With two romantic saints’ days almost upon us – those of Saint Valentine and his Welsh counterpart, Santes Dwynwen – our thoughts turn to love and romance. Here are ten of the best Snowdonia venues for civil ceremonies.
Saint Valentine is known all around the world as the patron saint of love and romance. In Wales, his equivalent is Santes Dwynwen, a daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog who, according to Welsh folklore, lived in the 5th century. The remains of the church and sacred well dedicated to Dwynwen can be found on the Isle of Anglesey, just across the Menai Strait from Snowdonia.
In celebration of St Dwynwen’s Day and of the beauty and romance of the Snowdonia region, here are some of the most stunning and romantic premises in Snowdonia that are licenced to hold civil ceremonies.
1. Bron Eifion Hotel
Bron Eifion Hotel – a Grade II listed hotel in Criccieth – is one of the region’s premiere wedding hotels whose facilities include an AA Rosette Award winning Restaurant. Wedding ceremonies can be held inside, or in the gardens, depending on the time of year. In fact, Bron Eifion was the first of Gwynedd’s wedding hotels to be licenced to host a civil ceremony in the gardens. With five acres of beautiful gardens and fantastic sea views over Cardigan Bay, it’s easy to see why Bron Eifion is a popular wedding venue.
2. Fort Belan
One of Snowdonia’s more unusual wedding venues, Fort Belan stands on the tip of a little-known peninsula just outside Caernarfon. The courtyard and battlements of this unusual building – the only purpose built fortress of the American Revolution on this side of the Atlantic Ocean – offer a fantastic background for wedding photos, along with the panoramic views of the sea and mountains.
3. Portmeirion Village
Portmeirion Village is truly one of the most stunning civil ceremony venues in the whole of the UK – and offers fantastic value for money, considering the attention to detail that Portmeirion’s team will put into planning your day for you. At a location like Portmeirion Village, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a backdrop to your wedding photos; you’ll truly have a day to remember.
4. Hendre Hall
Hendre Hall, at Tal-y-Bont, just outside Bangor, is a Grade 2* listed historic farm dating to 1860. This is a really beautiful wedding venue, very atmospheric, with a candlelit great hall, huge open fire and mezzanine gallery which together feel very much like being in a medieval banqueting hall. Hendre can cater for up to a hundred guests and can also help you with photography, bridal grooming and even entertainment for the reception.
At Talsarnau, close to the historic town of Harlech, you’ll find Maes-y-Neuadd, a stunning 14th century slate- and granite-built manor house set in 25 acres of beautiful gardens. This is a really spectacular wedding venue where the team will take care of much of the organisation of your big day – leaving you to enjoy it stress-free.
6. Plas Glyn-y-Weddw
This striking Victorian mansion turned art gallery in Pwllheli is a very classy setting for a wedding, where your guests are sure to be impressed! The Gothic architecture, wide sweeping staircase, woodland and panoramic views of Cardigan Bay all offer fantastic photo opportunities, while there’s plenty of room to accommodate overnight guests if need be. In-house catering is provided to a very high standard.
7. Palé Hall
Palé Hall, near Bala, is another stunning Victorian property that’s sure to be a hit with your wedding photographer as well as your guests! This country house hotel, which has a Visit Wales Gold Award, has an interesting history – including visits from Queen Victoria herself. There are no set wedding ‘packages’ – just let the management know your requirements and a bespoke quote will be provided.
8. Gwydir Castle
Gwydir Castle in the Conwy Valley is a really magical setting for a wedding. The castle has been lovingly and painstakingly restored to its early Tudor splendour (you can read about it in a book, “Castles in the Air“, written by the owners); and the Grade I listed formal gardens are outstanding. For romance, atmosphere and style, you won’t get much better than Gwydir Castle!
9. Penmaenuchaf Hall
Penmaenuchaf Hall is a country house hotel close to Dolgellau and the Mawddach Estuary. With 21 acres of grounds, which include beautifully kept formal gardens, this Victorian mansion is another fantastic setting for a wedding day steeped in history, romance and atmosphere. Informal luxury, excellent facilities and the services of a wedding planner combine to make Penmaenuchaf Hall an outstanding Snowdonia wedding venue.
10. Seiont Manor
Seiont Manor, Llanrug, is another wedding venue that oozes charm, luxury and style. With facilities including a 40ft indoor swimming pool and 150 acres of grounds, this beautifully restored 18th century manor house is the ideal location for a wedding where luxury and attention to detail are of paramount importance.
If you’re looking for somewhere really unusual to hold your wedding, consider Llanfair Old Quarry, Llanuwchllyn Station, and Llechwedd Slate Caverns – all are listed at the ‘approved hotels/properties‘ page at the Gwynedd Council website.