Home is where the heart is...
Whilst talking to other wedding suppliers at an industry event in the heart of Mayfair, London earlier this week, all suppliers commented on the beauty of the area I live and work in. Most of my weddings are planned in Oxfordshire and the beautiful Cotswolds. Many of my couples choose to have marquee weddings however those searching for the perfect venue have a host of fabulous choices and thought I would share some of my favourites along with tips on how to choose the perfect wedding venue.
Choosing the perfect wedding venue is a significant decision as it sets the tone for your entire celebration. There are a lot of things to consider, here are five top tips to help you choose the ideal wedding venue:
Define Your Budget
Determine how much you are willing to spend on the venue. This will help you narrow down your options and avoid the heartache of falling in love with a location that is beyond your budget. On average the venue and catering make up 50% of your overall budget.
Guest List and Capacity
Create a guest list to estimate your numbers. Choose a venue that can comfortably accommodate your guests. Avoid venues that are too small or excessively large for your party size. Marquees are always great for larger numbers.
Location, Location, Location (who else loves this TV show?!)
Consider the location of the venue in relation to where most of your guests will be coming from. Think about accessibility, transportation and local accommodation options for your guests.
Think about the style of wedding you would like and how this looks. Do you envision a formal ballroom affair, a rustic barn wedding, a grand castle or an English garden setting? Choose a venue that aligns with your style and personalities and makes you feel comfortable.
Be clear on what is included - does the venue offer in house caterers or is it dry hire? What are the furniture, linen and lighting options? Check for any timings and noise restrictions, are there any regulations imposed by the venue on preferred suppliers or specific rules regarding decorations - height restrictions, no naked flame etc. Make sure you are comfortable with these conditions.
In no particular order here are some of my favourite venues within Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds:
Romantic elegance in the heart of Oxford, the city of dreaming spires. A dry hire licensed venue for ceremonies and receptions for up to 120 guests. For those seeking a historic place to get married, look no further than Convocation House. The Divinity School is the perfect celebratory space for your reception and to wow your guests with dining on long or round tables under the ceiling of dreams plus a separate area for dancing.
Nestled in the picturesque hamlet of Newington, Oxfordshire just an hour from London. This 17th century family home has it all with stunning gardens, space for a marquee, a lake and river. You can marry in the church next door or on the front steps of the grand country house. Newington offers refreshing flexibility to create your own perfect wedding weekend in the most gorgeous English garden setting with the bonus of accommodation in the Manor House for your wedding party onsite.
If you are looking for a wedding venue with a difference, then Compton Verney could be it. An art gallery set within a glorious mansion with its own private chapel (you even get to ring the bells) and acres of breath-taking grounds. The chapel is licensed to hold civil ceremonies and can accommodate up to 100 guests. Receptions can be held within the galleries or Adam Hall and offer a unique backdrop with ever changing program of exhibitions.
If you are looking for a venue that oozes grandeur and luxury, then look no further than the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The estate has 2000 acres of parkland, award winning formal gardens and numerous event spaces within the palace from the Great Hall and Marlborough Room to the Long Library and the Saloon. The newly refurbished orangery reopens at the beginning of 2024.
Located in the heart of the Cotswolds. Barnsley House is a privately owned hotel with 18 individually designed bedrooms, a cinema, luxurious spa and beautiful gardens. Barnsley House is available for exclusive hire weddings, a big selling point is that all menus are tailored to your requirements by the talented head chef. The hotel can accommodate celebrations of up to 70 guests with larger gatherings in a marquee.
Following a £38 million transformation project, Rhodes House is back with a bang and open for wedding and event hire. The historic Grade II listed country house in the heart of Oxford is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Boosting a large dining hall, a modern sleek glass clad garden pavilion, 35 en-suite bedrooms and the most talked about staircase in Oxford!
Le Manoir is a beautiful 15th century country house hotel owned and run by Raymond Blanc. Weddings at Le Manoir offer an unforgettable, Michelin-starred dining experience. Le Manoir accommodates both intimate weddings in private dining spaces to exclusive hire of the entire manor house, 32 bedrooms, 27 acres of lush gardens and orchards for up to 100 guests.
Cornwell Manor is one of Oxfordshire's most romantic places to get married. The Georgian fronted manor will be exclusively yours for three days. Your ceremony could be in the church 200 metres walk away, outdoor in the garden or in the ballroom. Receptions are under canvas in the marquee of your choosing and you can enjoy a poolside brunch party for that final goodbye the day after your wedding.