Winter Weddings at Hodsock Priory in Nottinghamshire
A Snowdrop Wedding for Mr and Mrs Simpson
A classic boy meets girl story, Michelle and Paul met in 2008 in Blackpool where Paul, from Doncaster, was working. They embarked on a long distance relationship and after a year they hit the the ‘make or break’ point and Michelle made the decision to move to Doncaster. Paul is a traditional and utterly romantic man and he proposed on Christmas Day 2012 having hidden a ring inside the Christmas tree. Michelle brings the adventurous side to the relationship and loves to travel, reminding career-minded Paul that there’s a life to be lived outside of their jobs.
As such, Michelle’s dream had originally been to marry in Italy – the Simpsons certainly hadn’t always had their hearts set on a winter wedding. Paul, however, wished for his family to be around him so the online search for a local venue began. They kept their options open but were dismayed by the restrictions imposed by many of the venues. Hodsock Priory offered the freedom and flexibility to do what Michelle and Paul wanted on their wedding day.
Hodsock’s final Wedding Open Day in 2012 was on 31st December and Michelle and Paul were shown around the 19th century house, bridal suite and The Courtyard accommodation by owner/manager George Buchanan. The couple were struck by George’s passion for his family home, his historical anecdotes and the contrast with being shown around by ‘hotel staff’.
Michelle says: “We knew straight away that Hodsock Priory was the venue for us. Despite having another venue to visit, we booked Hodsock there and then”. As for finding out that Valentine’s Day 2015 was amongst the available dates, Michelle said: “We couldn’t think of a more romantic setting for a Valentine’s wedding”.
In less than two weeks after their engagement, Michelle and Paul had chosen and booked Hodsock Priory with the Snowdrop Wedding package. In February 2013 they enjoyed a Save the Date photo shoot amongst the snowdrops which also served as an engagement announcement. The Snowdrop Wedding package was “a great idea, lots less hassle and less for us to organise” and it meant that top quality experts in their fields would be providing the cake, flowers and entertainment. Paul opted for a live band rather than a DJ and Michelle chose additional arrangements from Flowers by Kay.
Meeting with Lynda Pepper, Hodsock’s weddings manager, was a pleasure and Michelle and Paul found it was like talking to a friend they’d known for years. It seemed like nothing would be too much trouble for the Hodsock weddings team and Lynda also acted as a soundboard for suppliers and fit in meetings with the couple around their busy work schedule. The whole team were appreciated and “George was always accommodating with a very personal touch”.
Award-winning local photographer Andy Hook was one such recommendation. Michelle comments that they “chose Andy as he was a photographic contributor to the Snowdrop Weddings brochure and we felt that as he was so familiar with the house and grounds, he’d know which shots would really work”.
The Simpsons’ neutral colour scheme of soft greys and champagne tones were chosen to complement Hodsock Priory’s ornate interior decoration.
Michelle describes the day as flying by so quickly. Having stayed overnight in The Courtyard, she got ready in the main house’s Bridal Suite and found Lynda on hand to organise all of the finishing touches, even helping her to stay calm, stop panicking and arrange her dress after her bridesmaids had moved to the ceremony room.
Lynda’s husband Ken, operations manager at Hodsock Priory, really pleased the happy couple by lending them a display of snowdrops in a personalised planter. They were surrounded with a photo of Hodsock Priory and letters spelling out Mr & Mrs Simpson, Michelle’s nod to bringing the snowdrop element of their wedding inside too.
Guests raved about the three course wedding breakfast supplied by Gail Dandy Catering and were still commenting on it nine months later! Michelle and Paul also ordered canapés in addition to the food included in the Snowdrop package.
Michelle and Paul’s parents stayed the night of the wedding in the Blue and Green rooms of the main house and all ten of The Courtyard B&B apartments were booked for guests.
Michelle concludes by saying that Hodsock really was the perfect venue for a perfect day. The grounds were amazing, the suppliers and package top quality, George and Lynda really couldn’t do too much to help, and that having exclusive use of the entire house lends itself to a great family friendly affair.
She confirms that not having any other weddings at the same time was a major pull, saying: “Hodsock was all ours for the day. Our friends and family are still commenting that it was such a good wedding. Looking back at our photos we can see what good quality it was and how pleased we were with the venue and all of the suppliers too.”
**Snowdrop wedding imagery published with our thanks to Mr & Mrs Simpson and courtesy of Andy Hook Photography.**