The award-winning team at Hodsock Priory, the exclusive use wedding venue in north Nottinghamshire, all agree that the Estate is vibrant and alive with colour and fragrance in June. With birds in the sky and colourful gardens, thoughts are conjured up of strawberries and cream, jugs of Pimm’s and games of cricket and croquet on the manicured lawns by the 19th century House.
The secluded venue offers seasonally-themed weddings ranging from one to three day celebrations with an ever-changing spectacular photographic backdrop year-round. The sun drenched Italian Terrace now features traditional country garden style furniture, perfect for wedding guests to enjoy an al fresco drinks reception or early afternoon tea.
George Buchanan, ninth generation owner and manager of Hodsock Priory, says, “We have a classic English summer garden which is in bloom throughout June and have a number of favourite spots for staging glorious wedding photographs. The gardens have been designed to enjoy two flowerings of roses which look particularly beautiful around the Parterre, just behind the tennis courts.
George adds, “Immensely playful and light-hearted wedding receptions with outdoor fun and games have been made possible by the longer days and warmth of early summer. We’re pleased to offer complimentary tea on the Fan Lawn with croquet for June weddings booked before 31st July 2017.”
Seasonal wedding planning can be straightforward at Hodsock Priory when choosing an all-inclusive package. As standard packages include exclusive use of the House and Gardens, one night in the opulent wedding suite, three course wedding breakfast with wine, drinks reception, fizz for toasts, bouquets, buttonholes and floral table arrangements, wedding cake and DJ entertainment with mood lighting as standard. Flexible arrangements can be made along with all three packages, from the popular Grand Wedding, the Snowdrop Wedding and 3 Day Wedding House Party Experience.
Sally and Tom held their wedding reception on the Estate in June 2013. They’d wanted the flexibility to design their own wedding day but they were faced with venues imposing restrictions or running orders set in stone until they visited Hodsock Priory. Sally describes how, “A friend recommended Hodsock Priory and we were blown away by such a nice venue and grounds from the word go. We wanted to make the day our own and were reassured by George that we could do it. We totally put our trust in him and the team”.
They booked Saturday 8th June, with the hope of favourable early-summer weather but with the late-spring flowers of the formal gardens still in full bloom looking their best. For the wedding breakfast, the couple worked with Ann Wright Catering, who made their request for an unusual trestle table layout in the Pavilion possible. A vintage 1940s mobile crêpe van ‘Crêpe Lucette’ offered savoury and sweet crepes at the evening reception, alongside the cheeseboard and the couple’s wedding cake. Elements of the 1940s later emerged with the style of music and clothing.
Sally found her Angela Vickers wedding dress at a Nottingham wedding fair. She brought plenty of DIY elements to the wedding day, in the form of calligraphy painted wooden signs, a handmade photo booth, fingerprint tree, and decorative craft elements for table centrepieces.
Sally says, “We sourced old fashioned glass bottles and made origami fortune tellers for the tables with facts about me and Tom in the centre. Outside by the Parterre, we decorated the wooden love seat. Inside, we set up a vintage typewriter for our guests to use and leave messages for us. We opened the letters on our honeymoon and it was quite special.”
Following the couple’s marriage at St. Matthew’s Church, Normanton on Trent, the couples’ Rolls Royce arrived via Hodsock Priory’s Tudor Gatehouse to be greeted with romantic music on the Italian Terrace from Simply Strings. As a surprise from her father, magnificent birds of prey were on display across the Fan Lawn for the drinks reception, and garden games were laid out on the lawn. Around 120 people joined the celebrations.
Kicking traditional aside, speeches were held before the wedding breakfast; a seasonal produce menu including goat’s cheese tart and roast lamb. Tom had chosen barrels of his favourite real ale to be stocked behind the bar. After their meal there was entertainment from Bracken Rigg, a Scottish/Irish Ceilidh band, perfectly timed to avoid a lull before the arrival of the evening guests. Local producer Thaymar Ice Cream, served cones, tubs and strawberries and cream from their rustic cart on the Italian Terrace. Susan’s Cakes of Newark made Sally and Tom’s floral decorated wedding cake which was cut in the Ante Room after everyone had come in from the sunshine. Two ‘first dances’ followed, firstly The Gay Gordons with the Ceilidh band which was accompanied by the full bridal party. Then Groove Town, a live band from Leeds, played a rendition of Lionel Richie’s ‘You Are My Destiny’.
One of Tom’s highlights of the day was, “Walking around the gardens, just the two of us. It gave us the chance to soak it all in.” Sally added, “We were warmly welcomed into the House and treated like family. We stayed overnight as did our family and friends in The Courtyard at Hodsock. There was a very relaxed atmosphere. A lot of our guests took a few minutes away from the wedding party to walk around the gardens. We liked seeing the kids playing outside, looking in the pond, having space to enjoy themselves.”
Hodsock Priory is based in 800 acres of formal gardens, woodland and countryside and can cater for up to 120 guests. Couples receive the support of Lynda Pepper, an award-winning Weddings Manager who invites them to share their inspirational mood boards with her at an initial consultation. For details about Hodsock’s facilities, call 01909 591204 or visit www.hodsockpriory.com/weddings/
NB Sally and Tom were married on 8th June 2013. Their wedding photographers were Mel Cowell and Andrew Billington. Image credits Mel Cowell Photography. Their special day was superbly filmed by James West Creative Media.