Wedding venue inspiration - Alfresco venues

Deciding on your ideal wedding venue is an key part of your wedding planning.

There is a huge choice of different venue types in Hampshire and Dorset including hotels, barns, country manor houses, romantic castles as well as chic city and town centre locations.

Check out these stunning wedding venues and those further afield in our listings below.

Alfresco venues: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset

Escape to an exotic location surrounded by lush plants for a big-day with a difference. A nature-lovers dream, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is right on the Dorset coast too. Established more than 250 years ago, the magnificent 30-acre site is filled with rare and unusual plants from around the world. You can say 'I do' in the purpose-built wooden gazebo just across the lawn from the permanent luxury pavilion. Nestled in the heart of the gardens, the pavilion has been carefully designed to blend with the beautiful surroundings. Your very own oasis, it opens out into a private space accessed by its own entrance gate. With seating for 150 guests, it's hung with floor-length awnings and the wide doorways open out so you can make the most of the glorious setting.


Alfresco venues: Leweston, Dorset

Leweston, Dorset

Live the fairytale and host your wedding at this stunning venue. Steeped in history, Leweston Manor oozes character and style with Art Deco interiors and a wealth of wow factor wedding spaces. The variety of versatile, light and airy rooms boast their own unique charm and can be adapted to suit your big-day theme or style. The elegant Georgian styled building is sure to impress and with 46 acres of sweeping grounds, including the Nuns, walkway, Italian garden and the secret Belvedere, there's no shortage of great photo opportunities. You can tie the knot indoors or out. There are three ceremony spaces including the Belvedere, an idyllic setting flanked by woodlands.


Alfresco venues: Harry Warren House, Dorset

Harry Warren House, Dorset

If you're looking for a picture postcard big-day setting, this coastal venue is hard to beat. Perfect for an intimate wedding the charming 19th-century country house is set in four acres of stunning grounds. Your guests are sure to be impressed as they round the bend in the drive to catch their first glimpse of the sweeping views over the bay – a real pinch-me moment! Weddings here are a bespoke experience, so you can celebrate your day, your way. The lawn overlooks the sea and with steps leading directly down to the sandy beach, perfect for stunning photos. You can exchange vows in the Sunken Garden looking out to sea or if you're planning a church service, the Norman Church of St Nicholas is only a five-minute walk away and can hold up to 120 people. Guests can park in the National Trust car park for the whole day and take a leisurely stroll to arrive at the house on foot for maximum impact from the panoramic views. Marquee receptions are held in the grounds, providing a blank canvas to create your own look and style with the historic house and beautiful bay as your backdrop.


Alfresco venues: Weddings In The Woods, Hampshire

Weddings In The Woods, Hampshire

If you go down to the woods, be prepared for a big surprise. Discover Weddings In The Woods a magical al fresco venue nestled within the glorious New Forest National Park. It's an idyllic place to celebrate, with the freedom to create your day, your way. There's a large expanse of grass and wooded areas and a spacious indoor area, so you don't have to worry about the unpredictable British weather. Big enough for up to 150 guests during the day and more for the evening do, you can marry here and dance the night away without fear of being disturbed. The rustic Carpenters Barn is licensed for ceremonies and comes complete with a large slow-burning wood stove and brick chimney, to keep everyone toasty. Oak beams span the roof and the neutral décor provides the ideal canvas to add your own personal touches. Alternatively, the romantic Bridal Hut is an intimate place to say 'I do' before a blessing in the woods in front of all your loved ones.


Alfresco venues: Wilkswood, Dorset

Wilkswood, Dorset

If breathtaking views are top of your wish list, this chilled wedding venue could be just what you're looking for. Overlooking the rolling Purbeck hills, the bright and seamless clear span marquee allows you to make the most of the panoramic vistas. Complete with pleated ivory linings, a stage for the evening entertainment, a solid wooden dancefloor, chandelier lighting and more, you can celebrate with up to 350 guests. There's plenty of space for al fresco drinks and outdoor games with street food and catering trucks for the evening celebration and at the end of the night, you can glamp out under the stars. Although the venue's not licensed for ceremonies, it's the perfect spot for an outdoor service with your own bespoke vows.


Alfresco venues: Gorwell Farm, Dorset

Gorwell Farm, Dorset

Escape to the country for your big day and host your celebration in a rustic venue. Gorwell Farm is set in a beautiful valley close to the Dorset coast and has a spacious 17th-century stone barn, large enough to seat up to 130 guests with room for dancing, there's underfloor heating, a bar and kitchen and it offers the freedom to plan your day, your way. The outside area can be used for the drinks reception or for a marquee or party tent to provide extra space. Licensed for ceremonies you can have your own bespoke wedding in a beautiful setting and there's accommodation on site for at least 18 people.


Alfresco venues: Old Thorns Hotel, Hampshire

Old Thorns Hotel, Hampshire

If lush greenery is a must for your big day, Old Thorns Hotel ticks the box. Set on a golf course, there's plenty of great backdrops for photos and chance to enjoy the wide open spaces. The terrace areas are great sun traps in the summer and provide the ideal setting for al fresco drinks, while the walled area surrounding the outside gazebo is another hidden gem. The Chapel provides an intimate setting for your 'I dos', or the Hampshire Suite, complete with panoramic views of the golf course, oak flooring and beamed ceiling echoing the venue's rustic countryside character. Celebrate in the Grand Ballroom which its glittering crystal chandeliers, mahogany bar and large sunken dancefloor. The largest function suite at Old Thorns it can cater for up to 500 guests. The light and decadent Art Deco-inspired Gatsby Ballroom is a popular choice for weddings breakfasts and evening receptions too and even has its own private terrace with fantastic views over the grounds.


Alfresco venues: Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, Hampshire

Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, Hampshire

Celebrate your wedding in an idyllic setting in the South Downs National Park. Gilbert White & The Oates Collections offers a distinctive English country backdrop with a range of romantic spaces. Set in 30 acres of heritage parkland and gardens; it's a breathtaking venue with endless photo opportunities and picturesque spots to wander through and enjoy. Inside the house the Great Parlour is a historic room for intimate ceremonies with up to 35 people or you can marry in the 16th-century Hampshire Barn with 100 loved ones or 150 with guests seated outside. The bandstand at the side is also licensed for outdoor ceremonies and offers wonderful views over the meadows. The barn boasts a magnificent oak beamed roof and period features with large double doors opening out to the parkland beyond. Festooned with fairylights and with nooks and crannies throughout, you can add your own personal touch with decorative details to suit your style. With space in front for outdoor games and seating, the bandstand makes a great chill-out area too and with a firepit to gather around in the evening, you can relax and watch the sun go down.


Alfresco venues: Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Rhinefield House Hotel, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Known locally as the 'jewel in the forest' this historic venue is a wedding gem. Make your way down the long tee-lined driveway and be prepared for plenty of stop-stare moments from your first glimpse of the impressive 19th-century Tudor and Gothic country mansion. Set in the heart of the National Park with 40 acres of glorious grounds, two ornamental ponds and a maze, there's no shortage of fabulous photo opportunities. You can host your whole day here and take your pick of a choice of rooms and spaces suitable for weddings large or small. The Keepers Room, with its ornamental fireplace and large bay windows, is ideal for relaxed intimate weddings while Hurst Castle is the venue's largest private wedding space. The fully, self-contained modern suite has its own entrance and facilities as well as an outdoor terrace overlooking the topiary orchard and can host up to 100 loved ones for the ceremony, 120 for the wedding breakfast and an extra 30 for the evening reception.


Alfresco venues: Three Choirs Vineyards, Shedfield, Hampshire

Three Choirs Vineyards, Shedfield, Hampshire

Set in the Hampshire countryside between the rolling hills of the Meon Valley and Wickham, outdoor lovers are sure to be wowed by this original wedding venue. A stunning place to hold a wedding, inside or out, it can can cater for weddings all year round. The vineyard provides an ever-changing backdrop in tune with the seasons and offers two outdoor spaces licensed for ceremonies. You can marry in the Gazebo with the vines in the background and up to 100 loved ones looking on, or the Byre in the courtyard; ideal for outdoor ceremonies no matter what the weather brings. Alternatively, tie the knot in the renovated Vine Room with its neutral colour scheme, painted beams and scenic views.


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