Well, I've been meaning to post something about my wedding and the services we used for the last couple of weeks, but never gotten round to it. Our wedding was 11/06/2011...
Venue - Hargate Hall
This is THE most amazing venue for a wedding we've ever seen or heard of. Where you could easily pay 5k for a room in a hotel for a few hours, we hired this entire mansion and grounds for the full weekend (Friday to Monday though it is available through the week aswell). The price for hire of the entire Hall was £4700 (ish - variable throughout the year) but that cost is passed on to the guests who stay for the weekend, at a rate of £60 per person for the weekend, to stay in the awesome self catering apartments, and the actual hall for the wedding cost us £500. So when people asked where the wedding was I would tell them "We've hired a stately home in the Peak District for the weekend" and people would go "Ooooooh" and think I was a big shot, without realising that even though the place looked and felt expensive, it was actually miles cheaper than anywhere else we looked at.
Hargate Hall also provided a bar and staff for £15 per hour, with a fairly priced selection of drinks, but as we provided wine and champers, and the guests brought a load of their own booze (this is allowed) not many actually used the bar.
I would definitely recommend Hargate Hall, they have a competition going at the mo where anybody can write about their experience at Hargate Hall to win a free weekend. This is my entry - http://hargatehall.wordpress.com/201...avids-wedding/
Cost for venue including bar (to us) - £590
The Suits - Formal Affair
We visited a few wedding fayers in the 18 months between initial plan and final execution of our wedding, and in that time we saw a load of people I liked to provide the groom parties suits. Unfortunately by April (the point when I decided to arrange fittings) I had such a massive collection of brochures and cards that I had forgotten which companies I liked.
I decided then to go with Formal Affair, simply because it is the biggest of those I saw, and therefore the most reliable. Or so I thought.
I needed 5 suits - 3 adults and 2 kids, and we all went to be fitted. They measured us all, and we tried on "examples" of each piece, though we were told these wouldn't be the actual pieces of clothing we would be wearing. In between initial fitting/measuring and pick up (which was the Thursday, the day before we were due to book into the venue) there was no fitting of the actual suits to make sure that the clothes we were to wear on the day would fit.
OnThursday night we all tried on our clothes, and these are the mistakes we found...
Shirt far too small.
Waistcoat slightly too small.
Jacket far too small.
Shirt MILES too big.
Father of the Bride:
Shirt too small.
Trousers too small.
Shirt too small.
Waistcoat miles too small.
Jacket miles too small.
Trousers miles too small.
So out of the 5 people in the wedding party, every one had a problem with their clothes.
In defence of Formal Affair they did have an "emergancy van" for just such a situation. On the Friday I let them know what we needed replacing and they put an order in. Unfortunatly it didn't arrive untill 5pm, and loads of guests were already at the Hall by the time we arrived (we had arranged an early check in for 1pm so we could get set up) so while they put a dampner on the events, they didn't ruin it entirely.
I certainly wouldn't recomend Formal Affair to anyone.
Cost of suit rental (for 3 adults and 2 kids) - £550
Wedding Dress - Blushes on London Road
- couldn't find website
This is second hand information from my new wife, but the place was spot on. She felt that she wasn't being "sold to" but she was offered the best dress for her (based on a budget of £1000) rather than the best dress for profit. The staff were fantastic and incredibly helpful and patient. There was a wide range of dresses, shoes, jewellery and other accessories priced to suit everybody. There was no judgment or snottiness she found in other shops, where the service you received seemed to be based on your budget.
Cost of brides dress + alterations: £800 (and worth every penny, she looked amazing)
Jewellery + Tiara: £120
Brides wedding party shoes – Evans/BHS/John Lewis
Total Cost: £120
Bridesmaids Dresses - Charity Shops/BHS
The 3 from BHS were £60 each, they looked great and fit in with the colour scheme well.
After a full day going shop to shop to find dresses, my wife passed a charity shop on Ecclesall Road and they had the perfect dresses in the window. Jasper Conran Ivory satin dresses for a £10er each? Sold. The Maid of Honour dress came from a charity shop in Hillsborough at a massive cost of £6. She looked great in it, and you would have thought she paid a packet.
The quality of all the dresses was brilliant and the price was so low we were shocked we'd found such bargains.
Cost of Bridesmaid dresses: £146
Wedding Cake - Butterflies and Angels
We found Abbie at a wedding fayre, no idea which one. She had an almost shaved head, covered in tatoos, and wore a Vivienne Westwood dress. Suffice to say she wasn't your average cake woman. She did, however, have free samples so we went over (lol). We tried her chocolate cake and both melted, the ganache in the center was just incredible.
We visited the shop a few times, each time making pigs of ourselves, and only decided on design and flavour at the last minute.
We decided on a 4 tier modern design (which Abbie revels in) the bottom tier was chocolate and sour cherry, the next up was carrot cake (Emma (my wife) chose this one) and then white chocolate/raspberry for the next one up. The top layer we had as fruit cake, neither of us is keen on it but we wanted to keep the traditionalists happy.
On the day, the cake was delivered early (better than late) and looked fantastic - we had a viewing the day before and the design was perfect.
When the cake was put out for eating, I managed to get a slice of the choco-cherry and by the time I went back for some more, the entire thing (except the carrot cake) was gone. I think that in itself is testimony to how nice it was.
Luckily though, the Butterflies and Angels shop in Wath sells cupcakes, so I did get to taste that utterly incredible white choc and raspberry flavour.
I would recommend Butterflies and Angels, just make sure you get extra, because your guests will lap it up.
Cost of wedding cake: £480
Wedding Meal - Two Counties Hog Roast
We had a sit down meal in the hall where we were married. We seated about 90 and the grub was provided by Two Counties, a fantastic big fat pig, with extras provided by my wife’s mother.
I could write for hours about the food, but I could never do it justice. All I'll say is that I used to love Beres, but now it pales in comparison.
Every single guest kept telling me how amazing and juicy that pork was. My gob is watering just thinking about it. I'm told the difference is that it was cooked in a bath rather than on a spit.
I'm not going to recommend this company, I'm going to tell you that you need
to get them at your wedding. I have never had such a moist, tasty piece of meat in my life. 11/10.
Cost of meal: £525 - and worth twice that.
Desert - Chocolate Delights
We tasted a few of these at wedding fayres and loved most (except the one where the owner had created a dark chocolate fountain - I love dark chocolate, but by God I don't want a gob full of it). This company offered a massive milk chocolate fountain with white chocolate one for only £50 extra. We hired them with 6 dips, and it went down well. The chocolate was "unlimited" and tasted great, as well as looked impressive as hell. They even provided plastic drink glasses so we could fill them with the chocolate rather than just having a chocolate coated strawberry.
Lovely, just lovely.
Cost of 2 huge chocolate fountains: £450
Wedding Planner - Boho
Kelly, from Boho, was great bless her, she had to deal with a very laid back couple who's outlook she couldn't really understand. She fretted quite a bit, but in the end she took the worry away from Emma, who was free to get on with enjoying the day. Everything we needed doing all we had to do was ask.
There were points at which events had her flapping, and we had to tell her to calm down, other than the wedding itself, we didn't mind if things didn't go entirely to plan as long as everyone enjoyed themselves.
We would deffo recomend a weddin planner, and deffo recomend for that to be Kelly from Boho.
Cost of "on the day" wedding planner: £150
Photographer - Footprint Photography
Ann and Nick were on untrodden ground from the start. Because of the nature of the venue a lot more planning was involved with regards to pictures, and they handled it brilliantly. They were friendly and professional, and Nick even helped dress me as I was a fidgetting idiot on the morning of the wedding lol.
We've not had our pictures back yet, so I can't really comment on the end result, though everything they did showed us that they were experienced and great at getting people relaxed for those fantastic informal shots.
We didn’t buy any albums as they are so expensive (not just from this company, but everywhere) but Footprints gives you a disc and the photos on them are your property so you can have an album made later with whatever company you choose. This sounds like something that would go without saying, but I hear that a lot of companies retain the rights to your wedding photos, just so you have to buy their albums.
Cost of photographer: £850
Food for the pre-wedding night party - Mr Chippy chip van
Because our wedding was a weekend long, we had to provide food for the Friday night. We decided on Mr Chippy, traditional fish and chips cooked in beef drippin.
All I can say is wow, and that’s pretty much what all the guests said as well. Them fish and chips have been talked about ever since, they were perfect. The van operated just like it would at any event, the guests paid for their own grub. I’ve heard that now they charge an appearance fee, or at least have a lower limit of sales before they’ll appear, but at the time we booked there was none of that in place.
Friday night food: £0
Booze – Assorted
We decided to provide wine and champagne for toasts and for during the meal. This was just a case of keeping our eyes open for special offers and deals. The champers cost us £10 per bottle from Tesco (on special from £30 per bottle) but it tasted vile (I’m not a fan of the stuff at all tbh). The wine we paid around the £5 per bottle mark and it was fairly decent quality; we provided a selection of red, white, and rose.
So for 80odd guests of drinking age we provided:
18 Bottles of champagne
15 Bottles of red wine
15 Bottles of white wine
15 Bottles of rose wine
Cost of booze: £400
Wedding makeup – Angie Warburton - email@example.com
Emma tells me the service was excellent, friendly, unintimidating, and informal. She operates her business in Litton, which was ideal for our venue location. Emma highly recommends her.
Cost of makeup for Bride and Maid of Honour: £115
We have been together for a while so we didn’t need toasters or spice racks, so we just kept a box in which people could place envelopes with money. Some guests chose to give services rather than money this saved us a bundle on what we would have paid for professional services.
Kids food during speeches was provided by my mother.
Main meal alternatives (to the hog roast), evening meal provided by Emma’s mother (luckily she’s a silver spoon caterer and so she provided a fantastic spread, though I did have to stick my oar in and insist on dripping sandwiches as well).
The music for the actual wedding (background music while people got to their seats, then the wedding march) was provided by a friend of the father of the bride. He played the viola magnificently.
DJ – ODK Disco - http://www.odkdisco.com/
The DJ for the after wedding party was a wedding gift from my brother. Due to my wife and I being terribly disorganised, we didn’t get the list of songs to him until only the week before. He did, however, tell us that this was no problem.
During the night I heard not one single song I’d chosen played, and as the generic 80’s rubbish he was playing made my skin crawl, I spend most of my wedding evening outside. When I heard the Macarena I almost told him to pack his stuff away, but the guests seemed to enjoy it.
I was told the day after by several guests that they had argued with the DJ, all for the same reason. When they had gone to him with requests, he had turned them away, telling them to go and ask Anthony (the owner of Hargate Hall) for some reason. He, rightly so, told them it was nothing to do with him and after a lot of messing about he told them it was too late to play anything they requested.
I was not impressed with the cheesy school disco; I would recommend staying well away unless that’s what you’re after.
Cost of the disco (to my brother): £385
Flowers were provided by a friend of Emma’s, a professional arranger. They looked fantastic and were dirt cheap, though she doesn’t have a business so I can’t really recommend her.
Cost of flowers: £370
Tables/chairs/glasses/cutlery – MCM Event Hire - http://www.mcmeventhire.co.uk/
Nothing we can really say about them except they were fairly priced, all arrived on time, and looked great.
Table and misc Decorations
Mini buckets, sweets, crystals etc…
Adult Bouncy Castle
Can’t remember the company we used, but there are plenty out there. A great distraction for the kids, all the adults were preoccupied drinking.
Nanny – Provided by Hargate Hall
We didn’t want the kids getting bored while they sat through the speeches and toasts, so we hired a nanny company to entertain them and give the parents a bit of a break. The nannies were great, 2 of them, and the kids loved it.
Cost for 3 hours @ £15 P.H x 2 nannies: £90
We had an amazing weekend and we’re both gutted that it’s all over.
The total price of the wedding was:
This might sound like a lot, but for a wedding it’s budget. Our wedding weekend was incredible, everything seemed lush and expensive, but most things we managed to get cut price. I would match our special day up against anybody’s for luxury, mainly because of that fantastic venue, we saved loads of money and still managed to look like we’d spent it hand over fist.
Hope this helps anybody who is currently in the planning stages.