For couples looking to tie the knot in romantic Bath, a riverside location could help seal a perfect day now that Bath & North East Somerset Council-owned Parade Gardens has been added to the list of places licenced to host ceremonies.
While for those concerned that this would mean the whole of the Gardens being closed to the General Public – reassurances from Bath Parks that only the section involving the wedding would be out-of-bounds. The rest stays open.
The gardens were originally a private recreational space for the elite in the Georgian era. They have since been developed into an award-winning park that affords views of the historic Bath Abbey and the iconic Pulteney Bridge. Ceremonies can be held on the bandstand or on the colonnades overlooking the river.
Cllr Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We have such wonderful settings in Bath and beyond that Bath & North East Somerset Council aims to make the best of what we can offer. We want to make sure that on that special day we can provide an experience for the bride and groom that they won’t forget.”
The Parade Gardens bandstand sits in the centre of a lawn that was once part of Bath Abbey’s orchard. It later became a private garden for the exclusive use of the fashionable visitors to Bath. The bandstand can hold up to 20 guests, but there is space for additional guests on the lawn.
The Colonnades were part of the developments to the gardens that were made in the late 1890s. Situated beneath North Parade, they offer stunning views of the river and the weir allowing for the feel of an open air ceremony with the guarantee of cover in wet weather.
There is space for up to 45 guests to sit underneath the colonnades, or more to sit outside looking in.
There is space in the gardens for a reception for up to 100 people and the gardens can be used for photos, drinks and nibbles as well.
Parade Gardens is already well-used as a wedding photo venue and, along with Royal Victoria Park, is also increasingly popular with hen parties as a setting for picnics and afternoon tea.
The site joins more than 30 venues which have successfully applied to the Council to become licenced premises. These include the council-owned Royal Victoria Park and Victoria Art Gallery.
Marianne and Ric got married in the Temple of Minerva in the Botanical Gardens in 2014. They said: “We had a truly fantastic wedding day, in no small part because of the location.” In July 2014 the bandstand in Royal Victoria Park hosted the first open air ceremony.
The wedding industry in Bath and North East Somerset is worth an estimated £15m annually. The Council offers advice and guidance on how businesses can make a success of their wedding offer.
Cindy Aze, Registration Services Manager at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Bath is extremely popular for Marriages and our Register Office prides itself in offering a top class experience to those couples who wish to have their ceremony with us. Parade Gardens will now offer couples another unique and picturesque option for their Marriage Ceremony.”
For more information on approved premises visit: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/births-marriages-and-deaths/approved-premises/directory-approved-premises.
People are asking if a wedding ceremony will close the whole of Parade Gardens to everyone else. Bath Parks assure me that only the section for the wedding would be closed. The rest would remain open to the public.
Hello Richard, Happy New Year to you. I was wondering if you’d heard whether the Parade Gardens will be closed to the general public when a marriage ceremony is being conducted in the bandstand ? I live in Wiltshire but frequently visit family in Bath where I grew up, and the gardens are a joy to visit often with a sandwich from M&S. I would be a little peeved if I found I couldn’t wander around them one day and sit quietly near the river in one of the many deckchairs. I appreciate my entrance fee is no match for a wedding fee in the bandstand !
The ‘secret’ pet cemetery in the Parade Gardens was a favourite of mine as a child, and until recent years, was still only accessible by scrambling through a bush. You had to know it was there to venture through ! A couple of years ago I was saddened to see that the bushes had been cut back and there was now an ‘official’ route along a short path to visit the few small graves of buried pets from the early 20th century up and to around 1988 I think. I say I was saddened to see this, because the day I noticed that it had all been exposed was the day I witnessed four children running all over it, and knocking over a headstone. Sometimes things are better when they are hidden….
I very much enjoy your regular blogs about all things Bath. Your fairly recent one about a new book on ‘Pieroni’s fountain’ led me to the Akeman Press, where I purchased that and two other books of theirs. So thank you for that information.
All the best for now. Jill
Hi Jill. Thanks for your comments. I will check this out with B&NES on Monday! RW
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