Wedding Venues

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…

The Laceby Manor Golf Club!

My finger is in this picture because I could not see the screen at all!

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!

I took these photos out of a window and on my phone. Forgive the poor quality.

I may not be able to have a castle but at least I can have photos by a place that looks like one ūüôā

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.

These chairs are out when people first arrive so they can sit and chat and then they are cleared away during dinner to make a dance floor! Dad wants to show old pics of Chris and I on the screen.

This picture only shows about a quarter to a third of the balcony.

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.

Chris and I wanted a cash bar and this one serves coke instead of pepsi as so many do, Yay!

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.

There were two biggish pieces of beef here.

As you can see Mom got a good amount of chicken, more than was expected.

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…

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My Cousin’s Wedding

Last weekend was the wedding of my cousin Laurence and his lovely partner Katie. Katie has been in our family for a while now since she and Laurence have a very cute two year old son, Tristan, so it was great to see them tie the knot!

The wedding was held at Old Clee Church back home in Grimsby. They have some beautiful stain glass windows and it is suitably impressive for a bride to walk down the aisle. Even the pews weren’t too uncomfortable! Unfortunately there are no pictures of the inside of the church as photography was not allowed.

When we first came into the church the groomsmen gave us each a white rose for our buttonholes/dresses which was a lovely touch.¬†My cousin Fred, Laurence’s brother, was the best man during the ceremony (he and the oldest brother, James, shared best man duties with Fred filling the role at the church and James filling it at the reception).

All of the men in the bridal party (including Tristan) looked splendid in grey morning suits with dark red flowers for the buttonholes. Katie’s younger bridesmaids were wearing very cute dresses with dark red tops and white organza skirts which I believe were made by some of Katie’s family. Her Maid of Honour (which is apparently an American term?) was wearing a dress of the same red. Her dress was tight to mid-thigh and then flared out. It suited her figure very well and looked great when she was dancing.

Katie’s dress was of course the main event, as it should be. She had a beautifully long train and skirt with lots of layers and small crystals sewn in. The top was a corset style, sleeveless top again with lots of sparkles. With a long veil and her grandmother’s tiara to top it off Katie looked every bit the glowing bride. Beautiful. Her bouquet was of red roses which matched the men’s buttonholes and the bridesmaids’ dresses.

The ceremony itself was lovely. I know all of the women in my part of the family had tears in their eyes when it came to the vows! It was an honour to get to share such a precious moment with my cousin and his new wife.

After the ceremony there was the traditional throwing of the bouquet, which was un-traditionally caught by the bride’s mother! Laurence and Katie also chose to release doves as a symbolic gesture of their love along with one for Tristan showing their love for him. And now we finally have pictures!

 

 

My cousin James and my father James.
Also Chris on the left looking very serious and my Uncle Pete, the father of the Groom, on the left.

 

My dad and my cousin Fred.

Laurence and Katie had a heck of a get away vehicle.

The meal reception was held at The Old Coach House.

Starters was a choice of melon, prawn cocktails, tomato soup or chicken liver pate. I chose the tomato and Chris had the prawn. I heard the melon with rhubarb and mint compote was very good although the pate was a little runny.

 

 

The tomato soup was delicious, I would go so far as to say it was one of the tastiest tomato soups I have had.

The main course was a choice of Salmon, Chichen with mushroom, Vegetable Wellington or 21 day aged Beef.

Everyone at our table had the beef except for me, I had the chicken. However my Mom said she enjoyed her Salmon. I’m not sure if anyone had the vegetarian!

 

Supreme of Chicken Forrestiere with wild mushrooms, smoked bacon & thyme jus and baby onion compote.

 

Roast sirloin of 21 day aged beef hand carved and served with rich stock gravy.

Dessert was a choice of profiteroles, ice cream, strawberry cheesecake or forest fruit pavlova. The cheesecake was a perfect balance of sweet and tart, delicious, but the pavlova definitely stole the show on presentation.

 

And a few detail pictures.

Chris bought me a Cosmopolitan with a sparkly stick!

 

The Guestbook

 

Centrepiece

 

Place settings and favours.
Aunt Coralie’s top tip: Write each person’s food choice in the place setting so people remember what they ordered!

 

Laurence and Katie at the top table.

 

Unfortunately we had difficulty hearing the speeches as the staff decided to sort cutlery during them but what we did hear was very touching with just the right amount of humour. James did his best man speech very well, especially considering that he had had a whole day to prepare (Laurence’s original best man was unable to attend due to the birth of his daughter 2 days before). Both his speech and the Maid of Honour’s did what any good wedding speech should do and made my eyes teary. Admittedly those of you who have watched tv with me, or a movie, or seen me read or, well, met me at all know that this is not a difficult tast but still…

The evening reception was held at the Constitutional club in Cleethorpes which has a good sized dance floor and a cheap bar. What more do you want? A buffet was served there but in all honesty we were all still pretty full! The cake was also served there.

The cake was also made by relatives of Katie.

 

 

The first dance was lovely, it was clear just how in love they were. It doesn’t come out well in photo because of the lights but you can get the idea.

All in all a lovely day and I know Katie and Laurence had a great time too. It has been wonderful to see how exciting they have been finding their first week of marriage as well. The joys of Facebook updates :). I hope they have many, many happy years together. And it is good to know there is a new Hudson woman just as I am about to become a Hardman.

My sister Chloe is staying with me this week and has written a short guest blog about the wedding as well:

“Had a brilliant time. Katie and my Cousin Laurence looked wonderful, my Cousin Tristan looked so cute ¬†and Tristan looked so grown up. ¬†The food was brilliant at the Coach House.

 

The speeches were beautiful.  I hope that Katie and Spud have a very, very happy Marriage.

 

Everyone looked lovely and were very friendly.

 

I loved the Wedding out-fits. ¬†Katie’s dress and Laurence’s Morning Suits looked wonderful.

 

I really was privileged to go to the Wedding, Meal and Reception.”

 

 

Opus One (and shopping)

It is definitely wedding season. A few days after I got engaged a friend’s boyfriend also popped the question to her.¬† Then there are the two weddings that are actually taking place this September. Yesterday Kim went to her boyfriend’s brother’s wedding and next weekend is my cousin’s wedding (yes there will be plenty of pictures!).

All of this means wedding shopping!

A few weeks ago I got a lovely black dress with pink and white flowers specifically to wear to Laurence’s wedding. Kim has a lovely grey dress she was going to wear to Kieran’s brother’s wedding. Dresses sorted accessory shopping¬† was the order of the day. In TK Maxx we found two great handbags and I bought a lovely pair of shoes that go with my dress perfectly. You can see the pictures of them next week!

We spent the rest of our shopping trip searching for fascinators and boy are they hard to find! We did find some but they were always in limited colour schemes or really, really expensive. In the end we gave up and went to lunch.

Kim and I do love a high tea and in celebration of my engagement (see how I worked that in there again?) she took me to lunch at Opus One in the Raddisson Hotel on Peter Street.

We sat in the more open part by the big windows so that we could people watch. Dressing up was of course a must for such a posh hotel. I love the vaulted ceiling and red globe lights.

Image from the Raddisson Hotel website.

 

We ordered the classic high tea. They also do a champaign high tea and a gentleman’s high tea. The gentleman’s high tea features things like pie and real ale, I think it’s a cute idea and hopefully means more men will take their ladies out for something fancy.
The classic high tea comes with finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and little cakes, plus of course tea and plenty of it. Kim had Earl Grey and I had Ceylon

The sandwiches were very good, I particularly enjoyed the beef which was very flavoursome and fresh. The selection also included cheese, egg mayo, ham & mustard, prawn, tuna and salmon.

The scones were delicious although Kim and I both agreed they were on the small side. We also felt that one curl of cream between two people was very stingy.  We each had one sultana scone and one plain.

The first ‘dessert’ that we tried was the strange shot glass fruit jelly thing. This is my official name for it. We weren’t terribly keen on this dessert because the jelly was very hard and lacked flavour. We think it was supposed to be champaign flavoured but the flavour did not go all way down and I find it odd that they were serve something with alcohol in it without telling people. It would have been nicer with more fruit and wibblier jelly. (Wibblier is Chris’ contribution to my question of “What is another way of saying ‘less hard’ in relation to jelly?”)

The creamy pie dessert which Kim and I initially thought would be a meringue turned out to be banoffee with a lot of cream on it. Since I love banoffee I really enjoyed this dessert although it was incredibly rich and I had to take it slowly!

The third dessert was a chocolate cupcake with a Betty Crocker style icing top. Again it was very sweet, although a little dry. I just ate each bite with some icing and it was very good, who doesn’t love chocolate?!

My favourite of the desserts was the strawberry tart. The blend of sweetness with the slightly tarter strawberries worked perfectly and the pastry was crumbly and sweet, excellent!

The tea was, of course, delicious…it was tea! While we would have preferred the white tea pots and tea strainers we had previously at Opus One it was still loose tea which I approve of.

Overall I had a lovely day out with Kim discussing weddings, politics and shoes. Thanks for lunch Kim!