Wedding tips: Your perfect venue

PUBLISHED: 16:49 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:49 04 February 2016

Gilwell Park

Gilwell Park

© Marc Fletcher

You’ve got the ring and your very own Prince Charming. Now all you need is the perfect setting for your very own happy ever after. By Lauren Godfrey

King's OakKing's Oak

Planning your wedding is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying experiences of your life. Whether you’ve dreamed of a white wedding since you was a little girl, or have only just started thinking about your big day, one thing is for certain: it has to be perfect! But you can’t have the day of your dreams without a swoon-worthy setting. From castles to country manors, barns to hotels, your ideal wedding venue is out there…you just have to find it! Lucky for you, we’ve searched West Essex to bring you five of the best wedding-worthy locations.

Located in Woodford Green, Packfords Hotel is the ideal backdrop for brides planning a vintage wedding. The beautiful period house combines old world charm with stunning cottage gardens and stylish interiors. The family-owned venue has more than 50 years’ experience in hosting big days and the team pride themselves on creating weddings that are personable, tailoring every bridal package to individual couples. The Hardy Room is licensed for ceremonies and can hold up to 60 guests whilst the Garden Suite complete with a charming Victorian-style conservatory has a capacity of 80 people for a formal meal and 140 for a party reception. This venue is perfect for couples looking for a homely venue and a service that offers a personal touch.

For couples looking for a glamorous location to host a big day which could rival a red carpet event, look no further than King’s Oak Hotel. The award-winning venue, set in the heart of Epping Forest, offers a unique and exciting space for those looking to steer away from tradition. The venue is licensed for civil ceremonies in three rooms: The Victorian Oak Lounge, King’s Room and the uber glam Beach Club Marquee which comes complete with starlit ceiling. If you want a wedding that is dripping in crystal chandeliers, boasts ornate décor and even has a Marbella-inspired pool area, King’s Oak is the venue for you.

Gilwell ParkGilwell Park

Looking for a picture-perfect backdrop? The manicured lawns of West Essex Golf Club are sure to compliment your wedding photos plus the magnificent banqueting hall makes a great reception venue. Fitted with state-of-the-art lighting, audio visual facilities, its own bar, a dance floor and space for a DJ or band, you’re sure to have a night to remember here. This venue also comes complete with French doors that lead to a well-appointed terrace and patio which overlooks the golf course and magnificent views of Essex and the London skyline. West Essex Golf Course has a maximum capacity of 180 people and packages start from £65.95 per head.

If you plan on marrying your beau surrounded by an army of family and friends, The Marriott Hotel in Waltham Abbey may be the venue for you. With a maximum capacity of 220, your guest list has the ability to even include your postman. The Marriott allows outside caterers too, meaning the world is your oyster (quite literally) when it comes to the buffet, a rare opportunity in many wedding venues. This wedding location prides itself on its cultural diversity and has hosted all styles of celebrations from traditional white weddings to Jewish and Asian ceremonies, same sex ceremonies and vow renewals. This venue is a blank canvas and the dedicated team are happy to help you plan your dream day.

It is no secret that getting married during peak season (May-September) is more expensive. Opt for a winter wedding and enjoy a host of cosy details that are wasted on the summer months. Gilwell Park’s 17th Century Grade II listed building, set within a 108 acre estate, is a great location all year round, but you cannot beat exchanging vows under the porch of the beautiful log cabin complete with open fire. Just don’t forget your faux fur cape! This venue is stunning all season through and offers exclusive hire of the entire property. Boasting six unique locations for you to say ‘I do’ this setting suits all wedding sizes and styles. Packages start from £65 per person.

Gilwell ParkGilwell Park

So what are you waiting for? He put a ring on it, so now you need to circle a date in your calendar and plan your special day in a local West Essex location.

In the know

Our experts share their venue sourcing advice

‘Have confidence and trust in the venue and events team planning your special day,’ recommends Carol Ravenhill, accounts and events manager for King’s Oak Hotel

‘Look for a venue with a high ‘care factor’ that will go out of its way to make your day special,’ says Denise Milton, events coordinator at West Essex Golf Club. ‘If your first point of contact is lukewarm, it’s possible your venue choice may turn cold on the day.’

‘Choose a venue that reflects you as a couple and is somewhere you can visit again for anniversary dinners,’ advises Tracey Parker, marketing manager at Gilwell Park. ‘You want to be able to relive your special memories.’

Your wedding checklist

12 months to go

• Tick tock, the countdown has begun -Set a date and book your dream venue

• Your wedding only lasts for one day but pictures last a lifetime -Book your photographer now to avoid disappointment

• BFFs forever! Choose your bridesmaids and draft your guest list

9 months to go

• Stamps at the ready - Send out save-the-date cards

• It’s shopping time! Book in with bridal boutiques and order a show-stopping gown

• Cake o’clock - Enjoy the tastings and decide on your tiers

• Bloomin’ gorgeous - sit down with your florist and discuss your options

• No fairy godmothers in sight -You have to book in advance for a horse drawn carriage so start thinking about transport

6 months to go

• Suits you sir - Whether you’re opting for custom-made or hiring your grooms suit, it’s time to get shopping

• Champagne at the ready, you need to choose your bridesmaid dresses

• Bands of gold - Head to the jewellers and order your wedding rings

• Grubs up -Finalise the wedding breakfast then start thinking about reception entertainment

• Glam squad - Book your hair and makeup artist for the big day

• Wait a minute Mr Postman - Send out your invitations. Remember to include gift list details and information on how to the church on time

3 months to go

• Time to hit the shops again -Find the perfect shoes, jewellery and figure-loving lingerie

• Is all the planning getting on top of you? Take a break and book your honeymoon

• Powder puff girls - Book hair and makeup trials to ensure you’ll look picture perfect

• Not long now! Have a dress fitting and organise for any alterations

• Let your hair down – it’s time for your hen night

1 month to go

• In the hot seat - Finalise your table plan and write your place cards

• Thank yous - Organise your wedding favours and any gifts for the bridal party

• The legal bit - Don’t forget to purchase your marriage licence!

• It’s all in the detail - Pick up your reception décor. If you’re stuck for ideas just take a look at Pinterest!

• Pamper time - Book any last minute beauty treatments. Manicures, pedicures, waxes and spray tans. You deserve it!

Dates for your diary

Rally up your best girls and hubby-to-be and head to a few bridal fairs to prepare for the big day

Essex Wedding Exhibition Sunday, February 7

Warley Park Golf & Country Club, Magpie Lane, Little Warley, Brentwood, CM13 3DX, 11am – 4pm

Imagine yourself saying ‘I do’ at this breathtakingly beautiful venue. For more information, call 01375 856416

King’s Oak Hotel Open Day Wednesday, February 10 and February 24

King’s Oak Hotel, Paul’s Nursery Road, High Beach IG10 4AE, 5pm – 8pm

Free entry. Visit this stunning venue and see the function rooms beautifully dressed for a wedding. For more information, call 0208 508 5000

Heart FM Wedding Show Saturday, 20 February and Sunday, 21 February

The Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood CM15 9NN, 10am – 4pm

Free goody bags for the first 100 brides and a fashion catwalk brimming with inspiration for the entire bridal party. For more information, call on 01245 524528

Gilwell Park Wedding fair Sunday, February 21

Gilwell Park, Chingford E4 7QW, 11am – 3pm

Free entry, plus a free goody bag for every couple. For more information, call on 0208 498 5300

Braxted Park Weddings Open Day Sunday, February 28

Braxted Park Estate, Great Braxted CM8 3EN, 10.30am – 4.30pm

A wedding fair filled with local, recommended suppliers ready to help create your dream day. For more information, call on 01621 892305

Get in touch

Packfords Hotel 16 Snakes Lane West, Woodford Green IG8 0BS, 0208 504 2642

King’s Oak Hotel Paul’s Nursery Road, High Beach IG10 4AE 0208 508 5000

Gilwell Park Gilwell Park Training and Event Centre, Chingford E4 7QW, 0208 498 5300

Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey, Old Shire Lane, Waltham Abbey EN9 3LX, 01992 704 406

West Essex Golf Club Bury Road, Chingford E4 7QL, 0208 529 7558

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