Looking Back at 2018 and the Exciting Developments Planned for 2019 at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester, Dorset's Historic County Town
Sunninghill Weddings venue flexibility to deliver current trends in wedding venue decor
As we say goodbye to 2018 the Sunninghill Weddings Event Team have reflected on the year about to close and have chosen the flexibility of our wedding venue styling as one of our key achievements. We are commitment to delivering a fully decorated venue for our wedding couples as part of the standard venue hire fee and in 2018 we extended our venue dressing options to include both vintage styling and a boho inspired option.
2019 Venue Styling at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
In 2019 we continue to develop and enhance our wedding venue styling by offering for the first time, a living greenery wedding venue styling option. We have also listened to our wedding couples and their concerns about the sustainability and eco-friendliness of their wedding venue choice so, in addition to the ability to use real, living trees, plants and shrubs through our new styling partners Whitestem, we have also paid attention to the floral decorations used within the house. We are excited to announce that in 2019 we will be sourcing our flowers, both cut and dried, from a local Dorset based flower grower Old Chapel Flowers. This means the flowers we use to decorate the wedding register signing table and the wedding breakfast table centrepieces will be both fresh and seasonal in addition to colour complimenting our wedding couple's chosen colour scheme. We are also removing the use of florist foam from the venue which we will be sharing more about in the months ahead.
During 2018 a Bridal Changing Suite is introduced at Sunninghill Weddings venue; in 2019 its use will be offered to all Brides to Be in the area
This year Sunninghill Weddings introduced a Bridal Changing Suite; two large, bright and airy rooms on the first floor which can be used by a bridal party of up to 8 people. This is a perfect place to share in hair and makeup preparations before enrobing in the wedding attire; this is space that not everyone has at their own home and for this reason in 2019 we are making use of the suite available to any local bride irrespective of where they are marrying. You can enquire on the Suite's availability here.
Exciting developments for Sunninghill Weddings in 2019
Our catering team will also be available (through re-booking) to offer your wedding guests a wedding brunch served 11.30am to 1.30pm the day after your wedding ceremony. This is a perfect way for travelling guests to enjoy a late morning lie-in the day after the wedding and to refuel ready for the journey ahead. Note: minimum number of guests 25
Sunninghill Weddings Partner with Festidolls to offer a Hen Party Option
We are often asked by our 'Brides to Be' about Hen Party options close to the venue. To offer something a little different in Dorchester we are excited to announce that in 2019 we will be offering Festidolls Hen Parties at Sunninghill Weddings venue. In addition to their sparkly glitter and gem hair and make up which are expertly photographed to record your day, hens can add to the package a number of additional extra including a private meal at the house and additional activities such as dance tuition (great to prepare a routine for the wedding reception) and a private disco. Other specialist hen activities can be arranged; we have a wide network of local suppliers so if you have a particular interest or theme in mind please do get in touch. Festidolls Hen Party Enquiry
Exciting Times at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
The Sunninghill Weddings Event Team are super excited at the plans for the year ahead, some of which have been shared above whilst other projects are still in the development stage. If you have a specific request or idea please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you and you can do this by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07815 429073
To keep up to date with the venue, its plans and competitions we highly recommend that you follow us on social media which you can do using the following links; Facebook: Instagram: Twitter
Exploring the move towards living plants, trees and shrubs for wedding venue decor: 'living greenery' a more sustainable wedding choice
What do we mean by 'Living Greenery' Wedding Venue Decor?
Greenery as a colour scheme for wedding venue decor has been a firm favourite for several years; think foliage combined in different shades of green with leaves of differing textures. An all round winner and a wedding venue decor stye that is likely to stay around for many years to come.
However, the greenery wedding theme is evolving with wedding couples beginning to place a greater emphasis on using living rather than cut foliage. Living trees such as Eucalyptus, Olive and Bay are popular trees to decorate the wedding venue. These real, living trees can be used to create a dramatic entrance to the wedding venue or to create a stunning walk way or aisle. Available in different sizes there really is a living greenery option to suit most wedding venues and at here at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester, we are fortunate to have high vaulted ceilings in both our conservatory Garden Room and Community Hall that comfortably fit 8ft tall Eucalyptus trees as you can see in the video below. These stunning items are provided by our venue stying partner Whitestem.
A Living Greenery Wedding Arch used as a Wedding Ceremony Backdrop
Are wedding couples tiring of elaborately constructed props and opting instead for a more subtle backdrop to their wedding ceremony?
Hoops, pergolas and arbours are popular wedding trends and there is increasing pressure on venue stylist and florists (and the couples wedding budget) for their decoration to be even more lavish in order to create that WOW factor. However, there is in our opinion, a growing mood swing by wedding couples towards a more subtle version of these wedding ceremony backdrop props such as the wedding arch that is created from living plants. At Sunninghill Weddings venue we recommend the Star Jasmin Wedding Arch, supplied by our preferred living greenery supplier, Wimborne based Whitestem. In addition to looking fabulous this arch smells divine during the summer months especially into the evening when the living greenery arch twinkles to life with its battery operated lighting.
The Rising Popularity of Potted Plants in Wedding Venue Decoration
Alongside the move towards using living rather than cut flowers or foliage, potted plants offer a more sustainable option for wedding venue decor. These pots can be grown by the wedding couple for a personal touch, or hired from specialist growers. At Sunninghill Weddings venue we are big fans of potted ferns which add great texture in addition to height and colour to the wedding venue decor. In particular, potted ferns can make a big statement when used to line the wedding aisle.
Other uses for potted plants include table centres, window ledge decor and they can also be used to highlight key pieces of furniture. Potted plants strategically placed in key focal areas can also provide a colourful accent throughout a wedding venue and they can work extremely well when used together with standard 'lollipop' shape trees such as Bay and Olive as seen below on the Grand Staircase at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester.
At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we offer our wedding couples, as standard and included in the venue hire fee, the option of a living greenery styling for their wedding ceremony in our Garden Room. Wedding couples booking the wedding-ceremony only hire have the option to upgrade to a living greenery decoration. The decision to include living greenery as decoration in key focal areas around the house is optional and quoted separately.
We would like to thank the core team of local wedding suppliers who have helped to capture this inspiring wedding venue decor choice which includes:
Filming: Videographer Hedgehog Video
Photographs: Jennie Barker Photography
Living Greenery: Whitestem
Hoop decoration and chair corsages: Old Chapel Flowers
Oak cross back chairs from Rochesters Event Hire
The Rainaway Bride - an innovative approach to protect your wedding dress - more than just a wedding poncho!
So, I was walking through Dagenham on a wet , cold and blustery Sunday morning when I met, through chance, Karen Robb the designer of the unique 'Rainaway Bride' and owner of the Dornellie Bridal Studio, who, together with colleague Suky from the incredibly creative Griege Stories were being filmed by the BBC.
The BBC were interested in Karen's 'Rainaway Bride' for its unique design which goes one step further than the traditional poncho style waterproof cloak used by brides to protect their dress from the rain. The 'Rainaway Bride' has a unique. system that gathers from the bottom which holds the wedding dress up from puddles, mud, soggy grass and damp pavements whilst leaving the bride's hands free.
Wedding day weather:
As a wedding venue offering a complimentary Wedding Planning Service both on the day and in the run up to the wedding, here at Sunninghill Weddings we know only too well how stressful the threat of unfavourable weather can be for couples in the run up their big day; it is not uncommon to find the weather forecast replacing social media sites as their main source of information!
Whilst 2018 saw a record number of sunny days and incredible high temperatures reached, this isn't always the case. The UK is subject to fluctuating weather conditions, for example, in 2017 the UK experienced many rainy days during August, the peak wedding season. Earlier this year, our April wedding couples were contending with not just with rain but snow on the ground too! Indeed it was a very wet wedding season that led to wedding dress designer Karen Robb to create a solution for the brides who had invested in her bespoke Dornellie wedding dress creations; a solution now available to everyone.
The Extreme Weather Test for Your Wedding Dress
OK so this video in addition to showing the couple having lots of fun, also puts the wedding dress and 'The Rainaway Bride' through some pretty extreme conditions and, the dress comes out the winner!
What I particularly liked when chatting with Karen is that she wanted to make sure that what she was offering did the job it was designed to do. No one wants to think about rain on their wedding day but it does happen and, when you have invested hundreds, often thousands of pounds on your wedding dress the 'Rainaway Bride' can offer a peace of mind that is well worth the investment.
The Rainaway Bride Special Offer - 50% cash back if it doesn't rain!
Check this out - if you don't need to use your 'Rainaway Bride' i.e. it is unopened and still in its original packaging then you can send it back within 7 days of your wedding date for a 50% refund on your purchase! (Just state 50% cash back' when ordering so the company is aware you want to receive this special offer).
The Amazon Wedding Registry Service: Do you need it?
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world giving users access to over 250 million products. On the 1st October 2018 Amazon relaunched their wedding gift register service to offer wedding couples increased functionality on both desktop and mobile devices and more ways to share the list with family and friends, including both email and social media links.
With such a vast range of products on offer from the most price conscious to the most luxurious this generally means there is something to suit every wedding guest's budget. However, this wide variety of choice can of itself lead to difficulties when the wedding couple's preferred style or quality of item is different to that of the buyer of a wedding gift. Try searching for something as basic as a white bathroom towel; here you find size, thread count, country of origin, material all compete alongside price and of course, personal taste - one white towel can be very different to another! This is why having a specific wedding gift list is useful and, Amazon would argue, it would make sense to have the items on this list as easily accessible for guests to purchase as possible - cue the Amazon Wedding Registry service..
The wedding present gift list can be a useful tool for wedding couples as it ensures their likes and preferences are forefront in the gift buyer's mind. However, do bear in mind the need to include a wide selection of gifts which should range in price to suit all budgets.
Deciding on how much to spend on a wedding gift can be a contentious issue: there is an argument by some that the amount of money you spend on a wedding present should equate roughly to the cost of the wedding meal e.g. if you are served a sit down meal with a typical price of £50 per head then a couple should spend approximately £100 on the wedding gift. Others however advocate the amount spent on a wedding gift should be linked to the closeness of the guest to the wedding couple, for example, the couples parents and siblings should spend more than a work colleague. Whilst there is no hard and fast rule, it is essential to include a number of items on your gift register that are 'affordable' especially for those wedding guests who may not have a high level of disposable income but who still want to gift a meaningful item to you.
Do you have to use Amazon? No you don't; you can register your gift items with a number of well known high street stores including John Lewis and Debenhams plus a number of online gifting agencies such as Prezola and The Wedding Shop. Some couples prefer to ask their wedding guests to donate money instead of giving presents such as a contribution to the honeymoon pot e.g. Honeyfund or Zankyou. However, for guest convenience there is no denying that the Amazon Gift Registry is a simple and easy way of ensuring the wedding couple are delighted with their wedding gifts and, the Amazon Wedding Registry can even tell you who has purchased which item for those very important thank yous!
How to create a WOW FACTOR with your wedding ceremony area: See how they look in Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
The Sunninghill Weddings Event Team are in awe of the fabulous ideas we hear from our wedding couples and also the social media posts we review on a regular basis to keep a finger on the pulse of trending ideas and classic, firm favourites.
Inspired by a recent Brides blog post '60 Amazing Wedding Alter Ideas and Structures for Your Ceremony' we were quite pleased that many of these wonderful suggestions had been featured, at some point over the last 12 months here at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester. We are very proud to work with some of Dorset's finest wedding suppliers whose work we feature below.
Wedding Trend: The Free-Standing Circular Hoop has been used in many different ways at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
The free-standing hoop decorated with either fresh or silk flowers matched to your wedding colour scheme has been used in a variety of ways at the venue.
Wedding Trend: Wall Hanging Circular Hoop - included as part of venue dressing at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
At Sunninghill Weddings venue The Garden Room is decorated, as standard, with three floral hoop wall hangings decorated in creams, shades of white and greenery to offer a neutral compliment to our wedding couples colour scheme. Our style partner, Winterborne Vintage are able to colour-coordinate the floral scheme if required. The floral hoops are further enhanced by uplighting provided by our lighting partner BH Sound & Lighting Hire. The three hoops together with their uplighting form part of the venue dressing package included in the venue hire fee,
Wedding Trend: The Wedding Arch - a perfect choice for an outdoor wedding ceremony at Sunninghill Weddings
This wisteria arch, seen here decorated in neutral colour tones can be customised to match your wedding colours. It can also be further decorated with rugs and lanterns for wedding couples looking for a boho wedding theme.
All items are available to hire from our style partner Winterborne Vintage.
Wedding Trend: The Wedding Arbour marks the start of the outdoor aisle at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
The wedding arbour is a popular option for an outdoor wedding ceremony. The structure, often made of wood can be left unadorned for a simple wedding backdrop however there is a move towards joining arbours to create an 'outdoor room' or corridor effect. Several wooden arbours are joined together which can then be decorated with fresh or more often than not silk flowers, especially in sunny areas such as the terrace at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester where outdoor fresh flowers can struggle to retain their splendour in the full glare of the sunshine. Another popular option is to dress the structure with voile as seen in the picture below: here the arbour is used at the start of the outdoor aisle at Sunninghill Weddings venue for the wedding walk to either The Verandah licensed ceremony area or to the Walnut Tree in the middle of the main lawn. Both the arbour and the wisteria arch together can add a real WOW factor to your outdoor wedding.
Arbour supplied by our style partner Winterborne Vintage.
Wedding Trend: Macrame and Lace Hangings
And of course macrame decorations work extremely well outdoors. Our style partners Winter Vintage are able to offer a range of products to fit your wedding theme.
Wedding Trend: Blooms of Fresh Flowers in Abundance - use the Sunninghill Weddings venue fresh flower budget to match your wedding theme
At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we treat each wedding as unique and for this reason we do not re-use the venue fresh flower arrangements for more than one wedding. As the flowers are commissioned from our venue florist we thought why not ask our wedding couples what type of flowers they would like and, where they would like them placed for maximum impact. Whilst are wedding couples are free to spend this budget as they wish - maybe a floral archway on the main entrance or possibly a suspended ceiling arrangement, our wedding couples to date have opted to use the Sunninghill Weddings fresh flower budget allocation in one of two ways, both of which create an impact for their wedding ceremony.
The first option is a 4ft (120cm) meadow display for the main window in front of which the wedding couple stand to exchange their wedding vows. The flowers used by our venue florist The English Florist are colour coordinated to match the wedding couple's colour scheme.
The second popular floral choice for the wedding ceremony is our posy vase option; hand-tied posies are created by our venue florist to match the wedding couples colour scheme. They are placed in posy vases which are positioned along the window sill and also on the register table for maximum impact. During the change over for the wedding breakfast the posy vases are placed as table centres pieces. They remain on the tables for the evening celebrations when, at the end of the party the wedding couple can choose to give these posy flower bouquets to their guests - the ultimate use of wedding flowers!
Wedding Trends: Looking Ahead 2019 and Beyond
At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we have noticed that we are receiving a growing number of enquiries for Autumn themed weddings. If this is a nation-wide trend we are uncertain it could of course be that that the grounds at the venue are framed by large mature trees which makes this a special place to hold an Autumn wedding. However, we suspect the Autumn colour palette of warm reds, gold, orange and yellow combined to create a romantic and cosy wedding vibe is a more likely reason, and we are all for this!
At Sunninghill Weddings we are very proud of our wedding venue's flexibility to adapt the large spaces available to our wedding couples and whatever the future trends may turn out to be we look forward very much to hearing about the and helping to turn these into a reality.
If you would like to have a tour of the house and grounds please do get in touch: you can contact us here.
A special thanks to all of the wedding professionals for the help they have given over the 2018 summer wedding season be it in decorating the venue or photographing as part of their everyday work including:
BH Sound & Lighting Hire
Dan Roads Photography
Mark Cornwell Photography
Stevan Borthwick Photography
The English Florist
Winterborne Vintage Wedding Prop Hire and Venue Stylists
At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester our goal is to provide a wedding venue for either a wedding ceremony or wedding reception (most often both) that is ‘dressed for the occasion’. Whilst the majority of our wedding couples this summer have been delighted with the venue as presented on the day, during the 2018 summer wedding season we have seen a growing trend of wedding couples personalising the venue in ways that are extremely personal to them and their family – and we love this trend!
At Christie and Adam’s wedding the couple opted to dress the chivari chair with a mocha chiffon chair cover tied with pin-broches, many of which had been donated by family and friends. The couple also hand made marmalade wedding favours according to grandad's secret recipe to honour his memory.
Pin-Broches donated by family and friends and handmade marmalade according to grandad's secret recipe personalise Christie and Adam's special day at Sunninghill Weddings
Throughout Katie and Adam's relationship the couple had collected heart decorations and, over time, had amassed a fantastic collection which were used throughout the venue on their wedding day. Individual hearts adorned the aisle chairs for their wedding ceremony and a wishing tree twinkled with a heart collection made by the wedding party, each of whom had made a heart specifically for Adam and Katie’s wedding.
Heart decorations collected by Adam and Katie during their relationship were used throughout Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester to personalise their wedding celebrations
Becca and Josh's Shell inspired wedding decorations at Sunninghill Weddings venue
Elopement Celebrations at Sunninghill Weddings
During our 2018 wedding summer season here at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we have also been privileged to host a number of ‘Elopement Celebrations’ – couples who have chosen to marry abroad and hold a ‘good old knees up’ on their return with family and friends. We noticed that photographs played a key role in these parties: photographs of key loved ones unable to share in the celebrations on the night and also pictures of the couples wedding ceremony abroad. Lisa and Lee were the first of our elopement couples celebrating their wedding abroad here at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester in June earlier this year.
Your Day: Your Way at Sunninghill Weddings
It is individual choice to personalise a wedding venue and here at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we see each wedding as unique: we are extremely proud of the flexibility we are able to offer our wedding couples and we are excited to hear about our wedding couple’s plans for 2019 and 2020.
WESSEX FM Half Price Wedding Voucher Winner
Many congratulations to Anthony and Melissa, whose Wessex FM voucher saves them over £2000 off their wedding here at Sunninghill.
We are super excited to welcome back the lucky couple to Sunninghill who first visited the venue a year ago during the early stages of their wedding planning. It's going to be an awesome day!
Exciting new catering option from Beales Gourme at Sunninghill Weddings Venue in Dorchester
Wedding couples at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester now have the option to choose Beales Gourmet as their wedding caterer.
Wedding couples have a choice of different catering packages (minimum 70 guests) all of which include seasonal menu options, a complete set-up service including table linen and napkins, crockery, cutlery and glassware and superb service from the Beales Gourmet catering team from canapés to evening food options.
DOWNLOAD THE CURRENT MENU HERE
Get to know Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester Through Film
The Sunninghill Weddings team is delighted to announce that the Sunninghill Weddings YouTube channel is now up and running featuring a range of video films that showcase aspects of our stunning Grade II listed house and its grounds together with a series of interviews with our key suppliers.
Many thanks to Hedgehog Video for the film production and to the support team who provided the services that give the wedding venue its WOW factor.
Videographer Hedgehog Video
Venue Styling by Winterborne Vintage
Lighting from Basement Hire
Bar Services from Perfect Day Wedding Services
Wedding Cake from Blossom Dream Cakes
How to transform an unusual and quirky space into a stunning wedding venue for a ceremony and evening reception
Here at Sunninghill Weddings HQ we are super excited to be spending the week ahead video filming and photographing part of the transformation of Sunninghill Prep School into a stunning wedding venue for the perfect wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception party space.
'Good Bones' to work with: A Grade II Victorian Gothic Villa
At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we are fortunate that all the rooms used by wedding couples and their guests are south facing and overlook the main lawn area. The building also has a regular scheduled maintenance programme to ensure it remains in tip top condition which includes things such as regular cutting of the grass through to larger tasks such as painting the window frames. In 2017 for example the Drawing Room Verandah and Garden Rom Conservatory were painted together will all first and second floor rooms, followed by the west face main entrance. This year the north side of the main house will also be clad in scaffolding for its scheduled 'face lift' but thankfully this doesn't impact on any of our planned weddings. Most important of all however, is that the house and grounds have a warm and welcoming feel for wedding couples and their guests who are free to use (and often admire) the arts and crafts furniture and decor of the main house..
Creating the Old Music Room Bar
Quirky and unusual wedding venues are the latest trend in wedding couples online search for their perfect wedding venue. Once found, finding a venue stylist to transform your wedding vision into a reality is a whole new ball game. Unusual venues require more than chair covers and sashes; yes furniture hire is an integral part of making the space useable for your wedding, in addition however it is most likely you will also need to address some fundamental structural issues such as hiding ugly areas or functional items for example fluorescent tube lighting. A venue stylist with access to a team of skilled crafts folk becomes quite important as you may find your unusual and quirky wedding venue requires an element of bespoke dressing. At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we work with a number of different stylists to create different styes, look and wedding themes. Built in the late 1800s Sunninghill architectural style is described as Victorian Gothic and many rooms in the house lend themselves to be decorated in the eternally popular vintage style. Year on year the Sunninghill Weddings Team work hard to keep on top of wedding trends to add a modern twist to the venue decor to keep the venue fresh.
Unusual Wedding Venues Often Include Venue Styling As Part Of Their Venue Hire Fee
Creating bespoke wedding decor for a venue is an expensive commitment for either the wedding couple or the wedding venue. As bespoke decor is unlikely to be able to be used directly in another location (an element of modification is often required e.g. re-size), unusual and quirky wedding venues such as Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester will include the venue decor as part of the venue hire fee. In our own case we have to remove all the school furniture in order to hire in more appropriate items and, because these items are on hire we are able to offer our wedding couples a high degree of customisation for example, in choice of chair style, table shape and wedding venue decor props. Having a venue dressed in this way might appear to cost a little more up front but in the long run often proves to be a great saving in both money, time and tears!
Team Magic at Sunninghill Weddings
The first transformation to be filmed at Sunninghill Weddings unusual and quirky wedding venue is the Old Music Room. Currently used as the staff room this will become an evening bar area for wedding guests. We look forward to sharing the post production images needless to say it requires much muscle-power to remove the commercial furniture from the room!
We are video filming with:Dave from Hedgehog Video @HedgehogVideo
Stills Photography by Mark of Cornwell Photography @CornwellPhotography
Bar Services provided by Luke at Perfect Day Wedding Services @PerfectDayWeddingServices
Venue Styling and Prop Hire from Christine and Dawn at Winterborne Vintage @winterbornevintage
Lighting from James at Basement Hire @BasementHire