Shortly after the shock and joy of the proposal, the giddy celebrations with friends and the initial two-week period when it’s (sort of) acceptable to pretend you’re working on a spreadsheet whilst really creating a themed wedding Pinterest board – it will be time to choose your wedding venue. With so many to choose from, the venue you pick will without doubt affect the theme of the entire day. We spoke to Michael Gledhill, Director of Events at Yorkshire’s exclusive wedding venue, Bowcliffe Hall to find out more about what couples should ask when looking for a venue, why the personal touch is absolutely essential and some of the wildest requests he’s had…
Tell us a little about your experience / background with helping to plan and execute weddings…
Having started in Hotels at a very young age weddings were always a favourite for me, being part of the most important day of a couple’s life felt magical. Of course in my early days planning was down to the wedding co-ordinater, who I always seemed to wonder why they weren’t involved in the actual delivery of the day itself. Being the impatient person I am I soon began to get involved in planning with every intention to plan and deliver that memorable occasion and wow I soon realized the sense of honor that had been gifted to me, not only had I delivered the initial brief of a couples day but also executed and exceeded their dreams. I still have the same feeling meeting a couple for the first time as I did on that very first occasion back in 1999. Since 1999 I’ve developed some great relationships with couples and some amazing suppliers which continue to this day.
What is it you love most about organising weddings?
I’d have to say the friendships formed over the years. Being part of a couples dream turns a chosen career into a passionate hobby.
What do you offer the bride and groom from the moment they visit Bowcliffe to see if they’d like a wedding there, right the way through to the planning, ceremony and aftercare?
I believe a personable, knowledgeable and calming influence is hugely important. When I open the door to greet our couples for the first time I frequently see the fear of the unknown in their eyes. The personable welcome often relaxes the initial fear and so we continue to get to know each other and I get an understanding of what my couples are wanting to achieve for their special day. I believe the food and drink at your wedding should be as much of a talking point as the dress or decorative arrangements. My experienced and enormously talented team personally consult with every bride and groom from the outset so that we can be absolutely sure our couples dream day becomes reality. We will offer advice on flowers, marquees, design and everything in between. We will make sure all is in place and runs to schedule on the big day. We will work hand in hand to produce a tailor – made celebration reflective of your personal style, fitting in perfectly with the overall look and feel of our couples wedding day.
What has been the most extravagant wedding request you’ve ever had?
Snow in August… need I say anymore! We delivered it though, thanks to a local indoor snow slope!
Your current place of work, Bowcliffe Hall, has just had a £6 million masterplan renovation – what has it done for the scope of the type of wedding people can now hold there?
With the introduction of the Blackburn Wing and the Drivers Club as well as the redevelopment if the hall and gardens our clients now experience the most unique and exclusive venue in the north. Some serious passion has gone into planning the renovation of Bowcliffe Hall over the last 5 years and with that came a no compromise culture. Bowcliffe Hall exceeds your dreams and turns them in to beautiful memories. You have to see it to believe it and once you do you’ll hope no one else does.
What makes Bowcliffe such a unique place to get married?
Bowcliffe hall remains an un-known in the north and we’d kind of like to keep it that way. From the moment you drive through the gates you see a magnificent hall, steeped in grandeur, elegance and character, everything else just blows you away and you haven’t even got through the front door yet.
What options are available to those choosing to get married at Bowcliffe?
At Bowcliffe Hall, we believe that the food & drink is as important as the dress, suit, service or honeymoon. Weddings are one of our specialties & we are proud to provide Bowcliffe Hall as a fantastic backdrop, producing delicious food & drink for a special day. Our experienced team will consult on all of the details & add personal touches to every aspect of the day. Our menus can be tailored to suit every wish, from formal dinners to relaxed settings with classic dishes. We make it our business to be the absolute best: to source the best ingredients, to hire the best chefs, the best menu & event designers, the best bar staff & sommeliers, and to make everything simply exceptional without compromise. Providing tailored Wedding Celebrations within a premium interior design and beautifully manicured exterior, incredible styling, talking point canapés, moreish wedding breakfast menus, and the very best food, drink & service possible.
How much should couples budget for their venue?
It’s important that couples sit down and agree a budget; ultimately your venue is likely to be the biggest chunk of your wedding budget; expect to spend roughly 50% of it on the space itself, plus food and beverage.
Check out Bowcliffe Hall for more information!