Salford Lads Club started life in 1903 for working lads from the docks estate, to keep them off the streets and out of gangs by providing sports, arts and education.
Over a century later, the venue shot to international fame when its iconic sign and redbrick frontage was the backdrop for a picture (now in the National Portrait Gallery, London) by photographer Stephen Wright, and used on the inner sleeve of The Smiths’ album The Queen Is Dead in 1986.
Since then the building, which is listed as the best surviving example of a pre-WW1 lads club in England, has attracted fans and visitors from all around the world.
And now, you can get married there as the venue is fully registered and licensed to hold weddings, civil partnerships, civil services and vow renewals.
Each wedding can be tailored to couples’ requirements with organisers working with local suppliers including caterers, bar providers and venue dressers to create the full wedding experience.
Prospective brides and grooms can select one of four function rooms that accommodate 20-150 people including The Band Room (20 guests), The Smiths Room (40 guests max) The Senior Games Room (up to 80 guests) and The Concert Hall, for up to 150 guests.
The first couple to book a Salford Lads Club wedding are Joy Ainsley (45) and Dean Baylin (46) from Harrogate, who are huge Morrissey and Smiths fans.
“We can’t believe that we can now officially get married at Salford Lads Club,” said Joy.
“We’re lifelong Smiths and Morrissey fans and have seen Morrissey 33 times.
“My fiancé Dean, popped the question outside the club last year and we have visited it numerous times, had tours, and been to the club attending other events. We’ve taken so many photos inside and outside the club, and we’ve recreated the album photo pose outside with friends, that it feels like a second home.
“The wedding itself will be very much in a Smiths-vintage style and our bridesmaids will be wearing Doc Martens with their hair done in victory rolls and guests will receive Smiths and Salford Lads Club themed wedding favours to keep forever.
“We even have a Manchester band playing (The Lottery Winners) who have just been signed by Warner Records by the legendary A&R Seymour Stein, who also signed The Smiths and has dubbed them as the best thing he’s heard since The Smiths!.
“The band who are huge Smiths fans themselves, will play There Is A Light That Never Will Go Out at the ceremony, which is also featured on their current lockdown covers album Sounds of Isolation.”
Weddings at Salford Lads Club are being managed and run by local leisure operator, Salford Community Leisure, a community benefit organisation, which hosts weddings at other unique venues in the city including Ordsall Hall and Salford Museum and Art Gallery.
“We’re delighted to bring this historic venue into our wedding fold,” said Salford Community Leisure Weddings & Events Manager, Sue Bainbridge.
“It’s one of the city’s most iconic buildings and unusual wedding venues, steeped in heritage, local social history and music folklore.
“With the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, the smaller spaces are ideal for up to 15 people.”
Wedding packages at Salford Lads Club start from £1250, and venue hire is available from January 2021. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.