An interview with Stephanie – Rockbeare Manor Wedding Planner

Here at Rockbeare Manor, we absolutely love helping our clients to plan their wedding day. After all, our beautiful manor house near Exeter, set in its own parkland, offers the perfect backdrop for your day, no matter what your taste and budget.

Stephanie Primarolo is an Event Manager at Rockbeare Manor and responsible for planning many of the weddings that take place in our unique Devon venue.  Carry on reading for an insight into her wonderful world of weddings!

What do you love most about being a Wedding Planner?

The intricacy of the role. There are so many little details that come together in order to make a wedding day really special.  It’s so important that you get to know the couple and what makes them happy in order to take what they envisage to be the most amazing day of their lives and make it happen. As a Wedding Planner you play a very important part in one of the most memorable days of a couple’s life – and that is a real privilege.

wedding planner devon

At what stage do you tend to get involved with couples in the planning of their big day?

When couples visit Rockbeare Manor for the first time we walk them through every element of the day and listen to their plans and ideas which is a great opportunity to learn about how they imagine their wedding day will be.  If they go on to book with us, we then build on this relationship, creating trust so that they feel comfortable to call us if they ever need any advice, so we get involved from quite an early stage.

What has been your most challenging wedding and why?

All weddings come with their challenges, which makes my job all the more exciting. Quite often, what you assume is going to be a really challenging wedding, perhaps where there are more guests, more props or decor to set up and more timings to coordinate, often tend to run really smoothly.  We are very focussed on the detail at Rockbeare Manor, and are very organised in the planning process and so that ensures everything runs seamlessly on the day itself.

Back in the summer we held a wedding where we were relying on a coach full of guests to arrive in time for the ceremony. This can often be a benefit as it means that all of the guests arrive at once, however, on this occasion the coach driver got stuck in traffic for over 40 minutes, delaying the ceremony. The biggest challenge to overcome was ensuring that everyone remained calm and reassuring them that things were under control. Luckily the Registrars didn’t have another wedding to get to, so I tried to keep everyone occupied by giving the bridesmaids the task to stall the bride until the coach arrived so that she didn’t have to worry. It certainly lifted spirits as they acted out lacing up the bride’s dress wrong, asking for “just a few more pictures” and a bridesmaid having a last minute heart-to-heart with the bride.

Which wedding is your most memorable?

It has to be the first wedding I ever ran at Rockbeare Manor back in May. I remember the landscape was a myriad of bright colours; the spring flower bed was in full bloom, the bluebells framed the parkland and the wisteria offered a charming backdrop to the Ballroom! The nervous excitement builds from the moment you meet the couple up until the big day, and there’s no better moment than seeing the bride in her wedding dress for the first time and watching everything you have spent months planning, come together! I think as a Wedding Planner, you never forget your first wedding!

When do you think is the best time to get married?

I always thought that I would go for a summer wedding, but seeing winter ceremonies here at Rockbeare Manor I’ve had a change of heart! As you weave down the grand driveway and catch a glimpse of the frosted parklands through the bare branches, the landscape is purely mystical. Greeted by cosy lit fires and the smell of mulled wine, Rockbeare Manor is the perfect place to reminisce with family friends, and what’s more romantic than the twinkling of the chandelier crystals on a winters evening?

Devon wedding in winter - Rockbeare Manor

How much should people budget for their wedding?

When budgeting for a Wedding it really does depend on the couple and what it is that they want for their day. The benefit when getting married at Rockbeare Manor is that you can actually be as minimal or as extravagant as you like. The manor has been really sensitively refurbished, and whilst it is Grade I listed with a regency feel, it’s light and airy and there aren’t any garish colours for you to try to match your wedding colour scheme to. The venue is beautiful alone, which means all it needs is that simple touch that reflects you for your big day. It’s important to remember that your day is about you and not how extravagant your wedding is.

How long do you think should I leave to plan my wedding?

Many couples book a year or two in advance, to give them time to save perhaps, or reduce the pressure on them if they have a busy lifestyle or job.  However it’s not unusual for us to take bookings for weddings with only 6 – 12 months’ notice.  It just comes down to the personalities of the couple, and what they feel most comfortable with.  A lot of venues and suppliers do get booked up really early though, so there is an advantage to booking further in advance if you want to get your preferred date or preferred supplier.

What are the little things that people often forget?

Quite often it’s the thoughtful touches that make your day stand out, and this can be as simple as offering a non-alcoholic beverage or gluten free canapés. Suppliers like your photographer and band often request a meal and so that needs to be arranged, as well as making sure that your guests have a means of getting home at the end of the evening! Booking taxi’s is always a good thing to do in advance. And don’t forget about the pen for your guest book!

Wedding venues devon

What are the things that couples always focus on but that actually don’t matter?

A lot of couples focus on trying to please everyone else and forget that the day is about them and what they want. It’s so true that if the Bride and Groom are happy, everyone else will be happy too.

Which one piece of advice would you give to a couple getting married at Rockbeare Manor?

To remember that the day is a celebration of your relationship, so listen to one another and compromise. Before making any decisions, write down individually what your ideal choices would be and then share these with each other and from there, the rest will fall in to place. And if you are ever in doubt, your Wedding Planner is just a phone call away!

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 or 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)

Rockbeare Manor – Regional Finalists at The Wedding Industry Awards

We were thrilled that Rockbeare Manor was recently awarded Regional Finalist in two categories at the South West Wedding Industry Awards:  ‘Best Countryside Venue’ and ‘Best Newcomer’.  The wedding venue awards are judged purely on the feedback gained from couples that have held their special day at that location and as we were a brand new wedding venue in Devon at that time, the competition against us with the more established venues in the area was strong.  During the eligibility period for the awards we had only completed 7 weddings, but we knew that it would be worth a try!

The Awards are a two stage process with a hand-picked panel of wedding experts creating a shortlist of suppliers – from individuals and independents to high street favourites and designer brands.

We had a great evening when the ceremony came around, and whilst we didn’t go home with an award, it was great meeting up with our fellow Regional Finalists such as Mel and Justin at Maxi Photography and Christine at Peboryon luxury cakes.

The best bit about entering the awards, was definitely the feedback that we received from the couples who had their wedding here at Rockbeare Manor.  Such kind words describing how wonderful their wedding day at Rockbeare Manor was, and we can’t thank you enough for that.  To read them all please click here.

If you are engaged and looking for a breathtaking wedding venue for your special day please do get in touch – we’d love to chat through your vision for the day and show you around our beautiful venue in the glorious South West. We’re just 10 minutes from Exeter, and even less from the M5 so links both North, West and East couldn’t be better! Call us on 01392 797 444 or request your brochure here.




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.