I'm so excited to bring you a truly unique and stunning Newcastle wedding venue today - the Laing Art Gallery.
Before I became a professional photographer I was a wedding registrar, and I conducted thousands of weddings across Newcastle. Many of those weddings took place in the same venue over and over, and I think that is in part because many brides and grooms just weren't aware of how many options they had. Why get married in the same tired location as thousands of other people, when you could have your ceremony in a venue steeped in the culture and heritage of your region?
The Laing Art Gallery opened in 1904 and houses an impressive collection of art and sculpture. There are paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Gauguin, and local artist Ralph Hedley, as well as many others, including my personal favourite John Martin. There is also an extensive collection of 18th and 19th-century watercolours and drawings, including work by Turner and Cotman. Its cabinets gleam with North East silver and glassware, and there is even sculpture by Henry Moore.
The exquisite stained glass window you can see in the photograph above was created for the building's opening and it depicts the goddess Minerva presiding over the marriage of the Fine Arts (painting and sculpture) with the Applied Arts (ceramics and textiles) watching on.
Although the Laing Art Gallery can host ceremonies in a variety of rooms, most couples get married in the 18th and 19th century gallery. As well as being a stunning backdrop, painted in rich red, as you can see in the first photograph, this choice of rooms is for practical purposes. The gallery owns most of the the art in here, so it is far easier to close this space to the general public, and there are few issues regarding photography and copyright of the paintings. Other rooms may have visiting exhibitions, with tougher restrictions on the art and may be open to the public depending on the timings of your big day.
The room is licensed for up to 120 guests, although 80 seated guests is preferable. Even at full capacity the rooms are spacious, with high ceilings, so you won't feel cramped.
The 18th and 19th century gallery opens up onto the rotunda which is an ideal location for a drinks reception. This is where the major stained glass windows can be found so, together with the large staircase which leads down to the Marble Hall, it is an ideal location for photographs.
Speaking of stained glass, some more examples can be found in the Cafe Laing on the ground floor. This has been covered in protective material so you can safely have your wedding breakfast and entertain your guests here late into the night. There are no residents living nearby so you don't have to worry about waking the neighbours as you dance the night away!
The Laing Art Gallery is an excellent venue for photography. The building itself is very impressive, with high ceilings, stone columns, marble staircases and stained glass, and when you add in the unique works of art you have unlimited possibilities. It's very spacious inside, so you don't need to worry about the weather, and the Marble Hall and staircase can be used for large group shots. Just be careful about your composition - some of the rarer pieces of art have restrictions on copyright, so you need to ensure that the bride and groom are the main focus of your images!
- A truly unique wedding venue in Newcastle, that will especially appeal to anyone with a love of culture
- City centre location so very easy to get to
- You can spend the whole day here - from the ceremony, on to the wedding breakfast through to the reception and party
- The Laing Art Gallery has no rooms so you will need to find accommodation elsewhere in the city centre
- You can't drink red wine in the galleries in case it damages the art (but you were having champagne anyway, right?)
The Laing Art Gallery is a venue unlike any other in Newcastle, a real temple to beauty, so if you want to make your wedding day extra special it's well worth checking out.
Telephone: 0844 856 1074
Write: New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AG
Photographs provided by Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums