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Couples to get married in the open as Hampstead Heath bids to be first in London to hold outdoor wedding ceremonies

12:30 29 May 2014

The Hill Garden could soon hold London

The Hill Garden could soon hold London's first all-outdoors wedding ceremonies . Yvette Hughes, business manager of City of London Corporation, pictured in the Hill Garden and Pergola. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Couples could soon tie the knot under open skies on Hampstead Heath as the open space looks set to become the capital’s first all-outdoors wedding venue.

Lovers could be wed in three corners of Golders Hill Park if plans are approved by a City of London Corporation committee on Monday June 9.

The Corporation, which runs the Heath, claims it would be the first venue in the capital to hold legally binding ceremonies outdoors in a natural open space.

Hampstead Heath’s business manager, Yvette Hughes, said: “We’ve always had inquiries from people who want to get married there.

“The Heath is a special place for a lot of people. It’s where they went as a child with their family or it’s where they had their first date.”

If plans are approved, couples could hold their wedding ceremonies in the Hill Garden, which can seat up to 100 people; the Hampstead Pergola, for 25 to 30 guests; or the Belvedere, for 10 to 15 people.

Wedding receptions would have to be held elsewhere.

In an outline of proposals, the City states that ceremonies would be capped to 40 in a year to “maintain the exclusive and special status of such an unusual venue”.

There would be a maximum of one wedding a day, or two in a week. Only two Friday or weekend ceremonies could be booked in one month and they could not be held on bank holidays.

“We want to keep it special,” Ms Hughes added. “We don’t want to turn it into a production line.

“It will be a Marmite venue. You’re either going to love it or it’s not going to work for you.

“We’re very clear about what we can and cannot do. We want the space to remain a natural open space, so we won’t have lots of bunting or chandeliers.”

Ceremonies in the Hill Garden are expected to cost up to £2,000, while the two smaller venues would be priced between £1,200 and £1,500.

Wedding planner Meghan Fay, who runs Extraordinary Days from an office in Arkwright Road, Hampstead, said she held some reservations about plans for all-outdoors ceremonies on the Heath.

“It could be a dream wedding venue but anytime you have a wedding outside, you have to have a plan B if it rains,” the 30-year-old said.

“The other thing with having weddings on the Heath is the dogs running around. But I think it’s a really lovely idea.”

The ceremony area would be roped off before a wedding and pop-up gazebos would be erected in the event of rain.

The City believes the first wedding could take place on the Heath as early as August if plans are approved as Camden Council has already licensed all three venue sites.

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