Foodie wedding | Where to get hitched

February 7, 2013


You don’t have to take your own gourmet picnic to have a fabulous foodie wedding. Discover some of the West Country’s best venues for gourmets and guests.

Chandeliers and wildflower meadows

A romantic setting in Dartmoor, Moorland Garden Hotel is a very special hotel and home of The Wildflower Restaurant. With all its locally sourced and seasonal produce, it’s a great place to work with the kitchen team to create a bespoke wedding breakfast for your guests. The hotel has a range of suites and bedrooms with garden views for the wedding party.

Insider’s tip: Host your wedding breakfast in the hotel’s Crystal Room. With its 12 chandeliers, ornate mirrors and doors onto the garden lawns, it’s a decadent setting. Also ask for photos in the wildflower meadow.

Married in a microbrewery

A lovely sun terrace with sea views, fantastic grub and an on-site brewery make The Driftwood Spars in St Agnes a great venue for a foodie wedding. Named after the ceiling beams in the bar – recovered ships’ spars from vessels wrecked at nearby Trevaunance Cove – this 17th century hostelry has won CAMRA’s Cornwall Pub of the Year for the last two years. The food is as local as the beer with meat and seafood sourced from nearby farms and local fisherman. The staff frequently go foraging for wild ingredients such as elderflowers, too. With brewer Peter Martin’s beers and chef Geoff Ketterer’s cooking, menus are tailor-made and the beach is only a few minutes’ walk away.

Garden wedding with a difference

For those looking for a more unusual and intimate garden wedding, The Magdalen Chapter‘s Potting Shed is a luxurious hideaway in the hotel’s gardens. It can seat up to ten guests for a meal. Alternatively, the hotel’s restaurant, Chapter 1, can seat up to 14 guests with menus starting from £19.50 per person.

Insider’s tip: Head chef Ben Bulger is formerly of Riverford Field Kitchen.

King and queen of the castle

From its beautiful rose garden to its grand interiors, The Castle at Taunton is fit for a royal wedding at affordable prices – with packages starting from £45 per person. The four star hotel can host the ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception, offering special accommodation rates for guests. Make the most of head chef Liam Finnegan and his team, who’ll create fabulous buffet menus or four course dinners to suit. Don’t miss its wedding fayre on January 6, 2013.

Insider’s tip: The Castle is just a short stroll across the newly remodelled Castle Green from Taunton’s registry office.

Master Chef of Great Britain

The Arundell Arms‘s head chef is Steven Pidgeon – internationally recognised for his modern British cuisine and one of only 80 Master Chefs of Great Britain. Who better to talk through your wedding breakfast ideas and help create a menu to suit your tastes? Take your vows in the licensed Tamar Room, enjoy drinks in the terraced garden, feast in the restaurant and dance the night away in the drawing room.

Insider’s tip: The hotel’s renowned for its 20 miles of private river, fly fishing and beautiful lake.

Barnsley House

Temple of love

Barnsley House in Gloucestershire holds wedding ceremonies in its gorgeous temple for up to 40 guests, surrounded by its legendary gardens. Alternatively have your ceremony in its Potager Restaurant followed by a wedding breakfast created by executive chef Graham Grafton. As well as Italian influence, the gardens are such a integral feature of the menus; Graham liaises with the gardeners every day to ensure his menus are perfectly in tune with what’s being picked.

Insider’s tip: Ask the hotel about organising a hot air balloon ride across the Cotswolds so that you can toast your big day with a glass of bubbly in the sky.

Count your lucky stars

Lucknam Park is a romantic Palladian mansion near Bath. Built in 1720, the hotel is situated in 500 acres of beautiful countryside in the Cotswolds and caters for intimate or grand occasions. With guests including the likes of prime ministers, members of the royal family and stars of stage and screen, you can rest assured the wedding breakfast crafted by Michelin-starred head chef Hywel Jones (pictured) and the hotel’s sommelier is going to be very special indeed.

Insider’s tip: Arrange to arrive by helicopter.

Treehouse vows

With a treehouse to say your vows in and a millstream for a duck race, The Mill House Inn in Trebarwith, Cornwall, is a great location for couples looking for a more intimate wedding venue. Its kitchen team works hard to create menus that are unique to each couple – whether that’s beer-battered cod or haddock hot pot – and everything is homemade. Its desserts are particularly popular.

Insider’s tip: Owner Mark Forbes recommends planning for 4-5 canapés per guest and provide five or six options.

Good manors

Lewtrenchard Manor is a grade two listed, Jacobean style manor house on Dartmoor that’s steeped in history. Descend the grand oak staircase, have your champagne reception by a roaring log fire, enjoy afternoon tea on the lawn or banquet in the  marquee. The hotel can be hired exclusively to host the ceremony, reception and evening party.

Insider’s tip: Head chef John Hooker sources 75 per cent of produce for his menus from within the hotel’s walled garden. He offers a personal service to create a bespoke wedding breakfast.

Looe Island

Island paradise

You don’t need to jet off to the Med to get married on a private island. In partnership with the Wildlife Trust, Barclay House in Looe, Cornwall, offers an exclusive wedding package, including your wedding ceremony on Looe Island with the reception at Barclay House – a gorgeous, white-washed Victorian villa. The island includes the ruins of a Benedictine chapel. The hotel’s award winning chef Joe Sardari will design a wedding breakfast to suit your taste.

Insider’s tip: Ask Joe to make you his hand-decorated cupcake favours.

Heart’s a flutter

If you love the excitement and lavish tradition of jump racing, the Jockey Club offer its racecourses as wedding venues at Cheltenham, Exeter and Wincanton. With an army of chefs catering for all the VIP racecourse events, it’s a great opportunity to work with the kitchen team to create a bespoke menu – whether it’s a buffet or sit-down meal. Some of the sample menus include Gloucester old spot belly pork, Coln Valley smoked salmon and prawn tian and local cheeses. All three racecourses offer stunning views over the surrounding countryside.

Insider’s tip: Ask for photos at the finishing line or on the winner’s podium.

Foodies’ heaven

Devon’s Bovey Castle is the only five star hotel and country estate in the county and one of the grandest locations for a wedding. Expect to find elegant architecture, beautiful landscaped gardens and fantastic food by head chef Marc Hardiman. The bride and groom can take part in a private sloe gin making session in the cosy Long Barn. Labelled with the date of their wedding day, the couple are invited to return on their first wedding anniversary to sample the bottle’s contents. The hotel has also just launched a new wedding cake service. Head patisserie chef Jemima Paddon works with couples to design and make a bespoke confection for the big day.

Insider’s tip: Arrange to have the rings delivered by Archimedes, a white-faced scops owl, who swoops down the aisle and lands on the glove of the best man or page boy.


Read more about foodie weddings in the latest issue of food magazine.

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