20/2/2019 0 Comments
First published as a guest blog on www.english-wedding.com we wanted to reshare our advice on viewing a privately lived in venue.... especially as we know from first hand experience, a lot of viewings take place in the first few months of the year!
Like many others Penton Park opened our doors to weddings and events to bring a new lease of life to the property. Our pretty large homes were designed to host these grand events and you can almost hear the ghosts of parties past reminiscing in the wings as the house comes back to life. As my husband Guy often says, “the house was made for this” and we absolutely love being a part of such a special day! When I’ve misplaced Guy, which happens frequently, he’s usually pouring guests a pint of his delicious ale brewed on site, or discussing the history of the house with an interested guest.
But what should you, the bride and groom, be considering when viewing these beautiful properties for your own wedding day? What questions should you have in mind to make sure you have exactly the day you dream of in your perfect venue?!
Having hosted more weddings than we can count, here’s my top 10 questions you should ask when considering your chosen country house homes:
Credit The Woman and The Wolf
1. What kind of access is available? Remembering there might be three generations, plus live in staff all living in the house, is flexible access ok? Can you come in beforehand to decorate and dress the house, and who exactly will be there to meet you? It's good to know who's your main point of contact.
2. Who provides the catering?
I’ve found that often catering in private homes is through preferred suppliers as we home owners would much rather have caterers we know looking after our guests, not least because a poor meal reflects badly on us all and our overall service....
3. Can you stay in the house?
If so, who is on hand to help in the case of any problems? Are there any rules for overnight stays that you need to be conscious of? Are there any minimum booking restrictions on the rooms that you must meet? We can't offer overnight accommodation here but instead will provide you with a free of charge coach for up to 50 guests to one central hotel!
4. Is there nearby accommodation?
If you can’t stay overnight (which can often be the case when we still live in our homes), then what are the accommodation options and when can you return to collect your belongings? For our accommodation solutions and details of our complimentary coach please visit our accommodation page here.
Credit Lemon Tree Photography
5. Any resident pets?!
Do they join in the fun, or can they be shut away? We have two cats who love a wedding. Blossom is frequently found in a photobooth with inebriated guests and Ratcliffe, who’s black, loves to hide curled up on a dark chair. Duke, our huge, overfriendly and ever so handsome Irish wolfhound, along with Fudge our lively and rescued Lurcher, are both always kept away unless specifically requested by our couple!
6. What about antiques and valuables?
Those gorgeous antiques you can see dotted around, do you need to be worried about them getting broken?! Chances are the family have put the truly valuable items well out of the way, but always best to ask and double check if you are feeling at all concerned.
Credit The Woman and The Wolf
7. How child friendly is the home?
Some may have more precious antiquities and family possessions than others, and if you have boisterous young children this might not mix well. If that’s the case ask the venue how you can entertain the little people, thus relieving stress for yourself or their parents – try a children’s tent from someone like JoJo bell tents for the ultimate in children distraction!
8. Will family life affect your celebrations?
If you are viewing a home where the family live in then do ask how the day to day logistics work – let’s be honest no one wants a Waitrose delivery van in the middle of the bridal arrival shots!!
9. Can you decorate as you would like?
For example, can any of the family pictures be moved and replaced with your own, can you add decorations around the rooms you are using. This has plus points if it’s a no, as it means less work for you decorating, but it does mean less flexibility. Some venues, us included, really don’t mind, let us know and we can take the pictures away for you to pop up your own.
Credit The Woman and The Wolf
10. Are the owners used to welcoming weddings?
Finally find out about the home you are looking at, how many events do they do, how involved are the family and how do they feel about the weddings?! We love hosting at our home and we only hold 20 a year, so we’re often seen handing out drinks, meeting and greeting and generally taking a hands-on approach to making sure every single one of your guests is having the best time possible.
Last of all, and not strictly wedding related… ask the questions you are dying to ask! The best ones I’ve had yet are: do you dress for dinner, are you related to the Royal Family, is your husband a Duke (no that's just the nickname for the dog!) and where do you watch X-Factor! I shan’t give away the answers as I wouldn’t want to ruin the intrigue!
For finding your perfect private home to host your wedding day in style then do try visiting the Historic Houses website. You’ll find lots of houses, some like us, some smaller, lots bigger; and many with amazing histories and timeless backdrops to frame your perfect day, not to mention welcoming families looking forward to being a part of your wedding journey.
Happy New Year! We're kicking off 2019 with an introduction to another key member of the team here at Penton Park (find out more about Danielle and Guy here and here). If you received a rather sparkly Christmas present this year, then our wonderful events co-ordinator Michelle is someone you need to get to know. During your wedding planning journey with us here, Michelle will be your main point of contact. She's impeccably organised, stylishly creative and a font of knowledge about all things wedding. We're very lucky to have her, and can guarantee that she'll make your wedding day run smoothly from start to finish. Over to you, Michelle.
As a wedding venue owner, we’re probably not supposed to have favourite times of the year. While I truly do believe that Penton Park is a space for all seasons – and we’ve seen stunning weddings this year in the flush of spring, heat of summer and colours of autumn – there’s something a little bit magical about the house at Christmas time.
This year, we were lucky enough to have a visit from wonderful photographer Ami Robertson of The Woman and The Wolf, who leant a helping hand as we got Penton Park ready for the festive season. She took a selection of shots that really encapsulate the warmth and twinkle of the place at this time of year, and I’m thrilled to be sharing these with you today.
When it comes to doing your wedding day your way, fabulous couple Belle and Nick are the ones to watch. We absolutely loved hosting their gleeful and quirky wedding celebration at Penton Park - it was full of so many gorgeous and eclectic touches. From the bride’s custom dyed Converse and the groom’s custom dyed facial hair (that pink beard is the best accessory we’ve ever seen), to the bold florals and epic fancy dress box, read on to find out more about their amazing day.
A Warm and Intimate Drawing Room Ceremony
The drawing room is one of our favourite spaces at Penton Park. It’s flooded with natural light, and is licensed for up to 70 guests for a civil ceremony (for more information on our ceremony spaces, check out this post). Belle and Nick chose to share their wedding vows with 40 of their nearest and dearest, and it was a gorgeously emotional ceremony. We particularly loved the flower arrangements on the chairs, forming a beautiful splash of colour as Belle walked down the aisle.
50 Shades of Pink
This wedding was pretty in pink, but as far away from bubblegum Barbie as you can imagine. First off, let’s take a minute to talk about Nick’s epic groom style. He rocked his magenta suit and matching dyed beard with panache, and we love that he decided to break the mould and stay true to his style for his wedding day.
Fabulous local florist Martha Rose Flowers created a suite of amazing blooms that popped with rich fuchsia, pale blush pink and lilac. The whole house was adorned with flowers, with our enormous mantelpieces being put to great use for some statement arrangements.
Party Time at Penton Park
When a couple has as brilliantly defined a sense of fun as Belle and Nick, you just know that the party is going to be a good one. Penton Park is a house made for epic shindigs, and we loved that Belle and Nick took to the dancefloor with such joy after their dinner on long tables in the ballroom.
Guests were wowed by the sleight of hand performed by magician Chris Piercy, and Belle and Nick chose acoustic band FM live to get the party going.
There were so many things we loved about this joyfully quirky wedding, but there are a couple of memories that will definitely stay with us forever. The first is the fancy dress box that appeared later in the day. Watching the children running and leaping across the lawns as little pirates and white rabbits was very special indeed. The second is our lovely Irish wolfhound, Duke. Nick became very fond of our giant, soft-hearted dog, and it was a real joy to see him loping around, mingling with the guests and even at one point taking to the dance floor himself. Nick mounted a fairly persuasive campaign to convince Belle that they needed to get an Irish wolfhound of their own – sorry Belle!
Our enormous Duke is a much-loved and important part of our lives here at Penton Park, but rest assured, he won't be part of your wedding day unless you expressly want him to be. For most of the celebrations we have here, he's to be found snoozing peacefully upstairs and away from the guests in his own private quarters!
If you’re looking for an elegant country house venue with a focus on fun for your wedding day, then why not get in touch for our brochure? We’d love to show you around our home and to see if we might be a good fit for what you’ve got planned.
Photographer: This and That Photography
Caterer: Sausage & Pear
Florist: Martha Rose Flowers
Wedding dress: Sass & Grace
Magician: Chris Piercy
Band: FM Live
Thank you to the photographers whose photos have been featured, we love their work! Emma Moore Photography, Gyan Gurung Photography, Graham Warrellow, Helen Power Photography, Joanna Cleeve Photography, Julia Conway Photography, Kate Gary Photography, LaHu Studios, Lemontree Photography, Lydia Stamps Photography, Mia Photography, Peter Dyer Photography Ltd, Stylish Wedding Photography, Teresa C Photography, The Springles, This and That Photography.
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