5 things to look for when choosing a wedding venue
PUBLISHED: 13:45 17 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:58 17 October 2016
We spoke with Richard Smith from Classic Lodges, who manages Charingworth Manor in the Cotswolds, to find out what sort of things you should look for when choosing a wedding venue.
One of the most important things to consider is location. Is the venue within comfortable travelling distance for you and your guests, and do the facilities meet your needs?
Richard says “Location is one of the main things for us. The manor house here at Charingworth is perched on a hillside in the Cotswolds, almost like that ideal chocolate box sort of setting. It’s an intimate hotel which has been cared for over the years. We can accommodate ceremonies at the manor, or you also have the option of getting married at the local church or registry office before arriving at the manor.”
It’s important not to get too carried away with a beautiful venue if it’s not practical to accommodate your guests. Think about the use of space, and the layout of the tables and chairs.
“We’re aiming to create the perfect venue,” says Richard. “ So that’s why we embarked on building the Orangery last year, which gives a backdrop of the countryside, as though you were sitting on the lawn. Previously, for large numbers of guests, you would have to erect a marquee, which isn’t ideal. We’ve used our knowledge and expertise to create a well thought out design, and a layout that is user friendly, which is based on our many years of experience of running weddings at Charingworth”
Privacy & Exclusivity
Having a private space to enjoy your day means you can relax and spend time with your guests.
“Because we are set in 40 acres,” says Richard, “you don’t have any hustle and bustle. It’s just your perfect day. The hotel itself only has 26 bedrooms, so it’s small and intimate. In terms of weddings, we probably only do 20 or 30 a year, so it’s very exclusive and we aim to provide exactly what the couple want. One thing we do suggest is for the bride and groom to take 20 minutes out, to just take some time and soak in the day, because it will pass so quickly. And with Charingworth that’s the beautiful thing, you can sit with a glass of champagne or Pimms and just watch all your friends and family enjoying the day.”
When viewing venues, have a look around to see if there is space for your wedding photographs.
Richard says: “To me, what makes Charingworth special is that you walk out onto the terrace, and you have the manor house itself as a backdrop, with all these amazing views. On a clear day the views stretch over five counties.”
Experienced Staff & Personal Service
Think about whether the venue staff have experience in overseeing weddings, and whether you are able to incorporate your own personal touches to make your day unique and memorable.
Richard says: “We have a small close-knit team, so both our general manager and our events manager get involved in the wedding planning process, and that’s basically it. They will personally oversee every aspect of your day, so you don’t feel like you’re being passed around from person to person. Both our managers have been at the hotel in excess of six years now, so they have that expert knowledge of what’s been done before, and what’s possible. It’s very much a conversation we have with the bride and groom to make sure everything is tailored to what they want. We’re happy to try different things and provide our expert advice on making your day flow, and most people end up with a very bespoke wedding because they have such a big say in what we do.”
Charingworth Manor is located near the town of Chipping Campden, and boasts commanding views over the Gloucestershire countryside. The manor itself is over 700 years old, and was actually mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, when it belonged to a noble lord. In more recent times, the poet TS Eliot frequently visited the manor, and is said to even have written some of his poems while he was a guest here. Over the years the original building has been extended and restored, and in the 1980s was converted into a hotel.
Classic Lodges purchased the property in 2006, and have completely refurbished the hotel to turn it into the elegant and luxurious 4-star retreat you see today. Classic Lodges own a number of properties throughout England, with each one chosen for its distinct history and character.