The Happy Otter Wedding planning guide

Introvert friendly | outdoor loving | Yorkshire focussed

Top 5 woodland wedding venues in Yorkshire

What does an outdoor-loving bride and/or groom want for their big day? To walk down the aisle through a picturesque woodland for their natural nuptials? Well, who knows! The best wedding is the one that suits them, I'm just guessing... it might be at one of these beautiful woodland wedding venues in Yorkshire!
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Here's what I'm going to tell you!

Getting married in the woods in Yorkshire!

Woodland wedding venues are often difficult to find, so I’ve pulled together a list of the best woodland wedding venues in Yorkshire for the perfect wedding. After a brief introduction about the benefits (especially with the coronavirus outbreak) of a woodland wedding ceremony, I’ll share details about the different woodland wedding venues you can get married at.

Outdoor Woodland wedding venue inspiration from a stunning woodland wedding in Yorkshire

5 woodland wedding venues in Yorkshire!

In no particular order!

1. Escrick park

A totally outdoors ceremony venue, with no buildings or covers – with no interference from any staff, it’s a clearing in the woods.

Quick facts:
Near Escrick, south of york, not licenced for legal ceremony, no toilets at woodland, no cover in case of rain, no minimum guests, can seat 150 guests, no facilities for catering at woods.

An ancient oak clearing with seating for up to 150 people – no buildings in sight! This woodland wedding won’t be a legal ceremony.

What happens if it rains? Enjoy it! You’re hardy Yorkshire folk, and the tree canopy will slow the rain a bit anyway. This is a proper outdoor woodland wedding.

You can hold the wedding reception at Escrick Park, or not. It’s quite nice to have a woodland without any formalities – you can turn up with your wedding party and get married however you like. There doesn’t even need to be a member of Estate staff there.

There is parking a short walk from the clearing, and an area just outside the clearing that has access if you want to park a drinks or catering van.

The ground is pretty level, but the clearing is covered in bark chippings, so not suitable for wheelchairs.

2. Cockley Woodland

A family run venue, nothing corporate about it, but well equipped to cater for big parties. Great if you want something rustic, but not so rustic you have to do everything yourselves!

Photo provided by Cockley Woodland Weddings

Quick facts:
Between Wakefield and Huddersfield, licenced for legal ceremony, toilets on site, cover in case of rain, no minimum guests, can seat 120 guests, facilities for catering.

Part of the Whitley Beaumont Estate, this historic (some of the oak trees are estimated to be up to 300 years old) 8-acre woodland has views over Yorkshire.

The owners of this woodland are dedicated to enhancing the woodland environment and they make sure everything is done in a way that is sympathetic to the plants and animals in the woodland. It’s a properly independent business run by a family who bought the wood to change their lifestyle.

With seating areas, hammocks, fire-pits, and a children’s play area, this woodland is perfect for the reception too. There are 2 portable shepherds huts which can be used as a bar, for a DJ or caterer. Toilets are provided which is a bonus!

A teepee which can seat up to 120 guests is provided and there is parking for 2 large coaches and space for about 30 cars. Power, water, fairy lights, and wedding coordinator.

What if it rains?
The ceremony area is covered and there is a massive teepee. Plus they provide umbrellas!

3. Dalby Forest

Proper big forest, not tarted up and superficial, but still accessible, great for a whole week forest holiday or honeymoon – great elopement or destination wedding potential, no minimum number of guests, can be big or small, and will fit any budget.

The Dalby Forest visitor centre can be hired for weddings for just £780

Quick facts:
Near Pickering in North Yorkshire, licenced for legal ceremony, toilets on site, cover in case of rain, no minimum guests, facilities for catering.

The Great Yorkshire Forest
You can get married in the Great Yorkshire Forest! That’s 8000 acres of woodland!

A sustainably built building with an indoor (with breathtaking floor to ceiling views across the forest) and outdoor (on the terrace overlooking the forest) options – this venue allows legal ceremonies.

The venue hire price is very reasonable at £780 and includes the use of tables and chairs, plus they allow you access the day before to add decorations to the venue if you wish.

This is a really fantastic venue for a woodland wedding that can become a woodland holiday. Dalby forest is in the middle of the North York Moors and there are plenty of things to do and places to explore.

Capacity and Accessibility
No minimum guest requirement, the venue can hold 60-80 guests.
Level access into the building and areas outside, but no mention about a lift – this would need checking.

Dalby Forest Wedding: Plenty of space near the Dalby Forest visitor centre for a big tipi, or lawn games to entertain wedding guests

Options to add extras!
They are happy to recommend wedding vendors who can add luxuries – for example, an exquisite tipi for your wedding party with overnight glamping!

4. Hazlewood castle

This is the upmarket version of getting married in the woods – a legal ceremony, everything arranged for you, not good for a small wedding or disabled guests – not as rustic and natural as some. £11k plus

Hazelwood Castle woodland weddings

Quick facts:
Between Leeds and York, licenced for legal ceremony, toilets on site, cover in case of rain, 80 minimum guests, 250 max guests, catering, on-site accommodation.

A beautiful hideaway down an arched tree-lined path, set in 77 acres of woodland is a pagoda overlooking the waterfall and ponds. This elegant wedding venue also provides other indoor and outdoor wedding locations.

The woodland pagoda is licenced for civil ceremonies through the Selby district registrar.

The wedding breakfast banquet can be served under the trees with the chefs cooking on barbecue and pizza oven.

There are firepits which can be used for toasting marshmallows, and even a Tree bar for drinks!

A tipi with fairy lights (imagine the first dance!) will be included in the wedding packages, and a wedding planner to make sure the day runs smoothly.

Accommodation on site
The newly weds can sleep in a woodland cabin. And further accomodation is available in Hazlewood castle for bridesmaids and other wedding guests who require a little more elegance!

Saturday weddings require a minimum of 80 adult guests with evening capacity of up to 250 guests.

What about rain? The pagoda is covered and the barn dance floor area is also covered (right next to the pagoda)

Disabled facilities – no.

5. Your local wood

By far the cheapest option, great if you live near a woodland and have lots of laidback guests who aren’t sticklers for formality!

May is a fantastic time to visit your local woodland – bluebells are in full bloom!

Quick facts:
Any public woods, not licenced for legal ceremony, no toilets on site, no cover in case of rain, no minimum guests, no facilities for catering.

Freedom to do what you want!

Who’s stopping you from arranging a picnic in your local woods? All your guests can bring their own picnic blankets and maybe even a basket of food. They can all sit or stand as you have your ceremony and then serve up champagne! The costs can be as minimal as you like – the cost of wedding outfits, a celebrant, a photographer (you still want wedding photos right?), and some food and drink – what a way to keep yours a relaxed and unique wedding, without forfeiting the deposit on a house! 

A couple of bonus recommendations for your woodland wedding

Woodland Wedding Photographer

With all your planning, and so much beautiful scenery around, it would be such a shame not to hire a professional photographer to capture it all!

My name is Emma, I’m an outdoorsie, introvert friendly wedding photographer.

I love the outdoors – I had an outdoor wedding (which included a sudden heavy downpour during the ceremony), and I’m not afraid of a bit of mud and rain.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer who understands and appreciates the value of a natural woodland setting, please get in touch!

Wedding Celebrant

I couldn’t end this post about woodland weddings without making a recommendation of a perfect wedding celebrant. Louisa Starr of Starr Gazing Ceremonies.

I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing a wedding conducted by Louisa, and I was amazed!

She had clearly made a lot of effort to thoroughly get to know and understand the couple before the wedding. The ceremony was amazing – all the guests were involved, there were jokes, music clips, a handfasting ceremony… and even the inclusion of a radish from the couple’s allotment. It might sound a little out of the ordinary… and it really was – it was created specifically for them.

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

Happy Otter Photography
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