Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in responding to you, it's been a very busy week! Married life is treating us very well thank you and it was amazing to start out as husband and wife from the hotel.
We started out writing a list of everyone we would like to invite to the wedding, and as we have a geographically very wide group of family and friends an important consideration of venues to visit was that there was accommodation available for guests to stay over after the ceremony. We very quickly narrowed down a list of venues and booked an initial consultation at the end of January 2016. As I am not religious I had in my head that our civil ceremony would take place within the venue, so hadn't considered Normanton Church for the ceremony. It was therefore a very happy coincidence that there was an open day that day, and Wayne Colby recommended we go and have a look round as the number of guests we had in mind (100) was slightly larger than could best be accommodated in the hotel for the ceremony, although we were assured they could all be catered for after the ceremony.
We talked to Wayne and confirmed our maximum budget at the initial consultation, and after seeing the church booked our wedding date as we were completely bowled over by the hotel and the location. Through the planning process Wayne was available via email, although he did scare us by sending over the detailed quote with the following year’s price which blew our budget and caused a bit of panic! Each time we came to visit Wayne printed our details and checked any additional requirements we had or refinements we had made. Daniel Hillman-McDonald recognised us each time we visited and was very friendly and helpful. We came for a menu tasting with both sets of parents and absolutely loved all of the samples we had - it made narrowing down the final choices difficult as the food was so delicious!
We were a little restricted with timings on the day due to the availability of the church - ideally we would have got married at 1 or 2pm, but unfortunately another couple had already booked that slot (there are three two-hour slots available), and as I am not a morning person we opted for the later slot and got married at 4pm. This meant that I missed the drinks reception as we held that before the ceremony, but the guests loved the drinks out in the garden overlooking the water. We scheduled the receiving line for 5:15pm, with wedding breakfast at 5:30, although these slipped slightly due to the photos after the ceremony and the number of people coming through the line to say hello to! Considering the volume of covers the kitchen provided, every plate was immaculate, the food was hot and delicious.
We went to a wedding fair and were introduced to a company called Savage Wedding Services (www.savage-weddings.co.uk) who did all our table arrangements and table plans (the biggest headache there being who to sit with who on the day!). We met Sue at the hotel and were able to see the space we would have available and how it would look on the day. The only issue we had was that I had to act as an intermediary closer to the wedding as Sue wasn't able to get any answer to emails she had sent asking when the room would be available for her to set up on the day. I rang and spoke to Daniel and he was able to give me an answer which I was then able to pass on to Sue.
My Mum and I stayed at the hotel the night before the wedding, along with two sets of guests, and had more wonderful food. The bedrooms were amazing, very comfortable beds, incredibly clean and nicely decorated.
On our wedding day Daniel was an absolute superstar. He seemed to be on hand whenever a question needed answering, and was a fabulous MC for us. He organised to push back the evening food as the timings had slipped for the start of the evening reception and first dance.
The waiters and bar staff were brilliant as well, smiles on their faces all day, and I don't know when they slept as they were clearing tables when we gave up at 1:30am, and were there bringing much needed tea and coffee along with breakfast supplies early the next morning.
We have had so many compliments about how well the wedding went, and how stunning the venue was. We can't thank you all enough for making the day so memorable.