Bolton Library and Museum Services

Frequently asked questions


How many guests can you accommodate for wedding ceremonies?

We can accommodate ceremonies for up to 65 guests in the Great Hall and 30 in the Withdrawing Room. You can have a drinks reception at the Hall for up to 65 guests, or a sit-down meal for up to 50 guests. For larger receptions, it is possible to have a marquee in the grounds of the Hall.

When can we have our wedding ceremony?

Smithills Hall is currently available for weddings on Saturday only. Depending upon the availability of registrars, you can have your ceremony at 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm or 4pm.

Will all of the period rooms in the Hall be open on the day of our wedding?

Yes, you and your guests will be free to explore the Hall at your leisure, and to use the period rooms within the Hall for photographs. All rooms normally open to the public will be accessible, with the exception of Smithills Hall Chapel.

Making a booking

How do we book a civil ceremony/partnership?

Please see our ‘How to book’ page for more information.

Decorating the room

Can we throw confetti?

Yes, we allow both biodegradable confetti and real flower petals to be used in the grounds of the Hall. We do not allow confetti or party poppers to be used within the building.

Can we have candles lit in the venue?

Unfortunately due to the valuable items found in the building and the need to preserve this historic home, we cannot allow candles to be lit. However, you are welcome to bring your own LED candles to add atmosphere to your ceremony.

Do you provide flowers? Can we provide our own flowers?

We are able to provide complimentary displays of silk flowers for your wedding. Our floral displays are white with green foliage.

If you choose to have your wedding ceremony in our Great Hall, you may also choose to bring in your own freshly cut flowers, but due to the nature of the period furniture, you must discuss the placement of the flowers with the Hall staff.

Unfortunately it is not possible to have freshly cut flowers in out Tudor Withdrawing Room. This is due to the wooden objects and panelling within this room. You are of course welcome to bring your own silk flowers or we can provide these for you.

Can we decorate the Great Hall/Withdrawing Room for our wedding?

Yes. Please discuss your ideas and requirements with Christine Collins, our Historic Halls Manager, who will be happy to advise you and arrange access the day before if needed.

Can we alter room layouts if we wish?

The chairs and tables used for the ceremony can be laid out to your specification; however we are unable to move any display pieces of furniture.

Is there a red carpet?

Yes, we can provide you with a choice of red or cream carpets to fit in with your colour scheme, the use of which is included in your hire fee.

Can you provide chair covers?

No, but you are welcome to provide these yourselves or order them from an external company. Our chairs, upholstered in a red damask fabric, can also be used without chair covers.

Music and readings

What kind of music can we have for the ceremony?

The music chosen for your civil ceremony should be non-religious. We recommend that couples choose at least four tracks for during the ceremony; one for the walk down the aisle, two for during the signing of the register and one for as the married couple depart. You may also wish to have background music playing as your guests arrive.

Do you allow live music?

You are welcome to have live music at your wedding ceremony or reception, subject to space constraints. If you would like live music please discuss your requirements with Christine Collins, the Historic Halls Manager.

Can we have readings at our wedding?

Yes, it is possible to include readings to add a personal touch to your ceremony. Readings chosen should be non-religious, and couples are advised to check the suitability of any readings with Bolton Register Office prior to the ceremony.


What photography is permitted?

You and your guests are welcome to take photographs and film your ceremony for personal use.

You can also use the period rooms within the Hall as a setting for your wedding photographs, and are welcome to take pictures throughout the grounds of the Hall.

(Should you require any images for commercial use please arrange with us separately, prior to the day).

Wedding receptions

Can we have a drinks/canapé reception at the Hall?

Yes, you and your guests are welcome to have drinks and refreshments with us following your ceremony. Please see our Wedding receptions page for more information.

Can we have our wedding breakfast at Smithills Hall?

Depending on the size of your party, it may also be possible to hold your wedding breakfast with us. Please see our Wedding receptions page for more information.

Can we hold an evening reception at Smithills Hall?

Unfortunately due to the nature and age of the building we cannot offer couples a full evening wedding reception inside the Hall.

However, if you would like to stay with us for the evening, it is possible to hold your reception in a marquee in the grounds of the Hall – contact us for more information about this option.