What are the first steps to planning a wedding?
Amongst a flurry of well-wishers and overly glittery cards, newly affianced couples are hounded by two weighty questions. When will you be getting wed, and where. My gap-toothed five year old self did not, like most other little girls, stick a pillowcase on her head and role play her future wedding. Taffeta, table decorations, teal. All alien terms to me. Leafing through glossy covered wedding magazines have made me feel like a kid that forgot to do her homework.
Picking a venue is not as simple an endeavour as it seems. If you are lucky you will have a little local church picked out. And your great aunt Margaret will have an impeccably pruned garden big enough to house a marquee. Oh and your Nan is a master baker who moonlights as a florist.
Decide on a wedding style and feel.
To pick your perfect venue first you need to have an idea of the theme of your wedding. Forget informal, relaxed, religious, and non-traditional. You have to consider whether you and your significant other fancy modern minimalist, country charm, elegant estate, or green chic. There are a lacy minefield of possibilities.
The process is completely unique and that’s part of what makes your wedding date so special to you.
Personally I want ‘relaxed’, a venue that can hold the service as well as reception, something with an outdoor space for dancing away a summer evening. Season too plays a role. Selecting a venue and date are symbiotic with each other. Choosing a date impacts all other aspects of the big day. You need to think about the weather, time of week, school holidays, out of season means lower overheads. Flowers may not be available certain months. Is there a date special to you and your partner?
How do you find a venue?
There are 100 different websites with lists of local venues; guides for brides, hitched etc etc. You do not want to miss out on the ‘perfect’ venue so you trawl through them all, glass of champagne in hand. And no, they don’t all have the same ones. Read reviews not testimonials.
Check out our list of gloriously rural #Herefordshire venues with a little something special.
DEWSALL COURT. Grade 2 listed home. Callow, Hereford.
If you dreamed a venue this would probably be it. Offering an undeniably stylish, boutique feel.
What I fell in love with: Exclusive weekend use with accommodation with generous extras package and a versatile plethora of beautiful features, i.e. a lake, arboretum, fire pit, 12 acres of landscaped gardens, church. Think of the photographs! The opportunity for an outdoor ceremony, a party den and inclusion in terms of tables, chairs, table linen and tableware in the barn are all ticks on my list. Dedicated wedding planner and in house locally sourced, gorgeous food. Visually stunning. Licensed bar.
Hmm points. You will pay for the quality but likely not regret it. Limited parking. High demand venue.
THE FORGE. Former monastery. Holme Lacy Road, Hereford.
A perfect combination of history and contemporary in a bespoke setting on the banks of the River Wye.
What I fell in love with: The elegant 18th Chapel gives me goose bumps. It offers exclusive day use and free parking. Discounts with local suppliers. Offering a unique look it has different areas, check out the industrial, cool café style of the ‘shack’ and the closed in courtyard. Offers set up time the day before and time for rehearsal. Disabled access and toilet.
Hmm points. No wedding coordinator, ushers responsible for role of master of ceremony. Blank canvas venue- a pro and con. Tables are provided but linens, chairs, plates, silverware and glassware need to be hired. No licence fee, but alcohol can be provided through local mobile bar companies with no booking fee.
THE GLOBE. Converted Methodist chapel, Newport Street, Hay on Wye.
A venue that is magical, quirky and completely individual in a town full of indie bookshops and quaint cafes.
What I fell in love with: It offers different spaces that are available for venue hire for your function. Areas to relax, for dining and for dancing. There is ample room for a Caleigh or garden party. The pricing of the venue hire and package menus from the in house chef are really reasonable. There is a stage and tech and AV bits and bobs are included. The globe has its own self-catering cottage.
Hmm points: It is a busy venue in terms of other events so dates may be less flexible. If you want catering for over 85 people you will need to have a buffet rather than a sit down meal. You need to look into parking and in a smaller town if there is enough provision for guests staying over.
HOW CAPLE COURT. 13th century church and concert barn. How Caple Hereford.
A classically beautiful panelled barn lit with chandeliers and fairy lights, ancient church and garden gazebo.
What I fell in love with: Backdrop of the Welsh mountains. Wine and complimentary food tasting prior to wedding. Stage in barn adjoining marquee. Reasonable prices, exclusive use and wedding planner. Included in cost is use of the venue 2 days prior to wedding to set up and linen and tableware incorporated in catering cost. In house drinks and bar service. Extension past midnight available.
Hmm points. Extra set up cost for CC in garden. More of a traditional element with sash décor. Need to clarify disabled access and facilities. Heating is an additional cost.
LYDE ARUDEL. Beautiful barn, secluded location. Canon Pyon Hereford.
Beautiful converted barns, chic festival feel, grab the bunting and a hay bale.
What I fell in love with: One wedding a week so can access from Thursday prior to the Saturday wedding. Can have multiple viewings. Beautiful grounds and lakeside. Exclusive use. Great hall, Haywain or Summer house. Reasonable pricing and wide flexibility on wedding day. Licenced bar until 1am (guests leave at 2am). Tables and chairs inclusive of price. Parking where cars can be left overnight. Parking attendant and they clean post wedding. Range of decorative items.
Hmm points. Set up fee for barn and need for dance floor hire. No in-house caterers but good variety of recommendations.
LEMORE MANOR. Large manor with modern feel. Eardisley.
Elegant manor that is visually very chic and classical.
What I fell in love with: Accommodation for 38 guests in 19 rooms in the manor then Shepard’s huts and a choice of bridal suites. Cottage in woods for bride to get ready with a champagne bar. Games room and games on the grounds. Exclusive use. Bandstand. In house caterers, large carpark and disabled access. Tableware and furniture included. Events team. Children’s menus and movie room. CC price included.
Hmm points: No fireworks allowed due to Livestock. Rural location for access. Tasting events are limited and to try menus cost the bridal couple £120. Accommodation excluding bridal suite per room is charged between £130-£170 for the night.
BRINSOP COURT. Moated country manor. Brinsop, Hereford.
Huge 800 acre 5 star private estate with a unique atmosphere.
What I fell in love with: Offers fairy-tale accommodation for up to 33 people. Exclusive and secluded, choice of service in woodland, courtyard or 3 manor rooms. Wedding coordinator, magnificent 12th century banqueting hall for dining, bridal suite and honeymoon cottage, games room for dancing for up to 120 guests. For parties under 70 guests, all cutlery, crockery, glassware, white linen tablecloths, white napkins & kitchen equipment is supplied within the price of the meal but over there is a charge. Offers Thursday all-inclusive price.
Hmm points: Let’s face it someone will fall in the moat-Is it child friendly? Limited to 96 day guests. Not licenced for alcohol.
LEFT BANK. CENTRAL HEREFORD.
A whimsical Alice in Wonderland-y riverside venue with a vintage and unique feel.
What I fell in love with: There are a range of different rooms for the ceremony and reception dependent on wedding theme and size. The bride can arrive by row boat! Accommodation available for up to 16. Great late availability details. A range of In house food packages. Access to central courtyard with fire pits. The décor and style is guaranteed to wow in the photography. Wedding planner. Outside bandstand free to wed in.
Hmm points: No complimentary suite for bride and groom £300 extra for the night. Parking may be difficult given location. Limited reviews of past weddings. Multi venue so unsure of exclusivity. Would like more pictured on website.
P.s My checklist demanded the requirement off catering for a large wedding 70-120 and that they offer to hold both the ceremony and reception. The pros and cons are prior to visit so venues will likely offer more than noted.
Have you had a ceremony or reception in Herefordshire and chose a different venue? Why did you choose it and what did you think?