The hotel was delightful, built in 1929 and set on its own little island, with panoramic views of the sea all around you, it looked like a cruise ship sitting on the land.
On a warm, sunny day in September, it was such a lovely place to hold a wedding, and if I could do it all again – and we had enough money! - I’d choose the same location
When the tide was low, you got to the island by walking across a stretch of sand which connects it to the mainland. If the tide was high, however, you phoned the hotel and the sea tractor came to collect you. That was such fun; it was like a huge dinky toy rumbling along in the sea, but I don’t think they do it anymore.
Exchanging of rings
We exchanged our vows in the Captain's Cabin - an extension to the Ganges room - which is the actual cabin from HMS Ganges; the last sailing flagship commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1823. This original cabin was put onto the front of the Ganges room and with its wooden ship’s wheel, it was certainly an unusual place to say ‘I do,’ and one I won’t forget.
Signing the register
As the sun streamed in the small windows where we sat signing the register, it made a lovely photo. After the ceremony, we went out into the grounds of the hotel where the sun was still shining, and the staff brought out bottles of champagne. We had lots of photos taken.
The secret mermaid pool
Some overlooking the hotel’s natural Mermaid Pool, which lies just beneath the main terrace, and more photos with the sea in the background. When people look at our wedding album, they think we got married on a Mediterranean island; they don’t believe it was a little island just off the Devon coast.
The peacock domed ceiling in the Palm Court cocktail lounge
In the evening, we had pre-dinner drinks in the cocktail lounge of the Palm Court; which had a beautiful, Art Deco, peacock feather styled, stained glass domed ceiling – hence its name the Peacock Dome - before dining in the ballroom with thirties music playing in the background.
The hotel was fabulous; a real step-back to the flapper days of the thirties. Black and white photos of old movie stars adorned the walls, there was period furniture dotted around, and most of the rooms were named after famous people from that era.
In keeping with the thirties theme, our male guests all wore cravats, flannel trousers and blazers, and those people who smoked used long cigarette holders. I wore a long straight cream dress with small glass beads on the bodice, and carried a small posy of cream roses with some greenery
Anyone looking for an unusual, unique place to get married, couldn’t go far wrong with this delightful hotel on an almost magical island. The scene of some episodes from the Poirot series, and where many famous guests stayed in the thirties such as Noel Coward, Malcolm Campbell and Edward and Mrs Simpson, it would certainly make your special day one to remember.
The hotel has been refurbished since we got married and we haven’t been back to see how much it’s changed. Mind you, we couldn’t afford it now; the cheapest room is over £300 per night!
The view from behind the hotel of Bigbury-on-Sea
Back in 1999, wedding guests could book per room, but I’ve heard that if you want to get married there now, you have to hire the whole hotel, and not everyone can afford that. I think unfortunately, we live in a world where making money is the most important factor, which seems sad; as because of the high prices, many people won’t have the opportunity to stay in what is such an iconic Devon retreat.