Planning a wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming.
From picking the perfect dress to crafting the guest list, every decision plays a significant role in creating a memorable day.
However, one of the most crucial choices you’ll make is selecting the right wedding venue. Your venue sets the tone and atmosphere for your entire celebration, so it’s essential to choose wisely.
In this article, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect wedding venue that aligns with your vision, style, and budget.
1. What’s Your Wedding Vision?
Your wedding day should reflect your unique style and personality as a couple. It is a celebration of your love and commitment, and every detail should be a reflection of who you are.
Before jumping into the venue search, take the time to define your wedding vision. Consider the overall aesthetic you want to achieve, from a rustic countryside affair to an elegant city soirée.
Imagine walking down the aisle surrounded by lush greenery, with the soft sounds of nature in the background. Picture your guests mingling in a beautifully decorated space, filled with personal touches that represent your love story.
Your wedding vision is the foundation upon which all other decisions will be made, so it’s important to take the time to truly understand what you want. You will become distracted by all sorts of wonderful and grand ideas. This clear vision will keep you on track and help narrow down your options.
Here’s a few areas to consider:
Define Your Style
Your wedding style is a reflection of who you are as a couple, so don’t be afraid to let your personalities shine through.
- Are you more drawn to modern or traditional settings?
- Do you envision a grand ballroom reception or an intimate garden ceremony?
- Is it a quiet afternoon event or a 3-day weekend occasion?
Knowing your style will help you find a venue that complements your vision.
If you and your partner have a love for all things vintage, a historic mansion with its ornate architecture and timeless charm may be the perfect setting for your special day.
On the other hand, if you have a contemporary taste, a sleek and modern venue with clean lines and minimalist decor might be more your style.
Estimate your Guest Count
Make an estimated count early on to ensure the venues you consider have enough space for all your loved ones. Think about the people who have played a significant role in your lives and who you want to share this special day with. From family to close friends, your guest list will help you create an intimate and meaningful celebration.
Consider the different dynamics of your guest list.
Are there children who will need space to play?
Are there elderly guests who may require special accommodations?
Taking these factors into consideration will ensure that your venue choice not only fits your guest count but also caters to the needs of your loved ones.
Consider the Season
The season in which you plan to tie the knot can greatly impact your venue options.
If you dream of an outdoor wedding, be sure to choose a venue with suitable weather conditions for your chosen season. Imagine saying your vows under a clear blue sky, with the warmth of the sun enveloping you and your guests. However, keep in mind that Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.
On the other hand, if you prefer an indoor celebration, consider the ambience and atmosphere that different seasons can bring. A winter wedding can be magical with twinkling lights and cosy fireplaces, while a spring wedding can be filled with blooming flowers and fresh scents.
Each season has its own unique charm – select a venue that complements the season and will enhance the overall experience for you and your guests.
When considering the season, also think about any seasonal restrictions that may apply to certain venues. Some locations may have specific rules or limitations during certain times of the year, such as noise restrictions or limited availability. Being aware of these factors helps avoid any surprises down the line.
2. What’s your Wedding Budget?
Your wedding venue is undoubtedly an important aspect of your big day. But, it’s important to strike a balance between your desires and financial capabilities. You may have envisioned a fairytale wedding in a grand ballroom, but don’t let it overshadow other essential elements of your special day.
Start by doing the reverse – set a budget for all your other wedding expenses. Such as:
Then, use the remaining budget to find the venue. Don’t forget that some wedding venues can provide these other expenses at one cost.
Prioritise Your Spending
If the wedding venue is your top priority, you must be prepared to readjust the budget for other areas.
Sit down with your partner and identify the non-negotiables when it comes to your wedding day. If venue is #1, can you reduce the amount of decorations? If you must have a horse and carriage, can you swap a three-course meal for a buffet?
Remember that your wedding day is a reflection of you and your partner’s unique love story. Prioritise the aspects that hold the most sentimental value to you both. Whether it’s a stunning venue, exquisite cuisine, or live entertainment, make sure that your budget aligns with your priorities.
Watch out for these hidden costs!
Be aware of any hidden costs when researching wedding venues.
Ask about additional fees for rentals, service charges, or overtime charges, as these can significantly impact your overall budget. Some venues may require you to use their preferred suppliers, which also affects your budget.
Take the time to enquire about any restrictions or requirements regarding suppliers to ensure that you have a complete picture of the potential costs.
3. Where do you want to host your wedding?
Your wedding venue’s location can make a significant impact on the overall experience for you and your guests. Consider the following factors when evaluating potential locations:
Proximity to Guests
Choose a venue that is conveniently accessible for the majority of your guests. Consider the distance from airports, public transportation, or nearby accommodation options to ensure easy travel arrangements.
It’s not just about convenience – it’s also about creating a memorable experience for everyone involved. By choosing a venue that is easily accessible, you’ll be able to ensure that your guests arrive at the wedding feeling relaxed and ready to celebrate.
Additionally, a venue that is close to accommodation options is great for those travelling from out of town. It allows them to easily find a place to stay, eliminating any worries about transportation after the festivities.
If you have guests with specific accessibility needs, ensure that the venue can accommodate them. Check for ramps, lifts, and accessible facilities to guarantee a comfortable experience for all.
Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all your guests should always be a top priority. By ensuring that the venue has the necessary accessibility features, you’ll be able to provide a comfortable experience for everyone. Ramps and lifts are essential for guests with mobility issues, allowing them to easily navigate the venue. Accessible facilities, such as toilets and seating areas, are also crucial to ensure that all guests can fully enjoy the wedding festivities.
Taking the time to consider these accessibility factors will not only make your guests feel valued and appreciated, but it will also contribute to the overall success of your special day. When writing your guest list out, note any accessibility needs to give you the full picture.
4. Evaluate the Venue’s Services and Facilities
When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, it’s important to remember that not all venues offer the same range of services and facilities. Consider these factors when weighing up one venue against the other:
Catering and Menu Options
Food’s a big deal at any wedding. When evaluating a venue, compare the catering options they offer. Ask:
- Do they have an in-house catering team or do they work with external caterers?
- Can they accommodate dietary restrictions or special requests?
Ask for sample menus to get a sense of what they can offer. If you have specific preferences or want to add a personal touch to the menu, find out if the venue allows you to customise the selections.
Venue Capacity and Layout
Consider if the venue has enough space to accommodate your guest count and desired layout. To help you visualise this, ask the venue to provide floor plans or show you photos from previous events. This gives you a better understanding of how the space can be transformed to suit your specific needs and preferences.
Parking and Accommodation Facilities
Can your guests park and stay overnight at your venue?
If the venue has limited parking or no parking at all, you’ll need to consider alternative transportation arrangements for your guests. This could include providing shuttle services or arranging for nearby parking facilities.
If guests can’t stay at the venue, check with nearby accommodation options for out-of-town attendees or those who prefer to stay overnight. It saves your guests from leaving before the party is over.
5. Check Venue Availability
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential venues, it’s time to check their availability, book a viewing and secure your desired date.
Book in Advance
Booking your wedding venue in advance gives you peace of mind knowing that you have secured your desired location for your special day. It also allows you to plan other aspects of your wedding, such as catering, decor, and entertainment, with confidence, knowing the venue is locked in.
Be Flexible with the Date
If you don’t need a wedding on a specific date, be open to moving the date. This flexibility not only secures your dream venue but can come with savings. Consider off-peak seasons, such as winter or weekdays.
Being flexible also allows you to take advantage of other benefits. For example, if you choose a weekday wedding, you may have a better chance of booking in-demand suppliers, as they are often more available during weekdays. Your guests may find it easier to attend a wedding on a weekday.
6. Visit Potential Wedding Venues
Researching online is a great way to gather initial information. But, nothing beats seeing the venues in person. Here’s what to look for during your site visits:
– The overall condition and cleanliness of the venue
– What amenities are available? E.g. Bridal suites, outdoor spaces, dance floors.
– Space and current layout
Questions to Ask
Come prepared with questions to ask about the venue during your visit. Here are some standard ones to help you start:
- How many guests can you accommodate?
- Which rooms are licensed for civil ceremonies?
- Is the venue available for exclusive hire?
- Who will be the point of contact for the venue?
- What time can we access the venue?
- Are fireworks and confetti allowed?
- Are there any restrictions on decorations?
- Can you bring your own alcohol?
- What are taxis like in the area?
- Is there enough parking for everyone?
7. Making the Final Decision
Before signing the contract and confirming your venue choice, take the following steps:
Review Your Options
Take the time to review all the information and notes you’ve gathered from various venue visits. Compare pricing, facilities, and the overall fit with your wedding vision to ensure you’re making the right decision.
Sign the Contract
Before signing the contract, carefully read through all the terms and conditions. Ensure that all verbal agreements and specific requests are included in writing. If there are any areas of concern, seek clarification before finalising the contract.
Prepare for the Big Day
Congratulations on finding the perfect wedding venue! Now that your venue is secured, you can focus on planning the other aspects of your big day, like selecting your dream dress, curating a delicious menu, and deciding on the music that will have your guests dancing all night long.
For now, you can breathe. A big part of your wedding is sorted!
If you dream of a castle wedding, consider Eastnor Castle. We’re surrounded by the natural beauty of Malvern Hills and accommodate for outside and inside ceremonies. Sleep inside the castle overnight and get married just like a monarch.
See your dream wedding venue in person
Weekend weddings are becoming an increasingly popular way to celebrate marriage and it’s easy to see why.
What is a Weekend Wedding?
A weekend wedding (or two-three day wedding) is when a couple looking to get married extends the celebrations to the day before and after the wedding day. This means overnight stays in the wedding venue spent with family and friends. There are many benefits to celebrating a marriage in this way.
Time With Loved Ones
Having a weekend wedding means more precious time to spend with family and friends around the big day. We all know that weddings can go by so fast, and so having a weekend wedding allows that extra time to bond with loved ones and reminisce on the good times.
When done right, wedding weekends can provide the opportunity for some bonding (and reconnecting) prior to the ceremony and reception for guests. There will be days to interact with guests instead of mere hours, which means the happy couple can focus their attention on other guests as needed during the reception.
Opting for a weekend wedding means overnight accommodation for the couple and guests, making it a great choice practically too. Eastnor Castle is a wedding venue with overnight accommodation, with 12 luxury castle bedrooms and holiday cottages on the Eastnor Estate to sleep a further 34 guests.
Having overnight accommodation for a wedding saves time and money, offering a place to stay for guests and negating the need for additional travel and expenses. It also means they have more time to take in the beauty of their surroundings, and none more so than at Eastnor Castle!
Convenience of Location
Having a weekend wedding takes away the stress of having to move between different locations on a wedding day, giving peace of mind that everything is happening in one place so that the happy couple and guests can totally relax.
Removing the necessity to travel between multiple venues not only saves time on a wedding day, but it allows for that much-needed relaxation between scheduled events. Weddings are magical but can be hectic, so this goes an extra step in making it less so!
Wedding days are a special and intimate time, and having a weekend wedding means that can be enjoyed further with total privacy. This means the couple and the wedding party will have the freedom to move about as needed without fear of interruption or bothering other guests.
A private dinner the night before the wedding at Eastnor Castle wedding venue can be as formal or as informal as desired; from a black-tie dinner in the State Dining Room to stone-baked pizzas or fish & chips on the terrace, the options are endless.
Exclusive Use of Venue
A weekend wedding at Eastnor Castle, with exclusive use of the castle and grounds, allows guests and the couple to arrive and relax the day before the wedding, ensuring they wake up feeling calm on the big day.
Our 5000-acre country house estate lends itself to numerous fun activities to enjoy the day before your wedding; including Land-Rover Off-Road driving, yoga inside the castle and country pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, archery or duck herding. Choosing a weekend wedding means guests can try something new that they may never have otherwise thought of!
Get in touch with our wonderful wedding team at Eastnor Castle today to find out more about hiring our country estate and castle wedding venue for a weekend wedding.
October. How did that happen? Whilst we will miss the summer months, we are ready for the Autumn season and our upcoming weddings this season. As both an indoor and outdoor wedding venue, we love every season here at Eastnor Castle and relish the beauty that each time of year has to offer.
There will be many decisions to be made for your wedding and one of your first will be when you tie the knot. Some couples will be certain they want a summer wedding whilst others prefer the idea of a romantic winter ceremony. Whichever option you choose, Eastnor Castle is a wedding venue that caters to all weathers. We are also super excited to now be a weekend wedding venue, allowing you to celebrate for more than one day, any time of year with your loved ones.
When is Eastnor Castle Open for Weddings?
We are open for weddings all year round and have a beautiful collection of past weddings during every season. Get in touch with us to find out what availability we have coming up or fill out our wedding form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Spring Wedding Venue
Spring is when everything comes to life and is a beautiful time of year to get married. Our Castle terraces allow for enjoying the beautiful views of the Malvern hills with your reception drinks in the lighter evenings. We know British weather can be unpredictable so even if your spring wedding is cooler, we have a host of indoor options and can light the fire in the Great Hall to keep you comfortable at all times.
Summer Wedding Venue
Summer weddings are our most popular time for wedding bookings and it isn’t difficult to see why. Eastnor Castle is simply beautiful in the summer, with our leafy green surroundings and rolling landscape that makes for stunning backdrops for your photographs. We have outdoor wedding ceremony blessing options available including on our terrace overlooking the lake so you can say I do as you watch the sunshine glisten across the water.
Autumn Wedding Venue
Often referred to as the ‘fairest’ season, Autumn is equally wonderful for weddings at Eastnor Castle. Enjoy the rich tones and hues of the Autumn foliage to make for a welcoming, romantic atmosphere for your special day. With indoor and outdoor options, you will be able to enjoy every aspect of the season during the Autumn season.
Winter Wedding Venue
We love winter weddings at Eastnor Castle and can make all of your winter wonderland dreams come true. Our 20ft Christmas tree makes for the perfect backdrop and evokes a feeling of magic, grandeur and warmth for your winter wedding. Our castle is the perfect place to enjoy your wedding reception and embrace the festivities of the season with your special day.
Outdoor Wedding Venue
Have you always pictured getting married in the great outdoors? An outdoor wedding blessing on the lower terrace offers tranquillity to our couples as they take their first steps in married life. The grand castle wedding venue will form the fairytale backdrop to your blessing as you soak in the beautiful views across the beautiful lake.
To form your vows legally, our Gothic Drawing Room allows for an intimate setting for you to have your short private ceremony as your guests enjoy canapes and drinks on the terrace below. Should the weather be a little unpredictable, we have gorgeous wedding marquee options available to keep you dry and still enjoy the stunning setting at the same time.
Church Wedding Ceremony
Just a stone’s throw away from the castle is St John the Baptist Church, a beautiful location for your church wedding ceremony. This makes for the perfect ceremony venue all year round, with an enchanting footpath through the stunning grounds from the Castle’s front door, just a 10-minute walk away.
If you are worried about keeping warm if the weather is a little chillier, fear not as the church can be heated at any time of year accordingly. Add a romantic and warm touch with the many church candles that can be lit upon request – a charming option for effortless wedding decoration at any time of year.
Embrace the Castle
Our wonderful castle is a magical setting for weddings and has so much to offer for your special day. The magnificent 19th-century Gothic Drawing Room is a fitting host to your civil wedding ceremony and seats up to 80 guests. With breath-taking views of the lake and natural daylight flooding in from every angle, the Gothic Drawing Room is an enchanting space to soak up the sheer splendour and magnificence of the room.
Whatever season you choose for your special day, Eastnor Castle can accommodate your every need. We love every wedding that we have the privilege of hosting, whether it be in the castle, amongst our beautiful grounds and in any weather or season. Find out our wedding rates and explore our wedding brochure to find out more about what we have to offer.
We are proud to be a renowned castle wedding venue with over 25 years of experience in helping couples plan the most special day of their lives. Our venue is brimming with romance, grandeur and charm – all working together for the most magical wedding setting imaginable.
There are endless photo opportunities at Eastnor Castle. We love a first look wedding photo and that moment when the father of the bride sees his daughter for the first time is one of our favourites. We can think of no better place to share that moment than on the wonderful grand staircase at Eastnor Castle.
Grand Staircase at Eastnor Castle
Your wedding day should be the most memorable and magical of your life and our grand staircase is the perfect way to start it. Whether you walk down the stairs with your father by your side or your bridal party waits at the bottom for you to make your grand entrance, our staircase is one of our favourite parts of the castle.
Surrounded by historical paintings, architecture and decoration, the staircase is the perfect way to set off your castle wedding, with our beautiful chandelier shining in the centre to highlight your beautiful dress.
First Look Wedding Photo Opportunities
A first look wedding photo doesn’t get much more wow than on a castle staircase. This magical part of Eastnor Castle allows for beautiful first wedding snaps, with the stunning castle architecture and decor complimenting every bride on her special day. Our cascading staircase heralds the arrival of the bride as she makes a dramatic descent to her loved ones below.
Wedding Staircase Decor
Whilst our castle staircase is beautiful in its own right, many of our couples choose to enhance it with wedding staircase decoration such as flowers, candles and tulle. Here are some of our favourite ways to decorate your wedding staircase:
- Garland wraps
- Pillar candles in vases
- Floral decoration
- Cascading greenery
- Tulle garnishing
Our wedding planners are here to help you with every detail of your day, including your styling and decorations. We can recommend a host of amazing wedding suppliers with whom we have enjoyed working with closely over the years.
Castle Wedding Venue
Eastnor Castle wedding venue is one with never-ending magical spots to capture the moments of our couples wedding day. From our grand staircase to the stunning gothic drawing-room, our beautiful grounds for an outdoor wedding to our intimate state dining room, the options are endless.
We offer wedding show rounds for all of our couples so that you can see the magic for yourself and visualise every detail of your wedding day. It can be difficult to appreciate the sheer magnificence of Eastnor Castle until you see it with your own eyes, so we recommend booking a viewing. You’ll even be able to give the grand staircase walk a practice!
Get in Touch With Eastnor Castle
To see the grand staircase at Eastnor Castle for yourself or any other part of our venue for your wedding day, get in touch with us today to book a show round. We pride ourselves on being one of the best castle wedding venues in Herefordshire and the UK and we can’t wait to share it all with you.
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 for 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 wedding venues, we 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.
We are lucky enough to have a lot of weddings at Eastnor. They are usually very happy occasions, though making all the arrangements can sometimes be quite demanding as every ceremony and reception is different. Proposals and engagements are inevitably more private affairs, and if any couples get engaged at Eastnor, we rarely hear about it.
So it was wonderful to learn of the engagement of Gareth Roberts & Rachel White at the recent Midland Rovers Owners Club rally in the Park. The MROC have been coming to Eastnor for over 40 years, but this part of the programme was a first. Gareth persuaded Rachel to drive to part of the park where there is a good view of the Castle and where Land Rover Experience drivers often take a coffee break. He said they were to collect a piece of equipment left there earlier in the Rally, and when they could not find it, he suggested they should wait there for a while and take in the view. Shortly afterwards, the convoy shown in the image appeared and the answer to his question was “Yes”, although the words read from right to left. He gave Rachel a conventional engagement ring supplemented by a special ring in the form of a hexagon nut as Rachel is a Land Rover enthusiast too.
It was all recorded on video and can be seen on You Tube. We wish the couple every happiness, and many more rallies in Eastnor Park. The MROC should be back for the annual Memorial Trial in memory of my father next autumn. I wonder if others will follow Gareth’s romantic lead?
Many thanks to gareth and Rachel for agreeing to this blog and to Russ Brown, Clubs Editor, of Land Rover Owner International for the background information!
23rd June 2015
Celebrating 20 years of Castle weddings
Discount on Exclusive Hire Fee
In 2015, Eastnor Castle is celebrating 20 years as a licensed wedding venue and is keen to hear from as many couples as possible who have tied the knot at Eastnor since 1995.
Changes to the Marriage Act in 1994 allowed marriages to be solemnized in certain ‘approved premises’. Prior to the act, marriage ceremonies could only be conducted in churches and register offices. Eastnor Castle was one of the first approved premises in Herefordshire and was granted a license to host wedding ceremonies and partnerships in November 1995. Since then Eastnor has gained a reputation as one of the UK’s most impressive and sought after venues.
To mark this important anniversary, the Castle team is asking couples to make contact through the Eastnor Castle Weddings Facebook page (facebook.com/eastnorcastleweddings) and to post images and favourite memories of their special day. An online photo album will be compiled so that past brides and grooms can share their memories with other couples, their friends and their families. A new website blog will also be created in 2015, with regular posts and interviews with brides, suppliers and staff who have been involved with Eastnor weddings since 1995.
In addition and as part of this very special twenty years celebration, Eastnor is appropriately reducing its venue fee by 20% for all new weddings booked and held at the castle in 2015.
“In the 21st century it is easy to keep in contact with our customers” explained General Manager, David Littlewood. “However, before the days of social media, email and other digital communication, it was much harder and we have therefore lost contact with many couples who had their wedding day at Eastnor. We hope that our Facebook campaign will encourage people from all over the world to get back in touch and share their wedding day memories”
See our wedding rates page for more information or get in touch to book a showround.
Only just a few weeks ago we received a filming enquiry with the following brief:
Blinkbox wanted a castle for a marketing campaign for Season 4 of Game of Thrones. They would like to hold a genuine wedding in the style of the hugely popular TV show, Game of Thrones. The event will consist of a one day photography shoot at the location followed by a genuine wedding ceremony for one lucky couple inside the location.
Taylor Herring, the company behind the campaign for Game of Thrones season 3 had 35’000’000 million hits on Twitter within 48hrs of it going live!
I googled Game of Thrones and I was still none the wiser, I am not a fan, but have since found out it has a real cult following for this fantasy bloodthirsty show.
Eastnor Castle fitted the brief and the crew arrived last Thursday. The wedding ceremony took place on Friday with a local couple from Hereford. It was all about make-up, costumes, wolves and a white horse! All quite surreal in a strange way, Nick our groundsman had a bit of a surprise when he came up the drive on his tractor to be confronted by 2 wolves guarding the courtyard. (The ‘wolves’ were only 25% wolf, but certainly looked the part and could not bark). He managed to take these pictures on his phone.
The Eastnor Castle Game of Thrones wedding.
Western Daily Press
by Sarah Roberts
A loved-up couple from Leeds tied the knot live on air this morning (Friday 29th August) after winning GMTV’s ‘Battle of the Brides’ series!
Caroline Clark, 24, and Daniel Duggan, 25 beat hundreds of hopefuls to win a once-in-a-lifetime dream wedding at the fairytale Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire.
The pair won the viewers’ vote after competing against two other final couples in a series of wedding related challenges last week. Student nurse Caroline, who proposed to Danny on the 29th February of this year, was overwhelmed at winning, saying; “I can’t believe we’re going to get married next week. Everyone’s been rallying round at home – we appreciate it so, so much.” Qualified paramedic Danny was lost for words at the news; “I’m speechless – that’s incredible” he said.
On their wedding day, Caroline wore a bespoke hand-fitted gown by the celebrity designer Caroline Castigliano, and had her own entourage of celebrity stylists including hairdresser to the stars Richard Ward and celebrity make-up artist Jemma Kidd. What’s more, Caroline and Danny will feature in a celebrity lifestyle magazine before being whisked off to Jamaica for a luxury 5 star two-week honeymoon.
This week GMTV have been catching up with the lucky couple as they prepared for their big day.
Eastnor Castle has been chosen to host a celebrity style wedding for GMTV’s wedding of the year ‘Battle of the Brides’. The GMTV wedding is the highlight of the summer schedule on GMTV. Millions of viewers tune in to watch one lucky couple have the wedding of their dreams. Over the month of August the brides will be battling it out with physical and mental challenges to get their fairytale wedding. (For further information visit www.gm.tv).
The wedding ceremony will be broadcast live from the Gothic Drawing room at Eastnor Castle on Friday 29th August at 8.00am. The wedding is going to be oozing with glamour with a stunning designer gown for the bride, a classy suit for the groom and an entourage of celebrity stylists. The winning couple will be joined by 20 close friends and family and will enjoy a champagne wedding breakfast in the State Dining Room of the castle.
Top TV celebrity, Davina McCall, was married at Eastnor Castle in June 2000. Many other celebrities and royalty have visited or stayed at the castle.
Eastnor Castle Wedding Cake
It’s always a pleasure to work with local suppliers over many years. To build up a sense of trust and come to understand the expertise which they bring to their work. One such company is Special Ice which is run by a mother and daughter team of Sarah and Sheila. They have been making cakes for well over 30 years and offer our brides some fantastic advice for this very important part of any wedding. The following interview with them both will, we hope, help to explain a little more.
Q. First of all does the bride need to meet with you to decide on her cake?
A. Not at all. It’s obviously ideal for her to visit, taste some of the options and discuss the decorations. However we have made many cakes without meeting the bride until the wedding day.
Q. How do you decide on the size of the cake?
A. There is so much to take into account, for instance when will the cake be offered as part of the meal, as evening refreshment or as a pudding. Also will the cake be needed for absent guests or maybe you will want to keep a layer for a Christening? Also if it’s a small wedding we can use iced polystyrene to change a small cake into a very large one!
Q. Do you get requests to add heirlooms to a cake?
A. Oh yes. We have placed silver horses, china cows, antique model cars and other sentimental items on our wedding cakes. We have also used a mother’s 30 year old plaster pillars on her daughter’s wedding cake.
Q. Can you offer any guidance on how the cake should match with flowers or the bridal gown and so on?
A. The cake is designed with many of the other wedding details in mind. If colour is to be used it is a good idea if the bride lets us have swatches of the her bridesmaid’s dress materials or any ribbons. Fresh flowers used on a cake should be identical to those in the bride’s and bridesmaid’s bouquets because the bouquets should ideally be placed on the cake table during the cutting of the cake – this adds to the photographic presentation. Pipework can be done to imitate lace used on the bride’s dress. Pearls, crystals and sashes can also be made in icing.
Q. Please tell us a little about the different types of icing.
A.Royal icing seems to be a thing of the past and although we can produce this kind of finish, it clearly adds to the cost. Fondant is now the preferred cake covering because it is easier to cut and eat. Chocolate cakes can be covered with chocolate fondants, chocolate cigarillos or just buttercream if a rustic look is required. The temperature in the castle doesn’t really get too hot but if it did the chocolate cakes could suffer, so using very high chocolate content can be a problem.
Q.How far in advance should the bride order her cake?
A.It is advisable to place the order for a cake as soon as possible. When some of the decisions about the wedding theme have been made a phone call to the cake maker with the date of the wedding is helpful. We then recommend a visit to our cake studio where our cake designs portfolio can be viewed and ideas discussed. This gives us the chance to get a feel for the design of cake required and offer some inspiration. At this stage some brides come to us without a clue, whilst others have everything mapped out already. An average consultation takes about 1 ½ hours in which time we aim to find out as much detail as possible in order to be able to produce a quote which we send out in the following week. There is no rush to make decisions, ideas can be slowly developed over the weeks leading up to the day.
Q. I guess that the bride will also need to think about the cake stand and what to cut the cake with?
A. Yes, this is important and often gets forgotten. We have a range of stands all of which are available for hire. The Victorian Stand is particularly suited to Eastnor Castle because of its enormous size and antiquity. Also included with the stand is a large silver cake knife which has a history of its own. According to an old wives tale the cake should be cut with the knife upside down. Looking at our knife you can not decide which side is which therefore you can’t go wrong on this matter! Sometimes there is a family heirloom knife which can be used. Our cakes have also been known to be cut using a sword.
Q. Do you use additives in making the cake?
A.Because we use time-honoured recipes there are no additives, artificial flavours, colours or preservatives in the cakes. There is plenty of brandy, whisky and rum all of which are used in various types of cake.
Q. What do you use to bake the cake?
A.All our cakes are baked in our farm kitchen, our Rayburn is not reliable enough to cook such important cakes so we use a wonderful NEFF oven or two Electrolux ovens. Timing is exceptionally important and a constant reliable heat is needed.
Q.What are the most popular colours for a wedding cake?
A. The majority of the cakes we make are covered in either white or ivory icing. This choice is often based on the bride’s dress or her colour scheme. We have however made pink cakes, pale green cakes and chocolate wedding cakes.
Q.We have seen a great variety of cake decorations. What advice would you give to the bride?
A. Simplicity is the keyword in wedding cakes at the moment and therefore a perfect fondant covering is essential. Brides want little fuss in order to create the most elegant and uncluttered look. None the less, you can never go wrong with fresh, silk or handmade sugar flowers as well as ribbons and iced beads.
Q. Sugarcraft seems very popular at the moment?
A. Yes, it is. Sugarcraft is a vast subject to discuss quickly because it ranges from covering the cake with all types of icing to the most delicate handmade sugar flowers. In between we cover model making, pipework, embossing, cut-outs, flooding, hand painting etc. No two cakes will ever be alike, we cope with whatever brides dream up next. It really is the challenge of their new ideas which fuels our creativity.
Q. How do you get the cake to Eastnor Castle?
A.Delivery to the castle is part of our service since it is well within our delivery radius. Because of our locality, we feel that cakes are at very low risk whilst in transport. We aim to be at Eastnor 2 hours before the wedding but will time our delivery to coincide with the florist when using fresh flowers. We will happily liaise with the florist if required.
Weddings can be such an exciting time, but there is also a tremendous amount to plan and to do. We help as much as we can to make it a really special day but we also thought that it might be a good idea to ask all the marvellous people who come to the castle to help to see what advice they could give.
Superflowers Chipping Camden
Our first interview was with Charlotte Gabb from Superflowers in Chipping Camden.
This is what Charlotte said:-
Because Eastnor is such a wonderful place with so many interesting things to look at my feeling towards the flowers is that you don’t need that many but the arrangements you do have have to be big and bold.I like to use either strong colours (Autumnal Orangey red colours) or white and cream to show up best although summer pastell colours are ok. I like to use large simply flowers such as Lilies and Gerbera (although some people don’t like them) with large headed roses as these are dramatic. Using lots of small flowers tends to make the arrangements over fussy. Also it is important to fill the arrangements out with as many English seasonal flowers as possible as the effect in the Castle is essentially English!!! These arrangements look best with lots of mixed foliages with wild trailing Ivy. (other florists do trendy 1 lily in a vase stuff but I don’t think it looks right in the surroundings.. big is best!!)The places I like to decorate are ………..The marble urns at the bottom of the staircase. These look good with lots of flowers spilling over the edge of them and also look good in the winter with dark, wild foliage and thick candles.The arrangement on the table in the centre of the Octagon room has to be large, striking and arranged to be seen from all angles.The dining room – this is my most tricky room as the lighting is not so good .. (candlelight is important in here for an evening do) tall candelabra look good either with flowers amongst the arms (and above the diners heads) or more simply with a ring of flowers around the base. Or even with nothing although thats not so good for my pocket!!!! or hurricane lanterns with a circle of flowers around them or even more cheaply a ring of flowers around a thick church candle. Summer lunchtime weddings can have low vases filled with flowers.Theses are the essential places but as well as them it is nice to have a tall glass vase in the Great Hall and something a bit more elaborate on the table in the Gothic room (although they do always have one there) Candles in hurricane lanterns look lovely lining the staircase in the hallway.Allergies are normally hayfever so non scented flowers avoid that.. I would replace the scented lilies with a non scented variety although the castle is so big that it is not normally a problem. Other flowers people tend to be allegic to are things like foxgloves or Alstromeria and these are only a problem if they are touched.Every wedding is different and so I need to speak to each bride to make sure I am using the colours and flowers she likes.Bridal work is also very individual … some brides like trailing wired wedding bouquets (£££) whilst others go for simple tied posies.Little bridesmaids look cute with tied posies and coronets ( a circle of flowers on the heads)The church is lovely and looks really pretty fully decorated although most people can back here. Again the essential places are …Other places are an archway around the porch (gorgeous) and wild loose collars of flowers with trailing ivy around the pillars down the centre of the church. Silk flowers in a place like Eastnor would cost a fortune. We hope that this conveys some of the marvellous choices the bride has to make. Also as a reminder it is worth reiterating that:-
- A large arrangement spilling out of the font
- 2 sprays to hang on the screen
- 2 windows on the right of the church (medium essential!)
- The Great Hall with it’s 60 foot ceilings is where the reception is normally held.
- The Gothic room is where the civic ceremony usually takes place.
Flowers – Weddings at Eastnor Castle
We hope that this , the first of our wedding interviews, is helpful. If there are any questions then please just call.
Eastnor Castle is the perfect, wedding venue where flowers help make your day the most romantic ever!
Eastnor Castle has been privileged to play host to many couples’ weddings over the years and is today one of the most well regarded, premier wedding venues in Britain. Located in a dramatic setting of the beautiful Malvern Hills and surrounded by its own deer park, arboretum and lake, Eastnor Castle is a truly romantic wedding venue in Herefordshire. It is perhaps not surprising then to learn that Valentine’s Day and the ensuing week always sees a marked increase in enquiries to the castle from couples wishing to book their wedding day here. Clear confirmation that the age-old tradition of making a wedding proposal on 14 February is still very much alive and kicking – and successful!
Romantic Wedding Venue Worcestershire
The romance of Valentine’s Day is not just confined to new proposals of marriage, however. Many couples who married years ago on 14 February (or during that week) choose to hold their wedding anniversary celebration at Eastnor Castle. Usually, a small, private affair with close friends and family, the happy couple can enjoy a truly ‘romantic’ dinner and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere that only Eastnor Castle can conjure up on such special occasions. This very weekend in fact we have such an event and our guests will be assured of the highest level of service in order that their stay with us is a truly memorable one.
Eastnor Castle Wedding Venue
So if you are planning to ‘pop the question’ this Valentine’s Day, you might be well advised to be prepared with a romantic wedding venue in mind BEFORE your partner says ‘yes’. We have already been taking calls this week from people not wanting the risk of disappointment due to non-availability, so next week may well see a rush on wedding confirmations!
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