Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are allowed for up to 15 people in Covid secure venues from tomorrow.

From May 17 weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people, and no earlier than June 21 the Government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions.

So is it time to get planning?

Bayley Eyley, of Event Styling and Management company Be Eventful ( recommends a mixture of city centre venues and some just outside Oxford.

The Ashmolean Museum (below) is an unusual but magnificent wedding venue with neo-classical architecture, an iconic entrance, grand sweeping staircases and opulent galleries. The galleries are licensed to hold daytime or evening ceremonies and when the museum closes in the evening, the Ashmolean is exclusively yours for a reception, dinner and dancing. Their catering partner provides “an extraordinarily exquisite food experience for you and your guests to enjoy”.

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Anynhoe Park (below), near Banbury, is an unusual country house stuffed full of artworks, furniture, treasures and curiosities by current owners Jamie and Sophie Perkins, who are now moving. It marries grand and imposing opulence with whimsy in a house that has been described as the coolest in Britain. A favourite haunt of A-listers from the Rolling Stones to Liam Gallagher, they say they will “host a push-the-boat-out party that gets talked about for generations”.

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Kingston Bagpuize House and gardens (below) is less than 20 minutes from Oxford and is licensed to hold civil marriage ceremonies in the house or outside in the woodland garden.  For couples considering a Christian marriage service, they can provide contact details for the local clergy.

They have a marquee on the West Lawn from April to October which is included in the fee.  It is a frame marquee with white canvas and the landscape windows face south, towards the house and west over the Park.

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Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire is Vogue magazine's Dream Wedding Venue. It is a stunning Georgian house with beautiful bedrooms perched above the Thames and set in over 100 acres of historic parkland. It hosts civil ceremonies, blessings and receptions. 

It is reached via a kilometre-long, rhododendron-lined driveway and has a luxurious bridal suite, plus a grand staircase adorned with 12-foot portraits of Hedsor’s former royal guests brides can descend from.

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Bayley also suggests Oxford’s Rhodes House on South Parks Road, built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university. It is Grade II listed but is currently undergoing major refurbishment and will only be available for events from late 2022.

Jeni Amey, designer and planner at Vanilla Rose Weddings in Abingdon ( suggested her favourites.

Newington House (below) is a 17th century stately home licensed to hold civil ceremonies with a Drawing Room that holds 30 guests and a Portico that takes 250. There are two historic churches close by, St Giles Church is 50 metres from the house or the impressive Dorchester Abbey is five miles away. There are formal gardens for drinks and photographs plus a riverside marquee for the party. They offer three-night stays with celebrations starting with a Friday night party in the garden.

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The Bodleian Libraries offer fantastic historic and modern spaces which are perfect for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. The beautiful outdoor spaces such as the Old Schools Quad (below) can be used for drinks and are surrounded by some of Oxford's most ancient and iconic buildings.

The Libraries offer their grandest rooms for private hire from the University’s oldest teaching and examination room (dating from the 1500s), to the modern roof terrace of the Weston Library, the Divinity School, Convocation House and Chancellor's Court.

A picturesque spot for photographs is the Wren door facing the Sheldonian Theatre which has been used to frame countless newly married couples.

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Kirtlington Park (below) is a Palladian house in acres of Capability Brown-designed parkland. There are a variety of State rooms including the Saloon which houses the famous “Coronation Portraits” which opens on to the terrace with far-reaching views of the Chiltern Hills. It is licensed for civil ceremonies with up to 150 guests. Other spaces to get married in include the Drawing Room and the unique Monkey Room. Come evening, the high-ceilinged Saloon has a huge dancefloor.

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Cornwell Manor is on a 2,000 acre estate near Chipping Norton which is never open to the public but is now available for weddings and events during a few months of the year.

The  Georgian-fronted manor is a dream for photographers and they cater for intimate ceremonies in the ballroom followed by dinner, a church wedding with a flower-filled marquee and live music until 2am (below), or even an open-air humanist ceremony in neighbouring fields followed by a sharing feast in giant teepees. The Norman church of St Peter’s is less than 200 metres away or following a legal ceremony elsewhere they offer an open-air non-religious blessing in the gardens.

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