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.
We have been getting more enquiries from couples interested in having a civil ceremony at Eastnor Castle. So we thought it might be a good idea to explain exactly what is involved.
Basically this is a non-religious, legal, marriage ceremony. It has to be conducted a person duly authorised – basically a Registrar. Being non-religious, you will find that hymns and prayers are excluded. We think this is a pity as there are some beautiful writings which lend themselves to any marriage wherever it is held.
So what kind of couples would look at a civil ceremony?
Surprisingly the range is larger than most people realise.
These are just some examples …
a. Civil partnership ceremonies with same sex couples
We will help tailor the ceremony to your exact requirements. Eastnor Castle is a quality wedding venue that offers exclusivity, privacy and plenty of space.
b. A commitment ceremony
Whilst this does not carry any legal implications, it is still a great way to say ” I still love you” and to start the next years of your life with renewed enthusiasm. In a similar vein we also have renewal of vows ceremonies at Eastnor Castle. This can be a beautiful way to celebrate a lifetime together.
c. Wedding celebration ceremonies
This usually makes people stop and think. Why would you need this? A moment’s thought will highlight many examples. For instance, if you live in the UK and want to marry overseas but also want a celebration for your friends and family back home. Sometimes couples in fact want something which is not allowed within the normal wedding ceremony. An example of this would be if they wanted the ceremony conducted by a friend who was not licencsed.
d. A naming ceremony
These are typically performed for children. However, it’s not just the newly-born – it also applies when an older child joins a family, possibly through an adoption.
So whatever the occasion, be it a civil partnership, civil wedding or pink wedding, the Eastnor Castle staff plus an impressive list of local suppliers are available to help you realise your dream celebration. Use our magnificent, 19th century Gothic Drawing Room for the ceremony itself and enjoy exclusive use of the Castle and its grounds. Your peace and privacy are guaranteeed. Read more about Eastnor Castle as a pink wedding venue.
Following our recent interview with the people who provide flowers for our castle weddings, we are delighted to now share with you a similar interview, this time with Rachel from Vinehouse Catering.
Q:How long have you been involved in catering, Rachel?
A: Just about all my working life! And for the last 20 years in outside catering.
Q: How long have you worked for Eastnor Castle?
A: Oh, it must be nearly fifteen years I should think. I’d have to look it up.
Q:What do you enjoy most about wedding catering?
A:You meet lots of nice and interesting people! Contributing to the success of someone’s wedding is a never-ending source of pleasure and satisfaction for us. It’s a real buzz; we all love it.
Q: What’s the biggest job you’ve done for Eastnor Castle?
A: A sit-down dinner for five hundred people for the Chamber of Commerce. I’m glad to say it went like clockwork.
Q: What is the usual size of wedding party?
A: Somewhere between 80 and 150. The Eastnor dining room holds 80 and the Great Hall 150, so that sort of sets the parameters indoors. But we can do much bigger functions in marquees outside on the lower terrace.
Q: When is it best for couples to choose their food?
A: Well, at their convenience, really, though naturally we prefer to know their choices early, since it helps us do the best job possible. We offer a wide range of menus and discuss each choice carefully with the couple.
Q: Do you get requests for unusual or exotic foods?
A: Sometimes, not often. When we do, we make every effort to give customers exactly what they want. However, most couples choose quite traditional menus to appeal to all their guests, young and old. To me one of the most important things is to achieve a menu that the bride and groom love and their family and friends are equally happy with.
Q: What about special diets?
A: Not a problem. We offer a range of vegetarian meals, for instance, and often cater for people with allergies. We also do special menus for children.
Q: Do you get lots of requests for canapés, sorbets and cheese courses?
A: Canapés are a very popular option and we cater for these on our menus. Occasionally we are asked for sorbets and cheese courses but to be honest most people are keen to get on with the dancing and not to prolong the meal!
Q: Do you have any specialties at Vine House?
A: Not really though our Head Chef, Alex, does make the best Yorkshire pudding ever! He is also trained in patisserie, so his desserts are spectacular.
Eastnor Castle takes pride in the quality catering available for your wedding at our exclusive wedding venue.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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