With its sweeping galleries stuffed with artifacts going back to antiquity and impressive open spaces and vistas, the Ashmolean Museum is an obvious first choice for anyone choosing a jaw-dropping wedding venue, writes Marie Giraud.

The world’s oldest public museum has been hosting weddings in its galleries and events spaces since 2007.

Located in the heart of Oxford and with over 60 galleries to choose from, there is a wealth of opportunity to wow your guests and create a show stopping day.

The owners of Oxford shops Frog Orange Balloons and Frog Orange Party, in Headington and Jericho, Beck and Lucy Lee-Allen were the first couple to exchange vows against a backdrop of half a million years of art and history. The Ashmolean invited them back for a fabulous photoshoot and walk down memory lane captured by local wedding photographer Philippa James.

Beck and Lucy got together in London in 1999. Both natural creatives: Beck, a professional violinist, and Lucy, a cartoonist and animator – they decided to settle in Oxford and tie the knot at the Ashmolean.

They organised a party to celebrate by getting all their close friends and family together. Beck had attended The Royal College of Music in London, and Lucy didn’t go to university, so they had no affiliation with any particular college or symbolic venue in Oxford.

The Oxford Times:

Lucy says: “Back in those days there were very few venues that would allow a same sex couple to carry out such a ceremony as ours, and we definitely weren’t going to go down the social club route. Beck’s family has a long history in the antiques/antique jewellery business, with some of the family’s treasures exhibited in the Ashmolean.”

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Lucy says: “Our ceremony took place in the European Art Gallery. The Wedding planner at the time gave us the genius idea of us going up in the lift before the ceremony, and surprising our guests by descending via the rather dramatic staircase, which we did accompanied by our saxophonist playing ‘I Want To Be Loved By You’. My knees were shaking so much I thought I was going to fall down the stairs!”

Beck adds: “It was a wonderful, wonderful day, and the venue could not have been more perfect. In a world where same sex couples were not always accepted, we always felt warmly welcomed by the Ashmolean.”

For details on how to hold your wedding at the Ashmolean, go to ashmolean.org/event.