Demand for unusual wedding venues has soared as hotels, stately homes and registry offices fall out of favour with couples tying the knot.

A new study shows that of the nine out of ten marriages performed in premises approved to hold a civil ceremony, just a third now take place in a hotel, while numbers opting for a luxury country or manor house have also dropped. At the same time, registry office weddings have fallen by half over the past five years with just 5% of brides and grooms exchanging their vows in council owned settings.

A quarter of those marrying now look to book more exotic venues such as sports arenas, racecourses, zoos, farms and even railway stations!

The study carried out for North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) into the changes in wedding habits reveals the number of places registered to hold civil weddings in England and Wales has risen to almost 7,600.

This has almost doubled from five years ago when only 3,900 venues were registered. The increase has come as less traditional sites have taken advantage of the demand from couples who want to celebrate a day with a difference.

The report comes as the NYMR, which runs from the picturesque National Park into Whitby, appeared in a top ten of romantic destinations compiled by the Rail Delivery Group. It joined conventional proposal spots such as the Eiffel Tower and Venice.

The NYMR, which is featuring on a Channel 5 TV ‘fly on the wall’ documentary this spring, revealed it has 18 weddings already booked for this year.

Chris Price, General Manager at NYMR, said: “We first got a licence to conduct weddings two years ago and have been fully booked ever since. It’s not just railway enthusiasts who are interested in getting married on a historic station platform, its couples who are looking to get away from the norm and have a memorable, more personal day which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

When it comes to choosing a place for a wedding, few can beat the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and the amazing Yorkshire scenery. With a combination of exquisite catering, experienced staff and unwavering attention to detail, a wedding here will surpass all expectations.

Pickering Station at the NYMR offers a unique and historic venue for brides and grooms. The extraordinary Grade 2 listed building and its additional dramatic and atmospheric outside space provides the perfect backdrop for parties of 24 to 80 guests.

The award-winning visitor attraction delights more than 350,000 passengers every year. Owned and operated by an independent charitable trust with no public funding, day to day operation of the railway is carried out by volunteers who work steadily to improve the quality of the infrastructure, the railway vehicles and the experience of visitors.

To pledge your support to the NYMR or for further information about NYMR Weddings, visit or email [email protected] to discuss your handcrafted wedding package.



For further information please contact Gough Bailey Wright on 01527 579 555

Louise Iles – PR Account Director: [email protected]

Mira Cowap – PR Account Manager: [email protected]

Sam Wright – Account Executive: [email protected]


Notes for editors

Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey aims to raise £2,500,000. Keeping 18 miles of railway with more than thirty bridges through the difficult countryside of the North York Moors in top-notch condition is a continuing challenge. The 180-year old railway already invests around £1 million annually but there’s only so much the fare box can generate and much more is needed for the railway bridges and its 50-100 year old vehicles to remain viable.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a not for profit charitable trust providing memorable experiences for visitors and fulfilment for volunteers and staff through the operation of Britain’s most popular heritage railway between Whitby and Pickering.

  • The NYMR cares for operating and developing the railway it owns from Pickering to Grosmont.
  • The heritage railway operates over Network Rail from Grosmont to Whitby.
  • The charity provides a high quality, safe and authentic evocation of the steam age for the public.
  • The NYMR is an Educational Charitable Trust. Providing education for all ages.
  • The railway is a fully accredited museum.