London Canal Museum is a unusual and attractive place for your wedding. There is something about water that adds extra romance to the most romantic day in your life - your wedding day! You can arrive by boat for an extra special touch. Even if a cruise won't fit into your schedule, the attractive, tranquil urban beauty spot that is Battlebridge Basin is a great setting. Book a lasting memory.
Weddings in 2020 - coronavirus special page Information about wedding ceremonies and receptions whilst coronavirus restrictions remain in place.
The ground floor is ideally suited to receiving your guests prior to the ceremony and for the drinks reception after it. There is ample circulating space and plenty to look at. Conversation between guests who have not previously met will be encouraged by our exhibits and the spectacular opening in the floor which reveals the preserved Victorian ice well below. The rear windows look out onto Battlebridge Basin with its colourful canal boats. In good weather guests will be able to take in the view and some fresh air by strolling out to the waterside. The ceremony is usually held on the first floor and this is also used for the dinner and the party and dancing. The ground floor is used for the drinks reception after the ceremony, and often for a cake-cutting ceremony after dinner whilst the tables are cleard upstairs.
This tried and tested use of the two floors for different parts of the occasion helps to encourage guests to mingle and meet new people as well as facilitiating the practical things like preparing and later clearing the dining tables.
The museum is open to visitors until 1630 (except on Mondays) so weddings don't start until that time. We can be ready for guests to arrive and assemble at 1645 prior to a 1700 ceremony. After the ceremony, guests come down to the ground floor for a drinks reception whilst the first floor is turned into a dining room. After dinner it is often a good plan for guests to return to the ground floor whilst the tables are cleared and space created for dancing. Often a cake-cutting ceremony takes place against the photogenic backdrop of the canal boat Coronis at this stage, with or without the addition of coffee or more drinks.
You can book our meeting room and our kitchen from 1000 onwards, and indeed over a whole weekend, so that deliveries and preparations can be made well before guests arrive. Most wedding receptions finish at 2300 but a limited number can continue until midnight or 0100. These late-night opportunities are often booked a long time in advance. Dancing can continue until the finishing time, with clearing up beginning as soon as the event has finished.
Dates available (for weddings that include music and dancing)
A relaxing cruise in the middle of a busy day; a charming and memorable feature of your wedding day; a delight to adults and children alike; something special that will make your wedding different from all the others that your family and friends have attended: that's a what arriving by boat has to offer. The most common starting points are Camden Town, Islington, Paddington and Regent's Park. You arrive at the museum's own wharf. Refreshments can be enjoyed on board by arrangement with the boat company. A large boat can carry up to 98 guests or alternatively you could book a smaller boat for just the happy couple and a few VIP guests to be greeted by the other guests on arrival at the museum. There is no more romantic way to arrive at your wedding. You can even have two boats from different directions, one for each of the happy couple's groups of family and friends!
You can set up a bar and this can be staffed by your caterer or by staff provided by the museum, or by a third party. Tables are normally all that is needed. We have plastic tubs available to use as large ice buckets for chilling wine and we can arrange a delivery of ice. Provided that the host buys all the alcoholic drink from a licenced supplier, you do not need a licence. Alcohol cannot be sold in the museum without a licence (and any arrangement where money is given counts as selling). If you wish to have a cash bar then this requires the Temporary Event Notice procedure under the Licencing Act 2003. A cash bar cannot operate without this.
We have been accredited as a green venue by the Green Tourism for London scheme, a part of the national Green Tourism Business Scheme. We will make sure that as much of the waste from your reception as possible is recycled. Please discuss with us ways in which we can make your reception as eco-friendly as possible. For your wedding car and guests' transport we suggest Green Tomato Cars, London's green private hire company.
We charge a fixed price for venue hire and our rates are very reasonable compared to other high-quality venues of similar size and standard. Because you can choose your own caterer, you can shop around for the best deal on catering. The catering is often the greatest expense. We don't charge corkage fees. A typical wedding hire with furniture and a few extras would be around £2,250 - £2,750 plus VAT.
The museum is licenced as a venue for civil weddings, conducted by a Registrar from the London Borough of Islington. Ceremonies are usually scheduled for 1700. They can be later, but not earlier, except on Mondays. The ceremony is generally held on the first floor, but small-scale ceremonies for no more than 50 guests may be held on the ground floor. After the ceremony the first floor is re-organised for the celebration, whilst guests enjoy a reception on the ground floor. The meal then follows. There is an additional charge for hosting the wedding ceremony, see the charges page. A wedding ceremony can be held on any day of the week (subject to availability of the Registrar) but if there is to be music and dancing afterwards the date must be one of those that are listed as available on our availability page.
To find out about booking a Registrar from Islington Council please see the website Say I Do Islington
A typical wedding schedule looks like this, but it's your party - so you can plan it as you wish!
|1300||Caterers begin delivering to museum kitchen and meeting room (used as a temporary store)|
|1630||Museum closes to general public. Museum team begin setting up museum first floor for the ceremony|
Phase 1 - Get Married
|1645||Guests assemble on the ground floor|
|1700||Marriage Ceremony. Whilst this is taking place, bar is set up on the ground floor.|
Phase 2 - Reception
|1730||Champagne or other drinks reception on the ground floor|
Phase 3 - Meal and speeches
|1830||Guests go upstairs. Meal and speeches|
Phase 3 - Cake-Cutting
|2030||Guests come downstairs. Cake cutting ceremony in photogenic position. Whilst this is taking place caterers or museum staff clear the dining tables and fold some of them away to make extra space for dancing. Bar is set up on the first floor.|
Phase 4 - Dancing
|2100||Guests go back upstairs. Dancing on the first floor.|
|2300, midnight, or 0100||End of event. Bar closes 15 minutes before the finishing time. Guests depart. Minicab numbers and telephone are available at reception.|
Our long experience is available to help you, if you wish. Based on this experience we have a page of wedding planning tips available.
The museum is equipped for business events as well so we have a range of equipment that is sometimes needed at weddings. If you need to show a film, project images, use a sound system for speeches etc. we can help at reasonable charges.