The Sunninghill Event Team wish all our our clients; past, present and future a very happy 2020: may it be filled with much love, fun and wedding excitement!
2020 is set be be a very exciting year for weddings at Sunninghill!
The latest wedding trends show that couples are being much more discerning about where they choose to get married and they are also paying much closer attention to the ecological footprint their actions have. There is a greater emphasis on recycling, reusing and repurposing wedding items and not only is this good for the planet it is also pretty friendly on the wedding budget too.
Sunninghill Weddings adopted a mindful approach to our wedding venue dressing several years ago and we are committed to continual research in this area which we will share through our social media posts.
Meet Donna and Michael, the winners of the 2019 Sunninghill Wedding Fair Visitor Competition to win their very own personalised wedding magazine
Donna and Michael are getting married in March 2020 at our neighbouring wedding venue Kingston Maurward. Over the last year it has been a privilege to learn more about their wedding journey from the proposal to their special plans for their wedding day. Don't want to give to much away!
We wish Donna and Michael much future happiness; will you or a wedding couple you know be the face behind this Instaboard as winners of the 2020 Sunninghill Wedding Fair Visitor Competition?
Entry to the wedding fair is free but you must download a ticket via Eventbrite as this is your unique entry to the competition. If you plan to do your wedding shopping with family or friends, no problem; their ticket can be assigned to your wedding!
Entry to the Sunninghill Wedding Fair 2020 is free and tickets are now available
You can download your ticket from Eventbrite below (maximum 2 tickets per person)
Tying the Knot: The Handfasting Ritual
Have you ever wondered where the saying 'tying the knot' meaning to get married originates?
The answer can be found in the ancient Celtic tradition of handfasting; a ritual ceremony which physically joins two people through the symbolism of binding their hands. Ellie Brooks, an independent Celebrant at Wildflower Ceremonies seen here in the picture explains the ritual.
"There are many different ways the chords can be tied to symbolise different aspects of the couples relationship. The colour of the chords can also have meaning for the couple and in some ceremonies the chords can come from each family; weaving them together being the ultimate joining of the two families."
Usually linked to alternative Pagan ceremonies, this visually symbolic ritual is beginning to find its way into more traditional ceremonies as couples seek to personalise their wedding ceremony.
Is the hand fasting ritual suitable for a mansion house wedding venue such as Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester?
"At Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester we believe our wedding couples should celebrate their marriage vows in the way most personal and meaningful to them. The hand fasting ceremony is equally as meaningful and memorable in a mansion house as any other wedding ceremony setting.
The Sunninghill Event Manager Jacky Walker explains how this handfasting photoshoot ceremony at the venue arose.
"At Sunninghill Weddings we believe part of our role is to keep a finger on the pulse of new and emerging wedding trends, especially those linked to helping couples to create a truly bespoke marriage ceremony. This can be in the words spoken, the rituals undertaken and the venue layout and styling.
A great way to share our findings is in a photoshoot."
We have been following Ellie at Wildflower Ceremonies on social media for quite some time; impressed by the quality of her posts
This is a wedding song to walk down the aisle to: Musician Harry North's new single 'I Will'
As an experienced wedding performer Harry North is perfectly placed to write a heart stopping romantic ballard that is ideal to be played when walking down the aisle before the wedding ceremony.
The lyrics to 'I Will' are catchy with three verses and a chorus which means that the song can be played for both long walks down the aisle and also shorter distances as there are natural break points to fade once the couple meet face to face.
Listen to the track here
Introducing the 3 Hour Sunday Wedding Ceremony Hire Option at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
At the beginng of 2019 we gave couples the option to hire the venue for a 3 hour period for their wedding ceremony; this service went down a storm with demand from couples far exceeding our expectations and slots available.
The Sunninghill Weddings Event Team sat down together to work out how best to help those couples who, for many reasons, want to use the venue just for their wedding ceremony. So far this has included a couple who wanted to marry and leave immediately for their honeymoon; several couples have celebrated their wedding at a reception at home in their family garden, whilst another had a venue in mind as part of their wedding vision but it wasn't licensed.
Our solution: The Sunday Ceremony Option!
Sunninghill Weddings Launch 3 hour Sunday Ceremony Hire 2pm to 5pm £1200
Couples looking to hold just their wedding ceremony with us will have exclusive access to the main house and its grounds on any Sunday throughout the year, including the popular summer season.
There is a choice of where to hold the wedding ceremony which includes both indoor and outdoor ceremony locations.
Typically guests arrive 30 minutes before the wedding ceremony; no need to panic about getting there early as the venue has lots of free onsite parking. After the wedding ceremony the wedding couple and guests have full access to the house and its many photo opportunities.
The venue provides a bar for guests to purchase drinks and can also arrange to serve a post ceremony drinks reception on behalf of the couple.
What is included in the Sunninghill Weddings Sunday Ceremony Option?
Included in the £1200 venue hire fee is three hours exclusive use of the house and its grounds.
The wedding ceremony venue decor including ivory drapes, floral hoops, register table flowers and seating for 40 guests. Additional guests can be accommodated at £10pp.
The wedding couple must arrange their wedding ceremony with the Dorset Registration Team for the date and time agreed with the venue, The wedding couple are responsible for all costs payable to the local authority.
British Flowers Week is taking place on 10-16 June; this is a national campaign to encourage everyone to buy more seasonal, locally grown cut flowers.
From January 2019 Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester will only use seasonal British flowers in their wedding venue decor
This year the Sunninghill Event Management team took the decision to use only British seasonal flowers in the venue decoration; we are proud to promote and support local growers and to be able to offer our clients a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable venue decor option.
Season British Flowers included as standard in the Sunninghill Weddings venue hire fee
However our couples choose to hire Sunninghill for their wedding; a three hour ceremony-only hire or a full day and evening packed with celebrations, the flowers provided by the venue will be locally sourced, seasonal British flowers. This includes the register table arrangement, the wall mounted floral hoops, the chair back corsages and the table centre arrangements.
Get to know seasonal British flowers
Why are we running a competition at the Sunninghill Wedding Fair on 26th May 2019 that can be won by a couple who may not be marrying at the venue?
One lucky wedding couple visiting the Sunninghill Wedding Fair in the 26th May WILL WIN this super prize on the day!
Sunninghill Weddings: Spreading the word about our fabulous family friendly wedding venue in Dorchester, Dorset's historic county town
The house and grounds at Sunninghill Prep School in Dorchester, managed for weddings and events by Sunninghill Weddings, are fabulous. We promote the venue as 'Dorchester's Hidden Gem' because it truly is a venue yet to be discovered.
Jacky Walker, Event Manager often jokes "if we had a £1 for each visitor who says they have lived or worked in Dorchester and had no idea what was behind the tall victorian brick wall that surrounds the house and grounds, we would be millionaires." This is a figure of speech that isn't quite accurate but gets the point across - the challenge for the venue is to be 'discovered.'
You are invited to the Sunninghill Wedding Fair on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th May 2019: Wedding Shopping with a chilled out vibe!
Sunninghill Weddings want you to discover their lovely venue. Each year the Event Team plan an exciting competition aimed at wedding couples.
In 2018 Sunninghill Weddings partnered with local radio Wessex FM to run the station's first Half Price Wedding Voucher - this met with tremendous success.
In 2019 the Event Team have partnered with award winning London based Its My Magazine Ltd to offer one lucky visitor to the Sunninghill Wedding Fair five printed copies of their very own A4, full colour, 24 page Love Story magazine; a significant prize designed to attract visitors to the venue.
2020 plans are currently being researched.
The Event Team are confident that everyone who visits the venue will be amazed by its size, especially the grounds which offer fabulous photo opportunities plus ample onsite paring for guests. This includes wedding couples who may already have chosen their wedding venue who of course have a network of family and friends who will be looking for a wedding and event venue at some point in the future. For this reason the competition to win the Love Story magazine is open to all visitors.
Good luck in the competition; one lucky wedding couple visiting the show WILL WIN this super prize worth many hundreds of pounds!
Introducing the Outdoor Spiral Wedding Ceremony Layout at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
Social media is a wonderful source of inspiration and information. A short while back a different style of outdoor ceremony layout caught our eye ‘The Spiral’.
Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester set out to recreate the spiral wedding ceremony layout on the main lawn of the house. Each chair was positioned to create an aisle for the wedding couple to walk through on their way to the wedding ceremony held in the centre of the spiral. First the Groom, followed a short while later by the Bride.
Each guest attending this most celebratory of services will have a close up view of the wedding couple who in turn are ale to acknowledge their guests with time to exchange a few words of congratulations before the wedding ceremony commences. Once married, the couple return together back through the spiral aisle, again in full view of each person attending the ceremony.
'Warming of the Wedding Rings' Ritual and the Spiral Wedding Ceremony layout at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
‘Warming of the rings’ is an incredibly moving and emotive ritual leading up to the exchange of the wedding vows. How does this work?
Each guest, starting at the outer most chair in the spiral, touches the wedding ring (s) as it passes along the chairs until it reaches the wedding couple, in the inner circle, for placement on the ring finger. The ring or rings are warmed by the heartfelt love of the guests as part of the ceremony ritual. We fell in love with this idea and couldn’t wait to bring this to Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester.
Is the Outdoor Spiral Wedding Ceremony Layout right for Your Wedding?
The Spiral Wedding Ceremony Layout suits wedding parties of between 50 and 70 guests; this is an ideal number of day guests for the outdoor ceremony at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester, followed by a Wedding Breakfast in the Garden Room conservatory, or an outside wedding breakfast on the lawn.
“What about the English weather?” you may ask: at Sunninghill Weddings venue we have this covered. Hired on an exclusive-use basis you have full access to all of the wedding rooms which means the wedding ceremony can easily be moved indoors and there is plenty of space for your guests to enjoy your special day.
Learn more about the Outdoor Spiral Wedding Ceremony Layout at The Sunninghill Wedding Fair on 26th May 2019 between 11am and 3pm
You can view the spiral wedding ceremony layout at the Sunninghill Wedding Fair on Bank Holiday Sunday, 26thMay between 11am and 3pm. Tickets available HERE.
Researching the Outdoor Spiral Wedding Ceremony Layout and Design set up at Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
The background of the spiral wedding ceremony layout was researched by the Sunninghill Event Team. We found an article written by Australian Celebrant Josie Arnold from Ceremonies With Style to be really helpful. Josie’s article documents in the the most frank and honest way the appropriateness of the Spiral Ceremony Layout fo your wedding ceremony. You can read the full article HERE.
The Awesome Team of Dorset Wedding Suppliers involved in the Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester Outdoor Spiral Wedding Ceremony Layout
A special thank you to all the Dorset wedding suppliers who helped Sunninghill Weddings to create these stunning pictures.
Photographer Jim Johnson
Chairs supplied by Marquee Elegance
Chair Sashes from 5 Star Celebrations
Harp on loan from Wedding Harpist Natalia Rogers
Venue: Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester
On Easter Monday, 22nd April 2019 the Sunninghill Weddings Event Team are holding a wedding venue open day; a perfect opportunity for couples looking for a place to hold their wedding ceremony or wedding reception party to have an informal look at the house and grounds.
The venue will be showcasing its 2019 floral styling by Old Chapel Flowers using a mix of their locally grown, seasonal British Flowers both fresh and dried, which are styled without the use of floral foam.
Get to know more about these flowers and get hands on creative in one of our mini floral workshops: there are two workshops available, one morning and afternoon - they are FREE to attend but you must book a place as spaces are limited.
The house is open from 11am until 3pm - no appointment required
Wedding Fair or Wedding Venue Open Day: what couples and suppliers can expect from each - yes they are different!
13th January 2019 saw Sunninghill Weddings attended the Weymouth Pavilion Wedding Fair: the turn out was fantastic and we spoke to over twenty newly engaged couples who were at the very start of their wedding planning journey. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our stand, it was lovely to meet you all and we look forward to welcoming you to Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester for an informal viewing.
What is the difference between a wedding fair, wedding exhibition, wedding show, wedding showcase and a wedding venue open day ?
To clarify, within the wedding sector all but the last (wedding venue open day) are the same thing! The objective of these events is to bring together a wide selection of wedding suppliers for wedding couples to both talk to and do business with each other, under one roof. It is a huge convenience for couples to have the opportunity to meet suppliers in one place, face to face.
Often this large scale event will also involve a fashion show for bridal gowns and grooms outfits such as that provided by Dorchester based Wedding Time Bridal Salon and Mens Formal Wear or other wedding attire such as ladies special occasion wear for the Mother of the Bride or Groom such as that provided by Poundbury based Boutique at No.6 at last Sunday's event.
Wedding couples can expect to find suppliers offering a wide selection of products and services from catering, venue dressing, wedding prop hire, bridal wear and grooms outfitters, music performers of all types including DJ services, Master of Ceremony, independent Celebrants, cake makers, florists, wedding venues such as Sunninghill Weddings venue in Dorchester, stationary designers, jewellers, specialist crafters offering unique services such as wedding favours, cake toppers and bridal hair accessories, photographers, videographers plus many more as each fair is different in the type of suppliers exhibiting.
The advantage to wedding couples of attending this type of event is that you can gain inspiration, often seeing the latest wedding trends on display.
You also get to meet suppliers face to face which helps you to get a feel for each other and to gauge how well you might get on (you might be spending the whole day with some suppliers such as the photographer or videographer so do make sure you feel at ease and comfortable with each other).
Often at these events you can also purchase on the day some of those outstanding items on your wedding planning list!
Approaching each other: suppliers and clients
If you are new to wedding events either as a wedding couple or supplier it can be quite daunting - they often have very small walkways with many stands competing for attention and lots of people, especially when the event first opens.
The best survival tactic is to smile and be polite towards each other, you might not need the product or service on offer however the person offering has made the effort to establish your interest and they have paid not an insignificant amount of money (often a three figure sum) to exhibit at the event.
No one can predict how many wedding couples will attend an event; if you find a time of day that is less busy use this time to have more in-depth discussions with suppliers. For exhibitors this is an opportunity to network with other exhibitors.
What is a wedding venue open day?
A wedding venue open day is an opportunity for couples to view the venue dressed for the occasion. You often find the venue set up for a wedding ceremony so you can experience what this will be like and what you will get for your own wedding.
This type of event is generally much quieter in visitor numbers as its aim is attract newly engaged couples at the very early stages of planning their wedding journey.
At a wedding venue open day you will have more time to chat with the event team about your plans and the venue's ability to meet your requirements. Sometimes (but not always) there may be a promotion or incentive offered to visitors for bookings made within a certain time frame.
You might also have the opportunity to meet some of the venues key suppliers such as their florist or catering team.
Where to meet the Sunninghill Weddings Event Team
During February 2019 you can meet the Sunninghill Weddings Event Manager during one of our weekend dates scheduled for informal tours. This is an opportunity for wedding couples, sometimes accompanied by their parents or bride tribe, to have an exclusive look around the house and grounds. There is ample time to talk through your wedding vision with tours generally lasting around 50-60 minutes. Viewing appointments are scheduled between 9am and 5pm and will take place on the following dates:
In March 2019 we will be exhibiting at The East Dorset Wedding Show on 17th March at Corfe Hills School. This event is open from 11am to 3pm and it is set to be one of the largest wedding shows in the county! You will find the Sunninghill Weddings Event Team attending along with our venue florist Old Chapel Flowers. If you are thinking of attending the show we will have two pairs of tickets to give away - follow Sunninghill Weddings on FB to enter our competition to win!
In April and May we will be opening the doors to Sunninghill for wedding couples to visit the house and grounds. On Easter Monday, April 22nd 2019 we are holding a wedding venue open day between 11am and 3pm to showcase our new 2019 floral decorations. You will be able to see a selection of fresh and dried flower installations created from British flowers, grown locally free from pesticide and displayed in an environmentally friendly way without use of florist foam.
Our venue florist, and flower grower will be on hand to talk through how she can match the venue decoration to your colour scheme with flowers direct from the field. There will also be a number of workshops where you can learn how to make your own floral wedding decorations. These workshops will be ticketed with a limited number of spaces available: they will be free to attend, however we would ask that you make a donation to our chosen charity on the day in return for the tuition, flowers and floral supplies used in your creation. We will be posting more information about this on our Facebook page.
On Bank Holiday Sunday 26th May 2019 between 11am and 3pm we will be holding a larger scale wedding fair where couples both looking for a wedding venue and those already booked can meet a range of local wedding professional suppliers. Sunninghill Weddings will be showcasing our 'Living Greenery' venue styling which is included as part of our full day hire fee.
You can see up to date with both open days through our FB event pages.
We look forward to meeting you in the months ahead.
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 email@example.com 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
The Sunninghill Weddings Team