Easily accessible via an hour’s hop from the UK by air or a pleasant three hour sea voyage, if you are looking for a stunning island destination for your wedding, Guernsey won’t disappoint.
Guernsey is a little gem of an island, with hidden coves, pristine golden beaches, pretty harbour towns and spectacular countryside, and with more than 2000 hours of sunshine each year, the sunniest place in the British Isles, too. It is the ideal romantic getaway and for the reasons we have mentioned it’s why so many couples get married here.
You can choose to have either a civil or religious ceremony in Guernsey – you just need to give Notice of Marriage if you are planning a civil or non-Church of England ceremony, by attending the Royal Court House in person. A civil marriage can take place at the Office of the Registrar General, St. James Assembly Hall or at a small number of approved venues – including St Pierre Park Hotel. Alternatively there are ten parish churches on the island for couples wanting a religious ceremony, which is exactly what Sophie and Dan did (more on them in a bit).
It is worth noting marriage by licence is usually most convenient for non-residents. You could, for example, stay for eight days to establish residence and then give notice on the eighth day. You could then return for your marriage within three months. Alternatively, you could stay for 16 days, giving notice on the eighth day and then get married on the sixteenth day following your date of arrival on the Island.
Back to our couple. When it comes to wedding venues in Guernsey there is a wide choice, however St Pierre Park Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort ticked a few boxes for them both. “We picked St Pierre Park for its location – it wasn’t far from St Joseph's Church where we got married, affordability, scenery – the lake and 35 acres of grounds are stunning, room capacity – with 131 bedrooms its actually Guernsey’s largest hotel, and its open plan layout suited us, too,” reveals Sophie.
Despite the fact it’s a fairly new build, the couple’s rustic countryside theme worked perfectly, and the cornflower blue bridesmaid dresses and bouquets of sunflowers provided a wonderful pop of colour.
In terms of service and food, once again St Pierre Park was a cut above the others. “The entire day ran very smoothly and the staff could not do enough to assist at all times to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves. We were extremely impressed with the wedding breakfast, too. We had a buffet of meat and fish on the day and our guests commented on how much variety there was and that it was all extremely tasty.
“We stayed the night in the Alderney Suite with its own private garden and outside hot tub, and it was fantastic to be able to enjoy the spa facilities at the hotel the next day. From start to finish the whole weekend was superb.”
It seems the spa and golf resort isn’t just popular with couples wanting to get married there either: “One highlight of our day was seeing and meeting some of the cast of Eastenders who were at another function at the hotel. When our guests joined us in the grounds for a group photograph, the Eastenders cast came out on one of the balconies and our wedding guests started singing the theme tune to them, to which they joined in and waved. It was very surreal but quite amusing!”
Of course, that wasn’t the only entertainment on their big day – the couple hired the City Limits Guernsey band for the evening reception which covered popular hits from the rock and roll era to the present day. There was also a surprise set from Sophie's own band, Stoked, who having supported Alderney Week, the Channel Islands biggest festival, are pretty well known to island residents.
If you want a destination wedding that delivers spectacular scenery, tranquillity and balmy weather but don’t want the inconvenience of cost or a long journey, then Guernsey is perfect.
WEDDING AND BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Pretty Woman (01481 249272)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Evoke Wedding Photography (07781 104010 / evokeweddings.co.uk/)
ENTERTAINMENT: City Limits Guernsey (01481 720777 / citylimitsguernsey.com) and Stoked (@stoked.gg on Facebook)