Tag Archives: Somerset wedding venue

How to start planning your wedding day

Ideas for your wedding planning

Getting engaged is a wonderful time of life.  You’ve met the person of your dreams and you’ve made that commitment to spend the rest of your lives with each other. Congratulations, it’s definitely time to pop the champagne, celebrate and tell all your loved ones the great news.  Once the initial joy has settled, you’ll begin to turn your attention to making your plans for your wedding.  There are quite a few decisions to make, but if you take it step by step and have fun along the way, it will be part of the great memories you create.

Step 1  Style of wedding

Are you the intimate wedding type or the big is better type of person?  It’s such a personal choice and one that’s important to get right from the beginning.  Take some time discussing this with your partner before you do anything else.  Budget, of course, is a factor in what is affordable – but there are always ways to make your budget stretch a little bit more – call in favours from friends, for example and get them helping out.

Step 2  The Guest List

You’ve both lived a life separately and now you’re together – so your guest list needs to reflect this.  It can take a while to write your guest list, so we’d suggest working on it over a few weeks, until it feels right for you.  If you need some more tips, click here.

Step 3  Geographic Location

Did you once see a spectacular wedding venue in Norfolk, for example and ever since thought, that’s the place for me?  But maybe your family have always thought your wedding venue would be in Dorset, if that’s where you were born and brought up!  Add to the mix your partners wishes – perhaps their heart is set on a wedding in Sussex by the sea.  We know that many couples opt for a country house wedding venue in Devon because it gives a great west country weekend away feel to your wedding and perhaps can be the launch pad for your honeymoon – a week in trendy Polzeath, maybe?

As you can see there’s a lot to think about in terms of location.

The world is your oyster.  Tradition is no longer so strong in terms of being married near the family home and many couples now pay for the wedding themselves, so quite rightly, feel entitled to make the decision themselves and go for a region that feels right for them.

Step 4  Choosing your Venue

Once you’ve chosen the area you want to get married in, you can start to look at all the interesting and varied venues that are available.  There are so many possibilities, it’s really exciting.  We can’t advise you on all the alternatives, but we are experts in the country house wedding weekend and we have 2 venues for weddings in Somerset!  We think this is a great way to get married, if you are looking for a relaxed few days, centred around your wedding day, but with a day either side to enjoy the company of your family and friends.

At Widcombe Grange, a festival style wedding works particularly well.  It allows you to make the most of the 22 acres of grounds, lakes and woodlands, while providing your guests with a unique place to stay the night – yards from the party.

Or, at Tone Dale House you have the luxury hot-tub on the terrace, where you could enjoy some chill out time and a bbq the day after your wedding – so much more enjoyable than packing up and leaving the morning after your big day!

Step 5  Wedding day food

Choosing your wedding food is as individual as the rest of your plans.  We think the number one priority is to feel relaxed and confident in who you choose, so that on the day, you are enjoying yourself, not worrying about the food or service, our past couples tell us they prize this highly.  We can recommend chefs who we know, trust and work closely with, but we also spent some time sharing some more tips about choosing your wedding caterer on this blog too.

Wherever you choose to have your wedding day, have a wonderful time.  Enjoy the planning of it and make sure you do it your way!

Weddings – Widcombe Grange style


Widcombe Grange is great if you’re looking for a relaxed, chilled vibe to your country house party wedding weekend, with your ceremony at the heart of it. Set within 22 acres of private grounds, with heated pool and hot-tub, you have exclusive use for your entire stay.

Festival style house party weekend weddings

Weekend house party weddings at Widcombe Grange

The lakeside gazebo is particularly appealing for an outdoor wedding ceremony. Afterwards choose between a marquee reception, the rural barn or the characterful coach house. Within the beautiful grounds there are several positions that are wonderful for your marquee and you might want to consider a fabulous festival style wedding if you’d like more of your guests staying onsite over the weekend in a tipi village.

When you choose a house party weekend wedding you’ll be able to enjoy so much more than just a one day event.  You’ll usually arrive on a Friday afternoon and perhaps crack open a bottle of champagne to kick off your celebrations, or maybe you’ve decided to add a very personal touch by decorating your marquee with the help of some of your friends.  By evening, the hot tub will probably be central, giving you a fun, relaxing night before your big day.  Don’t forget, if you want a hand with supper, we can put you in touch with a local chef – Michelin star or homely comfort food, the choice is yours.


Channel your Glastonbury at your festival style wedding

Tipi village at a festival style wedding at Widcombe Grange

Saturday, you’ll wake up feeling like you’re getting married in your own home, not a hotel where you follow their timetable.  Pad downstairs in your pj’s and have breakfast whenever you want, wherever you want it – perhaps arrange something fun for the morning, like clay shooting, or relax with an indulgent massage.  As your ceremony approaches, our team start to discreetly do their thing, making sure you have your dream day just how you want it.  During the months leading up to your wedding, you’ll have had several meetings with us and a menu tasting, so you know the only surprises will be good ones!

Part of the beauty of the wedding weekend is that the day after, the fun still isn’t over, you won’t be packing up and saying your good-byes. Sunday allows you to carry on for one more day.  Reminiscing, laughing, relaxing by the pool.  Maybe a barbecue; get your friends and family to pitch in, or we’ll be happy to arrange help.  However you decide to spend your weekend here, you’ll have so many memories to cherish – it won’t feel like it’s over in a flash, it will feel like you’ve had the best weekend of your life and married the love of your life.


House party wedding weekends at Widcombe Grange

Charming views from the marquee towards the tipi village at Widcombe Grange


6 top tips when choosing your wedding food!


Wedding party food for a fabulous wedding day

Delicious wedding party food by Milkshed Catering at Tone Dale House & Widcombe Grange










Getting married is such an exciting time and planning for your wedding can be a lot of fun for you and your partner to enjoy.  Once you’ve chosen your wedding venue, your attention will be turning to your wedding food.  We’d like to offer a little advice, based on the hundreds of lovely weddings we’ve had the pleasure to help married couples enjoy at Tone Dale House & Widcombe Grange.  So here are some of our top tips…

#01 Choose Your Style

Decide on what style of meal you want.  Would you like a formal served meal or something more casual, say shared platters or a “carve your own” at the table?  This is very much down to your personal style, there’s no right or wrong about it.  But it’s good to think about this in advance of meeting with caterers.  You may change your mind as your decision-making progresses, but it will at least give you the basis for a meeting or phone call to start things off with your caterer.

We’d suggest that buffet style (at least for your main course) doesn’t work for wedding numbers – you’ll end up with a queue of people waiting for food, the top table having finished eating, while others won’t have started.  This can prolong the meal a lot and speeches can’t start until everyone has finished eating.

#02 Your budget

Be open about your budget with your wedding caterer and they can usually work with you to achieve as much as your budget can allow.  It’s surprising what little tweaks to your food choices can do to the overall value for money you’ll achieve.

#03 Special to you

Bride & Grooms, we really think it’s important that you choose at least some food for yourselves that you love or that means something special to you. It’s your special day so don’t just choose what other people would like …..they can have that at their own special event!!  What you select will also be part of the personality of your wedding that is uniquely you.

#04 Keep the food coming, as well as the alcohol!

Think about having canapes served with drinks, particularly important if your wedding ceremony time means people won’t have had lunch!  Likewise, consider how many hours there will be between your wedding meal and the end of your party and think about whether your guests will need evening food.  Particularly important if the alcohol is flowing!

#05 Have a tasty tasting

Arrange a tasting with your wedding caterer.  Just you, your partner and the caterer.  Don’t be persuaded to attend a group tasting, as that just generically gives you an idea of the caterer’s food. You want to sample the food that you will be eating on your wedding day. It really allows you to know what you’re getting and for the caterer to be able to know what adjustments you would like – no surprises on your big day!  Milkshed Catering (a fabulous supplier to Tone Dale House & Widcombe Grange) go the extra mile here and prepare everything for your tasting, exactly as it would be on your wedding day.

#06 And don’t forget…

This is an obvious one, but just a reminder to think about the special dietary requirements of your guests and this needs to cover all elements of the catering – canapes, evening food etc, as well as the main meal. You can also introduce a fun element into the children’s food if you are having a separate menu for them.

Above all, enjoy the process and remember if you put yourself in the hands of a great wedding venue and an excellent caterer you can relax and let their expertise guide you through.

The Big House Co Wedding Checklist – Part Two


Last week in part one of our mini series about wedding planning we set out some of the biggest wedding decisions and got them out of the way. We covered everything from working out the budget to drafting a guest list and booking the wedding venue. We also discussed the Wedding Planning with the Big House Companyimportance of getting on the case with the search for the perfect dress and identifying your photographer, florist and wedding cake supplier early on, as the most talented and popular suppliers tend to be booked up well in advance.

Finalise bookings with the suppliers mentioned above and if your wedding catering is not being taken care of in house, you should be finalising your booking with the caterer of your choice early on too.

OK. That’s the tricky stuff sorted. Now to focus on some of the fun details…!

– Your Bridesmaids & Their Outfits

Whether you are organising a small and intimate wedding and have chosen just one or two bridesmaids or you are planning a larger bash with a bigger group of ladies in waiting by your side, once you have the dress, it is time to turn your attention to the dresses your bridesmaids will wear.

Our three top tips for this task are…

  1. Take inspiration from your own dress, making sure that your bridesmaids dresses coordinate with the style and vibe of your own outfit and be sure to take the time of year into account too!Big House Company Wedding Planning Tips
  1. Give your choice of colour some serious thought. Different skin tones and hair colours look best when paired with different colours so be sure to choose a palette that will compliment all of the girls. These days it is not unusual for bridesmaid’s outfits to be picked out in a two-colour palette or even in completely different colours.
  1. Having chosen the colour, (or colours), it is time to think about the style of dress that would best suit your bridesmaids. A great option for a group of girls with very different body types may be to go for similar dresses with varying necklines and cuts to keep everyone happy!

– Getting Your Men Kitted Out

Your next task is to organise formalwear for your groom and all of the men in your bridal party, choosing a style and accessories that compliment the rest of your colour scheme. Again, it is Big House Company Wedding Planning Tipscrucial to take the time of year into account, as heavy formalwear can be particularly uncomfortable in warm weather and you do not want your men looking all sweaty!

Our two crucial top tips to remember here are…

  1. Make sure that your grooms outfit is unique in some way so that he stands out clearly from the rest of the men on your big day.
  1. Make sure that all formalwear has been tried and fitted well in advance of the big day to eliminate excruciatingly embarrassing scenarios like huge shirt collars and ankle swinging trousers. This way you have plenty of time to iron out any wardrobe glitches so that all of the guys in your bridal party look their absolute best.

– Organising Your Wedding Stationery

Your wedding stationery sets the tone for the event, after all, there is nothing like a gorgeous invitation arriving in the post to build the excitement for your guests. Your stationery design gives guests their first glimpse of the style of your upcoming event, be it chic and elegant or a wild barn dance style hooley!

There are lots of different bits and pieces of wedding stationary that you may or may not need, Big House Company Wedding Planning Tipsdepending on your plans, some are fairly essential, for example; save the date cards and invitations, your RSVP cards, directions, order of service, table numbers, menu and place cards.

There are many other items that you may also want to consider, for example; signage, wedding favour tags and your gift list. You will of course also need to think about your thank you cards to send out following the event.

Sending out save the date cards as soon as you have a date set gives people plenty of time to plan time off, transport and accommodation, pet boarding and such like. Then traditionally you would send your invitations out approximately 8 weeks before the big day, allowing plenty of time for the return of the RSVP’s and the finalisation of numbers with your caterers.

Like all other aspects of your planning, the key to choosing your stationery is coordination. There are so many fun styles and quirky ideas to choose from, just be sure to order well in advance, so that all of those bespoke details can be printed and checked with plenty of time to spare.

– Wedding Transport

If you’ve booked a Big House Company venue like Tone Dale House or Widcombe Grange, your wedding ceremony and the reception are to be held in the same place so you may not need to Big House Company Wedding Planning Tipsworry about wedding transport at all. (Although if this is the case, you could consider setting aside some of your budget to book something gorgeous like a classic or vintage car to make a stylish exit in instead)!

There are so many wonderful options to consider for transport to the ceremony plus it’ll make for a great photo opportunity… You are sure to find something right up your street, be it a vintage Rolls Royce, a shiny tractor, a tandem bicycle or even a motorcycle and sidecar!