When it comes to walkable party cities in Ireland, there's nothing quite like Belfast; filled to the brim with cool restaurants, beautiful sights and amazing bars, if you're planning a civil ceremony then think Belfast!  On that topic, what is a civil ceremony, and how is it any different from the more traditional weddings you've been to in the past? It's simple, a civil wedding ceremony is a marriage without a religious context. It means that a registrar, governmental official or functionary performs the wedding. Some couples choose to have a religious ceremony that either precedes or follows the civil ceremony. Many couples, however, decide to have a civil ceremony as their only ceremony.

1/ The Ulster Museum

Ulster Museum is the home of Northern Ireland’s treasures – past and present. Their rich collections of art, history and natural sciences take you on a journey across the globe and to the far reaches of space. A stylish space in the heart of the Ulster Museum, the Atrium is surrounded by some of the finest pieces from the museum’s national collection and is a beautiful venue for wedding receptions. Its white colour palette is a blank canvas to build on if you want to add colour and detail to your dream day. You will have exclusive use of the museum after 5 pm, and guests can arrive earlier for a drinks reception in the Belfast Room or explore the museum’s stunning collections as the venue can only accept one wedding per day, the team will ensure that you have their undivided attention throughout.

2/ The Merchant Hotel

Situated in the historic heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, The Merchant Hotel provides the grandeur of a stately home with the convenience of a city centre location. The timeless elegance of both the Victorian and Deco wings of The Merchant Hotel are complemented by all of the contemporary facilities you would expect from a five-star hotel.

3/ The Titanic Hotel

It's hard to beat getting married at the location of one history's most famous luxury boats and the inspiration for one of Leonardo DiCaprio's dreamiest roles! Located in the magnificently restored former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, shipbuilders of RMS Titanic, stands the Titanic Hotel. Drawing Office One, with its breathtaking vaulted ceiling, is the only surviving example of this type of shipyard architecture in the world. The large overhead skylights were designed to capture as much natural light as possible, highlighting the beautifully ornate architecture within and providing the perfect setting in which to make those momentous vows to each other.

4/ Belfast Castle

Just a hop, skip and a jump out of the city centre, Belfast Castle is a dream wedding location. With gorgeous manicured lawns, overlooking the stunning views of Belfast Lough, provide spectacular photographic opportunities. If you want the perfect mix of a classic wedding and wild city reception then you're going to love the Castle; less than 15 minutes from the bustling Cathedral quarter you can enjoy the best of both worlds without having to change into flats!

5/ Queens University

Situated in the dead centre of Belfast's Botanic quarter, Queens University is Belfast's crowning jewel; opened in 1849 the iconic Lanyon site on the main University campus offers you the chance to get married in a building so historic it was filled with scholars during the potato famine, the American civil war and the invention of blue jeans! Say I do on the perfectly manicured lawn, or the great hall and mosey over to the botanical gardens to capture perfect pictures.

6/ City Hall

Another historic choice, Belfast City Hall was built in 1906, and has an heir of grandiose and occasion perfect for civil ceremonies. Not only do you get to have your ceremony in a striking building at the heart of city; you’re also a stones throw from some of Northern Ireland’s best hotels, restaurants, bars & clubs. Meaning your post ceremony celebration options are truly endless!

7/ The Lyric Theatre

When you really think about it a wedding is so over the top and theatrical that it might as well do on the stage! With stunning views over the River Lagan and adaptable layouts, the team at the Lyric Theatre can help you create a memorable event in this unique space. Complete with a 389-seat auditorium, your civil ceremony can be as big as you want and because of the theatre seating, every guest will have the best view in the house. The Lyric Theatre is a dreamy city centre venue - those huge windows and dramatic staircase make a perfect backdrop for a photoshoot!

- Gráinne