VENUE TOUR: WADDESDON MANOR
It’s the season of venue searches and wedding planning, so we’re focussing on some of the more practical aspects of planning your wedding right now on BLOVED. Last week we got a sneak peek of Iscoyd Park and his morning, we step inside one of Buckinghamshire’s most beautiful exclusive hire venues, the Waddesdon Estate with Lisa from Just Bespoke and Alethia from Xander & Thea.
As a bit of a shopping addict, I’ve often driven through the village of Waddesdon, on my way to Bicester Village to get my hands on some designer bargains. I’ve seen the signs for the Waddesdon Estate and have often been intrigued by this unique little village just outside of Aylesbury. So, when I got an invitation for a private tour and lunch at the Estate along with some fellow wedding planners, I jumped at the chance to have a look around and to see what it had to offer.
The Estate is owned by the Rothschild family, a famous banking family of Jewish origin, and is spread over 6000 acres of beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. Waddesdon is really diverse, offering a total of four unique venues for wedding celebrations, each catering for different styles and budgets.
It was a pretty cold morning when we went to visit but we were warmly welcomed into The Dairy by the Waddesdon staff with hot drinks and biscuits. This exclusive venue has a beautiful waterside setting and is surrounded by lovingly cared-for gardens. The Dairy is unique in that there are a number of potential areas which can be used for wedding celebrations. Inside there is the Wintergarden which is a predominantly glass space with a large water feature at its centre. It has a classical feel to it with lots of bare stone. This area, with its stone floors, make it perfect for evening receptions, as it’s a great for dancing.
Adjoining the Wintergarden is the West Hall which has vaulted ceilings and two huge open fireplaces. It would be a perfect ceremony setting or the ideal space for the wedding breakfast. The Dairy has a wide terrace running along its entirety with two pavilions extending out over the lake. On a summer’s day, the pavilions would make the ideal space for an outdoor ceremony and drinks reception – although they are heated and covered so could be used all year round if you wanted. It is a really picturesque setting looking out across to the weeping willows and the collection of waterfowl.
There are also a further two options for outdoor celebrations to include the peaceful inner courtyard which you pass as you enter The Dairy, and then, tucked away on the other side of the lake is a secret garden with a rustic wooden structure which would make the perfect setting for an intimate blessing. (The Waddesdon team are hoping it will be licenced for civil ceremonies in the near future).
The Dairy can accommodate 110 guests for a ceremony and dinner, with the option of a marquee in the grounds for larger numbers. The Five Arrows Hotel The next stop on our tour was The Five Arrows Hotel. This was a short coach journey away, but you could easily walk here from The Dairy too. The hotel itself is Grade II listed and has two unique areas suitable for weddings.
The first area is the authentic Old Coach House which has a timber-trussed roof and original wrought ironwork on the walls. It can comfortably accommodate up to 60 guests for a ceremony. The beauty of the Old Coach House is that you can erect a marquee onto the side to allow for larger numbers and you can really see the space working for other elements of a wedding celebration to include a rehearsal dinner or a post-wedding brunch.
The second area is the Rothschild Room which can cater for more intimate ceremonies of up to 40 people. Friends and family can stay in one of the 16 ensuite rooms, each named after Rothschild wines and featuring antiques and original pieces from the Manor.
Perhaps the most surprising element of the tour was Windmill Hill. This contemporary and modern-looking building is a huge contrast to the predominantly arts and craft style buildings across the rest of the Estate. It was commissioned by Lord Rothschild to house the Manor, Estate and Family archives and was built in 2011. Set in sprawling countryside, the imposing building is clean and airy and is decorated with contemporary artwork and sculptures. The huge floor to ceiling windows allow the beauty of the natural landscape to filter through and it would be the perfect venue for a trendy couple looking for a very modern celebration.
The final stop on our tour was Waddesdon Manor itself; a National Trust property resembling a French chateau, which can be found nestled on top of the hill in the centre of the Estate. The house is stunning in its architecture and would make a very grand wedding venue. At present, Waddesdon are in the process of obtaining a licence for civil ceremonies for 60 people to be held in the house. However if you have larger numbers, there is the option to have a marquee in the grounds for up to 600 people.
After the tour we were mor e than ready to enjoy lunch prepared by the in-house catering team – Passion For Food. Their Executive Chef creates a bespoke menu for every client, using only the best of British produce and seasonal ingredients. And based on my experience, the food was delicious! The dining table in the West Hall was beautifully styled by Kelly Chandler from The Bespoke Wedding Company, with flowers by Euphoric Flowers and favours from Cracking Cookies.
If you’re looking for a venue offering flexibility, exclusivity and versatility, Waddesdon is definitely worth putting at the top of your list. The team will look after your every need and there really is something to suit everyone within the Estate.
Waddesdon are holding a Wedding Open Day on Sunday 8th March 2015. For more details please contact the Waddesdon events team on 01296 653294 or email [email protected] Visit www.waddesdon.org.uk for more information
Xander & Thea Photography
- Words by: Lisa Baker at Just Bespoke