Inside the Royal Wedding Venues: A Look Into the Famous Churches Where Royal Couples Have Said "I Do"

From Queen Victoria to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Updated 09/24/18

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Sure, choosing a wedding venue is a standard rite of planning passage, but just imagine having to pick a spot to host a royal wedding. With an entire nation (and beyond) partaking in the festivities and quite the lengthy guest list, the pressure's on to find a spot to tie the knot that will satisfy even Queen Elizabeth herself (no biggie). Fortunately, though, the British royal family seems pretty set in their ways when it comes to selecting wedding churches—most have said I do in one of four famous English spots for the past few centuries.

In honor of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's upcoming nuptials, we rounded up all the royal wedding venues of choice, dating all the way back to the 1100s. While you unfortunately most likely have to be in line for the throne to snag one of these spots for your own wedding, it never hurts to brush up on your royal wedding venue history (and they're just flat-out pretty to look at). From sprawling Gothic-style cathedrals to chapels located on palace grounds, these regal spots will take you inside the life of a betrothed royal.

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St. Paul's Cathedral

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In one of the most iconic weddings of the decade, William and Harry's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, tied the knot at this venue in 1981. King Henry VII's son, Prince Arthur, also married his bride, Princess Catherine, at St. Paul's in 1501.

Located in London, St. Paul's Cathedral was built between 1675 and 1710 and sits at the highest point of the city. The building boasts the second largest dome in Europe, with frescos and mosaics decorating the interior. The glorious cathedral has also caught Hollywood's attention and has been the setting for several flicks, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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St. Paul's Cathedral

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St. Paul's Cathedral

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Westminster Abbey

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This site has seen its fair share of royal weddings throughout the past century—and a whopping 16 total since the church's founding in the year 960. Most recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton, chose this venue for their 2011 nuptials. Princess Eugenie's parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, wed in the same spot in 1986, as well as Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter, Princess Anne. Even the Queen herself and the Queen Mother said I do in Westminster Abbey. King Henry I was the first royal to kick off the wedding tradition at this London locale in the year 1100, so the church's monarchical roots go way back.

It's not just a wedding hot spot—Westminster Abbey has also served as the British royal family's go-to coronation venue since 1066. Gothic design and stained glass windows aplenty make up this massive structure, which is technically not considered a cathedral or even a church. More formally known as the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, the abbey is deemed as a "royal peculiar," meaning that it's completely under sovereign control, rather than belonging to a specific diocese of archbishops and bishops.

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Westminster Abbey

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Westminster Abbey

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St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

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Following in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's footsteps, Princess Eugenie and her fiancé will say "I do" at this locale. And the couple has no shortage of royal predecessors who have done the same. Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son, wed Sophie Rhys-Jones there in 1999; Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles had a prayer service to commemorate their nuptials in the chapel; and Peter Phillips, the Queen's oldest grandson, also married his bride at this venue. Additionally, four of Queen Victoria's children (Princess Louise, King Edward VII, Prince Leopold, and Prince Arthur), and two of her grandchildren (Princess Alice Mary of Albany and Princess Margaret of Connaught) also wed their spouses at St. George's Chapel.

The church, which has the capacity to fit 800 guests, also features Gothic-style architecture and a grandiose vaulted stone ceiling. Located on the grounds of Windsor Castle, St. George's Chapel marks the spot where Prince Harry was baptized.

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St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

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St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

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Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace

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The small chapel, which seats 100, originally served as the royal wedding venue of choice, with Queen Anne spearheading the tradition in 1683. Queen Victoria married Prince Albert here in 1840, then King George V (known as Prince George, Duke of York at the time) followed suit at the palace in 1893. Several royal infants were also baptized in the Chapel Royal, including, most recently, Prince Louis.

Most of the palace was built between 1531 and 1536 and, before Queen Victoria ascended to the throne, many British monarchs actually called St. James's home. Following a fire that destroyed Whitehall Palace, another former royal family residence, Kings George I, George II, and George III lived in St. James's Palace. Today, the royal family uses the venue for charity events.

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Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace

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Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace

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