So now we’ve booked our venue (more on that soon!) I wanted to tell you about a few of the venues we saw during our search, and we saw a lot!
First up, Hilltop in Prestbury, you may recognise this venue if you’ve had a nosey at Laura & Jason Kenny’s wedding photos. It’s a family run country house with gardens galore so if you’re looking for a Spring/Summer wedding then this place really does have the most gorgeous spots for photos.
We looked around Hilltop on a miserable Saturday in January so my pictures aren’t the best so do make sure you go on the website and look and some pictures of the gardens in all their glory. Personally, I think Hilltop is a great option for a Spring/Summer wedding so you can take full advantage of those gardens. It’s a really reasonably priced venue and the owners are more than happy to do anything to make your vision happen at Hilltop. If you’re looking for an intimate venue that has different spaces for your ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception then Hilltop could well be for you! However, if you’re not looking for a wedding that is mainly outside or in a marquee then somewhere like Thornton Manor might be a better fit. Also, if the idea of decorating an empty marquee and finding different suppliers terrifies you then Peckforton may be a good but expensive alternative.
The Ceremony Space
At Hilltop you can choose to get married on the lovely terrace overlooking the gardens, there’s not an aisle as such but you can walk through the beautiful gardens and make your entrance in a unique way. It would look beautiful but I think I’d worry about my heels in the grass!
Alternatively or if you’re not so lucky with the weather or worry about walking up the garden you can get married in a lovely pale blue room in the house (this also doubles up as a getting ready room for you and your bridesmaids in the morning if you wish).
It goes without saying that standing in the beautiful gardens with a glass of champagne and maybe dabbling in a game of giant Jenga or two would make any guest feel happy whilst you’re posing for photos. One huge benefit of Hilltop is that you can provide your own drinks for the drinks reception (approx. £11 per bottle) so you can indulge your guests in whatever you know they love.
You may be at a country house but the main part of your day is spent in a lovely marquee with removable sides so you can continue to benefit from those lovely gardens. The marquee is a good size and is re-fitted before the first wedding of the year, it has ‘proper’ toilets and the beauty of the marquee is that it’s yours to play with.
Hilltop has an onsite caterer (a former groom) and all of their food is locally sourced to help the community which is a lovely touch. The lamb actually comes from the field next door…
The menu prices are extremely reasonable with the cheapest menu starting at £40 p/p and as the chef is so flexible, if there’s anything you particularly want to serve at your wedding then they can prepare that for you. The same corkage rules apply throughout your wedding breakfast so head to ALDI for some New Zealand Sauvignon and treat your guests to some wine with dinner.
A lovely perk of Hilltop is that when your speeches/wedding breakfast are over, you don’t need to wait for the venue to shift tables or for the DJ/band to lug their kit in because Hilltop hides a secret… The boogie room!
Effectively a small club, the boogie room is built in an outhouse that is connected to the marquee, when it’s time to start the party, part of the lining of the marquee is moved and the boogie room is revealed. There’s plenty of room for a band and the resident DJ is a steal at £395 (if you book in advance). If you’re worried about doing your first dance in a club, you can opt to have your first dance in the marquee before the boogie room opens.
The bar is run by a company called ‘Thirst Aid’, they’re a stylish set up and the drinks prices aren’t cheap but aren’t extortionate either. There’s also an option to give your guests tokens if you want to provide some free booze at night.
If you’re having evening guests, it’s worth noting that they will be welcomed into the main house until you’re ready for them, they can order drinks from staff, or you could set up another drinks reception just for them.
There are only 4 rooms at Hilltop and if I’m honest they aren’t great, we were told they are all being re-painted and ‘fixed up’ ahead of wedding season but I’m not sure if this will make a huge difference. The bridal suite is complementary but additional rooms are priced at £84 a room. The next morning a full English breakfast is served in the family kitchen for all those that have stayed which would be a lovely way to reflect on the big day. There are plenty of other hotels close by to Hilltop in varying price ranges so there is somewhere for all of your guests to stay.
One thing to note is that you can only book the accommodation the night before your wedding IF there is no wedding the day before. So if you’re looking for 2 nights on site, this may not be the place for you.