Choosing an Historic Royal Palace wedding

An Historic Royal Palace wedding offers sumptuous surroundings and the quintessential princess experience. London wedding planner Dominique Douglas reveals what you need to know about marrying in royal style

Photos: Kate Nielen Photography
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The Orangery at Kensington Palace is a sumptuous Historic Royal Palace which offers the full ‘princess experience’

For many brides, getting married in one of the UK’s Historic Royal Palace settings is the ultimate wedding. Elegance, luxury and history all rolled up in one romantic location. But there are a few things you need to consider before deciding if this is the style of venue that matches your vision for your wedding day.

There are several choices from among the UK’s collection of Historic Royal Palaces, but my favourites would have to be The Orangery at Kensington Palace and Banqueting House on Whitehall. Both offer both a central location and sumptuous surroundings.

The practicalities

Hire fees are at the higher end. For instance, at Kensington Palace you would expect to pay upwards of £12,500 plus VAT, exclusive of catering, drinks, flowers, lighting and all the other things that make your wedding truly special.

Royal Palaces have what are often known as ‘restricted lists’, which means that only approved suppliers may work there. They wouldn’t be on the list if they weren’t trusted as among the best in the business, but it does mean your choice of main suppliers is limited. In general, there is more flexibility in your choice of photographers, videographers and wedding planners.

Need to know

The grounds and rooms of Historic Royal Palaces are immaculate and so beautiful that you only need the simplest dressing. However, it’s important to note that none of these buildings were constructed with the wedding industry in mind. This means kitchen facilities may not be suitable for mass catering, so additional catering tents may be required as part of your wedding plan.

Many of these buildings are also open to the public. This means that access on the day will not be until they have closed their doors to visitors. Set up times can be very limited – you may not be granted access until 3pm, so not a table, a plate or a wedding favour can be installed before that time. For this reason, finding a wedding planner who understands the organisational issues and has experience of working in these conditions, can be a very worthwhile investment.


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While Historic Royal Palaces such as Kensington Palace have some restrictions in order to protect the fabric of the building, these are superb venues that require very little dressing

Good to know

You will find that there are other rules that may have to be adhered to. For instance, certain pieces of furniture will have to stay in place, confetti may be banned and faux candles may be the order of the day. At some venues, red wine is only allowed at the dinner table in order to protect the integrity of the fine furnishings.

These practicalities are minor details when you consider that each Historic Royal Palace is unique. What is more, these venues may only host four or five weddings a year. This means your family and guests will celebrate your special day in memorable style and truly exclusive surroundings.

Dominique Douglas is a London wedding planner;
There are four Historic Royal Palaces available for weddings: Kensington Palace, Banqueting House, Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle, Belfast. For more information about wedding hire visit