05 Apr Supplier Squad ~ Stockton House ~ Wedding Venue
Five different ways to think about choosing your wedding venue
Choosing your wedding venue can be a bit like buying a house. You’re likely to have your key criteria, an image in your mind of what it will be like and, when you see it, you’ll know that it’ll be the right one for your wedding day.
You scroll through the internet, trawl over wedding directories and Google “Wedding Venues Near Me”! We’re currently creating a brand new wedding venue in Shropshire called Stockton House and it’ll be an exclusive hire wedding venue. As we’ve brought our plans and ideas for what Stockton will be like, we’ve taken an approach to creating a wedding venue like no other. So we’re in a bit of a unique position in that we can build our own wedding venue from scratch. We can have everything in it that we feel important for making a truly magical wedding day.
We’re going share some of these plans with you and give a bit of a behind the scenes look at Stockton House. Even if we’re not the right venue for you, it could be that you use this as a bit of a guide to the questions you ask. Hopefully help with the things you look for and how you could go about choosing your perfect wedding venue for your perfect day.
Where in the country (or the world) do you want to get married?
We also run a bespoke wedding catering business called Caviar & Chips and we cater for weddings all over the UK. We’ve had couples plan their weddings from outside of the UK. We’ve had couples plan weddings in their gardens, in stately homes and also in rustic, old barns (and everywhere in-between!).
Where in the world to get married is a good place to start as this will help narrow down your search somewhat. Stockton House is on a private estate in Shropshire. We’re surround by 8,500 acres of countryside and we have views of the sunrise on one horizon and the sunset on the other (just as the sun goes down next to the woodland).
For us having a wedding venue in the countryside with beautiful vistas was important. When thinking about your wedding venue, think about what you’ll see around you other than the venue. What will your guests experience as they arrive in their car, taxi, coach (…or helicopter!)?
What memories do you want to capture from your day?
One thing you may hear as advice is to absolutely enjoy every moment of your wedding and try and be present in the day, as it can go by so quickly. Thinking about some of the moments you want to capture in photos and videos can really help plan your day and help choose your venue.
With Stockton House, we’re creating different spaces around the house and grounds to capture different moments. We have the grounds and gardens with woodlands, open fields and the sunrise and sunset shots described earlier. We’ve then got the house itself. With seven luxurious bedrooms you can stay the night before your wedding day and enjoy dinner with friends and family in the dining room or wine tasting in our vaulted cellar. Even before your wedding day, think about some of the opportunities you have to capture some special moments and create memories.
We’re building a secret walled garden dining room at Stockton and this space will have a civil ceremony license as well as serve as your exclusive restaurant. As you look through your shortlist of venues and perhaps arrange tours, try and walk through your day and how the different rooms and spaces work. Think about what you and your guests will be doing throughout different points of your day and ask your venue for advice and guidance.
Within the main house we’re building a unique bar room that will have floor to ceiling shelves of gins, rums, whiskies and vodkas. The bar room will be a place where some people will just want to grab a drink and get back on the dance floor. For others though, it will be a place to escape for catch ups and making new friends. The space that your wedding venue offers isn’t just about functionality, but it’s also about what experiences it will create for you and your guests. Have a think about those moments you want to create and how you want your day to feel. This will help narrow down your search a little more!
Choosing a venue with great food and drink
Think about your wedding breakfast as taking all of your friends and family out for amazing dinner where you pay the bill (or perhaps your folks do!). If this was the case, you’d choose a place that had a great atmosphere, where the service was fantastic, where it felt like the owners knew you. You’d choose a place that had great food and great choice and a cool bar with fantastic range of drinks to help get the party started.
So when we came to thinking about Stockton House, having catered for weddings and events all over the country, we saw this as a great opportunity to build an exclusive restaurant. It’s an exclusive restaurant, because it’s your restaurant for your wedding day. We decided to build our restaurant within the walls of a secret walled garden because it fits really well with our 18th century house and create a little curiosity for what’s behind those 4.5 metre walls!
You are the guests of honour and at Stockton you can decide on your menu – whatever you want, our chefs will make it. We want to know that your Great Aunt Margaret doesn’t like mashed potato! We want to make sure that if you have guests that have intolerances to nuts, wheat, and sweetcorn taken off the cob that they have equally an amazing meal.
When choosing your wedding venue and with that image in your mind of what your wedding will be like, think about food and drink. Ask what the menus are like and if you can create your own bespoke menu. Ask about a menu tasting and how does that work. Can you meet the chef and some of the team that will serve you on the day? Typically, you’ll book your wedding venue between 12 – 24 months before your big day, so there’s plenty of time to get to know your venue as well as your venue to get to know you. So make sure you’re confident that you’ll be the guests of honour on your big day.
What’s bedtime and your first day or married life like?
Imagine as you get to the end of your wedding day and your ready for bed, what happens? Do you go home? Do you stay at a hotel? Or can you stay at your venue? Obviously the answer to this suggests what your first day of married life will be like! Waking up married for the first time, a brand new chapter in your relationship and it’s all official!
With Stockton House we’ve got seven luxurious bedroom. Some with roll-top baths, some with large showers, all with huge comfy beds and amazing views of the countryside. Each room will be designed with distinct pieces of furniture and you’re certain to be in all of the rooms checking the unique touches. When creating Stockton, we wanted to make a place feel not quite like a hotel, not quite like a B&B – it’s your massive house, but you’re looked after by our team. So when you wake in the morning to incredible views in a beautiful room, you can leisurely make your way to the dining room and enjoy a breakfast / brunch and relive those memories of the day before.
When you’re checking out your venues, see what kind of accommodation, if any, they have. If there isn’t any, see what connections they have locally with guest houses, B&Bs and hotels and if they have any preferential rates. If you can, think of your wedding as not just the day itself, but the build up before and the first days after. Planning ahead will mean that you start married life in your best way possible.
What goes on behind the scenes?
More and more we hear about businesses having an ethical approach, a relationship with their community or how they treat the wellbeing of their team. As in many of the daily purchases we make in our lives, there’s a great opportunity for you to do the same with your wedding. You have a great chance to ask your wedding suppliers and your wedding venue what they’re doing towards being an ethical business.
As we bring Stockton House back to life, we’re taking out the old oil heating and replacing it with a wood chip burner. The wood chip will be sourced from the woods on the estate and this will help sustain the woodland, create jobs and reduce our carbon footprint. It’s our great chance to do the right thing in the workings of the building behind the scenes and hopefully encouraging for our clients to know. We’re sourcing our ingredients for menus locally and again using the farm network on the estate to source local and seasonal ingredients that will taste amazing. With our teams, we have a great focus on wellbeing, mental health and physical health as well as pay and development opportunities. We want to be a great place to work and if we achieve that, then you’ll have a great experience with our team.
When you’re looking for your dream wedding venue, try to find out how the business works and understand what’s important to them in terms of profit versus sustainability. These are personal decisions and you the chance to invest your money and give your business to a venue that is contributing to the greater good as well as your dream day.
If you’re looking for the perfect wedding venue for your 2022 or beyond wedding, look no further. I have a feeling this exclusive venue will be booking up very quickly!
Especially once you’ve laid eyes on this video…
A huge thank you to Stockton House for telling us about this amazing new wedding venue on my supplier squad series!
If you have any questions, or would be interested in finding out more about using Stockton House for your wedding, take a look here-