o you’re looking for alternative wedding venues in Manchester?
There are, of course, hundreds of amazing wedding venues in Manchester. This incredible Northern powerhouse is full of amazing halls, houses and hotels. But I know that you are looking for something a little bit different- a fun, alternative Manchester wedding venue. Well, step this way! I have compiled a list of all my favourite alternative wedding venues in Manchester.- those unique, interesting little gems that create an epic backdrop, ceremony or evening celebrations. There are ancient libraries, incredible gig venues, pubs, and even a Victorian swimming pool- you’re find the very best in cool alternative Manchester venues right here.
Before we start, not all of the venues on this list are licensed for ceremonies. It’s good to check this link on the Manchester.gov website HERE to find all of the places in Manchester that can legally host wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships. Or, have a mini legal ceremony and have a fabulous celebrant instead- head here to find out more.
So here’s the list. I love them and I know you’ll love them too. And if you want me to photograph your awesome day at one of these incredible alternative Manchester venues? Well that would be bloody awesome. Just give me a shout here.
1) Victoria Baths
Victoria Baths is one of my absolute favourite alternative wedding venues, not just in Manchester, but in the whole of the UK! Can you believe you can get married in a Victorian swimming pool, complete with its gorgeous red brick architecture, baths still beautifully intact and cute old cubicles lining the pools. As a venue, it is incredibly quirky and stunningly beautiful (those green art deco tiles!! <3 <3 <3) and range of dramatic spaces.
When it opened in 1906, Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road, Manchester, was described as “the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country” and “a water palace of which every citizen of Manchester can be proud.” It served as a swimming pool for 87 years and became an absolute bastion of Manchester history, held affectionately in the hearts of many a Mancunian! I love love love imagining the history that has taken place under its roof, the changing fashions, the fun and laughter. It seems so fitting that weddings should now be held there!
The building has been lovingly restored over a number of years, and I just love that, by holding your wedding there, you are contributing to its continued restoration. Victoria Baths is licenced for both ceremonies and receptions, with ceremonies being possible on any of five different spaces including the pools themselves and the Turkish Baths Rest Room with its amazing Angel of Purity stained glass window.
2) The Wellbeing Farm, Bolton
Ok, so it might not strictly be Manchester… (Greater Manchester totally counts, right!?) this venue is DEFINITELY worth the journey to! Delivering fun and quirky weddings and events, The Wellbeing Farm is everything you could possibly want from an alternative wedding venue. It’s a stunning space, set amongst rolling hills and stunning countryside, the barn itself is incredible, and as a piece-de-resistance, they have donkeys in flower crowns, and llamas in bow ties. LLAMAS. I mean…. LLAMAS!!!
Only a few years ago, The Wellbeing Farm Weddings and Events Venue was a neglected and disused agricultural operation. Yet, with a huge injection of love, passion and creativity, it has been lovingly brought to life to become what you see today; a quirky, fun, award-winning wedding and event venue. It is without doubt the most fun wedding venue I have ever photographed! It absolutely has to be seen to be believed. You can see a gorgeous wedding I shot at Wellbeing Farm here.
3) Five Four Studios
If you’re looking for something sleek and modern Manchester wedding venue, Five Four Studios might just be the venue for you. This stunning white studio space is licensed to host Civil Marriage Ceremonies and can look after your wedding day from beginning to end. They can host a ceremony for up to 60 people, accommodate up to 120 people for a sit-down meal and up to 200 for a good old party!
The studios are a total blank canvas that can be transformed to create your Pinterest wedding of dreams! The venue pride themselves on being able to work with you to create the exact aesthetic you’re looking for alongside an expert team of suppliers. I love the clean modern look- it would look incredible with bright, colourful styling!
4) The Deaf Institute
Another historical wonder, transformed into a cool, alternative event space! The Deaf Institute is an independent fun loving bar & venue, spread across 3 floors, with 3 bars, a kitchen & a roof terrace. Housed in a historic Manchester building originally built in 1878 as The Deaf Institute, the building was derelict until the now owners took over a decade ago, and they have refurbished it back into absolutely stunning space, with a nod to its former glory!
Located just off the bustling Oxford Road, they have big sharing tables & leather booths, and frequently hosts live gigs, comedy & club nights in a ballroom under a massive mirror ball, with velvet curtains, a domed ceiling, tiered seating and parrots on the wall.
They describe their offering as: “Tasty scran, exotic bevs, coffee, music, people having a good dance: whatever you need we can arrange it. We can provide you with a dedicated event manager, sound tech, DJ equipment, scran, bev packages, projector and DVD facilities. So, if you fancy a knees-up to rival the best, we’ll lay the feast if you bring the folk. Find out more here!
I’ll admit it, I’m in love with Albert Hall! Having spent some of the best nights watching the best bands there, it gets me incredibly excited that they now host weddings!
The building was lovingly restored to its majestic baroque glory in 2012, and the Grade II listed Albert Hall in Manchester is undoubtedly one of the city’s greatest cultural sites. Light and spacious with breath-taking original features intact, Albert Hall began life as a Wesleyan Chapel and now it stands proudly in the centre of the city as a refuge for happy couples and concert goers alike.
Fully licensed forceremonies, the Hall itself has a variety of different spaces to host each part of your day, exclusively yours for the entirety of your celebrations, it can comfortably fit up to 280 guests for your reception dinner too! With a wide variety of food, drink and entertainment options as well as being a totally stunning space, it is a brilliantly rock-and-roll option for your alternative wedding in Manchester.
6) Fairfield Social Club
Ok, so I know that the words ‘Social Club’ don’t generally conjure up ‘incredible wedding venue’. But WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THIS PLACE! Fairfield Social Club is is an totally unique alternative events venue incorporating two grand industrial railway arches built over 100 years ago. Recently, it was given a minor makeover to create one of Manchester’s biggest independent events spaces by award winning street food team GRUB. If you’re looking for a unique venue for a cool DIY wedding, a totally blank canvas with an industrial twist, complete with a wide variety of craft beer and amazing street food (and let’s be honest, why would you not be?), then Fairfield Social Club is the ideal venue for you!
7) Chetham’s Library
Do you want to get married in ACTUAL HOGWARTS? Of course you do. Well Chetham’s Library is as close as you’re likely to get in Manchester City Centre! Chetham’s Library has been in continuous use as a public library for over 350 years. It is housed in a beautiful sandstone building dating from 1421. Located in the heart of Manchester, Chetham’s weddings offer the opportunity to be married in a historical venue, and it is perfect for intimate alternative weddings. Plus, it really does look like Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall could walk in at any moment.
8) The Whitworth Art Gallery
One for the art lovers! The Whitworth is one of Manchester’s most beautiful commercial events, wedding and private hire venues as well as being a stunning Art gallery. It’s one of my absolute favourite spaces to while away an afternoon in Manchester, and the building itself is phenomenally beautiful; a really unique place to celebrate your marriage, surrounded by incredible art work, right in the centre of Manchester.
9) Hope Mill Theatre
Hope Mill Theatre is a completely unique setting with all of the character of a stunning Grade II listed Industrial Mill. Situated close to New Islington Metro (first stop after Piccadilly Station) and with free parking on site this is the ideal venue close to the heart of the city for weddings. Their amazing blank canvas urban space is perfect for creative couples, and can hold up to 200 guests! They are also super popular and already booked up until 2022!
A highly successful theatre, Hope Mill Theatre was the dream of couple Joseph Houston and William Whelton, inspired by the highly regarded Off West End Theatres and small producing venues which dominate the London theatre scene. It has swiftly become one of the most successful and reputable independent venues in England – winning Fringe Venue of The Year at The Stage awards in 2018, so it’s a perfect space for culture vulture couples!
I just love the whole vibe of the space- a real industrial gem, with a stunning outdoor space and oodles of Manc charm. I’m so excited to be shooting Nikki & Andy’s fab wedding here in 2021!
10) The People’s History Museum
Make a radical choice! Choose the People’s History Museum for your wedding or civil partnership ceremony, a venue that celebrates ideas worth fighting for. The museum tells the story of people joining together in Britain’s struggle for democracy, and is a truly inspiring setting.
The museum’s wedding and civil partnership spaces are situated within a stunning grade II listed building that has been restored to its original glory, skilfully combining an iconic contemporary museum with the exceptional architecture of an Edwardian hydraulic pump house.
The Engine Hall in the People’s History Museum on Spinningfields is an absolutely incredible space. Those windows!! They have three flexible spaces, catering for up to 200 guests in an inspirational museum setting. Plus, just to give you all the warm fuzzies, all surplus from the hire of their spaces goes towards supporting the museum’s activities. What a bonus!
11) Gorton Monastery
Once a Franciscan Church & Friary, this Gothic masterpiece, Gorton Monastery, has imposing architecture in spades! It is also perfect if you’re planning a larger wedding as they can accommodate parties of up to 400 guests! For all you Harry Potter fans, it definitely has a touch of Hogwarts about it, don’t you think? One of my favourite parts in the tranquil internal walled garden, which is a gorgeous spot for photos.
12) The Science and Industry Museum
The Science and Industry Museum is a stunning space for a wedding. Not only is is located in one of my favourite parts on the city and an incredible industrial space in it’s own right, but getting married in The Science and Industry Museum is an absolute childhood dream! Having visited the museum many times as a kid, and with my own children, the idea of getting married there makes me all nostalgic. Imagine getting married amongst the amazing exhibits, and all the fun photos of your guests enjoying the museum! Just so much fun!
There are three stunning spaces available to hire for your wedding reception: The 1830 Warehouse, which is part of the old railway station; The Textiles Gallery, which tells the story of the people, products and pioneers that made cotton their continuing legacy in Manchester, and Revolution Manchester gallery, which encapsulates the city’s history of innovation and offers a unique look into the museum’s themes, galleries and collections. All them them would be a real talking point and provide a really memorable experience for your wedding day.
13) Lock 91
This uber-trendy bar club and lounge located on the canalside in Deansgate, is a perfect spot for a relaxed, fun wedding. This building itself is built over 3 floors of a Victorian building with bare brickwork and beams, and it has a stunning outdoor terrace areatoo. You can hire the whole building exclusively, or just one of their awesome spaces.
i absolutely love the colourful, quirky decor and the fun vibe of Lock 91 and the food is incredible too!
14) All Star Lanes
Have you ever dreamt of holding your wedding reception in an awesome retro bowling alley? Probably not, but how awesome does that sound please? All Star Lanes on Deansgate in Manchester offers the ultimate in rockabilly fun at their super classy and incredibly fun bowling alley. The decor is incredible, the food is really good too, and can you imagine how excited your guests will be? I reckon it will make for some pretty awesome wedding photos too.
15) Victoria Warehouse
Set in an iconic converted warehouse dating from 1932, this industrial-chic venue is a 5-minute walk from Exchange Quay tram stop, and a 10-minute walk from Manchester United’s Old Trafford football stadium. Not just a wedding venue, Victoria Warehouse it is also an iconic live music venue in it’s own right with a whole host of incredible acts topping the bill there, including Stereophonics and Thom Yorke.
This is definitely one for the party animals- this venue would be ideal for a proper rave-up, with space for performers, a huge dance floor, and any other incredible ideas you can think of! The venue say “This has always been a fiercely passionate city. Take that same force to your wedding plans, putting your own mark on the Warehouse. After all, life is what you make of it.“
16) Elizabeth Gaskell House
If you’re holding a more intimate wedding, and, like me, are a bit of a book nerd, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House could be the perfect location. An idyllic spot not far from the city centre, this house was the former residence of Elizabeth Gaskell, author of ‘Cranford’ and ‘Mary Barton’ (subtitled A Tale of Manchester Life).
From the cosy, book lined study to the grand drawing room with its Boudoir Grand piano there are a variety of small to medium sized period rooms to choose from. The light and airy basement (the former servants hall and tea room) is ideal for afternoon tea, an the whole place is a bookworms’ dream! The beautiful gardens make for stunning backdrops, and I just LOVE that gorgeous doorway!
17) Leaf on Portland Street
Leaf on Portland Street is my go to breakfast spot in Manchester… but they also offer awesome weddings too! Whether an intimate wedding for 20 guests, a big old knees-up for 200 or anything in between, their spacious basement is the perfect setting. It is a unique space, beautiful yet informal, and I just adore the brick walls and funky styling.
I’ve shot a couple of gorgeous weddings at their sister venue, Leaf on Bold Street in Liverpool, (If you want to have a look, you can see Genevieve and Matt’s fab party wedding here, and Emily & Craig’s amazing legal wedding celebration here) and I just love their vibe. Gorgeous food, a relaxed atmosphere and a good old party! Leaf is designed to bring people together with great food & drink, music, art and of course, weddings!
18) Stock Farm Barn
Ok, so I’m probably pushing my luck again, because this one is technically in Cheshire. But for a stunning barn a stones throw from the city, I’m sure you’ll forgive me! Stock Farm Barn is a dreamy countryside venue with an incredible converted stable barn that is just perfect for outdoor, festival inspired weddings!
They say: “We have lovingly transformed a working stables into a wild and dreamy wedding venue in the heart of Cheshire’s own Tatton Estate. It’s not just our converted barn that could make the perfect backdrop to your day, we have woodland galore and wildflower meadows for outdoor lovers, and country gardens perfect for an al fresco ceremony. In fact the only limit is your imagination!”
I love that you can have an outdoor ceremony here, but with the safety of knowing there’s a stunning back-up in case the glorious British weather has other ideas!! Being able to have a countryside wedding so close to the bustling city is a rare and wonderful thing, and Stock Farm is a belter of a venue.
19) Alphabet Brewery
What could be cooler than a craft brewery wedding? Founded in their railway arch brewhouse in 2014, Alphabet Brewing Company make hop-forward and fruit-led session beers that are totally delicious and the brewery itself is crazy colourful and totally cool! It is the perfect backdrop for an alternative Manchester wedding- the epic graffiti walls, flowers in beer cans and insanely cool urban backdrops made for so many cool shots when I shot there in 2018.
With incredibly tasty beers on offer, with the greatest names (A pint of “You’re So Vain, I bet you think this Stout is About You”, anyone?) During portraits, you can even explore the brewing area- so cool! For anyone planning an urban Manchester wedding, it’s such a cool, undiscovered spot! Take a look at Katie & Dan’s fab. colourful wedding that I shot at Alphabet Brewery here.
20) Albert Square Chop House
Whilst it might sound like something out of Eastenders, this dramatic and brilliant dining pub and British restaurant is located in Thomas Worthington’s iconic Memorial Hall, bang in the heart of the Manchester.
Their brilliantly Manc slogan reads: “We do weddings differently, here.” and so they do. With glorious food at the centre of their offering, it is perfect for intimate weddings, and there are huge opportunities for some incredible photographs of the dramatic architecture around the venue.
If you love Manchester, and you’d like to celebrate your love in Manchester, definitely take a little time to look at the Albert Square Chop House!
21) The Oak Tree of Peover.
Ok, don’t shoot me, but it’s another Cheshire one. But it’s a little beauty!!
The Oak Tree of Peover is a beautiful, rustic, oak framed wedding venue set in the heart of Cheshire, just outside Manchester city centre. The venue is surrounded by stunning countryside views and offers bright, natural light, and a romantic and magical atmosphere. In short, it’s absolutely bloody stunning.
I just love it’s rustic charm, and it would be perfect for a gorgeous outdoor wedding. I can just imagine it filled with colourful flowers and streamers! It can accomodate 108 daytime guests and up to 180 in the evening, so there’s plenty of space to party too!
22) 11 Didsbury Park
This small, luxury townhouse hotel has a really gorgeous homely feel which I love. The way they describe 11 Didsbury Park gives me all the heart eyes too: “This luxury Victorian townhouse is nestled away behind the leaves of Didsbury Park. Upon entry original Victorian charm creates an air of stylish calm. The warmth of the open log fire draws you in. You hear the sound of people laughing, celebrating from the garden, notes of happiness in the air… rest your imagination and come to number Eleven, such a place exists!”
If you’re looking for a totally private, intimate wedding venue, you can book 11 Didsbury Park, along with all 22 bedrooms and treat it like your personal residence for the day- creating a relaxed, house party vibe- perfect for a long weekend wedding with your nearest and dearest!
So that’s it! My list of awesome alternative wedding venues in Manchester for couples who like to do things differently. Is there somewhere I’ve missed? An epic, awesome venue that needs to be shared? Let me know.
Are you planning your wedding in Manchester, and are looking for a fun photographer who gets you? Who understands that you just want a fun party with no fuss or frills, and want your photographer to be a relaxed and supportive friend, whilst capturing all of the fun and joy of your wedding day? Well give me a shout, I would be THRILLED to be part of your day. Or, go and have a look at my gallery or blog for more wedding inspo!