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.
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.