Wedding venues


Around 250,000 couples get married every year in England and Wales. The wedding industry is fast moving and trend led, there is now no such thing as a ‘typical wedding’, however the ‘rustic’ wedding trend is consistently popular. Wedding venues from the basic – rent a field, through to luxury high end stately homes and grounds have all got markets, one thing in common is the site and location needs to be a lovely setting.

If your property or farm lends itself in setting and location to hosting weddings, it can be a lucrative income with over 25% of the budget being spent on the venue, and a further 25% on food and drink. Furthermore, its not just the wedding venue itself you can earn money from, many sites add value through doing the food and drink themselves and adding glamping accommodation to service the guests. Getting married in beautiful rural surroundings is a trend here to stay, and for those in the right location it is an exciting industry to be involved with.

In pursuit of setting up your new business, the planning process can seem like a daunting hurdle to overcome. Whilst in most cases we would anticipate support of proposals that generate money in the rural economy, the devil is in the detail and hugely dependent on the site. There are a few what we call ‘dealbreakers’; things which can unfortunately mean planning is unachievable. As well as the dealbreakers, there are several other factors which have to be carefully considered and explained to the Council to make sure it complies, and permission can be secured. Our favourite phrase is ‘get your ducks in a row’, with preparation being key to a successful application.

Is planning permission required?

You can change the use of land or a building (using it for a different purpose to the one it has permission for, most frequently agriculture) for up to 28 days per year without the need for planning permission. This can be really helpful to test your proposition without the need for going for full planning. For example if you allowed five days per wedding, three days to set up, one day wedding and one day to tidy up then you could have five weddings in a year without the need for permission. However if you want to change the use for more than 28 days, or carry out any building or development work then you will need permission.

View further information resources here

What is the process for this type of application?

Read about the planning process here

What are the main issues that need to be overcome?

Principle of the proposal – wedding venues

We have to firstly make sure the Local Planning Authority are happy with the proposal in principle, asking the question - does the development meet local and national planning policy? As well as the principle, there are lots of other factors that come into planning for visitor attractions:

  • Highways safety and impact
  • Impact on designations such as Green Belt AONBs
  • Noise
  • Neighbour amenity
  • Likelihood of flooding
  • Ecology

Other factors have to be thought very carefully about:

  • Design
  • Materials
  • Scale
  • Use
  • Siting
  • Drainage

How The Rural Planning Co can help

We LOVE getting involved with exciting new equestrian projects like this, and helping you along the journey to bringing your personal aspirations or business plans and dreams to fruition. With many years specialising in this sector, we believe that engaging an experienced and proactive consultant can reduce the stress, time and cost of the process and above all gives you the best chance of success.

Read our pricing here

Read about the planning process here

Read ‘how we work’ here

Read about us here

Find case studies here

Here are some links to more business help on The Business Barn website.

Our other business Moule & Co specialises in rural professional consultancy and can help with grants and business plans.