Elopements and micro-weddings: Top 10 Destinations in Snowdonia and North Wales
If you struggle to get excited by traditional venues and love the idea of getting married somewhere totally unique, immersed in nature, then a micro-wedding or elopement might be perfect for you!
The term elopement conjures visions of romantic escapism. Historically, the term meant “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married, usually without parental consent”. But also, the term simply means “to escape”, and couples are now using the term when referring to small destination weddings or micro-weddings.
There are so many magical places you could get married in North Wales. As an independent (and adventurous) celebrant, I can do your ceremony absolutely anywhere, anytime, and in any style you choose.
To give you some inspiration, I have picked my top destinations below. All have short walk-ins, so no need to worry about you or your guests arriving hot at sweaty at your chosen ceremony spot!
The Great Orme, Llandudno
The summit of the Great Orme in Llandudno is often a busy place, but head away from the summit complex to the northern end and you get expansive ocean vistas and dramatic cliff backdrops, making the perfect setting for a wild blessing, while still being completely accessible.
A tarmac road circles the Orme and there are various spots you can park up and walk <5minutes to some spectacular and sometimes, exposed ceremony spots.
Watkin Path Pools, Snowdonia
The Watkin Path Pools are probably one of the most instagrammable sights in Snowdonia! Don’t let that put you off. Even on a sunny day, it's possible to find an isolated stretch along the river banks next to the turquoise waterfalls and pools. The backdrop is truly spectacular and the inviting waters are a renowned wild swimming spot.
The walk-in is <1 mile from the Nant Gwynant road junction. There is a public car park on the opposite side of the road.
Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia
If you are looking for an atmospheric setting, then look no further than the dramatic amphitheatre of Cwm Idwal. The views in every direction are awe-inspiring, whether looking down the valley toward Bethesda or up towards the dramatic cliffs of Devils kitchen.
A short walk in from the Youth Hostel / Visitor Centre on the A5, the path is well laid.
Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Anglesey is renowned for some of the best beaches in North Wales. Newborough Beach is certainly one of them. It stretches 3.5 miles along the southwestern margin of Anglesey. The length of the beach means even at peak times, the beach doesn’t feel very busy.
A short walk along the beach takes you to Llanddwyn Island, a narrow peninsula and the home of St Dwynwen (the Welsh patron saint of lovers). It’s a particularly romantic spot with views of Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula.
Access is from the Forestry Commission pay and display car park. The Island can be cut off at very high tides.
Southern Snowdonia - Barmouth and Cregennan Lakes
Lesser visited southern Snowdonia has some hidden gems. The views in this area are simply breathtaking and it's often without the crowds. For that reason, I’m including two gorgeous spots for you to consider.
Cregennan Lakes is owned by the National Trust and sits on the northern slopes of Cader Idris, 5 miles from Dolgellau. It’s a lesser-known spot and so you will feel like you are truly escaping into the wilderness for your magical day.
A busier, but no less magnificent spot is the Panorama. Situated on an easily accessible hillside behind Barmouth, the views over the Mwaddach Estuary and southern Snowdonia are some of the best in Wales.
Conwy Mountain, Conwy
Conwy Mountain is my local peak. It's perfect for a mountain ceremony for many reasons. Firstly, it's by the coast, so, often, the clouds pass over before hitting the higher peaks of Snowdonia. There are 360° views- in one direction is the ocean, with spectacular views over to Anglesey, and in the other superb views across to the peaks of Snowdonia. In the summer months the heather is bright purple, bringing a beautiful blanket of colour across the mountain.
There are potential ceremony spots dotted across the mountain. Wherever you choose to have your ceremony, it is a relatively short walk in. The summit is about 30 minutes from Conwy or Sychnant Pass. If that’s not enough to love, wild ponies roam the mountain year-round, making this spot super special, particularly if you are an animal lover.
Porth Iago, Llŷn Peninsula, Gwynedd
The Llŷn Peninsula has over 100 miles of coastline. There are multiple stunning beaches and any one of them would make a great setting for a beach wedding, but Porth Iago is a bit of a hidden gem. One of the prettiest beaches in the area, the bay is sheltered between the headlands of Dinas and Graig Ddu and has crystal clear water, great for a pre-or post- ceremony dip!
Access to the beach is either via the Wales Coast Path via a scramble down the dunes, or via a private farm track leading to a car park.
Aberffraw Beach, Anglesey
If you are looking for somewhere a little quieter, Aberffraw Beach (or Traeth Mawr as it is known to locals) is a beautiful, sandy beach on the west coast of Anglesey, to the north of Newborough.
Bring your paddleboards, pick your ceremony spot, and enjoy the beautiful beachy backdrop with the hills of the Llŷn Peninsula in the distance. Simply stunning!
I was lucky enough to do Cara and Suzy's beach ceremony at Aberffraw. Cara and Suzy planned a beautiful family elopement and made their own wedding arch out of reclaimed driftwood.
Behind Aberffraw Beach stretches an extensive dune system. The dune marram grass provides a fantastic backdrop for some additional wedding or elopement photographs that will really capture the essence of your day.
The dunes are also a designated Site of Special Scientific (SSSI), rich in bio-diverse plants and insects (for more information see: https://www.visitanglesey.co.uk/en/things-to-do/activities/wildlife-aberffraw-dunes-and-traeth-mawr-beach/#.YVBn1lVKiUk).
To access the beach, you will need to park by the village and follow the River Ffraw (Afon Ffraw) half a mile down a sandy estuary to the main beach. At the time of writing, this beach is dog-friendly year-round.
Llyn Gwynant, Snowdonia
Llyn Gwynant is in the heart of Snowdonia, on the opposite side of Snowdon to Llyn Padarn. It is a truly stunning setting, close to the Watkin Path, for access to Snowdon, and the infamous Watkin Path Pools.
Llyn Gwynant Campsite (http://gwynant.com/weddings/) caters for weddings with onsite barns, as well as camping facilities. This is another place where you can add unique touches to your celebrant led ceremony, such as tree planting, handfasting or jumping the broom. You can even jump on a paddle board or canoe for a post-ceremony photoshoot!
Where are your favourite spots? Let me know in the comments :-)