So, you’re getting married in the Lake District. That’s fantastic!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to get married in some of the most breath taking scenery England has to offer? We’ve compiled some useful information to help you with planning your dream day.  But, before we get down to it, there are a couple of things you need to do first.  At this moment I have an image of the Croods and the monkey playing ‘da da dah’ in my head.  That said, you really have nothing to worry about!

First things first

It’s very important before you even go about setting a date to decide on rough numbers you would like to invite and set that all important budget.  I’d love to tell you that money is no object and in my dreams it wouldn’t be.  However, this is ultimately what impacts on your dreams and decisions.  We definitely found a spreadsheet to be the best way to go about this.  We are happy to share ours – let us know in the comments if this is something you’d like.  It might be a good idea to work out how much you are prepared to spend per head on catering and drinks.  Many of the Lake District wedding venues offer a ‘price per guest’ package.  This normally includes room hire if you invite over a certain number of guests.

Religious Ceremonies

Now you’ve set your numbers and decided how much money you will spend it’s time to go venue shopping.  So it comes down to that all important decision – a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony.

For a Church ceremony, you need to live locally to the church, have lived in the parish at any time for at least 6 months or have been baptised or confirmed within the parish.  Many churches will also consider you if you have regularly attended normal church services for at least 6 months.  You may be entitled to marry in the church if  one of your parents have lived in the parish for 6 months at any time after you were born or have regularly attended normal church services for at least 6 months.  Any finally, if one of your parents or grandparents were married in the parish that will enable you to marry there.

Now that seems like a lot right?  Any maybe you don’t fit into any of these criteria.  Don’t lose hope.  Be sure to contact the church you are interested in marrying in as each church will have their own criteria. For further information please check out Your Church Wedding.


If you are followers of a different faith, or would like a Humanist ceremony you will also need to have a civil ceremony so that your marriage is legally recognised in the UK.

A church ceremony means you can hold you reception in a venue without a wedding licence.  You will have much more choice in where you hold your reception better suiting your style and budget.

Civil Ceremonies

Civil ceremonies can be carried out either at the Registry Office or in licenced premises.  In Cumbria, registry offices can be found in Carlisle, Penrith, Wigton, Whitehaven, Barrow-in-Furness and Kendal.  All of these towns are situated just outside of the Lake District National Park  More information can be found here.

If you would like to get married at licenced premises within the Lake District and Cumbria there is a careful juggling act to be done in the booking stage.  You need both the registrar and the venue to be available at the required date and time.  It could be easy to lose your deposit on the venue if the registrar is unavailable for your chosen dates and the venue cannot accommodate alternative dates.  Venues will be able to tell you which registry office you need to contact.

Wedding Venues

When you’re getting married in the Lake District there are lots of venues to choose from including castles, country houses and barns.  You can find an up to date list of all licenced venues in the Lake District and Cumbria here.  Unlike in Scotland where you can choose your location for an outdoor wedding, English law means that you must be married under a licenced permanent structure such as a gazebo. Fortunately, more and more venues are offering this as an outdoor ceremony option. 

When choosing your Lake District wedding venue make sure there is plenty of accommodation nearby for your guests.  Advise your guests to book rooms early as it does get very busy in between May and September with walkers, adventurers, thrill seekers and those here to admire the view.  Many venues have weddings booked two to three years in advance.  You have been warned!

Phew, there was a lot of information there.  You’ve booked your registrar or church and confirmed your venue so you’ve got the basics out the way.  You can now get on with the more exciting decisions, such as dress, colour scheme and how many flower girls.  Join us in our next post where we discuss the pros and cons of booking local suppliers versus suppliers close to home.