Let’s begin where I always begin with my couples – the venue search. Hannah and Rich had a large wedding. They had over 280 guests but wanted to find a venue that would allow them to create a fun and intimate feel. A ceremony at their local church was also top priority so it could not be too far geographically from there. That meant we were looking for a wedding venue in Hertfordshire although we did look a little further afield. We considered so many different alternatives. Ultimately (like in all good stories) we came back to the first one we saw and booked the glorious Hatfield House. I am a (not so secret) history geek. When the wedding was over and I was alone in the same room that Henry Tudor once held sumptuous banquets, I whispered to myself “I love my job”.
The best thing about Hatfield House was that we could dry hire the whole space. We had access to the old Tudor palace and also a more modern space in the riding stables. Being able to dry hire this wedding venue meant that we could bring in all of our own suppliers. That included our own bar which meant significant savings with this many guests. It also meant that everything could be tailored to exactly what Hannah and Rich wanted.
Creating an Atmosphere
Making an impact in a large space
To have high impact in such a vast space we agreed that we needed a few large floristry instalments. We also agreed that the food needed to be the centrepiece on the table and needed to be colourful and exciting for guests. We decided to incorporate a modern banquet feel for the food. Hall and Co created an antipasti sharing starter trailing like a table runner down the middle of all of the tables.
Food and drink to create a buzz
The focus on food and drink as entertainment did not end there. We wanted to get people talking about the food and drink early on. We introduced mini cocktail tasters during the drinks reception. The serving staff took out 3 cocktail tasters on each tray. It got all of the guests talking about which one they had tasted.
We decided to stagger dessert and serve it later on in the evening in a beautiful dessert display which had the cake at its centre. The guests loved the drama of the display and the fact that they could try lots of different things.
Continuing with our modern banquet style, the table plan was printed onto long fabric scrolls by White Cottage Weddings. She also created hand torn calligraphy place names which we placed with a single strand of eucalyptus on each place setting.
After dinner the guests travelled from the old palace to the riding stables down a sparkler walkway. 275 guests with sparklers. I needed a large glass of something after that but we did it. And it was worth it for the amazing video footage!
Hannah and Rich wanted to have entertainment throughout the day. We had an acoustic duo play during the reception drinks.
Hannah and Rich love pub quizzes so we incorporated that into their wedding breakfast. We had two printed rounds on the tables for guests to work through in their tables. We also had two rounds which were read out by the MC. We stayed away from Mr and Mrs questions (other than a spot the member of the bridal party from their baby photo round). ’ We felt that quizzes were more fun when you had to think of the answers that was buried somewhere at the back of your brain. Instead, we made the topics relate to the couple. For example, the bride loves cheese so we had a guess the cheese round.
In the evening we had a three piece band who were able to get the guests on the dance floor. I could not resist but get some confetti bombs (3 in total) for the first dance. Strictly not allowed, but i promised the venue I would clean them up. Obviously, something I deeply regretted when I had my mini broom at 2am! Still totally worth it!
Hannah and Rich wanted a photo booth that would be able to capture larger groups. So instead of the traditional photobooth we used the photobooth Guys who set up a distance camera. The Flower Story then created an exquisite moon arch back drop for the background of our photobooth.
Whilst the decorations in the old palace were classic and traditional we went for a more adventurous celestial theme in the riding stables. Lighting with intent created a fairy light ceiling with hanging star lanterns and moon shapes. We then brought the celestial theme into the cake decoration and the moon arch.
I have to admit that this… was my first indoor wedding! (Shock Horror I hear you say – what can i say I love a marquee). It was amazing to have things like power and toilets and that all seemed so effortless. That said, the speed of an on the day set up of this scale presented different challenges to overcome. Luckily I had the most amazing team around me and suppliers who worked their socks off to bring the vision to life. All of whom are listed below:
A list of my Dream Team:
- Photographer: Craig Williams
- Florist: The Flower Story
- Videographer: Hushabye Films
- Catering: Hall and Co
- Photo Booth: The Photo Booth Guys
- Band: Ear Candy Oxford
- Bar: Mixology Brothers
- Invitation: White Olive Design
- On the day Stationary: White Cottage Weddings
- Lighting: Lighting with Intent
- Car: Cambridge Wedding Cars
- Cake: Cakes of Good Taste