As summer begins to fade into autumn, there is plenty to celebrate about the turning of the seasons, and Hodsock Priory offers a magnificent setting for your autumn wedding. Set in 800 acres of grounds, with a mix of woodland, formal gardens, open lawns and a lake, the garden display is not to be missed; the carefully tended formal flower beds are still in full bloom, having been thoughtfully planted with a variety of flowers designed to their best throughout the seasons, while the striking autumn trees offer a fabulous backdrop to a wedding photo shoot as their leaves turn various shades of red and gold.
Unique to the area around Hodsock Priory is the Catalpa Indian Bean tree, which is still in flower in September. These spectacular trees catch the eye with their white blooms and large heart-shaped leaves, which remain a vivid green until the first frosts.
Hodsock Priory is an impressive country house, privately owned and currently the home of the ninth generation of residents, George and Kat Buchanan, who live there along with their four children. The estate has a fascinating history, having been host to four Kings of England, including Henry VIII, for whom the iconic Tudor Gatehouse is thought to have been built.
Now run as an exclusive-use wedding venue, the manor house is the ideal venue for a long weekend of celebration, with luxurious overnight accommodation for the bride and groom in the wedding suite and for guests in the 5* B&B, The Courtyard. Alternatively it can be hired on a one-day basis from midday to midnight; fully licensed for weddings and civil partnerships, you can host your guests here from start to finish. However, if you prefer to conduct your legal ceremony in church or elsewhere, then they will provide a first-class venue for the rest of your celebrations.
With years of experience, a dedicated team of experts and more testimonials from happy couples than can be counted, Hodsock Priory is perfectly set up to make the most of a surprise Indian summer or those atmospherically misty autumn days.
As George Buchanan says, ‘We’ve observed September wedding parties to be quite chilled out and fun but still romantic. Everyone enjoys the warmth of the summer but without the intense heat of the early season. Wedding guests are encouraged to make use of the grounds, strolling by the stream or through the gardens and playing croquet on the lawn.’
One couple who fulfilled their autumn wedding dreams is Laura and Jon, who were wed in September 2014. Having to organise their wedding from afar did not prove to be a problem for Laura and Jon; they were familiar with the venue from a previous visit, and knew that they could rely on the events team, headed up by the marvellous Lynda Pepper, to get everything right. They opted for the Grand Wedding Package, which includes everything from flowers to the wedding cake, a three-course wedding breakfast complete with wine and bubbly for the toasts, the evening entertainment and a night in the opulent bridal suite.
As Laura explains, ‘We trusted Lynda implicitly with everything from her knowledge of caterers to photographers, and we knew she wouldn’t let us down or disappoint us on any level. I really didn’t feel any stress on the day of our weedding, aside from thet first dance!’
The couple exchanged their wedding vows in a nearby church, St. Mary and St. Martin, from where minibuses transported their guests to the reception at Hodsock Priory. They arrived through the Tudor Gatehouse to the sound of harpists, and were immediately able to relax and enjoy the reception drinks and canapes, created by Gail Dandy Catering, who also provided the delicious three-course wedding breakfast.
With such a refined setting, Laura and Jon didn’t feel it necessary to go over the top with a theme. The decoration for their wedding breakfast, held in The Pavilion, was kept simple and elegant, with navy accents here and there to complement the navy ceiling panels of the room. Laura had been inspired by a bridal magazine showcasing beautiful bouquets; it was a pleasure for house florist, Kay, to recreate a gorgeous bridal bouquet for Laura from the pictures she was given, along with several tall floral displays in pastel hues.
The September sun shone upon this couple for their wedding day, and the guests were able to enjoy a gloriously warm afternoon of croquet and garden games on the lawn before heading back inside for the traditional cake-cutting – the three-tier cake was baked and decorated by house cake maker, Yvonne Fretwell – and evening entertainments.
Guests were treated to all their favourite songs by a Lincolnshire based covers band, who played the requests sent in by the guests with their RSVPs. After a wonderful evening of dancing and laughter, catching up and tucking into the enormous cheese tower and biscuits, it was finally time for the night to draw to a close.
As Jon and Laura looked back on their special day, they have nothing but happy memories: ‘No one could doubt the beauty of the venue but it’s backed up with exceptional service from George, Lynda and the team. The staff make your day even more of a fond memory as they go over and above what’s needed and always do the right thing. They really help to enhance and improve your special day. The nature of the venue will attract you there, but it’s the people that make you want to book it.’
If you’d like to know more about the all-inclusive fixed price packages available at Hodsock Priory, or love the idea of a stunning September wedding, just get in touch!