How to find lighthouse wedding venues and plan your perfect day
Are you looking for somewhere special to get married? If you want to get wed somewhere special, why not marry at or near a lighthouse?
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I’ve always loved lighthouses for as long as I can remember, and they have held a fascination for me since my childhood holidays. There is something romantic about the location, the remoteness, the way of life.
I guess it was inevitable that my future husband proposed to me at a lighthouse because he is also passionate about lighthouses! We visited Skerryvore Lighthouse, on a tiny reef 11 miles out from the island of Tiree in the Outer Hebrides. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we took a boat trip with members of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers. The calm conditions meant we were lucky enough to land on the reef for several hours.
Following the proposal, we visited more lighthouses on the same trip. Our tour included the Mull of Kintyre before heading home via Arran. From Campbeltown, we took a boat trip around Davaar and Sanda lighthouses.
As a result, it was only natural that we wanted to get married in a lighthouse. But which one? There are many lighthouse wedding venues, and some you can also stay in.
We decided to get married at Nash Point Lighthouse in South Wales. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is no longer available for lighthouse weddings. There were some logistical challenges since we lived in Norfolk! The lighthouse custodians, Chris and Barbara, were amazing and took good care of us. We also rented the lighthouse cottages, staying there for our honeymoon.
There are so many reasons to get married in a lighthouse. Even if you don’t get married, Why not book an anniversary or proposal there?
Read on for tips on planning your big day and inspiration for lighthouse wedding venues.
There are many things to consider when choosing a lighthouse as a wedding venue. There may be travel implications for you and your guests, especially if you plan to travel overseas. Wedding venues get booked up quickly, and if you are planning to stay at the lighthouse or nearby, book well ahead.
First, you will need to ensure the venue has a wedding licence.
Even if it is not possible to get married in the lighthouse, it may be possible to use it as a backdrop or stay in a cottage nearby for your honeymoon. If you want to take photographs, do check with the owners or caretakers, as there may be regulations on photography.
As we were getting married outside our parish, we visited the registrar in the nearest town before our wedding day. We were able to do this the day before, and we were able to carry out the bans at our local registry office.
If you are planning to get married abroad, you will need to check the regulations.
Once you have booked your venue, you may need to arrange a recce and meet with the wedding venue provider. If the venue is not local to you, you may be able to discuss things online. But you will probably still need to visit the venue.
As it’s likely to be a civil ceremony, there are things you need to think about. We could bring along our music to play, but we had to make sure the music had no religious connotations.
You will need to plan out your special day expenses carefully. Costs include venue hire, catering, transport, photography, dress/suit hire and accommodation. But there will be lots of other things to consider.
As well as thinking about travel arrangements for you and your guests, you will also need to consider how accessible the venue is. If you are planning to get married inside a lighthouse, there may be issues for guests with limited mobility. Some of your guests may also have a fear of heights! There will also be restrictions on the numbers allowed inside the tower for the ceremony.
There may be steps and steep cliffs, so bear this in mind for children and elderly guests, or those with mobility issues.
Do check what facilities are available, as toilet facilities may be limited.
If you’re inviting lots of guests, check what the parking arrangements are.
If the venue is remote, you might wish to consider making some signs. You may need to check whether this is allowed with your venue or the local council and remember to remove them afterwards. We made some special lighthouse-shaped signs to take to the wedding venue!
Getting married in a lighthouse will have some logistical challenges. Our wedding room was halfway up the tower, so there was a limit to the number of guests we could invite to the actual ceremony. A small number of guests were able to watch on the stairs.
At our wedding, both the lighthouse cottages offered holiday accommodation. So we rented the cottages for family members and had a marquee outside for guests who couldn’t attend the ceremony itself.
The main wedding breakfast was held at a hotel in the nearby village, so many of our guests stayed over afterwards.
Some wedding venues will let you have a marquee or temporary structure, but some may not so do check what you’re allowed to do.
You will need to find out if there are any specific rules and regulations, especially for operational lighthouses.
Some venues, for example, don’t allow you to use confetti or may only allow biodegradable confetti.
After our wedding ceremony, we hired a hotel in the nearby village for the reception. We had a nautical theme, of course! I made our wedding favours with handmade chocolate lighthouses inside. A local cake maker made our beautiful lighthouse wedding cake.
There are plenty of online sites to design wedding stationery and get it printed.
Our flowers were artificial, so it was easier to organise, and I also had a keepsake afterwards.
Also, don’t forget gifts for the bridesmaids, page boys and Best Man (or Woman).
The weather can play a big part, but you have to be prepared for inclement weather. It may be wet or windy, so make sure you are adequately prepared. We had some spare white umbrellas, just in case! Fortunately, we didn’t need them.
If you are having lots of guests, or want to have photos taken, consider some alternatives in case of inclement weather. Do also bring warm clothing, as it can be breezy on the top of a cliff even in the summer!
We held a buffet and drinks reception outside for our wedding at Nash before heading to a local hotel for the dinner. We were fortunate that the local supermarket delivered to the lighthouse! Other venues may be able to provide catering for you.
A lighthouse is a perfect place to stay for a honeymoon! At Nash Point, we were able to get married in the lighthouse and stay in the cottages.
But even if you don’t get married at a lighthouse, you could always plan your proposal or honeymoon there.
It’s not just lighthouses you can get married in; there are also some ships and lightvessels you can hire. Take a look at the list below for more inspiration.
The number of guests will be restricted, and the space inside the tower is quite tight, so bear this in mind. However, there are many places to stay and venues for the reception nearby, including The Box.
For more information about visiting Plymouth and where to stay nearby, read my Plymouth Blog.
Find out more about weddings at Smeaton’s Tower
Designed by Trinity House engineer Sir James Douglass, Souter Lighthouse was completed on 11th January 1871.
The lighthouse is located at The Leas, just outside Sunderland.
Find out more about Souter Lighthouse Weddings
Dungeness Old Lighthouse was built in 1904 and replaced by the current operational lighthouse in 1961. The Old Lighthouse is open as a visitor centre, and it is possible to get married in the lighthouse.
Find out more about Dungeness Lighthouse weddings.
Established in 1803, Trinity Buoy Wharf is the former training lighthouse located opposite the O2 arena. The chain store has a large venue which is perfect for weddings.
Find out more about Trinity Buoy Wharf weddings.
Located near Newport, West Usk Lighthouse was established in 1821 and decommissioned in 1921.
The unusual-shaped lighthouse is also a hotel, so it is ideal for you and your guests to stay there.
The lighthouse can accommodate up to 25 guests inside and 40 on the roof garden.
Find out more about weddings at West Usk Lighthouse.
Buchan Ness Lighthouse was built in 1827 and is located on a small island near Peterhead.
Although you can’t get married in the tower, you can stay at the lighthouse cottages and have a marquee on the grounds. And what a marvellous backdrop!
There is a large grassed area in front of the lighthouse where you can erect a marquee, and the cottages provide holiday accommodation.
Find out more about weddings at Buchan Ness Lighthouse.
Covesea Skerries Lighthouse near Lossiemouth was established in 1846 to mark a group of rocks just offshore. The lighthouse was discontinued in February 2012 and is now open to the public.
The site and cottages are available for wedding hire.
Find out more about weddings at Covesea Skerries Lighthouse.
Get married at the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland! Dunnet Head Lighthouse looks across to the Pentland Firth.
The venue has a function room which you can use for the reception and ceremony, weather permitting.
Find out more about weddings at Dunnet Head Lighthouse.
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse is the most southerly Scottish lighthouse with fantastic views across to the Isle of Man, Cumbria and Northern Ireland on a clear day. The lighthouse was built in 1830.
There is a visitor centre and cottages providing holiday accommodation.
It is possible to get married in the lantern at the top of the tower with a maximum of 8 people.
Find out more about weddings at Mull of Galloway Lighthouse.
Corsewall Lighthouse was established in 1817, guarding the northern tip of the Rhinns of Galloway.
The lighthouse hotel has a wedding licence and can host small weddings with guests of up to 20. It is possible to hire the whole hotel for exclusive use.
Find out more about weddings at Corsewall Lighthouse.
Fanad Head Lighthouse is registered as a wedding venue and can accommodate up to 40 guests.
More information about Fanad Lighthouse Weddings
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse offers lighthouse wedding ceremonies.
Find out about lighthouse weddings at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
Humber Lightvessel No 14 served all her 26 working years on the River Humber to help guide vessels around Spurn Head and the sandbanks in the River Humber. Following decommissioning in 1985, SULA Lightship was moved to various locations before being towed to Gloucester docks, where she now provides luxury floating accommodation.
The lightvessel doesn’t have a wedding licence, but honeymoon packages are available.
Find out more about weddings at SULA.
NLV Fingal was a former working vessel for the Northern Lighthouse Board. Following her retirement, she spent a number of years in Cornwall before being moved back to Leith in Edinburgh where she is now part of the Royal Yacht Britannia Group.
Fingal is a luxury floating hotel, and wedding packages are available on board, including the use of the Skerryvore Suite as the honeymoon suite.
Find out about weddings aboard Fingal.