If you’re looking for the best wedding venues and haven’t decided which to choose yet, this blog may be really helpful. We should say at the start, every one of these is a winner, every one is a favourite! But there are variations that’ll be more or less important to you depending on what you want to achieve on your wedding day.
We got all scientific, with a spreadsheet and posh stationary, to really gather our thoughts about which venues work best for weddings. Bear in mind we visit lots of weddings at lots of different Suffolk venues. It seemed logical we’d be able to identify all the working parts of a venue to report on what they do that makes a good day out.
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. There’s some good accommodation on site and nearby Bury St Edmunds has a heap of hotels and good taxi availability for the end of the night. Lots of parking and lots of green space outdoors, it’s a proper country venue. Here’s a recent wedding from Suffolk barn on our blog.
9 – Tudor Barn was purpose built for weddings and finished around 2017. it sits on a large site with lots of indoor and outdoor space. Outside covered seating and separate bar give it real flexibility if the weather is patchy. similarly if the dancefloor is jumping people can easily go for a cool down and a chat outside without the weather affecting them. That’s a really nice vibe. A good countryside venue for Summer weddings but versatile the rest of the year. The cute dedicated ceremony area in the vaulted ceiling of the barn is lovely too. NB – make sure to give your guests very clear directions to the venue as the postcode here is shared with another busy wedding 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 ‘luxe’ budget you’ll struggle to beat Somerleyton as the venue to impress! Onsite accommodation is generous and grand. A lesser known gem of the best Suffolk wedding venues. You can go visit the hall for a look around and a play in their maze before the big day too!
7 – Henham Barn is close to the coast and cute as a button, certainly one of our favourites. Better known for hosting the Latitude festival the area is gorgeous and private. The barn and associated accommodation is incredibly friendly and intimate. Loads of outdoor space combined with massive (and well lit) interiors to the barn buildings means the perfect balance for English Summer. However, we’ve shot weddings here in two of those named storm thingies and the indoor and/or covered space made logistics in rain a doddle. If your date is more Spring or Autumn leaning, a solid choice to beat the weather. The accommodation on-site is beautiful and nearby is Southwold which has hotels and superb fish & chips. Here’s a blog from a Henham wedding we loved.
6 – Lanwades hall is an impressive but laid back but classy atmosphere. Great options for outdoor ceremonies in the sunken garden as its high wall keep the wind off. Loads of beautiful space outside and in, give the real feel of country house and estate. Lovely accommodation in the hall so guests can stay and couples can get ready onsite. Nearby are Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds so accommodation and interest for guests making a weekend of it work here really well too. Lanwades do all the important things solidly. A quick update from a couple we spoke to recently 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 a Bridal prep room where Queen Elizabeth 1st stayed. Hengrave is best for Summer weddings, has a beautiful little Church on site (seriously, it’s like a fairy tale 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 lots of guest accommodation and a Sister hotel nearby so if you’ve loads of guests, that’d work well with only a five minute taxi hop. High impact, very slick caterers, but not a budget option. A solid favourite of our best Suffolk wedding venues. Here’s a real Hengrave wedding we shot.
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. A well planned indoor/outdoor flow that gives the best options for a winter wedding or a summer one where the weather turns unexpectedly nasty is a massive bonus here. 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. Easton is a bit out in the sticks and they’ve added to their accommodation recently to give options for staying over, a good improvement. Easton have recently added a nice option for outdoor weddings too. Here’s a recent blog from a wedding we did at Easton Grange.
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. For getting ready and staying over the Hall itself is absolutely gorgeous and makes for a brilliant weekend experience with lots of space, superb kitchen and gardens for games and drinks. Lush. Pet friendly and with real versatility if the weather turns nasty it’s always well organised and we’re big fans generally.
1 – Haughley park Barn is in our view the best Suffolk wedding venues due to its 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 just off the A14 and with accommodation on site for the couple and some family. There’s parkland, beautiful gardens, indoor and outdoor seating/bars and a dedicated ceremony area. Dining and dance floor areas are gorgeous and whilst cosy, Haughley can accommodate plenty of guests.
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, Henham and Hengrave rank highly in this category.
Outdoor ceremony options – Some venues work hard at this and others just can’t offer it. Lanwades Hall take the crown here as best option 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, Henham 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 Bruisyard, 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 Henham 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 magical.
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 Henham Barn 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.
Pet friendly – In truth, we still wish for the wedding which has Cats as bridesmaids, just saying. Easton Grange, Lanwades Hall and Bruisyard ( who point out dog friendly pubs and a kennels nearby) love Dogs.
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.
‘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 Lanwades.