A guide for couples to boss their Devon wedding day
Tips For Getting Married in Devon
So, you're planning a wedding in Devon. Congrats! It's a beautiful county with so much to offer. I'm a Devon boy born and raised and as a wedding photographer Devon with eight years experience I'm in a hopefully helpful position to share some tips that help with wedding planning. I've visited lots of different venues, traveled what feels like every country lane and photographed so many fantastic weddings where I picked up some ideas that can hopefully help you plan and get everything you want from your wedding day.
Sometimes a postcode is not good enough, it gets you in the ball park for sure, but can still be a couple miles away and if in a rush to get to the ceremony on time might cause delay. Providing a Google pin drop for guests is a great start, with the added benefit of downloading the route before hitting the road. For those DIY weddings, I know that custom sign posts along the nearby roads have been received well too. The last, and most obvious one, is leave plenty of time.
Nearly all Devon weddings include travel for you and your guests. Why Devon, by population percentage, has more people marry here than actually live here (via Bridebook wedding survey) is the beautiful views and unspoilt countryside. With that comes fewer main roads, and sad to say sometimes a dodgy phone signal to go with it! So here are a few tricks that I use to help make sure I find the right place. A lot of visiting guests are surprised by the journey time once leaving the M5, when the road network to venues quickly changes to A and B roads.
In this stage of planning you're likely thinking about timings, here's an example timeline that may help guide you to what works for your day:
4pm Wedding breakfast
7.30pm First dance
This can be adjusted to match your own day, i.e. size and the season of your wedding, but is a great starting point. An early afternoon ceremony time provides spaces in the morning for a relaxed bridal prep. Most ceremonies are conducted within thirty minutes, leaving a couples of hours to enjoy cocktails and canapés before sitting for food. Some prefer to opt for speeches before serving here.
From a photographer perspective, it's all about creating pockets of time to relax and enjoy the whole process. Family photos can be achieved within twenty minutes before the wedding breakfast. Likewise, slipping away for a quiet fifteen minutes for some fun couple portraits at sunset is always a great addition to the gallery.
Registrars & Celebrants
Increasingly popular is the use of humanists and celebrants, as the marriage laws are being reviewed so are the ways to holding a ceremony. The one benefit of the pandemic for weddings is that it sped up the long planned review of marriage laws, including more freedom in how and where you can hold a wedding ceremony.
Devon is split into 3 sections - South, Mid and North, for registrars to operate in. The good news is nearly everyone I've met has been great at their job and helps put everyone at ease. Gone are the days of the elaborate signing, it's become more digitised and finally more equal for the parents and ceremony witnesses. Here's the Devon registrar process to follow if you haven't seen it already. Working in a team of two they often arrive thirty minutes or so before the ceremony to confirm final details before conducting the ceremony.
If you're looking at what venue might be best for you, here's a list of some of my favourites and what they have to offer. A lot of wedding planing involves the beautiful coastline we have here, and specifically you might be looking at some coastal venues. Location is a key part of your decision making, but each venue offers something different. Some will provide onsite accommodation, and with that may have the option to stay over the entire weekend, i.e. Huntsham Court. Here are some examples of real weddings at some of Devon's most popular venues.
Devon Wedding Photography
I have a detailed post about my approach to weddings here and I've written a wedding photography guide for couples to get the best out of their photographs too. The spectrum of Devon weddings is huge, that's why it's such a great place to have as my office, of sorts. Couples have the choice from a rustic barn, to getting married at the beach or erecting a marquee on a farm. No wedding is the same and that's why I love this job. It's also why I never use a template to photograph the day. The photos are unique to you. Being documentary in my approach and focused on the people, the gallery is filled with wonderful images of people enjoying themselves and not being interrupted on the day.
Recommended Devon Wedding Suppliers
Here's a selection of wonderful suppliers available for Devon weddings. People I've seen in action and doing great work, all with the theme of being amazing at their job and bringing zero stress to the day...
There are no rules to a wedding...
More so now than ever couples have a lot of choice in how to hold their wedding day. Devon is booming with amazing venues and nearly all provide great flexibility for what you want to incorporate. From food choice to music options, the choice is yours. This is a quick guide in how to get kick start on planning your Devon wedding, and if you have any questions, please get in touch.