As a party band based on the south coast we have attended nuptials at most Hampshire wedding venues. We've played massive country houses, cute little barns, grand hotels, festival fields, pub function rooms, and golf clubs so know what makes the perfect venue.
We know picking the ideal place for your big day can be the trickiest part of your wedding planning journey, and one thing you don't see on your site visit is how the venue actually works for a real wedding. There's loads of stuff to think about. Is there enough space? Is there too much space? Do people end up getting to the dance floor or do they stay outside or in their seats? What's the food like? Are the restrictions on live music volume going to be a problem? Will my friends have fun? Will the staff be as friendly on the day as they are when they're trying to sell the venue to me?
Well never fear – we've seen the good, the bad, and all that's in between. We know what makes a great event space. With this in mind I've picked five of our favourite venues in Hampshire each of which have hosted successful receptions every time we've been.
As a band we usually judge the venue on three things – are the staff friendly? Is the food good? Is the layout set out for a great party?
I'd like to point out that this isn't a sponsored list and these are all gems that don't always appear top on some of the blogs, but instead venues that actually work really well for weddings.
How to pick a wedding venue?
It's all very well me saying what the best venues are but how do you go about picking one that's right for your wedding reception?
You need to ask yourself and the venue a few questions. What are the priorities for your big day? Pumping dance floor? Stunning views? Dietary requirements? Somewhere for amazing photos? Or is a good time with all your friends and family around you all you need to have the perfect wedding celebration?
These things should all be considered when thinking about which venue to pick. I've tried to pick out a few features of each venue below which should hopefully help you check whether it's right for you.
The Tithe Barn - Stone Barn Venue in Petersfield
This is a stunning historical stone barn set in south downs national park with an amazing outdoor space. This is probably the venue we've played most of all since we started as a covers band over a decade ago. I've recommended it to friends looking to get married in Hampshire on three occasions - two of which booked it and had a great time.
The staff are always super friendly, and the food is delicious. The décor is clean so it's open to putting your own spin or theme on it with up-lighters and decorations. I've seen several different theme ideas which really make the venue unique every time we go.
They've got a great open garden space which, during the summer months, can be used for a drinks reception or lawn games. You can also have your full wedding day there with wedding ceremony, meal, and evening reception all in the same room.
And a top tip from a wedding band if you want a full dance floor – the bar is hired in and so can be set-up right next to the band. This means your guests won't have to wander far to go for a drink. There's a slight sound restriction at the venue but don't let that worry you. A good band should never have a problem with it - we never have!
Here we are rehearsing a request in the car park at The Tithe Barn... (watch out for the best man at the end really enjoying it #NSFW)
The Clock Barn - Vintage Barn Wedding Venue
The Clock Barn is based between Winchester and Basingstoke. It's perfect for a more rustic wedding with its country setting. We've played several weddings here and they always go great. The staff are some of the best we've come across. Something which we really find can make or break a day. They also have a whole host of wedding blogs on their site for you to draw inspiration from.
The food is good. I think every time we've played there we've had pizza for the evening food which always goes down a storm with everyone especially the band.
Check out their website and you'll see all the lovely photos their brides and grooms have been able to take in the surrounding country side. The venue itself allows for ceremony, wedding breakfast, and evening reception and even has a partitioned section where the band can set-up during the meal. Both this venue and The Tithe Barn have slight restrictions on volume but this is nothing that a good wedding band can't handle. We use an electric drum kit so are more than capable of providing an awesome night of live music at a good volume and our Mumford and Sons style fits in perfectly with the barns aesthetic and vintage atmosphere.
The Montagu Arms Hotel in the New Forest
The first of our 'not a barn' wedding venues The Montagu Arms has a more classic feel with it's lovely wood panelled rooms and open fireplaces. This place would be perfect for a romantic winter wedding but would also be as lovely in the summer due to it's picturesque English garden.
We've only played here once but the night was brilliant. And what's really great is that the venue has 24 rooms on site so a fair few of your guests can stay over and you can have breakfast together in the morning. The hotel has a stunning stretch of water out back perfect for a photo opportunity.
The wedding team were really kind and helped us get all settled in the party room, and the service was impeccable. The bride, groom, and guests all had a wonderful time.
New Place - Grand Hotel in Wickham, Hampshire
This is a charming hotel with spa facilities based between Southampton and Portsmouth. My sister actually got married here. They have several different available rooms that you can use depending on the size of your wedding party.
My favourite location on site is the ceremony room. It has this magnificent fire place, and although my sister had ten bridesmaids, we all managed to fit in front of it for photos.
The party room is a real blank canvas and was perfect for my sister's December wedding. We set-up a DIY photo booth at the entrance by the bar. Afterwards everyone was able to stay over on site and we even used some of the spa facilities the next day which includes fitness room, pool, jacuzzi, and sauna.
We've played there several times now including a few corporate events and have always had a great time.
Stansted Park - Stately Home Wedding Venue
Ooof! This is one stately manor. We played in a marquee on the grounds at this Edwardian house. It has elegant interiors and classical architecture perfect for photos and it can be yours exclusively for the day.
When we performed there we played throughout the day with an outside acoustic set on the perfectly manicured lawns. I'm not sure if it's a staple but they had a pretty sweet carousel there too which would be perfect for photos.
The couple hired in a fish and chip van for food which drove right up to the marquee. As we were eating fish and chips we didn't get to meet many of the staff but both wedding planners that we spoke to during the day were so kind and helpful.
The venue also has no restrictions on live music so you can have amplified music throughout the day.
New Hampshire Wedding Venue
I also have a special mention for a new Hampshire based wedding venue. We performed at their open day earlier on in 2020 before the lockdown. The venue is calledThe Boatshed @ Salt. It's based in Fareham and attached to an amazing little cafe down by the sea.
It draws inspiration from London based warehouse style venues which mixes well with its seaside location and has many nautical touches such as buoys and oars decorating the walls. If the tide is right the bride and groom can arrive by boat and the venue has an on site bridal suite.
We've not yet played a wedding there as they are booking for 2021 and beyond due to covid-19 restrictions, but I can see it being one of Hampshire's most unique wedding venues.
If you're looking for a band for your wedding in Hampshire then get in touch with us. We can offer you a quote for a full day of music or just the evening. As we're based near by we may even be able to offer a deal if you are just looking for some music for the ceremony and drinks reception. Also if you haven't booked a venue yet and want some impartial advice on which are Hampshire's best wedding venues then please get in touch!
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