Imagine holding 500 weddings in your family home. That’s 1,000 families united and some 80,000 glasses of fizz! For the past 10 years, that’s exactly what George and Katharine Buchanan have done in their beautiful 19th-century home, Hodsock Priory, in Nottinghamshire. On 29th July 2016, they will be celebrating their landmark 500th wedding there.
‘We’re amazed to think that over 10 years we have welcomed around 40,000 people to Hodsock Priory, celebrating one of the most important events in a couple’s life,’ said George, the ninth-generation owner and manager of the priory. ‘It’s an absolute honour to have been a part of so many special days, evenings and weekends.’
The couple began opening their home to wannabe newlyweds in order to solve a problem facing many owners of large country houses – how to raise enough money to keep the estate going, when repair bills can run into tens of thousands every year. George and Katherine both had backgrounds in hospitality and management, so it made sense to turn these, and their beautiful home, to good use. They set to work investing enough money to replumb, rewire, reroof and refurbish the property. The first wedding there happened almost by accident – while they were still unpacking after the refurbishment.
‘A family turned up unannounced and asked if we “did weddings”,’ relates George. ‘Their venue had closed down and we showed them around. The house was safe, clean and everything worked. They loved it as it was and went on to enjoy a simple wedding with dinner, drinks and dancing before everyone went home. Katharine was the head chef and her sister and husband ran the bar!’
Nowadays the operation is much more slick, with 10 years’ of experience under its belt. There are 12 bedrooms in the main house (plus the bridal suite) and five good hotels nearby. Your civil ceremony takes place in the oak Panelled Room, under a bank of family portraits and elegant wallpaper, with tall windows framing the view out to the North Lawn and formal gardens. The Pavilion, bar and the Ante-Room are the best locations for receptions, and can take up to 250 guests standing or 120 seated.
Catering is done in-house and Hodsock Priory has a growing reputation as a fine food venue. As for the evening celebrations, you can choose from a live band, or the house DJs from XClusive Disco, who can put together your ultimate wedding playlist. Lots of good mood lighting and a well-stocked bar means you have everything you need to make the evening go with a bang!
To make all the organising easier, Hodsock Priory has several different wedding packages to choose from, which include exclusive use of the house and gardens, an overnight stay in the bridal suite, flowers, drinks reception, wedding breakfast with wine, wedding cake and musical entertainment. Prices start from £13,500 for 60 people, and range from the budget snowdrop package to a three-day house party extravaganza!
So if you’re looking for a venue in South Yorkshire or North Nottinghamshire, request a brochure here from Hodsock Priory. As George Buchanan said, ‘Arrange a personal viewing to come and see our unique Tudor Gatehouse and explore the gardens. They make for dramatic, sensational photography at any time of year. You can wander through the House, imagine your celebrations taking place, and take a peek at the Bridal Suite where you’ll get ready and stay for the night of your wedding. We’ll look forward to welcoming you to our family home.’