VENUE TOUR: STANBROOK ABBEY
Yoohoo gorgeous B.LOVED people,
A little bit of a different one from me today so if you’re in the mood to delve into the magic of a spectacularly gorgeous venue, take my hand and come with me.
When the lovely Louise asked if any of the BLOVED team could cover the launch event of Stanbrook Abbey, my ears pricked up and my hand shot out to volunteer like a first grader who knows the answer. Me please, Miss!
It wasn’t just the idea of flowing Champagne, a lunch and a complimentary overnight stay though that closed the deal for me. One of my couples had originally chosen Stanbrook for their wedding day but couldn’t take the risk of the complete refurbishment not being finished in time, so with heavy hearts they booked elsewhere. Having heard them swoon over how simply uh-may-zing the Abbey was, I couldn’t wait to see for myself what all the (epic) fuss was about.
So on a gloriously sunny Friday morning, I pootled off to Worcestershire. And yes, this was one of the few and far between occasions where my job entailed being wined and dined – lucky girl, me!
Before its reincarnation into hotel and wedding venue, Stanbrook Abbey was a historical convent home for Benedictine nuns for over 170 years. I’ve seen many a venue where, despite best efforts, the architects just haven’t quite pulled off the merging of the historic and cotemporary parts. Not so at Stanbrook.
As you arrive the first thing you’ll see is the ultra-modern glass extension, home to what I’d call a sort of ‘pre-reception’ entrance area and the Champagne Bar. Light, airy and beautiful without being overwhelming, it’s the perfect welcome. And then, oh my! If ever I had to profess to hallway envy, this would be it. A chequered floor, vaulted ceilings and light streaming in through beautiful stain glass windows, it takes your breath away.
There is no doubt that the entire refurbishment project has not only be done sympathetically but I would dare to say lovingly. It’s rare to feel like you are literally walking in the footsteps of history (and in this case, the nuns) whilst being surrounded by all the modern amenities we have come to expect these days.
I know I’m a little quirky (ok, weird) but I swear you’d swoon over the Nun’s Powder Room as much as I did. Not only does it have an almost boudoir ante room where you can freshen up your make-up (on your individual make-up table, no less) or just sink into a swishy arm chair for a moment of rest, it has epic chandeliers and two fireplaces. If that’s not a bathroom fit for a bride!
Onwards to the Callow Great Hall (the former Chapel), where your ceremony could be held, and you’ll find even more of those magnificent vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. It feels like walking into a Cathedral! Oh to walk down that aisle. I might need to persuade Mr b&g to renew those vows of ours after all… Note.To.Self.
But it’s not all just about fulfilling the girls’ dreams. There’s a bonafide Wine Cellar (for those all important wine tasting sessions), a Snooker Room and a Games Room. So much room to let loose and play!
And the restoration hasn’t ‘just’ been carried out sympathetically in terms of architecture but when it comes to furnishings and décor too. I’ve been ridiculously fortunate to have inherited some of our family heirloom antiques and have always been a mahoosive fan of mixing those precious pieces with random modern bits around our house. Perhaps that’s why I felt so comfortable and at home at Stanbrook. Every room I stepped into (and there are far too many for me to list them all), I found a fantastically eclectic mix of furniture, both modern and traditional, classic and quirky, complimenting each other perfectly.
And the details, oh the details! I’m a bit of a conundrum in the way that I don’t like clutter but am also a bit of a magpie, always happy to spot a shiny, pretty or quirky decorative item. An old gramophone, a trumpet on a windowsill, a French bulldog bookend – to take a stroll through the Abbey’s nooks and crannies could easily take up a few hours and is a veritable feast for the eyes.
And if on-site accommodation is on your must-have venue hunt list, Stanbrook’s 52 bedroom suites won’t disappoint. My room was one of the former nun’s quarters. Compact (or should that be bijou) in size but with all the creature comforts I could need and a beautiful bathroom with the most wonderful shower that pummels you awake. I’m a bit of a snob and can’t stand inadequate water pressure – no complaints here.
But I can top that. If you and your girls want some privacy before your wedding, you can have an entire house to yourself! The Bridal Manor House comes with 5 bedrooms and your very own private entrance to the (former) Chapel.
Remember I said I couldn’t possibly list all the rooms here for you? Let’s just say that there are fifteen beautiful and diverse event spaces for you to pick from, so whether you’re planning an intimate wedding with a strictly private guest list or you’re throwing the invitations open to aunts and uncles thrice removed, you’re bound to find a combination of rooms that will work just beautifully for you.
But don’t just take my word for it. First of all check out some of the beautiful pictures our very own Catharine Noble took for us and, if they’ve grabbed your attention, head on over to the Malvern Hills for a snoop. The Stanbrook Team will welcome you with open arms and if you don’t walk away all swoony like I did, I’ll eat my left Superga.
I shall be back on Friday with more of my usual ‘rantings & ravings’.
Noodles of love,
— Mrs b&g