• Deborah Yaffe

Vows

It’s a hopeless task -- the effort to convince casual fans that Jane Austen isn’t really the patron saint of weddings. No matter how often you point out the many problematic marriages featured in her books (the Bennets! The Palmers! The elder Tilneys!), one viewing of a swoony film adaptation undoes all your good work.


So you can’t blame local officials in Bath, England, for deciding to cash in on this reputation with their latest wedding venue: a “Jane Austen room” in the city’s historic eighteenth-century Guildhall, still a center of local government. Never mind that Jane Austen, who lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806, didn't even like the place, let alone get married there: Austen in Bath = romantic wedding, and that's all there is to it.


The room, which includes seating for up to nineteen guests, is decorated with the famous, if problematic, silhouette and portrait of Austen, along with copies of the fictitious marriage listings that the teenage Austen entered into her father’s parish registry. Booking the space for a wedding costs between £325 to £390 (about $446 to $535), depending on the date.


Judging from the pictures available online, the Jane Austen room is a charming spot for an intimate ceremony. Just so long as you don’t read her books too carefully.

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