A warm welcome

A warm welcome

Q. I'm looking at historic venues, however, my mum keeps questioning whether it'll be warm enough! I'm wearing a strapless dress and I know she's just being thoughtful but what questions should I ask the venues beforehand? My husband and I just love the romance and history behind some of Yorkshire's amazing monuments!

A. Jacqueline Naylor says: We have a lot of weddings which take place in the autumn and winter as it's very romantic with its large open fires and braziers. The castle does get cold in these months, however there are a few things we do to ensure the comfort of our guests just like other historic venues will also do. We hire in heaters to warm the rooms and we also have the fires lit in good time. The warming glow and ambience is all part of the romance of the day. The doors to each area are closed as much as possible to ensure the warm air doesn't escape. Talk to the wedding team and I'm sure they'll ease yours (and your mum's!) mind.

Many of our couples have been able to capture their day with dramatic photographs in areas around the castle and are always able to find a nice warm fire to come and sit by afterwards.

Jacqueline Naylor, Bolton Castle


Festive finds

Festive finds

Q. We're looking for a venue that will be able to help us achieve our Christmas-themed wedding. What should we ask the wedding team before booking?

A. Sarah Dannatt says: So many couples dream of a Christmas wedding, with a wonderful winter feel having the snow falling around you and all the beautiful features covered with a white blanket of snow. Although every dream can turn into a nightmare if you don't choose the right venue for your special day.

Will we be cold if we book in winter? Some venues such as Spicer Manor, may have underfloor heating throughout.

Check if the venue has firepits, these are perfect to snuggle around with heat holding blankets to keep lovely and cosy. What if it rains? At Spicer, we supply pretty, transparent umbrellas for you and your guests to ensure you won't ruin any stunning suits, dresses or hairstyles. What if it snows? Check the venue is well equipped with snow shovels to clear any walkways needed to make everything safe for guests.

The perfect addition for a Christmas themed wedding has to be fairylights, You can also discuss Christmas decorations with your wedding coordinator to finish off your festive theme perfectly.

Sarah Dannatt, Spicer Manor


Whatever the weather

Whatever the weather

Q. My fiancé and I have just started looking for our dream wedding venue, and we'd like to get married outside. What should we keep in mind before booking?

A. Sharon & Emily says: There are a few practicalities you need to consider – plan A and plan B! Take the weather for example. Even if the forecast is amazing, you may want to consider some form of shelter, just in case! Make sure your guests are aware of what's in store too, so they can plan their outfits accordingly. Be prepared with umbrellas and wellies – don't let the rain dampen your sprits though! Props like these can be personalised to the bride and groom and create some wonderful photo opportunities.

Utilise your surroundings and take some inspiration from nature. The Coniston Hotel's 1,400-acre private estate is bursting with colour and texture, whatever the season. Incorporate this into your day and save on your décor budget! Have an open mind. We all have a dream and vision, but when incorporating unpredictable elements to your day such as weather, you may need to be prepared to flex on a few of the details. Finally, trust the experts! For example, our dedicated wedding team live and breathe weddings – they'll offer the best solution, for the comfort of you and your guests, whilst still exceeding your expectations.

Sharon & Emily, The Coniston Hotel Country Estate & Spa


Customise your venue

Customise your venue

Q. What's your top planning tip when it comes to looking for and booking the venue

A. Lisa Hunt says: When it comes to finding your venue, you have to be sure you've found the perfect location for your perfect day!

At Spicer Manor our team firmly believe you must have the full support and advice from your venue, who will be by your side throughout your journey and be with you on your special day.

Somewhere to suit your individual needs is essential, if you have some of your ideas already, then make it clear what you're hoping for on your big day from the start so you know if your venue can cater for this. We strive to achieve everything our couples desire to make their day as special as possible for them.

A venue without a flexible structure means you may not have the choices to make your day just as you'd like it, to compromise for such a special event is not ideal. You should be able to choose a venue that will help you personalise your day and make it the day you always want to remember.

Lisa Hunt, Spicer Manor


The venue checklist

The venue checklist

Q. I have just got engaged and have started looking at venues. My mind is boggled, where do I begin?

A. Laura Shinkfield says: There are so many venues out there it's no wonder you're boggled! The key thing which any venue will ask first is how many guests. Make your list, argue about your list, and come up with a number. Then consider are all those people coming for the whole day, or are you having an evening do? Do you want to have a civil or religious ceremony? Are you wanting a specific type of food? Will you have a live band or a DJ? Do you want the whole place to yourself? Do you prefer a modern or traditional setting? Have you got a budget to work to? All of these questions are really important to have clear in your mind, and will define the starting point for any venue discussion.

Next, decide on a date. With pandemic restrictions, a lot of weddings have had to be rescheduled, so you can expect venues and suppliers to be busier than usual, therefore availability is key. You might need to be willing to compromise.

For a small Yorkshire wedding with total exclusivity, consider The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill. For larger weddings, consider Bowcliffe Hall. Both come with dedicated teams ready to make your wedding day dreams come true.

Laura Shinkfield, Bowcliffe Hall & The Yorke Arms