Hillsborough Castle – Northern Ireland’s Most Majestic Wedding Venue

by Michelle
Hillsborough Castle Girl Gets Wed

When it comes to wedding venues, it doesn’t get much more impressive than Hillsborough Castle.

An oasis of calm situated on the edge of Belfast, Hillsborough castle is set within 96 acres of spectacular gardens, this timeless venue is the perfect location for creating a beautiful, relaxed, yet refined wedding that your guests will long remember with a smile.

This majestic Georgian mansion has a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces available for your big day. Whether it’s an elegant white wedding or something more distinctive, an intimate celebration or a grand gathering, everyone is given a royal welcome.

Image Source: Kirsty Lyn Jameson Photography

And of course, there are breath-taking photo opportunities aplenty. Become part of the living history of this historic estate; The Throne Room, State Dining Room, Red Room, Lady Grey’s Study and the State Drawing Room are all licensed for civil and partnership ceremonies and then there are the exquisite castle grounds to explore and enjoy.

As a royal residence, hosting outstanding events is the forte of the dedicated events team at Hillsborough Castle. Over to them now to find out how they work with you to make your wedding a truly unique day of fun, enjoyment and celebration.

Tell us about your venue

Hillsborough Castle is a grand Georgian Country House set within 100 acres of stunning gardens and woodland; located just 20 minutes from Belfast. It’s been the official residence of the Royal Family in Northern Ireland since the 1920s, although its origins stretch right back to the 18th century.

Since then, the castle has served as a venue for various stages of the Peace Process and has played host to monarchs, minsters, presidents and princesses. It’s a spectacular and timeless location for creating your perfect wedding day.

Do you offer civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies?

Of course! Most of our majestic state rooms are registered for both civil marriage and partnership ceremonies. Availability in the castle can be limited as we’re also open as a visitor/tourist attraction during the daytime; though we do have more flexibility during the winter months.

We’ve also just recently taken over management of the historic Hillsborough Courthouse which offers a perfect blank-canvas for you to create your ideal daytime ceremony. Please contact us directly and we’ll be delighted to take you through the best options tailored to you.

Do couples & their wedding party have exclusive use of your venue?

Absolutely! You can rest assured that your wedding will be the only one taking place that day/evening. We want to make sure you get all the care and attention you and your guests deserve.

Venue capacity – How many guests can attend the day ceremony, if applicable, wedding breakfast & the evening reception?

We welcome weddings of all sizes, from intimate occasions of 10-22 people, to grand celebrations for up to 200. Inside the castle, we can accommodate up to 120 for a ceremony; up to 120 for a standing reception and up to 80 for a seated dinner. Larger numbers of up to 200 people can be accommodated in a marquee at one of two beautiful marquee sites.

Tell us just a little about any wedding packages you offer

Our packages include all the essential elements to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly. Including:

A designated senior member of the Events Team to help you plan your day and be there to ensure everything smoothly on the day

Tables, chairs and Castle/Courthouse room setups

Castle Wardens to assist your guests with car parking and security

Use of the castle’s state rooms and stunning gardens and walkways for your photos

Beautiful, fresh floral arrangements in the state rooms provided by the castle’s florist and tailored to your colour palette

A spacious bridal suite to use before and during your celebrations.

Do you have in-house catering, or preferred suppliers or are couples free to choose their own caterers?

We work with two outstanding local catering companies, Yellow Door and Posh Nosh. Both know the venue very well which helps to ensure a smooth-running event from start to finish.

Both our caterers offer a variety of delicious food and service options to suit our clients varying tastes and budgets.

Can couples supply their own alcohol for the evening? Is there a corkage fee?

Yes – couples are welcome to provide their own alcohol for their wedding day and we do not charge a corkage fee.

Are couples completely free to choose their own wedding entertainment & do you have a specific sound system?

We don’t have an approved (exclusive) list of entertainment providers, though we’re very happy to offer local recommendations to help get you started!

There is limited space in the castle’s state rooms for entertainment setups, but we can accommodate individual musicians or small (3-piece) bands. Much larger setups can be accommodated in marquees. All entertainment providers must provide their own equipment.

Do you offer accommodation on site? If so, for how many guests?

We have two self-catering cottages onsite with a total of 7 double bedrooms, 2 of which are en-suite. Ideal for immediate family members. Our prices are per-cottage and each comes with it’s own kitchen, living room and dining space with a help-yourself, continental breakfast the next morning.

Do you have an in-house wedding co-ordinator?

From the start of your initial enquiry to the end of your special day, you’ll have a designated Events Executive to help ensure everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

They’re passionate about every wedding we hold, and love getting to know you in order to deliver a personal experience that is attentive to the unqiue requirements of each and every couple.

How far in advance can couples or their wedding stylist, florist etc have access to the venue in order to decorate it?

The wonderful thing about hiring Hillsborough Castle for your wedding day is that it’s always ready and dressed to impress! Our rooms are filled with stunning furniture, paintings, fabrics and interesting objects, many from the Royal Collection.

As a working royal residence, the castle is dressed with fresh flowers from our castle’s florist and your wedding day will be no exception.

For flowers on your dining tables, or other decorative items such as table centrepieces, these can be dropped-off on a priory agreed date before your wedding and setup on the day by your Events Executive or chosen caterers.

Do you have gardens or an outdoor area for wedding photographs?

We certainly do! The castle’s 100 acres of grounds descend gently from the terraces and include mossy glens, formal gardens, rushing waterways, and immaculate lawns.

Image Source: Photography by Marc Lawson

Further opportunities at unique structures like Lady Alice’s Temple and Greek Temple ensure you’ll enjoy countless photo opportunities on your special day.

What’s your best advice to couples when choosing their perfect wedding venue?

Set aside some quality time together to have some fun and really enjoy this exciting stage of your wedding planning together!

Turn-off your phones, pour a glass of your favourite tipple and make a list of everything that matters the most to you when it comes to picturing your dream day.

After all, your venue is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make when planning your big day – it sets the scene for everything else; from your catering options to your evening entertainment.

Use this list to find a venue that ticks these boxes and makes you feel excited and at ease when you talk to them. People are a vital ingredient to successful weddings, and you want to ensure you’ll receive the time, attention and dedication that you both deserve.

Image Source: Graham Crichton Photography

All images courtesy of Hillsborough Castle

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