Hodsock Priory, the award-winning wedding venue on the North Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire border, is aglow in September with traditional style or boho chic weddings taking advantage of the Indian summer. It’s a light, airy time of year and the exclusive-use 19th century country house is set off by the formal gardens that are still in full bloom before starting to welcome the onset of autumn.
Unique in the area to Hodsock, the Catalpa Indian Bean Tree is in flower in September and combined with the grounds’ formal planting and lake, provides the perfect background to wedding photos.
George Buchanan, ninth generation resident of Hodsock Priory, says, “We’ve observed September wedding parties to be quite chilled out and fun but still romantic. Everyone enjoys the warmth of the summer but without the intense heat of the early season. Wedding guests are encouraged to make use of the grounds, strolling by the stream or through the gardens and playing croquet on the lawn.”
Laura and Jon married in September 2014 and planned their Hodsock wedding from afar. They’d had experience of the venue and were impressed by the layout and dedication of the team. Jon said, “The layout of the Bar and Library and access straight out on to the lawns lends itself to intimate family moments rather than everyone being crowded into one main room.”
“An exclusive use venue was really important to us and Hodsock Priory contrasts beautifully by being a small but also a spacious venue.” adds Laura.
Having booked Hodsock’s Grand Wedding package – which includes everything from a three course wedding breakfast, fizz for toasts and wine with the meal, flowers, wedding cake, entertainment and a night in the bridal suite – the couple looked to book their suppliers from Lynda Pepper’s (weddings manager) recommendations. Jon said, “We trusted Lynda implicitly with everything from her knowledge of caterers to photographers, and we knew she wouldn’t let us down or disappoint us on any level. I really didn’t feel any stress on the day of our wedding, aside from the first dance!”
Aside from the colour navy and simply touches like navy blue ribbons around the napkins, place settings and wedding favours, snowdrop bulbs in silver plant pots, the couple agreed there was no need for a theme. Laura notes, “Less is more in an elegant room and we had a traditional wedding. The ceiling panels in the Pavilion were navy so we chose to complement the colour with flourishes here and there.”
Hodsock’s house florist, Kay, created tall displays of pastel flowers on stands and the bridal bouquet was beautifully replicated from a picture in a magazine. The couple added bunting in the summerhouse by the tennis courts, and inside the House they arranged a photo frames board and card basket.
Lynda had advised the couple to arrange a midday ceremony at nearby St Mary and St Martin Church, to make the most of their day at Hodsock. After the service, minibuses brought the wedding party to the venue through the iconic Tudor Gatehouse, where they were greeted by harpists and enjoyed drinks and canapés. Laura and Jon had created their own canapé ideas which Gail Dandy Catering was pleased to make.
One of Hodsock’s three preferred suppliers, Laura and Jon opted for Gail Dandy Caterers as they wished to offer multiple menu choices. When they RSVPd, guests selected from two starters and two main courses, plus vegetarian options. A trio of desserts was to follow.
Heading into the Pavilion for the wedding breakfast, guests were seated on mixed tables and holding speeches before dining was an ice breaker and a Top Table trivia game resulted in much laughter.
Croquet was laid out on the lawn for guests to enjoy in the September warmth while the Pavilion was transformed for the evening. After the changeover, the couple returned inside for the cutting of their beautiful wedding cake, baked and decorated by house cake maker, Yvonne Fretwell.
Their first dance was a Viennese waltz and live music entertainment was provided by a talented covers band from Lincolnshire. Guests had RSVPd with their favourite song, many of which were played by the band during a lively evening of dancing, with a DJ set in the interval. Laura and Jon chose an indulgent cheese tower and biscuits for their evening fare. After guests departed, Jon and Laura’s day came to a close with a night in the opulent wedding suite. The best man and groom’s parents occupied the Blue and Green Rooms within the main House.
Jon said, “No-one could doubt the beauty of the venue but it’s backed up with exceptional service from George, Lynda and the team. The staff make your day even more of a fond memory as they go over and above what’s needed and always do the right thing. They really help to enhance and improve your special day. The nature of the venue will attract you there but it’s the people that make you want to book it.”
Hodsock Priory is an exclusive-use venue offering a range of flexible wedding packages to make planning easier or venue-only hire from 12pm to 12am which includes the help of staff on the day to coordinate suppliers. Lynda Pepper, weddings manager, organises key arrangements on the couple’s behalf and packages include one night in the luxury 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. The Grand Wedding, Snowdrop Wedding and 3 Day Wedding House Party Experience can all be flexibly arranged.
Based in 800 acres of formal gardens, woodland and countryside, Hodsock Priory can cater for up to 120 guests. For details about facilities, call 01909 591204 or see www.hodsockpriory.com/weddings/