Gift List alternatives for your 2017 Wedding

Holding your wedding at Rockbeare Manor near Exeter, means that you are playing host to your guests in one of the most beautiful, historical venues the south west of England has to offer. Many of our couples have guests coming from all of the UK, and sometimes further afield, and this often means that the idea of the gift list can cause a few worries for some of our happy couples.

Devon Wedding Gifts

Let’s face it, many people now already live together, have a mortgage together, maybe a cat or a dog, and fairly often, a child or more. The tradition of a gift list was a great idea when couples had never lived together before, and needed help with purchasing some really useful items for their home (towels, bed linen, pots and pans, for instance).

But the chances are, you’ve already got most of the bits that you would need. Therefore, we thought we’d put together a handy top five of gift list alternatives.

  1. Help towards your honeymoon

You have just paid for a wedding which will have undoubtedly cost a lot of money. But after the stress of organising such a big and important day, you would still like a honeymoon to kick off married life in style. You could ask your guests to contribute towards your holiday, either by giving money or by contributing to a holiday gift list with companies such as buy-our-honeymoon.com or kuoni.co.uk. Less stuff, more memories!

  1. Help towards a DIY / garden project

You may well already have your towels and your bed sheets but the chances are, there could be a project at home that’s been on your mind for some time. Perhaps you’ve wanted to do up your garden? You could ask for garden centre vouchers or money towards some new plants. Or maybe you’ve been saving up for an extension? This way, your guests are contributing towards your new married life together, but your guests know exactly what you’re going to be doing with it.

  1. A charity donation

Charity donations are becoming an increasingly popular idea with weddings that we see at Rockbeare Manor. Nowadays, couples tend to be older once they get married, and they are often also more financially comfortable than they were in their early twenties. Consider asking your guests to contribute towards a favourite charity, or perhaps a charity that means something to you. Ideas could be Oxfam or ActionAid. If somebody close to you has suffered with cancer, you could also ask guests to donate towards your own Cancer Research UK fundraising page.

  1. Join an organisation

You could ask your guests to contribute towards a lifetime membership of the National Trust. This costs £1,605 and would be of benefit to you both for the rest of your married life. English Heritage also offers lifetime memberships at a cost of £1,800.

  1. No gift list at all!

It might be that you just want to enjoy people’s company at your wedding, and that you decide not to have a gift list at all. This is a lovely idea, although your guests are likely to still want to get you something. Be prepared to expect numerous picture frames, candles and throws!

Devon Weddings Gift

We’d love to help you to plan your wedding at Rockbeare Manor. If you’d like to discuss your requirements, call Aimée on 01392 797444.

 

(Photos by Shari’s Berries, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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

New Devon Venue Hosts It’s First Wedding

Julian Harris and Claire Bowler are the first couple to get married at Rockbeare Manor

Julian Harris and Claire Bowler

Here at Rockbeare Manor we are getting excited about our first wedding which takes place this Saturday. We talked to Julian Harris and Claire Bowler from Exeter who are putting the finishing touches to a very personal ceremony. They are the first couple to marry at Rockbeare Manor in its 250-year history.

Tell us about the proposal:

 Claire: ‘It was a complete surprise. We had been on a beach holiday in Cornwall and on the last day we were at Bantham when Julian got down on one knee and proposed and I said yes! Beaches have been a theme through our relationship, our first date was at Dawlish, and because of this they are featuring in our wedding. We have named tables after our favourite beaches and created natural centrepieces featuring sand and shells.’

You have really put your own stamp on this wedding haven’t you:

Julian: ‘Claire is very creative and we wanted to try and do as much of it as we could, although I’m not sure where she has found the time. The thing about Rockbeare Manor is you can make it your own and that is what we have done.’

Claire: ‘It has been great fun planning it, we are doing lots ourselves and we have really been able to put our stamp on the whole wedding.’

Tell us about why you chose Rockbeare Manor:

 Claire: ‘We heard about Rockbeare Manor through a friend, at that time it was right in the middle of being refurbished, and even though the work wasn’t done, we could see what an amazing place it was and knew it was right for us. We didn’t look at any other Devon wedding venues – we just knew. I said we have to get married there, it’s beautiful – I just fell in love with it.’

What were your first impressions?

 Julian: ‘As Claire said, the house was mid-refurbishment, but from the minute you drive through the entranceway, with the huge pillars, you know there is something special ahead. We thought it was absolutely beautiful and such a special place for our wedding.’

What do you think of the house now it is finished?

 Claire: ‘It is amazing, even better than we could have imagined. We are so excited to be sharing our special day at this beautiful house with all our friends and family.’

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.

Renovations and Restoration – Rockbeare ‘Then & Now’

Well something is for sure…we’ve had a very busy 6 months! On Friday 18th September 2015 we received the keys to Rockbeare Manor and the next chapter in the story of  the house began.  It had always been a place for family, friends and entertaining on a grand scale – much loved and at the centre of lots of happy memories for those that lived there throughout the generations, spanning over 250 years.  Looking back on a feature in Country Life Magazine dated April 1930 it is lovely to see it in an immaculate state, a true Regency property with period features, extravagant furnishings and stunning gardens.

Part of a 13 page feature on Rockbeare Manor.

Part of a 13 page feature in Country Life Magazine – Dated April 1930.

Though as the years went by, and as with many Country Houses, the resident family found it an increasing burden to maintain it in its former splendour, which meant that there were extensive repairs and restoration to carry out before we could even consider opening the doors once again.

To give you an idea (and this is in a nutshell)…

… every inch of the façade of the building was repaired, re-rendered where necessary and given three coats of mineral-based paint

Essential repairs are carried out to all sides of the Manor House.

Essential repairs are carried out to all sides of the Manor House.

…over 80 of the original sash windows had to be removed, repaired in our dedicated workshop, re-fitted and painted 3 times

Windows removed, and a new fountain is created on the South Lawns.

Windows removed, and a new fountain is created on the South Lawns.

…everything has been re-wired

…a whole new heating and hot water system was installed to make the house warm and welcoming, with attractive cast iron radiators fitted in each room

…beautiful oak flooring has been laid in all the principle rooms – The Library, Billiard Room, Bar, Dining Room and Drawing Room, with the original stone floor in the Hallways being restored to it’s former glory

…every part of the ground floor has been stripped back with repairs made where necessary, and all walls and ceilings re-decorated in an elegant, contemporary colour pallet

Careful re-decoration of the grand Dining Room takes place.

…a brand new, all singing all dancing commercial kitchen has been created, and our magnificent Ballroom was built of course!

The scaffolding comes down from the newly built Ballroom

 

The list really does go on but it’s safe to say that no stone has been left un-turned. Our team of builders, groundworks experts, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators have been fantastic, and still continue to do an outstanding job, to the highest standard – led by Project Managers Andrew Butt and Giles Penfold, along with the Co-Founder of PM Hospitality Andy Carveth.

The result is amazing and it is such a pleasure to see Rockbeare Manor displayed in a whole new light today.

Rockbeare Manor - April 2016

Rockbeare Manor – April 2016

Old meets new. Contemporary interiors at Rockbeare Manor.

Once an Inner Courtyard, now a wonderful light and airy Atrium which leads to the grand Ballroom

 

Licensed for outdoor Civil Ceremonies

Dawn makes the finishing touches to the South Pavilion – Licensed for outdoor Civil Ceremonies

Simple, Stylish, Elegant.

Standing proud – Rockbeare Manor, Devon.

It’s now only weeks until we open officially, and we are welcoming viewings and so please do get in contact if you are planning an event, whether it be a Wedding, Corporate Away Day, Charity Event, Conference, Summer Ball or any special occasion – we’d love to hear all about it. Please contact our Events Team on 01392 797444 to book a visit or go to our website http://www.rockbearemanor.co.uk for further details.

We hope to see you soon!