Chris and I have had a very hectic month since we got engaged. Since we decided we want to get married in the summer and did not want to wait too long we opted for June 2013 for our wedding date. Since this is only 9 months away and most magazines give you a ‘things to do 9-12 months in advance’ list we thought we better get cracking!
Picking the venue for the ceremony was relatively easy. I say relatively because choosing between Manchester and Grimsby was very difficult but once we had chosen a side of the country it was straight forward. This is mostly because I chose the ceremony venue when I was about 5. Like many girls I have been planning this for a while!
St. James’ Minster in Grimsby is where we went when we first moved to Grimsby. Of course when I was 5 it was called St. James’ church, the Minster appellation is quite recent and I find it strange. Mind you I do think it is cool that we will get married in a ‘Minster’. While we left St. James’ when I was 10 or 11 it is still the church I was confirmed in, the church I was an altar girl in and the prettiest/grandest church in the area.
It also happens to be a 10 minute walk from my parents’ house which is rather handy since I keep sending them down there to liaise for me. This is the disadvantage of having it in Grimsby, not that my Mom seems to mind, in fact she is very enthusiastic and has been to check out several reception venues for us. She is my R&D woman.
Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the inside of the church but it is light and airy with beautiful windows and a suitably long and wide aisle to walk down. I want to make sure everyone has plenty of time to look at my dress.
I’m hoping the weather is as good as they day I took these pictures!
Choosing the reception venue was much harder. We decided early on that it would be easier to get an all-in-one venue rather than hire a hall, caterer, decorator, furniture etc… separately especially since I do live on the wrong side of the country.
This did not help narrow it down much as there are a lot of clubs, bars and hotels in the Greater Grimsby area that cater for weddings. We did a lot of research online and sent out Mom to do some initial recon.
She managed to book visits at a few local places. She and Chris and I put together a questionnaire to take to each place. Mom went to three places and then Chris and I visited a further two when we were home last. We also drove passed the ones Mom had checked out since some had potential.
The first place Mom went to was the Brackenborough Arms.
While it was a lovely location it was the most expensive of the venues we looked at and also one of the smallest. Between Chris and I we realised we had far more family and friends than we would have guessed so space is definitely high on our requirements list. We decided we needed somewhere big enough for 70-100 people inside because with British weather you just can’t guarantee sunshine!
The second place that Mom visited for us was the Mill House out at Covenham.
Because they were having a wedding there the day we drove passed I was unable to get a photo of this location so you will have to look at their website. The Mill House was one that I liked a lot, on paper at least. It is an old bar with extensive gardens. Unfortunately the ‘inside’ space is actually outside in a marquee and to get to the bar you have to go outside. From what we saw it looked very pretty but, again, there was too much riding on good weather. That being said it was a beautiful, warm day last Sunday when we were there so it was perfect for the people having their reception, good for them! Chris also liked this location because it was a Black Sheep bar. We also know they do good food.
Thirdly Mom checked out a place in town which is right next to the church and, indeed, shares its name. I have no pictures of this one whatsoever since I have been passed it many times and even in it a few. With limited time to view places Chris and I decided the St. James Hotel was one we did not need to visit since we already knew what it was like.
This one did meet a lot of our requirements, it was spacious and also the cheapest place we looked at. They got major points with Mom for giving her a cup of tea when she looked around (an indication of a polite and efficient staff). Overall St. James had high potential especially since it would be very easy for our guests to get to following the ceremony. It would also be easy for people only coming to the evening reception to grab some dinner in town and join us later. In the end though it was the convenient location that lost it points: we decided a Saturday night in town probably was not the best place for a reception and I just wanted something a bit grander. Yes, I am a snob, as I said, I’ve been planning this a long time.
Now, you will have to forgive me for breaking chronology but it is anti-climatic to talk about the place we loved followed by the place we hated so I’m going to do them backwards.
We knew from the second that we went into the reception room that we were going to say ‘no’ to the Stallingborough Grange Hotel.
While outside it was pretty with a thatched roof area and a large pond the inside was very dated. The room in which the reception would be held had a low ceiling, no windows and a decor that would have looked old fashioned in the 70s. It was also quite small, although they said it would hold the number of people we want to come I doubt it. Mom and I both felt claustrophobic just walking in and that was with 5 people! They also said that people had to stand outside on arrival. While the lawn area had some benches and would be pleasant to hang around in on a sunny day it would be awful in the rain. Even on a nice day I would not want to force our grandparents to wait around outdoors. On top of this it was more expensive than our preferred venue! It was a shame really as Mom said she has been here for work dos and had a good time.
So, on to the one we chose…
Drum roll please…
Now I originally dismissed this venue because it was a golf club and because the outside wasn’t overly impressive but that was a mistake. Mom had previously gone passed it having heard good reports from friends and she instantly recommended Chris and I go see it ourselves. And she was right!
I immediately liked the location of the golf club, easily accessible by main roads out of Grimsby but far enough away from the roads to be quiet and isolated. Because it is a golf club it has extensive grounds which can be viewed from the large balcony or huge windows. They have also set up an area that is specifically for taking wedding photos…bring on the good weather!
However, as I already said, outside space is of secondary importance in England but the inside space at Laceby Manor really sold it! The dining area was massive with a good sized dance floor over by the bar and a massive balcony area as well. After having had the speeches interrupted at Laurence’s wedding by noisy neighbour’s one of our stipulations was that we have a private area. Here we were getting the entire of the top floor.
I liked the candles on the wall and the plants in the corners, I felt they added a touch of elegance and class, while the wood finish made the room feel spacious and light. I particularly liked the chairs: they look good and, more importantly, they are comfy! I wanted a place where I did not have to have chair covers because I feel that they can make it look like a venue is in the middle of being painted.
Chris and I both fell in love with this venue immediately. You know how you go to a place and you can see yourself there? It was just like that, I could picture Chris and I here, along with all our friends and family, and my ‘big, white frock’ as Chris calls it would not look out of place. I did say I needed somewhere suitably grand and I think this definitely fits the bill outside of the castle I could never afford.
The one thing that Laceby Manor did not have which we wanted was rooms since it is not a hotel. However they are in the middle of renovations and are expecting to have created a Bridal Suite as well as several guest rooms by next April.
They did have a nice bonus instead that the groom and 3 friends get a free round of golf. Chris approves of this!
Their wedding co-coordinator also offered us a cup of tea on arrival so major points there!
To round off our decision Chris decided we should have lunch at the golf club since no matter how nice the room is it is all for naught if the food is awful. Let’s just say it was not a concern once lunch was served, the food was delicious (and reasonably priced, if you are in the area go there for lunch).
Chris, Dad and I went for the Sunday roast while Mom healthily opted for a Chicken Caesar salad.
The beef was tender and flavourful and Mom’s chicken was very good quality meat.
Our roasts came with a selection of chef’s veggies and potatoes. The veg were perfectly cooked, just slightly al dente, plus I enjoyed the colourful presentation.
Well now all of you who are coming can see where you’ll be for the evening and hopefully others getting married in Grimsby will be able to get a few ideas.
The wedding menu will remain a secret however…
…As will the dress…