Beautiful scenery strewn with mysterious ancient monuments – no wonder our region is one of the most romantic settings in the UK to tie the knot.

From country barns to grand historic manor houses, there is a bewildering amount of choice.

Wiltshire Council’s Top 10 list of wedding venues includes a Victorian mansion and a 13th century former coaching inn.

For any couples caught up in summer wedding fever – take heart – this is one rite of passage that has been going on for centuries.

The word ‘wed’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for security given to bind a promise. The giving of a ring has had a symbolic role in many kinds of wedding and betrothal ceremonies.

Modern marriages would be unrecognisable to previous generations. In Medieval times, couples very often didn’t even know each other as marriage was not based on love but on political arrangements.

In Victorian times, a girl’s entire life was dominated by who she would – or may – marry; and there was a popular rhyme about the superstitions surrounding days of the week:

Marry on Monday for health,

Tuesday for wealth,

Wednesday the best day of all,

Thursday for crosses,

Friday for losses, and

Saturday for no luck at all.


Wedding traditions have always reflected the times, and wedding traditions are constantly changing.

When Salisbury jeweller W Carter first opened for business 200 years ago, very few of its customers would be looking to buy an engagement ring. In 1817 a symbol to signify the betrothment would be the exclusive preserve of the wealthy elite.

The accession of the young Victoria brought greater interest in jewellery, and several styles emerged over the monarch’s long reign. Prince Albert had given his young bride a snake and emerald ring which sparked a fashion. The most popular diamond cuts of the day were the new ‘brilliant’ cut and old world rose cut.

The Californian gold rush and the discovery of diamonds in South Africa made engagement rings more affordable for the growing middle classes. The solitaire diamond engagement ring became popular in the 1890s.

However, it was the “Diamonds Are Forever” advertising slogan in 1947 that gave the gem pre-eminence and it was Marilyn Monroe who said diamonds really are a girl’s best friend.

Top 10 Wedding Venues in Wiltshire

  1. The Bear Hotel, Devizes
  2. Corsham Town Hall
  3. The Laverton, Westbury
  4. De Vere Alexandra House Hotel, near Swindon
  5. Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, near Calne
  6. Beechfield House, Melksham
  7. Grittleton House, Chippenham
  8. Legacy Rose and Crown Hotel, Salisbury
  9. Owl Lodge, Lacock
  10. Stourhead, near Warminster

Looking for inspiration?

A few upcoming wedding fairs in our region

September 3

Secret Garden Wedding Fayre at Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LS

Open 11am to 3pm.


September 3

Cow Parsley Wiltshire Wedding Fair at Trowbridge Civic Centre, St Stephens Place, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8AH

Open 10.30am to 2pm, admission free.


September 3

Eastleigh Wedding Fair at Holiday Inn, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO50 9PG. Open 11am to 3.30pm. Admission £1.

Details on

September 10

The Solent Hotel & Spa Wedding Fayre with PMN

Solent Hotel, Rookery Avenue, Whiteley, Fareham, Hampshire PO15 7AJ

Open 11am to 3pm.


17 September

Dorset and Somerset Wedding Showcase at The Exchange, Old Market Hill, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 1FH. Open 11am to 4pm. Admission £2.50 advance ticket, £3.50 on the door.


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