Seven Top Tips For Planning Your Perfect Wedding Day

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You’ve decided on your wedding date and chosen the perfect venue, but there’s still more planning that’s needed before your big day…

Some venues have a wedding planner or venue manager who will take care of everything for you and discuss your options and others leave it completely up to you as a couple. At Stockton House, we like to let the couples decide how they want to spend their wedding day. There’s no set arrival and departure times or order of the day – at Stockton House it’s completely your choice and we’ll work with you to plan the wedding day you’ve always dreamt of.

Here’s a wedding checklist including a few things to consider when planning your perfect wedding day.

Credit: Simon Dewey

1. First, let’s start with the main event…

Your wedding ceremony of course! Now this will depend on where you’re planning on getting married and the type of venue you’ve chosen. However, no matter what venue you’ve decided upon there’s a few things to decide on as a couple – the time you want your guests to arrive and most importantly the time you’d like to get married. Depending on your venue there also might be different options of where you can host your wedding ceremony. Have you dreamt of an indoor ceremony, outdoor ceremony, a church ceremony…the list goes on!

At Stockton House, you have so many options in terms of where you can host your wedding ceremony. There’s a beautiful 11th century church just one hundred yards down the lane on the Apley Estate. You could host your ceremony in the beautiful historic St Chad’s church and then go down the lane with your guests for your wedding breakfast.

You can also get married in our stunning secret walled garden dining room. This incredible space is a purpose-built one hundred seater secret walled garden dining room which is licensed for civil ceremonies and can host the wedding breakfast and evening party. With state-of-the-art technology in lighting, sound and heating and with a full commercial kitchen, this will feel like your very own bespoke restaurant. The building from the outside will look like a secret garden to guests – an amazing design feature that was popular in the early 18th century. Open the grand, double doors and then you are transported into a large open space with a double curved ceiling, chandeliers and open windows to the gardens and grounds at the back of the house.

Looking for something a bit different? We have a unique Victorian turning house in the gardens here at Stockton House. This is the perfect location for an outdoor wedding! It looks beautiful dressed with flowers, and would be a great space to capture great photographs on your wedding day.

Credit: Kirsten Platt

2. Now the celebrations begin!

You’re officially married…now what happens? Are you having a drinks reception, a canapé reception, or both?! Again, this will depend on what type of venue you’ve chosen but having an idea of what you want to happen after your ceremony is a good place to start. Speak to your venue about the different spaces you could host your drinks or canapé reception and discuss the type of drinks or canapés you would like to serve your guests. Are you having some live music during your drinks reception? If so, speak to your venue about arrival times, as well as the timings of when the musicians will be playing.

At Stockton House, you can have your drinks and canapé reception wherever you like! There’s a stunning terrace area which is perfect for drinks and canapé receptions where you’re surrounded by beautiful surroundings. Amongst the gardens, there’s comfy seating areas and lovely flowers and greenery. If you’re looking to host your wedding ceremony inside, then our stylish bar room or drawing room are also great spaces for guests to wander around during the drinks or canapé reception.

Credit: Simon Dewey

3. It’s time for the wedding breakfast

Where do you begin? Work with your wedding planner, venue and caterer to plan the finer details in terms of your wedding breakfast. You’ll need to think about your menu, timings, table plans, table settings, decorations, music and lots more!

Firstly, decide on the delicious food and drink being served. Will you be having a traditional three-course wedding breakfast, a sharing wedding breakfast, or maybe a six course tasting menu is more your style!? At Stockton House, you can have whatever food and drink you like. And we really do mean it, all you need to do is let us know what you’d like and we’ll make sure we prepare everything exactly how you like it. It is your wedding day after all! We’ve created a few sample menus to inspire you and give you a taste of what we can offer here at Stockton House.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll then need to consider the drinks selection during the wedding breakfast. Do you want to stay traditional and serve your guests red and white wines, or is there a favourite cocktail you’d like, or maybe you’d prefer a spirit.

Credit: Kirsten Platt

4. Did someone say wedding cake?

Now, not everyone has a wedding cake but if you’re a cake lover then this is the section for you. There’s so many options when it comes to wedding cakes, you can have a traditional classic wedding cake, cupcakes, or even a delicious ‘cheese’ cake – and yes this is a cake made of cheese!

We would suggest speaking to your venue about when you’d like to cut the cake (if you’re having a wedding cake of course). It’s also good to confirm who is going to be cutting the rest of your cake and serving this to your guests – as this is sometimes included as an extra cost.

At Stockton House, we’ll take care of everything for you. We’ll go through the timings for your day, and make sure everything runs smoothly. And don’t worry, we’ll be happy to portion and serve wedding cake to your guests – this is also included within the cost of the venue hire!

5. Let’s make a speech

There’s nothing better than a lovely heartfelt speech from your loved ones, but have you thought about when you’d like to have your speeches?

Traditionally the speeches tend to happen during or after the wedding breakfast, but at Stockton House you can have them whenever you like! If you’d like your speeches during or after your wedding breakfast, you could have them in our stunning secret walled garden dining room. Alternatively, if it’s a beautiful summer’s evening, you could have them outside on the beautiful terrace or garden. Just imagine the sun starting to set, twinkling lights on the trees, and enjoying a crisp glass of sparkling champagne during the speeches – just perfect!

6. The party gets started

Your evening guests start to arrive, the drinks are flowing and the music is playing. It’s now time for your first dance. The big question you’ll need to ask yourself here is of course, what song are you going to have?! Are you going to have any evening entertainment, and have you thought about evening food for your guests?

At Stockton House, we take care of all the food and drink for you. When it comes to evening food there’s so much choice. You could finish your wedding breakfast by going street-food with a tasty Paella or perhaps enjoy some delicious Pad Thai. If you’re struggling for ideas for your evening food, check out some sample menus crafted by our amazing chefs.

Credit: Kirsten Platt

7. And the celebrations don’t stop there…

You can stay at Stockton House for as long as you like! So, if you want to celebrate your wedding day a little longer you can. We love making every wedding we host a unique, personal and special experience, so we have some extra indulgent treats that you might like to enjoy during your stay.

You could enjoy a private champagne tasting in our amazing vaulted wine cellar! We’ve sourced some incredible wines, champagnes and English sparkling wines that you really must try… they’re so delicious! You could also complement this with a mouth-watering canapé evening for all your guests (if you’re staying the night before of course).

You could also let our chef team put together a special dinner menu for all staying guests the night before the wedding. We can pair some delicious wines from our vaulted wine cellar as you relax with family and friends and look forward to your big day. Very exciting!

Want to extend your wedding celebrations and make your wedding last longer? You could invite your guests back for a leisurely picnic in the garden. Relive your special day, share stories and enjoy making the most of having your own country house to host another day, which you won’t want to end.

We hope this blog has given you a helping hand with your wedding planning, as we know it can be quite daunting! If you have any questions, or would like to book a private viewing at Stockton House contact us today.

Happy Wedding Planning!