The Sunday Garden Party

The Sunday Garden Party

I  lust over those American weddings you see in the films, the three day affairs with endless speeches and champagne in a gorgeous white tent. I guess that’s what influenced our decision to have a weekend wedding and probably why I opted for the gorgeous tent at Dorfold Hall.

A three day wedding isn’t the norm and you could tell that people thought it was OTT, even some of our family didn’t really get it. This just made it even more important to me that we did it and that we did it well, I love to prove a point. Our vision was a BBQ, garden games and drinks to give us more chance to speak to our guests; particularly our evening guests as we almost doubled our numbers from 65 in the day to 130 at night. Plus, every single one of our guests was having to travel and stay in a hotel due to us coming from different parts of the country so we wanted to make it more of a weekend for them.

Finding somewhere with full weekend hire that didn’t charge the same price for each day was hard. Dorfold offer a weekend package which meant that we could have a dinner on the Friday, our wedding on the Saturday and a Garden Party on the Sunday. I’ve told you all about the Friday and the Saturday so it’s only fair I spill the beans on the Sunday too.

The Garden Party

The Sunday was branded as ‘The Garden Party’ on our invites and we asked for RSVP’s to help us manage catering. I felt the formal invitation made it feel more of a ‘thing’ rather than just asking people to pop back the following day for some food. As the RSVP’s started coming back and people committed to the Sunday I got more and more excited about it.

Guests started arriving at 12pm so it was a slightly hectic morning getting everything ready, including myself on a hangover. Although it was nice to be hands on in terms of decorations, who doesn’t love getting involved in the finishing touches? Karl Harrington performed three acoustic sets throughout the afternoon,  it was lovely to see people’s reactions when they entered the garden and saw him playing. Pimms, prosecco, beer and Vimto (Jonny’s main request for the wedding) were served from a bar that was created at the entrance to the gardens. I think a few more people would have stayed over on the Sunday night if they realised it was a free bar! Dorfold were great because they helped us find some staff to work behind the bar and generally helping us out throughout the day.

Candice and Charles did an amazing job of setting up the tables on the lawn, the rustic look was perfect because it was a different vibe to the formalities of the Saturday.  We used flower arrangements created for the Friday night dinner to decorate the tables alongside some of the displays from the Saturday.


The games

We filled the lawn with games, we had croquet, cricket, giant dominoes to name a few (Sainsbury’s sold lots of gorgeous wooden games in 2018) and to my surprise the afternoon centered around a rather competitive hybrid cricket/rounders match. I also created a treasure hunt around the grounds so that people could explore the stunning Dorfold Estate which is something I was conscious people wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do on the Saturday. Jonny thought this was going to be a flop and repeatedly reminded me of this as I created treasure maps of the grounds (typical man!). I put tubs of sweets at each point on the map where we encouraged people to take a photo. All my efforts paid off because every guest did it and I loved seeing all of the photos they took on social media in the days and weeks after. Dorfold Brides, if you are reading and want my treasure map then drop me an email or message me on my wedding stationery page and you can have it for free.


Food glorious food

Graham Eyes provided an amazing BBQ for the afternoon which helped soak up the booze from the day before. However, the best food we had was the ice cream from Snugbury’s which was served in a vintage ice cream van. Snugbury’s is only a few miles up the road from Dorfold and it’s legitimately the best ice cream in the North – trust me, I’ve tried a lot! They don’t overly advertise their services for weddings, however I’ll let you in on a secret that they are significantly cheaper than other companies who do a similar thing…

Our second photographer from the Saturday, Leah Holding also came back for a couple of hours to take some photos. My thoughts on this are that if you are going to pay to have a second event, it’s well worth getting some photos of it, even if it’s with a different photographer to your wedding day or even a guest who loves to take photos. We even used it as an opportunity to get any photos we missed on the Saturday.

The Garden Party truly surpassed my expectations, it was a really special day and so quaintly British – I loved it! I hope that’s given you something to think about if you were toying with the idea of a second day and if you’ve already booked a full weekend of celebrations, you won’t regret it.


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