Choosing where to say ‘I do’ is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the wedding planning process. Your venue, will no doubt, shape the theme and style of your day. I blogged about how to choose the perfect wedding venue previously. Within that post I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger…
We had decided to get hitched at the Stone Manor. However, there was one appointment outstanding with another venue, Blakelands. We nearly didn’t go. The numbers didn’t work. But whether it was fate, or just sheer nosines, something told us to go and have a mooch. Good job we did.
Having negotiated the twisty, turny country lanes – we arrived at what was to be our wedding venue – we just didn’t know that yet. The owner greeted us and instantly put our minds at ease. He guided us around at a leisurely pace, answering our questions as we went, and talking us through how a wedding day at Blakelands would work.
He led us into the room where we would eventually say our vows, it was amazing. Intimate and cosy, but with the most ornate details all around the room. Modern hotels are functional but need a lot of ‘dressing’ to look truly pretty (no one wants to say their vows in front of a projector screen) – the only dressing this room required was our family and friends in all of their finery.
As if we weren’t ‘in love’ enough already he led us into the lounge. Not the bar area where your wedding guests are drinking with the other hotel riff-raff. Our own private wedding lounge. Again, beautifully adorned. This became the room where we had our nightcap before bed on our wedding day, and where I spent time talking to my nan and aunty between the ‘day’ and ‘evening’ do’s – perfect. There was a further room to store gifts.
The icing on the cake came with a beautiful wooden staircase. Allowing me, as the bride, to make a grand entrance. In the end this was more of a plodding descent, as I realised I had never actually tried to walk downstairs in my bridal gown before (Brides-to-be I would recommend practising this, especially, if like me you then end up doing the conga down some stairs later in the evening)!
Upstairs were three rooms. The bridal suite, complete with four-poster-bed; chaise lounge and gorgeous antique furniture; a dressing area; and a large en-suite bathroom (so big and grand that my make-up artist friend felt guilty about doing her business in there. Although believe me, when you have a large wedding gown on, you want a big bathroom!). There was then the Oak room, with wood panelled walls, a four-poster bed and en suite. And the Cottage room, which was quainter, but still utterly gorgeous. All rooms had amazing views either across the grounds of the venue, or of the rolling countryside to the front of the house.
Next we saw The Stables, a barn-style building, where we would have our wedding breakfast and evening-do. It was a lovely size, with just the right amount of rustic charm. A separate room for the buffet also made a great deal of sense.
Wandering around the grounds (the trout lake, small pond, orchard…) we realised the photo opportunities were endless. We already knew the food was good, having eaten at the restaurant previously.
We climbed back into the car and looked at each other. Getting married here would mean some compromises (oh there’s that word again) but we knew they would be worth it. Heart had won and we knew Blakelands was the right place to become husband and wife. We headed home to do some serious number crunching.