Licenced for legal wedding ceremonies?
Yes – the Hospitium is legally registered for weddings – this means registrars from York Register Office will come and perform your ceremony at the Hospitium and it will be a legal marriage ceremony.
The process of booking your ceremony (in brief) is – book your venue, then provisionally book the registrars for the ceremony at the venue, then book and attend an appointment to give notice at your local register office.
How many guests can we have a the Hospitium?
The Hospitium has 2 floors – the ground floor is usually used for ceremonies and the upper floor is used for the wedding breakfast. The capacity for upstairs is 130 seated guests, however realistically you would only fit about 70 guests in the ceremony space.
The photo below shows a ceremony with 6 rows of 5 chairs on each side, so a total of 60 guests. Although there is still plenty of space for more guests, 60 works well – if the rows were wider they would spill into the central section, maybe you could just squeeze in up to 90 by spilling over a bit. (I have read a review which mentioned 95 guests). This is not official advice… just my observation – you will need to check with the venue what the ceremony capacity is.
Is there catering at the Hospitium?
Yes – Bradshaws of York are the caterers for the Hospitium. They regularly cater for weddings across numerous venues in York (and I have personally enjoyed plenty of their food!).
Here is a link to the 2024 wedding catering brochure for Bradshaws including pricing: http://www.bradshaws-caterers-york.co.uk/2023/2024%20Wedding%20Menus.pdf
Unfortunately for those who want to bring in their own caterers or food vans, this isn’t possible at the Hospitium.
Bradshaws operate a card/ cash bar.
Is the Hospitium wheelchair accessible?
There are steps up to the entrance, but a ramp to the side for wheelchair access. The venue is set over two floors with stairs – however, there is a lift. I have attended a wedding where at least one guest used a wheelchair and there didn’t seem to be any issues.
Music/ entertainment – licence time, noise restriction
The Hospitium have alcohol and entertainment licences until 11 pm from Sunday to Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
They are also licenced for live music and do have their own dedicated DJ if you wish to book them.
I have been to a wedding at the Hospitium where a band was playing live music – the space was fantastic for it (they use the downstairs area) and it looked spectacular with the band playing between the pillars. However – there is a sound limiter built into the Hospitium. If the sound goes over a certain level, all the power will shut down… and therefore there will be a break in the music for a few minutes. This is definitely information you should tell a band!
The music was easily loud enough without hitting the limit, but there was one occasion when the power cut was triggered. For most people, I’m sure this won’t be an issue, but if you are determined to have really loud (antisocial level) music, this may not be the venue for you!
Exclusive use and access to museum gardens
When you hire the Hospitium as your wedding venue, you will get exclusive use of the wedding venue. You will also gain out-of-hours access to the entire museum gardens.
Museum Gardens is the park which surrounds the Hospitium – it is open to the public from 9am until 6pm, and is very popular, especially on a sunny day. Plenty of people bring picnics and sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings – this can make it difficult to have your wedding photos without anyone in the background.
But, from 6 pm when the public is no longer allowed in, you and your guests can wander about and enjoy the beautiful botanic gardens alone. In the summer, you will still have a few hours of sunlight to have wedding photos in the gardens, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the beautiful evening light on the ruins of St Marys Abbey.
In the winter, it will already be dark by the time the public is sent away, but the gardens are not as busy during the day in the winter, so you should be able to capture your wedding photos around the gardens without needing to worry about people in the background.
As the Hospitium is located within a public park, the venue provides a bouncer/ security. This is great because they take responsibility for any problems that may arise from having members of the public around. I’ve never seen any trouble, but it’s great to have them on hand just to make sure everything runs smoothly – and they are lovely people!
Can we drive a car to the venue?
As the Hospitium is inside a park/ botanic garden, cars are generally not allowed in. However, deliveries and collections may be arranged in advance.
On the day of the wedding, you can bring a wedding car right up to the Hospitium doors – the security staff will coordinate with the venue by walkie-talkies to make sure the car enters the gardens at exactly the right time. The entrance is at the very bottom of Marygate (the end nearest the river).
Where is the nearest parking?
Marygate car park is the closest and most convenient parking for the Hospitium wedding venue. It takes 3 minutes to walk from the car park to the Hospitium, and the best thing is that Marygate car park uses number plate recognition, so you don’t need to pay in advance, and you don’t need to take a ticket. You just drive in, park and leave your car. When returning to your car, you pay at one of the machines by typing in your reg plate and the barriers will then recognise your car as you leave. The machines do not accept cash!
Parking all day at Marygate car park is £16 – which is not unreasonable for York.
If you leave the wedding after 6 pm, you will not be able to exit the gardens via the Marygate exit (i.e. the way you walk into the venue from the car park will be closed at the end of the wedding). But, the Museum Street exit will be open. Just turn right after you leave the park and walk down to the right of the bridge, and turn right again at the river. You can walk along the river to Marygate car park – it’s only 10 minutes, but just something to be aware of.
This may be an issue for guests who are in a wheelchair or struggle to walk far. But, you will be able to drive a car round to Museum Street entrance to collect them there.
Is there a space for getting ready?
No – there are no facilities for bridal (or groom) preparations at the Hospitium.
Nearest hotel/ accommodation to the Hospitium, York
There is no accommodation on-site at the Hospitium wedding venue. However, as The Hospitium is in York city centre, there are plenty of hotels and other accommodations nearby for guests, the couple, and for getting ready before the wedding.
Bridal preparations at The Grand Hotel, York
Bridal Preparations at The Principal Hotel
I have photographed weddings where the couple and their wedding party got ready at The Principal and one where they got ready at The Grand. Both are lovely hotels within easy walking distance, and both are excellent for pre-wedding photos.
Places for wedding photos
This is my speciality! In case you haven’t realised, I’m a York wedding photographer and I have taken thousands of photos at the Hospitium. I have taken even more photos within Museum Gardens.
Some couples may think it would be nice to go around York for some photos near the Minster or on the City Walls, but honestly, there are so many photo spots within Museum Gardens that you really don’t need to. If you did want to travel a bit further than the gardens, have a look at my York wedding photo tour page for inspiration.
Some of my favourite wedding locations inside Museum Gardens:
St Mary’s Abbey ruins
St Mary’s entrance to the gardens
The fern garden in Museum Gardens
Does the Hospitium provide a wedding coordinator?
I’m not sure if the Hospitium provides a wedding coordinator, however, there will be staff from the Hospitium, catering staff from Bradshaws, plus the security staff all working together very smoothly to make sure the day runs well. Someone will be available to make announcements to move the day through efficiently.
Is the Hospitium a dog-friendly wedding venue?
I do not know this, however, I would suggest that the Hospitium is not a dog-friendly wedding venue.
If you were allowed to bring your dog to the ceremony (people sometimes have a dog carry the rings up the aisle during the ceremony), I would suggest using a dog chaperone and having them take the dog home after their appearance.
There are no places in the venue where a dog would be able to be left, and there is no accommodation on site, so it would be quite an inconvenience to have your dog there all day.
Are you looking for a wedding photographer at The Hospitium?
I have been a wedding photographer for over a decade and specialise in photographing weddings of introverts.
Introverts are intelligent, fun, confident individuals… but they often feel a bit shy or awkward when posing for a camera. I make sure to capture the day in an introvert-sensitive way by focusing mainly on candid moments, but also by giving clear direction when posing couples (and by making it quick and fun and hopefully pain-free) so they don’t worry about what to do with their hands etc.
I also spend a lot of time getting to understand what is important to you about your wedding day, and who your important people are. By doing this I am able to watch carefully on the day and spot special moments which may have otherwise gone unnoticed.