The Peerless Castle Wedding Venue
Why Langley’s the Peerless Castle Wedding Venue
by Gianna Hartwright
Royal couples Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, will both be marrying at Windsor Castle this year, putting the castle wedding right back into vogue and the hottest marriage trend of the decade. So how could you pull off a similar castle wedding? Where’s the best place in the UK to grab all that historical fairy-tale vibe that anyone who’s anyone walking up the aisle will want this year? What is the hottest castle ticket in town, if you don’t have a royal residence at your disposal?
That really depends on whether you want true authenticity as your wedding backdrop, or just a castle façade that will suffice, unless you scratch the surface and uncover an awful lot of non-period features!
It also requires you to consider whether you would like the true royal touch, by having an amazing castle and grounds entirely to yourself, for the sole and exclusive use of you, your families and friends, to make it truly special. That’s the ‘ultimate’, as they say.
Furthermore, do you want your castle to be ever-so-slightly creepy, or do you want it to evoke a sense of wonder and awe, the first time you spot it from the bottom of the sweeping driveway. Do you want that thrill of moving your eyes from foundations to battlements, and the undulating county flag that graces the dizzy stone heights, and feeling a flutter in the heart that makes you think this is right out of the Disney Studios? If the answer, is ‘yes’, read on.
Have you heard of Langley Castle? Well, the plus point is that many people haven’t, because it’s a true, medieval fortified castle, rather than being a make-do castle with a bit of stonework on the front and a big publicity budget behind. It will leave you breathless, and that’s all you really need to know.
Quite simply, if you want authenticity, the wow factor and the option of exclusive use, there’s only one castle in England to which to head and that is Langley, located in the north of England, close to the Scottish border, in Northumberland. Think finesse, grace, refinement, elegance, poise, class, panache – you’ll get all of these adjectives and more coming back at you when your guests gush about the spectacle and experience you treated them to.
Langley Castle has decades of expertise in arranging the quintessential castle wedding and centuries of history to provide as the backdrop. This castle is a living, breathing structure dating back to 1350, with the same seven-foot-thick walls that were painstakingly laid back then, plus all the nooks, crannies, staircases and stone archways that will set the scene for your breathtaking, fairy-tale photography. Your wedding album will be extraordinary.
Don’t get me started on the windows. Ancient, leaded and stained-glass windows cast amazing prisms of light around the drawing room in which brides, grooms and couples wanting a more intimate wedding can stage their ceremony underneath gorgeous chandeliers and between gleaming knights in shining armour.
With sweeping drapes framing these amazing features, and incredible and unique window seats set into the walls (and just try dragging the bridesmaids and page boys away from these), this is a one-off interior that no couple should ignore when considering how to plan a truly extraordinary wedding, in a completely unparalleled castle setting.
There’s nothing tacky here. The coins that appear in frames hung on the walls really are from the reign of King John and the portrait really is of Queen Elizabeth I. The story about Langley’s links to the Jacobites, and the two former owners who lost their lives assisting the two Pretenders (The Old Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie), is absolutely true; the tapestries of the Knights of the Garter are authentic and another good reason to make a Langley wedding your Holy Grail.
But Windsor Castle has a chapel, I hear you say. Well, so does Langley – a chapel that former owner, Josephine d’Echarvines gained special permission to create following a visit to Pope Leo XIII. It’s an exquisite and moving place for a marriage blessing or a renewal of vows – giving you perhaps a great reason to return to Langley in the future.
Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate some very private moments in this gorgeous chapel, which sits on Langley’s battlements, into your truly special day. The English call what Langley offers ‘bespoke’. In American terms, it can all be tailored entirely around you and your preferences, custom-planned for a unique castle wedding experience.
There’s a reason why Langley offers Princess Parties to give little girls a fairy-tale experience, but that same fairy-tale translates oh so well into weddings for bigger girls who want the Meghan and Eugenie dream. It has its own aura; its own mesmerising charm … and that’s why it’s had its own share of marriages for the rich and famous taking place between its walls.
A castle wedding here can see the bride descending down the steps from the ancient staircase, walking down the red carpet and being enshrined in cascading light as she takes her vows.
Couples can have their photo session on the battlements, beneath a blue or moody Northumbrian sky and gaze across to the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall – just a stone’s throw away. And, talking of stones, did I mention that some of the stones in Langley’s structure came from Hadrian’s Wall?
Wedding guests can be treated to that most English of slumber treats – the four-poster bed – but also luxuriate in a whirlpool bath or sauna, within a castle in which the contemporary is juxtaposed with the ancient. And it does not get more ancient or impressive than the medieval garderobes that Langley Castle boasts – early and rather superior lavatories, integrated into the structure because this was once a castle frequently under siege, as angry and wild Border Reiver families wreaked havoc in the surrounding areas and waged battle for centuries.
Those opting for exclusive use might want to arrange some entertainment for their guests, if staying more than one night, and what better place could there be for a thrilling murder mystery evening, or an evening spent listening to the evocative tones of a Northumbrian Piper – the county of Northumberland’s very own version of Scottish bagpipes, but more melodious and charming.
Any overseas party is unlikely to wish to skip away without touring the main sites along Hadrian’s Wall and, in Wild Dog Outdoors, Langley has a wonderful interpretative partner at hand, who can bring the history of this amazing area to life. It’s also just a two-hour drive to other must-see places such as Edinburgh and Beatrix Potter’s former home in Cumbria, for those wishing to add a Scottish experience, or an afternoon with Peter Rabbit, to their itinerary.
With just 27 rooms available for exclusive use, six-acre grounds of woodland, lawns and riverside walks, plenty of space to erect a marquee, or stage fabulous fireworks displays and even a place to land the helicopter, this is the castle wedding plus some.
Fancy following Meghan and Eugenie’s lead in becoming the fairy-tale bride marrying in her own castle? Exclusive use starts at just £11,500 including many treats on top of being able to say, “this is mine and my castle alone and this is my quintessential castle wedding, so eat your heart out!”
Don’t delay. As we said, Langley is the hottest ticket in town when it comes to a true English castle wedding and the English castle wedding will be rocking the wedding world in 2018-19. All brides can dream of a fairy-tale castle wedding; only some can realize that dream.