Couple: Claire & George
Ceremony: Haddon Hall
Location: Hollowgate Farm, Peak District
Photographer: Nathan Dainty Photography
Make Up: Jenn Edwards
Marquee: Shades – Aurora Sailcloth
Flowers: Sweet Pea & Thyme
Catering: PJ Taste
Evening Pizza Van: Proove
Band: Black & Gold
Last Summer we were so lucky to work with George and Claire, who owns The Village Green Events Company. As a Wedding Planner, Claire was planning her own Wedding (for a change), and as you can imagine, their day incorporated the best of everything! We catch up with Claire and pick up a few of her top tips from someone who has been there, planned their own and is happily enjoying married life on the other side..
What would you recommend as your top 3 things to consider?
If you’re planning to organise a marquee wedding, I would start looking into locations first. It’s worth considering your marquee location (preferably somewhere fairly flat) alongside your ceremony location. It’s important to consider both options before booking anything.
I’d recommend opting for a ceremony location that is close to your marquee location so you don’t waste a big part of your wedding day travelling. Alternatively, you can always opt for a humanist ceremony so everything takes place at your marquee location (and then get legally married elsewhere in the days running up to your wedding).
I’d also recommend looking for marquee locations that are not established wedding venues. These places will usually be cheaper and more relaxed in terms of start and finish times. For example, Hollowgate Farm is run by a lovely family who were very accommodating. They allowed us to hire their field for the entire week of our wedding, which made set up and take down really relaxed and we were also able to party until 2am on the night of our wedding because they didn’t impose any restrictions.
I’d also recommend getting a Temporary Events Notice from the local council to cover any live entertainment and sale of alcohol at your wedding. This is important in case you get anyone trying to object whilst you’re setting up your wedding or on the day of your wedding.
What did you enjoy the most about your day?
I loved how personal everything was. Hollowgate Farm has a very special story attached to it because George lived next to it when we first met and he proposed on Curbar Edge, which can be seen from the field.
The fact that Kate and Ron were so accommodating and allowed us to do what we wanted made our day that extra bit special. We were also able to hand pick every single supplier which ensured we were 100% happy with everything and so were our guests.
How did it feel to be the Bride instead of the wedding planner? Did you manage to switch off and enjoy the day fully?
I loved being the Bride but I was still in planning mode for most of the day. Thankfully two members of my team managed the day perfectly so I didn’t have anything to worry about but I still kept thinking about our schedule and whether it was running to plan. It’s hard to switch off when you’re so invested in events planning but I still had an amazing time. I managed to completely let my hair down and party when Vintrobar rocked up with the cocktails and we had an amazing band called Black and Gold which got the party started.
What parts are you glad you spent time thinking about and planning?
I’m really pleased that we spent a lot of time thinking about our venue options and budget before we booked anything. We looked at a number of different venues and some were extortionate and very inflexible. I’m pleased that we bided our time because we found the perfect venue in the end.
I’m also pleased that we really thought about which marquee would work the best for us. Our Shades Aurora tent was perfect because we could open up the sides throughout the day which meant our guests had uninterrupted views of the Peak District – our marquee really made the most of the location. Because we had a marquee wedding, we were also able to save on things like table wine (thank you Sainsbury’s for your regular buy 6 save 25% deals), catering (there’s so much more choice out there when you aren’t tied to specific suppliers), flowers (we worked with Cath at Sweet Pea and Thyme) and our cake (which was made by a friend).
I’m also really pleased that we thought a lot about our guests and their experience on the day. It meant that they were constantly entertained in a relaxed, informal way.
What you think your guests enjoyed the most about your day?
Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I think our guests loved all the little extras that we considered. My main concern was ensuring that our friends and family were entertained and relaxed at all times during the day. So we had archery on arrival at Haddon Hall, acoustic music during the wedding ceremony, acoustic music by Black and Gold on arrival to Hollowgate Farm and lots of complimentary drinks.
We were also really generous with the canapés and food. I think it’s important to treat your guests as much as you can. It’s a long day so ensuring they have enough to eat is important. PJ Taste did an amazing job of our catering, which was Mediterranean sharing-style. We then had pizza by Proove in the evening, alongside crisps, sweets and cake. Everyone was stuffed which was my aim.
What do you think is the main difference for couples using a wedding planner like yourself – not only to the planning, but on the day itself?
I think being able to plan your own wedding is really liberating but it’s also extremely hard work. At the very least, I would recommend to everyone planning a marquee wedding to get some help with set up and on the day management. The beauty of my company is that we have an amazing set up team who work on large scale corporate events, weddings and pop-up cinema events all the time so we are very used to setting up events in any location, we absolutely love a challenge.
We also coordinate weddings and an on-the-day wedding coordinator is also incredibly useful because they will ensure everything is running smoothly, from ensuring your generator is working properly, to your suppliers turning up on time, to ensuring your day runs to schedule.
If you’re lucky, you’ll only ever need to plan one wedding in your life and it’s easy to cut corners by not seeing the value in set up and coordination help. I would wholeheartedly recommend that couples invest in some help because otherwise it’s stressful and not relaxing in the slightest.
Even I had wedding coordinators on the day and I’m really pleased that I did.
If you’d like to know more about planning your Wedding with Shades, do get in touch today – we look forward to speaking with you.