What to ask potential wedding suppliers?

So the question has been ‘popped’, you’ve started making plans and are beginning to get a feel for how you’d like your wedding to be.

Now may be the time to consider going to a wedding fair. Here at Rockbeare Manor, near Exeter in Devon, we’ve exhibited at a couple of fairs recently, and it made us think about some of the questions that visitors often ask us. There are so many great companies, from venues to florists, bands to cake makers, providing services for weddings in Devon, it can be hard to choose. We think a wedding fair is a great place to find out what’s on offer.

Wedding Fair in Exeter, Devon

Here’s our guide to some of the best questions to ask potential suppliers before ‘doing the deal’.

  1. Are they likely to be available on your proposed date?

It might seem obvious, but there is no point in taking this any further if the venue, band, caterer or florist isn’t free on the date that you’d like to get married. If you’re happy to be flexible, they may well have a discount available for out of season, or mid-week weddings so it’s worth asking this early on.

  1. Do they have examples of other weddings they’ve done?

If it’s a venue that you’re talking to, ask them to show you images and talk through examples of other weddings they’ve done in the past. At Rockbeare Manor, we’re always very happy to show you photographs of the venue when it’s set up for a event to help you visualise how the rooms transform. We love talking about ‘all things wedding’ and can share ideas of the various styles and themes that have taken place in our venue too.

Rockbeare Manor at Wedding Fair in Exeter, Devon

  1. How much will they charge?

You may feel that having a discussion about final costs can wait until further down the line, however we think it’s vital to get this information early on. If the estimate that the supplier provides for you is vastly different to your budget, you may well need to be prepared to walk away.  Don’t feel despondent – there is great choice out there, and something for everyone.

An honest guideline of costs is imperative and it is something that every supplier should give you willingly. If you feel like there may be hidden extras or if it’s difficult pinning down a final cost it might be best looking elsewhere.

  1. Are you able to ‘try before you buy?’

Especially in the case of cake providers and caterers! At wedding fairs it’s quite usual for there to be samples for you to try so make the most of it.  You’ll also often find photo booths to hop in and have a go, live music to listen to, and food stalls to explore and it’s here that you can get first-hand experience of the product. In the case of a DJ or a band, if you can’t attend one of their gigs (which is the best way to be sure that you like them) they should be prepared to send an example playlist and video links to previous performances that they have done.

Wedding cake at wedding fair in Exeter, Devon

  1. Are they able to recommend any other suppliers?

Most wedding suppliers will have worked closely with other companies from the local area and will no doubt have some great suggestions of those that they feel offer a fantastic service. At Rockbeare Manor, we are happy to chat to you about the companies that have worked reliably and professionally at weddings and special events that we have held.

Remember, planning your wedding should be fun and enjoyable! We love helping couples bring their vision into a reality and if you choose Rockbeare Manor as your venue, our experienced team are here to help in whichever way we can throughout the wedding planning process.

Photos courtesy of the wonderful Mel at http://www.maxiphotography.com/

Wedding Fair in Exeter, Devon

 

Happy New Year!

Wow, what a year it’s been!

Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

It was on Sunday 10th January 2016 that we opened the doors at Rockbeare Manor for the very first time, to newly engaged couples looking for their perfect Devon wedding venue. At the time we were only 2 months into a very intensive 10 month renovation programme and so we were naturally a little apprehensive about what the reaction of the potential brides and grooms would be.  The Ballroom was really just a shell – covered in scaffolding with a concrete floor, there were other rooms that hadn’t been decorated in nearly eighty years, and what is now a beautifully light and airy Atrium, was boarded over awaiting the feature skylight. But, we hoped that everyone would see through the temporary disarray and be able to visulise the incredible change that it was going through.  And Phew…they did!

From that first day, we met couples that went onto book their wedding with us, some for as early as August that year so it really was a very exciting time.Bride in Drawing Room at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

Our first event was in June – a formal dinner and party for 130 guests (no pressure then!), but of course it all went smoothly and the atmosphere was fabulous. We were all so thrilled to be welcoming people to our brand new Devon venue, something that we are all incredibly proud of and so the smiles were permanently on our faces.

We were then lucky enough to be chosen as the venue to host Exeter Chiefs player Tom Johnson’s launch party for his Testimonial Year. The weather couldn’t have been better, the music was creating a really relaxed vibe and the invited guests enjoyed Prosecco and canapés on the South Lawns on a balmy summers evening.

Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon - South Lawns and Ballroom

Since then, it’s been non-stop (and great fun!) with photo-shoots and masterclasses, stunning weddings, Christmas parties and corporate events and it was topped off when The Wedding Industry Awards selected us as a regional finalist for ‘Best Countryside Venue’, and ‘Best Newcomer’ for the whole of the South West.  Awards are given purely on votes and feedback from couples that have been married at the venue and so that really did mean a lot to us.

Bride in the Drawing Room at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon Sweeping staircase floral arrangements at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

So, what does 2017 hold for us?  Well, naturally we’ll be hosting lots more amazing events – it’s what we love, and we’ll be making each and every one really memorable for those hosting or attending an event with us. Our team will also be growing so we look forward to welcoming some new, super-talented people to Rockbeare Manor in the coming months.  Finally, we have very nearly completed the refurbishment of twelve luxury bedrooms within the house which will be available for guests as of March so we’ll make sure we give you a sneak preview of those very soon.

So from all of us here at Rockbeare Manor, we wish you all a very happy, fun-filled New Year with lots of laughter, love and dancing!

We hope to see you in 2017.

The South Pavilion at sunset. Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon.

 

 

National Heritage Day at Rockbeare Manor

We had such fun last weekend. Not only did we welcome 100 guests to Rockbeare Manor for the wedding of Nick and Marie on Saturday 10th, we also opened our doors to the public for the first time since the completion of our renovations.  Sunday 11th September is National Heritage Day and as part of this UK-wide event we welcomed the opportunity to throw open the gates to members of the surrounding villages, Exeter, and the South West for family fun, tours of the house, nature trails and garden games.

Rockbeare Manor National Heritage Day

Up until last September Rockbeare Manor had been a family home and so this was the first time in it’s 250 year history that it was open to the general pubic and the interest was such that we had nearly 600 guests attend during the afternoon.  We were one of 5,000 locations taking part in the National Heritage Open Days scheme which is a celebration of our fantastic history, architecture and culture. It’s a chance for people to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore.

 Children enjoying National Heritage Day at Rockbeare Manor

Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, part of East Devon District Council, had a fabulous team that put together the nature trails which included making stick-men and clay faces on trees, mini-beast hunting and lots more.

Children making clay faces on trees at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Mini-beast hunting by the lake at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Every guest was greeted by a yummy selection of our Chef’s homemade carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake and scones with jam and Devonshire clotted cream, as well as our local Four Elms Farm Apple Juice (who are also based in Devon), some Elderflower, and Prosecco too!

 We were absolutely thrilled that so many people came to join us for such a vibrant day, and it was brilliant to meet them all and to see them enjoying the house and gardens.  Rockbeare Manor has been through a real transformation in the last year of which we are very proud, and so this seemed like the ideal opportunity for people to come and have a look, and spend the afternoon in such a fun and relaxed way.

 Family fun on National Heritage Day at Rockbeare Manor

The History of Rockbeare Manor – Devon’s most exciting wedding venue

Rockbeare Manor

Rockbeare Manor is the true essence of a family home. This wonderful property, which was built in 1760 and later sold to the Nation family in 1855 has remained with that family ever since, passing from generation to generation – until its new lease of life this year when it reopened as an exclusive wedding and events venue following a meticulous refurbishment.

The property’s long and rich history can be traced back to the 14th century when it was under the ownership of Matilda, Countess of Gloucester. Although at that time it was less of a manor house and resembled more of an agricultural property. Since then it’s passed through many different families who all made alterations to the grounds, including the introduction of a manor house in the middle of the 18th century.

The most significant alterations made to Rockbeare Manor came from Thomas Porter who bought the house in 1815. He built the upper story of the manor and also built the walled garden. Little remains of the historical features of the house before its update in the early 19th century, however it has retained its Regency period features which create a timeless elegance to its façade and inner reception rooms.

It is this elegance that makes Rockbeare Manor one of the most exciting, exclusive wedding venues in Devon.

The property has now been acquired from the family and undergone a sensitive refurbishment, restoring it to its former glory.  The new  ‘custodians’ PM Hospitality, have fulfilled their vision of creating a beautiful space where weddings and celebrations could take place within a spectacular setting reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel. The setting of the manor could not be more perfect; surrounded by the beautiful Devon countryside with acres of parkland the romantic aspects of the house are plain to see. It truly is the perfect place to have your wedding ceremony or a private party.

After sensitively restoring the house, accentuating its Regency features, the manor is now officially open and taking bookings for weddings and celebrations.

Medics Ball – Our first event!

We’re all still very much on a high from such an amazing first event.  Saturday 11th June was the night that we had all been building up to and it certainly didn’t disappoint!  The event was organised by the social committee for a group of junior medics, across three hospitals based in the South West.  Rockbeare Manor had been chosen as the venue to host their Summer Ball – a well earned celebration for them all.

Rockbeare Manor party venue near Exeter

Greeted by our welcoming team

140 guests arrived from 6.45pm, greeted by the Rockbeare Manor team (and of course a chilled glass of Prosecco!). A close-up Magician wandered from group to group, captivating them all, whilst a harpist played under the archway of the South Pavilion.

Drinks Reception Rockbeare Manor party venue Devon

Prosecco Awaits!

It had been a bit cloudy all day with some showers, and so we were all so relieved that the guests could enjoy the drinks reception outside by the fountain. At the call for dinner you could see the excitement on everyone’s faces, keen to see what they were going to be eating that evening and they certainly seemed impressed when the starters arrived, a real feast, created by our dedicated kitchen team lead up by Head Chef Ben Upton, along with Troy Johnson.   All the food at Rockbeare Manor is sourced locally in Devon, Somerset and the South West – always fresh, and organic where possible and prepared in our brand new fully equipped professional kitchen.

The menu for the evening:

Antipasti Sharing Boards

Milano salami, mortadella, prosciutto, chorizo, smoked chicken, Quickes Vintage Cheddar, basil pesto bocconcini, asparagus, marinated artichoke hearts, mixed olives and ciabatta

~oooo~

Dartmoor Ale marinated beef, Lyonnaise potato, roasted shallot and buttered spinach

or

Puff pastry tart stuffed with mozzarella, sun blushed tomatoes, pesto and pine nuts with a rocket salad

~oooo~

Trio of milk chocolate brûlée, dark chocolate brownie and white chocolate mousse

 

Exclusive venues Devon

Stunning Ballroom at Rockbeare Manor

Dining Cuisine Wedding Catering Devon

Guests enjoying a scrummy three course dinner

During dinner an artist created hilarious caricatures of those at the party – the atmosphere throughout the event was brilliant. Everyone was so friendly – a really fun bunch, and they all very much enjoyed themselves (our Strawberry Mojito’s and or Gin and Elderflower Fizz seemed to go down very well!).

Soon after dessert, and before the rest of the evening’s entertainment commenced, all the guests were invited to go around to the front of the house for a group photograph. Rockbeare Manor, and the acres of private parkland in front of it make the most memorable backdrops for any special occasion.

Rockbeare Manor Party Venue DevonLandscape Countryside Manor House Devon Parkland

Then it was time to party!! The DJ began and from the start the dancefloor was packed, and the great tunes just kept on coming.  Not only that, there was a chocolate fountain, stand up comedian, bucking bronco in the garden, and ‘Alfie’ the Black Cab Photo Booth which was busy all night capturing funny poses of those that jumped in!

Entertainment at Rockbeare Manor Devon

‘Alfie’ Photo booth

So all in all – a huge success and so there are lots of smiling faces here at Rockbeare Manor.  We love nothing more that welcoming people into a venue which we are very proud of, and at the heart of it, for us, it’s about listening to our clients in order to help them create an event that is extraordinary, that far exceeds any expectation that they had, and leaves all who attend positively ‘wowed’!

 

“I just want to say a really big thank you for Saturday night! Everyone had such a great time and really enjoyed themselves. Thank you for all of your effort and hard work and making sure that the night ran as smoothly and as stress-free as possible. I really did appreciate it greatly! Rockbeare Manor is a beautiful venue combined with such an incredible team!”

– Gabriella, Organiser.  

 

Rockbeare Manor Event Wedding Venue Exeter, Devon

Rockbeare Manor