If you’re looking for the best wedding venue in Norfolk or Suffolk and haven’t decided which to choose yet, this blog may be really helpful. We should say at the start, everyone of these is a winner, everyone is a favourite!
We spent some time recently gathering our thoughts about which venues work best for weddings and bearing in mind we visit lots of weddings, what is needed in a venue to help a good wedding happen.
We’ll explain how we came up with these results after the big reveal to save you time, but it’s probably worth a look as it took years of research and then hours of spreadsheet comparisons to arrive at these answers!
10 – Suffolk Barn originally built in 1423 offers a blank canvas location with decent flexibility, we’ve had lots of fun here and it scores highly for its dance floor and dining layout.
9 – Tudor Barn is a new kid on the block having been purpose built for weddings and finished around 2017 – it’s a large site with lots of room including outside covered seating and separate bar, a good venue for Summer weddings but versatile if the weather turns bad and a cute ceremony area in the vaulted ceiling of the barn.
8 – Somerleyton Hall is extraordinary and we’ve always had great days and nights there – it’s expensive but is the poshest and coolest place for a wedding, flexible, unique and absolutely huge. If you’re pushing the boat out on budget you’ll struggle to beat Somerleyton as the venue to impress!
7 – Butley priory Close to the coast Butley is cute as a button and one of our favourites, it 14th century atmosphere is incredibly friendly and intimate and it really feels like a home away from home for guests too. Fabulous but a little limited for guest numbers.
6 – Lanwades hall is an impressive but laid back atmosphere with great options for outdoor ceremonies, loads of beautiful space outside and in, and some very lovely accommodation so guests can stay and couples can get ready onsite. Lanwades do all the important things solidly. A quick update from a couple we spoke to on 22/7 who’ve booked, is that there’s no corkage fee either – that could save thousands!
5 – Hengrave Hall is pretty special, it’s old enough to have the Bridal prep room where Queen Elizabeth 1st stayed. Hengrave can deal with Summer or Winter weddings, has a beautiful little Church on site (seriously, it’s like a fairytale in there!) and if you are able to dine in the centre courtyard square it’ll feel like another country on a good day. Hengrave has loads of guest accommodation and a Sister hotel nearby so if you’ve loads of guests, that’d work well. High impact, very slick caterers, but not a budget option.
4 – Easton Grange is a purpose built venue and has all the things you’ll need for a great day, it’s a wonderful location on the river and has plenty of green space whilst also having a well planned indoor/outdoor flow that also gives the best options for a winter wedding or a summer one where the weather turns unexpectedly nasty. Lots of outdoor seating and also sheltered seating if it’s too hot or drizzly, excellent dance floor and huge airy indoor ceremony space too. We LOVE their BBQ’s which are legendary but the wedding food is brilliant too and the quality of organisation and staffing is top class.
3 – Bruisyard hall is great, it’s big and gives the feeling of being your space rather than a corporate space for you and your guests. Pet friendly and with real versatility if the weather turns nasty it’s always well organised and we’re big fans generally.
2 – Chaucer Barn Also No.6 in the UK best listing from the ‘Independent’ newspaper, we think Chaucer barn is lush! Tucked away not far from the Norfolk coast is this well kept secret with outdoor garden or woodland ceremonies catered for beautifully but indoor options that look and feel great too. Chaucer has accommodation onsite and camping/glamping options to give a real festival feel if that’s how you want to roll. We love it there!
Haughley Park Barn
1 – Haughley Park Barn In our view the best combination of good things in one package, and more affordable than most, we’ve had loads of wonderful days out with couples and their guests at the very well managed Haughley park barn. Easy to get to for guests and with accommodation on site for the couple and some family, there’s parkland, beautiful gardens, indoor and outdoor seating/bar’s and the option for an indoor ceremony. Dining and dance floor areas are gorgeous and whilst cosy, can accommodate plenty of guests.
How we got our results.
We looked at a selection of practical points to reach these results based on what we’ve seen and experienced whilst working at them over the years. Ranking each on a scale of 1-10 for the following criteria.
Weather versatility – How much chance would there be to alter plans to accommodate a change in the weather or a Winter wedding. Stuff like indoor free space for drinks and nibbles, covered seating, and an airy feel contributed to the marks. Easton Grange, Somerleyton and Hengrave rank highly in this category.
Outdoor ceremony options – Some venues work hard at this and others just can’t offer it. Chaucer Barn and Lanwades Hall take the crown here as best options we feel.
Indoor ceremony area – A permanent or semi-permanent indoor ceremony setting which gives space and adds to the atmosphere, our favourites being Easton grange, Butley Priory and Hengrave.
General photo opportunities – We had to include this as a criteria naturally! Other than candid shots, which are the majority of our days work, it’s lovely if there’s some pretty stuff around for a portrait or two of the newly married couple, the best here are Chaucer barn, Somerleyton and Easton grange.
Well managed? From grounds keeping and decoration through to catering/service and on site manager for the day – all the above are solid, but Easton Grange, Bruisyard Hall and Haughley park barns deserve a special mention for the perfect balance.
Dance floor – A really well placed and laid out dance floor makes such a difference to the day and Easton Grange, Hengrave hall and Chaucer barn absolutely smash it!
Accommodation – For Groom/Bridal preparation and for family and guests wanting to stay on site Hengrave is best, Bruisyard hall is magic and Butley priory is the most cosy.
Capacity – Just how many guests and family will fit in? Most of the venues will easily deal with 100 guests and you’ll need to check with them before booking to be certain of numbers, but Somerleyton, Easton grange and Hengrave Hall are wonderfully spacious.
‘Getting ready’ facilities – It’s great when couples can prepare in nice surroundings and Hengrave and Bruisyard score highly here, honourable mentions to Haughley park barns and Easton grange too.
Dining room layout. – For your wedding breakfast and speeches there’s a balance between space and cosiness to be achieved and Bruisyard has it nailed followed very closely by Easton grange and for a small wedding Butley Priory is so cute!
‘Breakout area’ for the party – Naturally, whilst the dance floor is in full swing, it’s really nice for the older guests and family to have somewhere to sit and enjoy a chat without having to shout. Easton Grange wins this hands down, whatever the weather followed by Bruisyard hall and Chaucer Barn.
Pet friendly – In truth, we still wish for the wedding which has Cats as bridesmaids, and we don’t know if Chameleons are allowed at any of the 10 above, but Easton grange, Lanwades Hall and Bruisyard ( who point out dog friendly pubs and a kennels nearby) love Dogs.