Let’s Get Married In… our search for the UK’s most curiously quirky and gloriously unforgettable wedding venues begins with the inimitable Stoke Place…
As we launch our ‘Let’s Get Married In…’ wedding venue feature – sharing with you honest, reliable and expert reviews of only the most fabulous UK venues – we bring you our inaugural venue for October: an unforgettable stay at the simply stunning Stoke Place…
Chris and Jan – married for 36 years; gloriously loved up; unashamedly romantic, and giving Taylor and Burton a run for their money with the number of times they’ve renewed their vows (latest count puts it at three…) – put Stoke Place to the test. With such credentials they are arguably overqualified, (three times we hear you cry, three?!), yet with a view to reporting back to the next generation of newlyweds, Chris and Jan spent a night in Stoke Place and let all this wedding venue has to offer wash over them… And the verdict is in…
“On a clear day (and a few hundred years ago) you could the see the various towers of Windsor Castle from your bedroom window at Stoke Place; now those turrets are hidden like secrets by magnificent full-grown trees bordering a lake where waterfowl, woodland animals, and a busy flock of parakeets dazzle in the green sward and shine. Much of Stoke Place is hidden and secret – it deserves to reach a wider market…” (We told you these guys were steeped in the language of love…)
“From the minute we drove into the beautifully landscaped grounds, we felt special, poised for a memorable stay. After all, what’s not to like about a seventeenth-century mansion, built by a Master Chef with royal connections, tucked away in over 25 acres of gardens, and grounds landscaped by Capability Brown?”
“The history of Stoke Place, in Stoke Poges, just north of Windsor, dates back to 1690; the Master Cook was called Patrick Lamb; the royal personages included Charles II, James II, William and Mary, and Queen Anne, who all employed Lamb’s services, as well as visiting him in his house that is now a hotel.”
Chris: “One hundred paces from the bay windows of the sumptuous bridal suite will take you to the lakeside walkway and a further 400 meters or so will help you circumnavigate the lake. On the occasion of my visit, I ran round the lake – as wedding guests might like to do – and saw geese, rabbits, squirrels, fish and six megalith-still horses snorting like shadows in the morning mist. I half-expected a herd of wildebeest to sweep majestically across the plains. Stoke Place does that to the imagination. It proudly boasts of giving wedding parties a fairy-tale experience but it’s more profound than that; less sugary, more substantial. Think of royal pageants from a by-gone age, Arthurian legends, the parallel worlds of Middle-Earth…”
Jan: “But if a run around the lake is too athletic, try a pre- or post-supper amble with a gorgeous man on your arm and perhaps a glass of Champagne…?”
Chris: “The hotel itself is rather like a grand old cruise liner that has put in to harbour: all sparkling chandeliers, sweeping staircases, sighing log fires and attentive service from welcoming staff…’
Jan: “Inside, the decor is stunning. The overall feel of the hotel is opulent but casual – Stoke Place doesn’t try too hard and there is no sense of ‘stuffiness’; you get the impression that a wedding here would be such great fun. And the Queen Anne bridal suite is huge! With huge windows, amazing views, gorgeous furnishings and a sensational bathroom, this would be the ideal environment to retreat to at the end of your wedding day.”
Chris: “And the food was sensational! The dining-room offers the kind of culinary excellence you would expect of a seventeenth-century Master Cook, used to keeping royals happy. And you don’t have to stretch to the £900 Bordeaux or even the £80 Dead Arm Shiraz with its ‘prominent aromas of meat, bacon, game, truffles, blueberry and blackberry’ (which sounds like a meal in itself); the House Wine is perfectly balanced, firm, layered and complex.”
Jan: “Wedding ceremonies take place in Stoke Place’s beautifully beamed barn; the space is incredibly versatile, and with clever lighting and an array of soft furnishing options, this room can be transformed into both an intimate venue for a smaller wedding venue, and a huge space accommodating up to 180 people.”
Chris: “The magnificent ballroom, which can accommodate up to 200 guests, also doubles up as a beautiful chapel setting for the marriage ceremony, and the wedding team of specialist experts will help you determine your priorities and happily deliver your preferences. This really is a wrap-around, bespoke wedding experience that is hard to rival. You can even hire the whole hotel to accommodate your guests overnight in the various suites which include some charming garden rooms looking out over the orchard.”
And the verdict is a resounding and heartfelt YES to Stoke Park as an unforgettably idiosyncratic and trendy wedding location! Stoke Place combines urban chic and rural splendour in an elegant, characterful setting, with cultured gastronomy and superbly enthusiastic service – all designed to make your wedding day the truly memorable occasion it deserves to be.
But the big question: Did Chris propose again?
Chris: “Stoke Place is a truly romantic setting. In the Autumnal light and with such a glorious backdrop, there was a moment on our walk when I could easily have been swept away… But four times is a little silly isn’t it?”
Yes Chris, it is!
For more information about this stunning location take a peek here now!