5th December 2018
By Becky & Jodie
As we’re waking up to regular frosts on the ground now and winter has definitely set in, it got us thinking about what makes a winter wedding so special. Here are our top tips for why a winter wedding is a smart choice!
Don’t worry about the weather…
Let’s face it, if you plan a winter wedding, the chances are that you’re not going to be able to spend your entire drinks reception outside having photos taken and mingling with your guests. It’s probably going to be cold. Although this shrieks alarm bells for many, just have a little think about how much time the average couple spends checking the weather forecast and praying for dry, warm weather in the lead up to their wedding, and think about how better you can spend that time!
Just assume it’s going to be cold. Anything warmer will be a bonus, right?! The good news is that we’ve got the indoor wedding thing all covered here so there’s no need to worry about back up plans; we’ve got plenty of space inside to conduct your whole wedding, from the morning preparations to the evening celebrations… it can all happen inside a warm cosy castle with no need to step a foot outside unless you want to!
Bring on the romance…
Winter weddings are undeniably romantic. That dusk light and pinky-orange glow to the sky make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Add some open fires, candles and lanterns into the mix and you’re suddenly living the winter wedding dream. A dusting of fresh snow too (disclaimer – we can’t promise this, sorry)… and yes you get the idea, it’s all about creating the magical Winter Wonderland scenes worthy of a Pinterest prize!
It’s all about supply and demand with winter weddings. They’re just not as popular at summer weddings so use this to your advantage when negotiating with suppliers. Venues and suppliers will have more dates available in the winter so don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or special deal… most suppliers will be glad of the winter work when it’s normally quiet so will welcome the booking at a discounted rate. Some venues, us included, offer a discount for holding your wedding mid-week too so take a look at those dates between Christmas and New Year when the majority of your guests will be off work meaning a full guest list at a less-than-normal rate!
Who doesn’t love a glorious, twinkling Christmas tree?! Every year, around the beginning of December, we create all the festive vibes when a 20ft Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree arrives in the magnificent Great Hall and is professionally decorated with baubles and lights to within an inch of its life. Add in some super festive garlands down the stunning staircase and glorious festoons above the fireplace and you’ve suddenly got yourself a fully-decorated venue! Apart from some simple table centrepieces and candles which you can provide on a minimal budget, you’re good to go!
Two words… Hearty Food! Sometimes the heat of a summer wedding can impinge on the appetite of your guests. At a winter wedding, your guests will appreciate a delicious, hearty menu. The menus at Eastnor Castle are designed in collaboration with the happy couple and cooked by our talented in-house chefs, using locally sourced produce. Popular winter menus include Fillet of Herefordshire Beef, Rack of Welsh Lamb and Cotswold Chicken Supreme. A firm favourite for evening food is the traditional hog roast served on the Upper Terrace next to a roaring fire pit! Is your mouth watering yet?
If nothing else, your winter wonderland wedding will always be remembered, your wedding day will stand out from all the others held during the spring or summer and provide your guests with a reason (other than snow and Christmas!) to be excited about winter!
Find out more about Winter Weddings at Eastnor Castle or call us on 01531 633160 to arrange a viewing.
Elf House Making & Broomstick Building, Giant Leaf Pile Kicking & Conker Collecting… Eastnor Castle Gets Kids Outside with Magical Events
The fact that the castle nestles on the fringes of the Malvern Hills, the landscape that inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth, ensures a fairy tale visit in its own right. However, we’ve added to the magic for children and adults alike with two magical autumn events this September. What’s more, the dog can come along too as we welcome our furry friends in all areas of the castle and grounds.
Autumn Antics – Sunday 23rd September
There’s no need to travel to New England to see spectacular displays of Autumn foliage. Our Breath-taking arboretum and tree trail is a testament to the Victorian’s passion for creating exotic gardens based on worldly travels.
Children are encouraged to climb the trees, dive into giant piles of leaves and collect conkers and cones to their heart’s content.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust will also be on hand to teach elf-house making and also hands-on lessons in pressing apples to make your own apple juice.
Broomstick Making & Racing – Sunday 30th September
Don’t miss the castle’s last Open Day of 2018 – it’s going to be spell binding. Budding witches and wizards can attend broomstick-making classes against the enchanted backdrop of Eastnor Castle and then take part in broomstick races and zoom off around the grounds hunting for clues in a magical treasure hunt.
Both of these events are included in the entrance prices alongside the collection of permanent attractions which include a maze, adventure playground, tree-top walkway, woodland play area, rope-swings, tree trails and lakeside walks. Opening times are 10.30am until 5.30pm and prices are Adults: £7.00, Children: £5.00, Families: £20.00 (Grounds only admission, castle upgrades are available. Online ticket prices shown, tickets cost more on the gate).
FIND OUT MORE AND BUY TICKETS
As mentioned in an earlier blog, this is a useful phrase, with a respectable pedigree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_wrong_type_of_snow and it can certainly be applied to the snow we had last week. After two days of fine snow and wind ie blizzards, this pile of snow was found under the roof over our Pugin bedroom, luckily just as the thaw set in.
Snow under the roof over the Pugin Bedroom
We do not have one of those vacuum cleaners that suck up water and so presumably are also fit for snow. Anyway, if we did, it would probably suck up the fibreglass insulation as well, so we use traditional methods: hand shovel and black plastic bags. Anthony Marriott, one of our house managers and the one who detected the tell-tale drip, and I lit the roof space with a bright lamp and set about scooping up the snow and bagging it up to be disposed of for melting outside. If it melts under the roof, it can bring down a ceiling or at least make a mess of the paintwork. An hour and a half later (there were other piles elsewhere) it was all gone, and we had managed not to step between any rafters and damage the ceiling below in a more forceful way.
The photograph not only shows the offending snow, but also the cast iron roof trusses designed by the castle architect, Robert Smirke. The slates rest on cast iron purlins and are held in place by nails. It is a system that has survived the test of time, but unfortunately the seal between the slates or torching as described here: http://great-home.co.uk/repairing-torching-on-a-roof/ has long dropped off, and we have not replaced it, allowing, as an architect might say, the ingress of snow. If we had the wrong type of snow every winter, I would think about it.
4th March 2018
The heavy snow produced a magical and seasonal appearance to the landscape, and the lake froze over. We cleared the drive before anyone slipped off the road and drove into the yew hedge, which was already under a lot of pressure from the weight of snow, which, at least for the natural world, was definitely the “wrong kind”: see
Sadly, our cedars and other confers suffered heavily as the weight of snow broke boughs off close to the trunk. All night we could hear cracks and crashes as they came down. Other trees, such as the magnolia in our garden, suffered too, but not as badly.
In a well-timed visit, however, Martin Gardner, Co-ordinator of the International Conifer Conservation Programme at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, http://www.rbge.org.uk/science/genetics-and-conservation/martin-gardners-homepage appeared yesterday with a supply of young specimen trees from seeds taken from native trees under threat. They included firs from Turkey (Abies Nordmanniana) and a critically-endangered Notofagus Alessandrii from Chile. They will be very welcome additions to our stock and will be carefully planted out as soon as the snow clears.
On a different note, a team of men has been clearing the snow from the valleys on the roof to allow the water to run off unimpeded when the snow melts. In the case of the roof, it has been the right kind of snow as it is the powder kind that blows in between the slates and causes trouble to our interiors.
19th December 2017