Smallwood Manor

smallwood manorWhere: The gentle hills outside Uttoxeter.

What: Large Victorian country house set in sweeping, immaculate grounds, now a prep school. Eat in the dining room and use the original forms and tables – so characterful.

Weddings: If you are a former a pupil or member of staff you can get married at Smallwood, otherwise, its available to the rest of us for receptions.

Who: Jill Stone is so helpful and will discuss your needs. Call her on 01889 562083, or e-mail her at jill.stone@smallwoodmanor.co.uk

Web: Go to www.smallwoodmanor.com

Ingestre Hall

ingestre hall stafforshireWhere: In the depths of the rolling Staffordshire countryside, hidden away down a dead-end and miles from civilisation and just beyond the village of Ingestre. The House is next door to the village church which is one of the few built by Wren outside London and where many couples get married.

What: Huge stately home, now an arts college with lots of grand rooms and 27 acres of sweeping grounds (which are also yours for the day).

Weddings: Licensed for weddings and plenty of room for receptions with good kitchens that Kemp and Kemp Catering can use. Our friend got married there recently and it was GREAT, so we’ve experienced the site from both perspectives.

ALSO, stroll down the empty road to Ingestre Stables and stay the night after your wedding in THE MOST amazing accommodation ever.. There is a wonderful bridal suite and room for 16 other people in 2 adjacent, superbly renovated (and huge) apartments; your own front doors; all shapes and sizes of horses coming and going in the stable courtyard and all the life, colour and luxury you could wish for millions of miles from anywhere – to see more  visit – www.ingestrelodges.com or call the ever-helpful Anna on 01889 271013. Preferential rates at the Lodges for Kemp & Kemp customers.

Who: Back to Ingestre Hall now – contact the passionate Fiona Walklett who books weddings, or telephone her on 01889 270225, or e-mail her at fiona_walklett@sandwell.gov.uk

Webwww.ingestrehall.co.uk

Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield

erasmus darwin houseWhere: In the centre of Lichfield town.

What: A superb Georgian town house and museum. Its the Lichfield home of Erasmus Darwin, esteemed physician, poet, botanist and amongst other things, Charles Darwin’s grandfather. The house is set in a wonderful position with views across to Lichfield Cathedral and is surrounded by an 18th Century herb garden.

Weddings: The house is licensed for civil weddings and available for full hire or individual room hire.

Who: Call the office on 01543 306260, or e-mail enquiries@erasmusdarwin.org.uk

Web: www.erasmusdarwin.org

Oakley Hall

oakly hall staffordshireWhere: Near Market Drayton, but right on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border.

What: Enormous house that is wonderfully light and is perched on the edge of a ridge overlooking a lake with views of woods and meadows – and no sign whatever of the modern day – the stuff of dreams.

Weddings: Two elegant rooms are licensed for weddings and the dining room is also available to you. Great grounds with great picture potential, and room for a marquee if you want a bigger wedding.

Who: Contact Ann Fisher on 01630 653472.

Web: see www.oakleyhallweddings.com

Westwood College, Leek

westwood college staffordshireWhere: On the edge of the market town of Leek.

What: Westwood College has great facilities, set within a grade 2 listed building and two acres of Victorian parkland.  It has views of the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Weddings: Licensed for weddings, and a great venue for a reception too.

Who: Call Julie Buxton on 01538 370930 or e-mail her – jbuxton@leekfederation.org.uk

Web: Visit the website at www.westwoodcollege.coop/facilities/weddings/

Lichfield Guildhall

litchfield guildhallWhere: Central Lichfield.

What: This is the ancient civic hall where the council still meet.

Weddings: Licensed for weddings, plenty of room for receptions and kitchens available.

Who: Contact is Sarah Wallace, Telephone 01543 309850, or e-mail her on sarah.wallace@lichfield.gov.uk

Web: No dedicated wedding website for this venue.

Idlerocks Farm, Hilderstone, Nr Stone

Mrs Barbara Dixon is happy to rent out a one acre flat meadow (with parking) for you to site your marquee. All the peace and tranquility of the countryside, views to the Shropshire hills – within a few miles of Stoke or Stone. Check the postcode on ‘googlemaps’ – its ST15 8RP. Call Barbara on 01889 505450 for availability and prices.

Stafford Cricket & Hockey Club

stafford cricket clubSituated close to the centre of Stafford town, the cricket and hockey club have twelve acres of quiet riverside meadow for hire – perfect for a large marquee, loads of parking. You can also hire their club-house for a very reasonable charge, and either way use Kemp & Kemp Catering for the food.

Phone Stephanie Sulliavn on 07716 853940 or e-mail her on stephanie@riverway-events.co.uk, or see their website at www.riverway-events.co.uk

And… you don’t have to be able to play (or understand) cricket!

Hire (and transform) a Village Hall.

hire and dress a village hallVillage Halls can make great wedding reception venues and often have kitchens your caterers can use as well as water, power, toilets, tables and parking. To find a hall in your area try www.hallshire.com

What you save on hire charges can be put into hiring a professional hall dresser (and the catering!).

We know a few excellent venue stylists who can transform a village hall or a scout hut. The picture to the right shows what  ‘Debonair Venue Styling’ did to a scout hut for a wedding client.

They are at  www.debonairvenuestyling.co.uk or call 01922 649399 or e-mail them at    info@debonairvenuestyling.co.uk.

We also know Abigail Cunningham of Pumpkin Events, another passionate venue stylist with a great team behind her – go to www.pumpkinevents.co.uk or call 0800 046 1027 or e-mail her at abigail@pumpkinevents.co.uk

Debonair Venue Styling and Pumpkin Events DON’T just transform Village Halls either. They work in marquees, stately homes – indeed they can utterly transform any space you wish.

Kemp & Kemp customers who have booked their wedding catering qualify for preferential rates with Debonair Venue Styling.