Useful answers to questions we frequently get asked
When can I start getting ready onsite?
Access to the Courtyard Lodge is from 9am on the day of your Wedding. Earlier access can be arranged for an additional fee per hour. We ask that the lodge is vacated an hour before the ceremony so that you can enter the main building without being seen by guests arriving! This also allows for your photographer to make use of the bridal suite for some final getting ready shots. All belongings from the lodge must be taken over to the venue as we use this room for your suppliers to store their equipment / eat in.
Can we decorate the venue ourselves?
We strongly recommend using a florist or event stylist to do this on your behalf – it really does mean you can relax on the day and be pampered while everything is taken care of. Should you wish to bring in additional items such as a card box, guest book, favours etc, you can have access from 10am on your wedding day to put everything into place by a nominated guest such as bridesmaid or groomsman. Please note that you cannot have alcohol as a wedding favour.
What are your maximum numbers for a ceremony?
We can have up to 78 guests in the Gala Hall (including the happy couple!)
Who do we contact to book our ceremony?
We fall under West Berkshire registrars based at Shaw House in Newbury. They can give you information regarding their fees and availability for your preferred date. We have also had couples use a celebrant to conduct their ceremony. We strongly recommend a ceremony time between 12:30pm and 2:30pm to get the most out of your wedding day.
How many guests can be seated for a Wedding Breakfast in your Orangery?
We can accommodate up to 96 guests using round tables seating up to 8 guests per table. A banquet style table is traditional for the top table and usually seats 6 guests. We are happy to discuss different options if you have a large wedding party.
Can we source our own caterer?
No, we use Quintin’s catering who can provide a wide variety of menus to suit all budgets. They are open to discuss bespoke menus and of course can cater to any dietary requirements.
Can I bring in my own alcohol?
No, we do not offer corkage. All drinks will need to be purchased through our in-house bar. We will discuss all the options for drinks at your planning meetings. We are happy to arrange bar tabs should this be something you would like on the day.
How early should my guests arrive on the day?
We suggest you ask your guests to arrive at least half an hour before the ceremony. Our Bar will open 1 hour before your ceremony for 45 mins to allow for any guests that wish to have a drink on arrival.
Do you have a cake stand we can use?
No this should be arranged with your cake maker/supplier. We will provide a cake table and knife for cutting the cake!
Will I be able to order a specific bottle of wine or brand of alcohol?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. We do have an extensive range of drinks to suit all guests including non-alcoholic options.
Can I book a supplier that is not on your recommended list?
Yes of course! Our recommended suppliers are familiar with the venue and offer a high level of service – however we understand you may want to select your own. All we ask is that all suppliers coming into the building are covered by public liability insurance and all electrical equipment has been PAT tested. We will require certificates for our files.
What music can I have and when?
The choice is yours! We have welcomed DJ’s, bands, and many different musicians to our weddings at The Old Rectory. Musicians are permitted to play until 9pm in the garden and midnights in our Gala Hall. All suppliers must have public liability insurance and proof of PAT testing.
Can we play music ourselves?
Yes! We have Sonos speakers in the venue which can be used for your ceremony and background music. They are operated via the Sonos App and by connecting to our in-house Wi-Fi. We recommend both Spotify and Apple music for creating playlists and looking for inspiration!
Do you have a microphone for speeches?
We do not have a microphone as we find that speeches work very well with the acoustics in our Orangery without one.
Can my photographer or other suppliers visit the venue?
Yes, all suppliers are welcome to arrange a visit to the venue before your big day!
What can I drink & eat whilst I get ready?
We leave complimentary tea, coffee, and fruit juice for you to help yourselves too. You are welcome to bring in your own breakfast, snacks, and refreshments. However, you will not be able to bring any food or drink over to the venue, these must be finished with or disposed of.
Do the 6 bedrooms in the wedding package have en-suites?
No, there is a lockable bathroom with the Honeymoon Suite, but the remaining 5 bedrooms have access to 3 shared bathrooms. Couples allocate these rooms to guests of their choice – we do not take room bookings directly from your guests.
Where can our guests stay locally?
There are several hotels nearby – The Holiday Inn, The Old Bell, and The Hinds Head.
When do we have to check out?
Any guests that have not been allocated a bedroom would need to leave at midnight. For guests staying with us overnight check out is 10am.
Can cars be left at the venue overnight?
You can indeed – please collect ensure they are collected by midday the following day.
Are we allowed to bring our dog to the Wedding?
We are a dog friendly venue, but we do suggest you consider if this could cause any issue for your other guests and whether the dogs would cope well with new surroundings and a crowd of people. Dogs are not permitted in our bar, kitchen, toilets, and bedrooms.