Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What time would you advise is a good time to host the ceremony?
A. The time will very much depend on the availability of the registrar; however, we find that between 1.00pm and 2.00pm tend to be the most popular options. Timings are based on your requirements and plans. See below for an example of how the day would unfold:
1.30pm – Ceremony
2.00pm – Drinks Reception
3.00pm – Group Photographs & Confetti
4.00pm – Guests to be Seated for Wedding Breakfast & Speeches *Please allow a minimum of 2 hours for the Wedding Breakfast*
7.30pm – Evening Guests to Arrive
11.00pm – Last Orders/Music to end
11.30pm – Carriages
Q. We’ve booked the venue, what do we do now?
A. The next important step is to book the registrar. It is a legal requirement that you book and organise the registrar therefore this isn’t something we can do on your behalf.
Please contact South Derbyshire Registry Office direct on 01629 533985 to book your wedding date and to arrange giving notice of marriage.
Q. Do all my guests arrive through the main entrance?
A. No, due to the main entrance gates being locked for security at 7.00pm, your evening guests and taxis are required to enter the Calke estate via the exit set within Calke Village. It is very important that you put this address on your evening invitations and any information regarding taxis: Calke Village, LE65 1RR.
Q. Do I need a seating plan for my ceremony?
A. We tend to find that most couples will let guests sit wherever they like during the ceremony, however if you wish to reserve seats at the front for the bridesmaids and other family members, we ask that you produce ‘Reserved’ signs for these seats and communicate this with your wedding co-ordinator. Honeysuckle & Castle will place these on the chairs during set-up, however during the ceremony, it will be the responsibility of the ushers/best man or a trusted family member to ensure that the correct people are seated in these places.
Q. Do my guests need to pay park entry?
A. No. Please provide us with a guest list a little closer to the time. We will then pass this on to the Park Entry Team who then can identify your guests on your big day providing free entry. You can find more details on Car Parking instructions in this handy document.
Q. May we throw confetti?
A. Yes with pleasure however, to protect the wildlife at Calke Abbey, please only use real rose/flower petals or biodegradable confetti.
Q. How many guests can we fit to a table for the Wedding Breakfast?
A. We can comfortably seat 10-12 guests on our round tables.
Q. Are we able to provide our own caterers?
A. Unfortunately not. The Riding School is a Grade 1 listed building, owned by the National Trust, so we need to ensure that all our suppliers are fully conversant with the needs of such an important building. Our exclusive caterers are Black Pepper Mint Food Company. Black Pepper Mint Food Company will contact you to discuss your catering requirements within six weeks of your booking of the Riding School.
Q. Can we provide our own alcohol?
A. For all 2019 bookings and beyond, the Riding School is now a No Corkage charged wedding venue therefore, this allows you to provide your own alcohol for the Wedding Breakfast and Arrival Drinks only. Opened bottles will remain on your tables however, bottles that have not been opened by approximately 6.30pm (the end of the Wedding Breakfast and Speeches) will be removed and prepared for you to take home the following day.
Q. Does Calke Abbey have accommodation for my guests?
A. Yes, we have five holiday cottages:
SOUTHWOOD HOUSE FARM – Sleeps 14
HEATH END LODGE – Sleeps 3
TICKNALL LODGE – Sleeps 3
WICKET NOOK – Sleeps 4
THATCH COTTAGE – Sleeps 6
Q. We would also like to book the Holiday’s cottage. How do we do this?
A. For availability, costings, bookings and further details please contact the National Trust directly at www.nationaltrust.org. The self-catering cottages within the grounds of Calke Abbey are subject to availability; unfortunately, we cannot always guarantee that they will be available.
Q. Can you recommend any local hotels and taxi companies for guests not staying at the hall?
A. Yes absolutely, we have a printable list containing this vital information available here.
A. As Calke Abbey is situated within private grounds in the countryside please ensure your guests are aware to pre-book transport home before the evening of your day. We do have a local taxi contact that can provide a mini bus service, this needs to be booked in advance. We recommend that taxi’s collect no later than 11.30pm.
TAXI’S MUST ARRIVE AT THE RIDING SCHOOL THROUGH THE CALKE ABBEY EXIT – THIS ADDRESS IS DIFFERENT TO THE CALKE ABBEY ENTRANCE. PLEASE INFORM ALL YOUR GUESTS OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS: CALKE VILLAGE LE65 1RR
Q. Can we leave cars over night?
A. Yes, in the main car park only. Vehicles are left at the owners’ own risk and must be collected the following day by 10am. Please find more information on car parking instructions here.
Q. When will the bar open?
A. Prior to the ceremony, non-alcoholic beverages can only be consumed at the bar. The bar will fully open after the ceremony. Last orders are called at 11.00 pm and the bar will close shortly after. Music is to finish at 11.00pm also.
We ask guests leave the estate no later than 12.00am.
Q. What sort of music may we have, and until what time?
A. A disco or a live band is permitted. We do have a list of suppliers of discos, but you are welcome to use your own preferred choice, should this be the case, we must receive a copy of their Public Liability Insurance and PAT test certificates at least one week before your wedding date.
A. Music finishes at 11.00pm
Q. When can our venue stylist decorate? When can our suppliers deliver/set up?
A. Honeysuckle & Castle will happily liaise with all your confirmed suppliers to arrange delivery/set up/collection etc. This will be done at approximately 4 weeks prior to your special day.
Suppliers are very welcome to deliver/set up the day prior between 11am and 2pm*
*Subject to availability
Q. Can we have candles?
A. Unfortunately not. Due to The Riding School being a Grade 1 listed building candles are not permitted. We can provide fantastic looking artificial candles. Candles are allowed outside within the Walled Courtyard.
Q. Are we allowed to hang decorations from the beams?
A. Yes absolutely, however due to the height of the beams we do require that decorations hung are hung to coincide with the Health & Safety laws and the National Trust requirements. The beams are over 4.8 metres high therefore scaffolding (and a scaffolding licence) is required. We, and the National Trust, work very closely with Fabric Theatre and Distinct Events Solutions who can help you further. Please contact them directly to discuss your requirements and costings.
Q. Do Honeysuckle & Castle need anything from my wedding suppliers, such as photographers, DJ’s and cake maker?
A. From October 2018, Honeysuckle & Castle will require signed Supplier Agreements from your wedding suppliers. This is a document which states our Terms and Conditions, and will need to be signed to show that your suppliers agree to our terms.
Q. When do you need to receive our documents, such as seating plan and Supplier Agreements, by?
A. We will ask for couples to give as many of these details as they can at their final meeting with their wedding co-ordinator (10-14 weeks before their big day), however we appreciate that changes may need to be made after that date. If changes do need to be made, we ask that these are made in a phone call and confirmed with the wedding co-ordinator two weeks before your wedding date.
Q. Why do we need insurance?
A. It’s easy to see Wedding Insurance as another expense however, for how little it costs, Wedding Insurance can offer you a great peace of mind and a financial safety net.
Insurance can cover everything from freak weather conditions, the cancellation of suppliers to damage and injuries caused by your wedding guests.
From our perspective, our aim is to prolong and protect the Riding School. Sadly, accidents do happen therefore, if damage is caused by a guest for example, with the correct insurance cover, you personally will not be the one counting the losses.
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