Heaton House Farm is a gorgeous, truly unique, exclusive use wedding venue nestled on the borders of Cheshire/Staffordshire surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Over the years Heaton House Farm has grown into a super successful sought after venue, offering numerous spaces in which to hold your ceremony and then celebrate with a totally bespoke reception. Their on site accommodation is also outstanding. So what does it take to keep all of this going?
We’ve spoken to the team at Heaton House a couple of times over recent months about their stunning venue. This time we wanted to get a feel for life behind the scenes and check out what’s actually involved in ensuring that your big day runs smoothly so that you and your guests can relax, have fun and enjoy a great day. Over to the team now to tell us more.
With a wedding booked and fast approaching, how soon do you begin planning all the details?
From the second our couples come to view the venue, we help plan their special day with them. During their show around, we provide an information pack full of useful information to make their planning as easy as possible. This contains contact details for the registrars and caterers, how to book our accommodation and all other information they may need before booking their date. The team are constantly revisiting the information we supply to make sure it is relevant and easy to understand.
Then, once a couple confirm their day with us, we provide them with their own planning document which we send back and forth with the couple to ensure we are with them every step of the way. This includes all the details for their day even down to the fine details such as which colour chairs and are they doing speeches before or after the meal etc. By using the planner, our couples can call us (the team are in the office 7 days a week) and we can use their planner to be able to answer any questions efficiently.
We also host experience events twice a year, this is an exclusive event for the couples who have booked their day with us.
We hand pick suppliers from our directory who then join us for an evening of giving our couple’s ideas and advice, a musical showcase, wine tasting, food tasting and a drink at the bar with their #BrideTribe!
Finally, a couple of months before the wedding day, their personal wedding coordinator will contact the couple and invite them in to meet, walk around the venue discuss and finalising all the details with them to make sure everything goes perfectly on the day itself.
Can you talk us through the 24 hours prior to a wedding where you are responsible for everything from the venue set up, the catering and managing all the associated wedding suppliers?
We are very lucky here at Heaton House Farm as we have an award-winning events team who work very hard to make sure everything is perfect in plenty of time before the wedding. The coordinator for the day will have already contacted all of the suppliers 2 weeks prior to the event, so we know when they will be arriving and what they require.
Our onsite laundry team will be busy ensuring all the table linen and napkins, which we provide for every wedding, alongside all of the bed linen and towels for the accommodation guests, are washed and pressed ready. The venue team will then have all the tables set with glassware and any provided decorations. Everything is always done in advance, so the final 24 hours before can be a very smooth process with everyone involved knowing where to be at each moment and what they need to do to ensure a smooth set-up.
The venue set up – starting from scratch, how long does it take the Heaton House team & wedding suppliers to prepare for a wedding?
As a lot of our events are following on from another event the day before, we have a very short time frame to refresh the venue ready for the new day.
We have multiple barns for the different parts of the day, Steele’s Barn, which is used for dining, is closed off whilst the guests continue the party in Wedding Barn, so the staff can clear this down and set up during the evening ready for suppliers to arrive the following day from 9am. This leaves more than enough time before the guests arrive for everything to be perfect.However, if there is no wedding the day before, some couples come to the venue a few days before and begin setting up the venue, so everything is done in advance.
Describe the feeling when your work on organising a wedding is done and you take a step back to check and admire all your hard work just before the wedding party arrive.
We like to surprise the guests throughout the day, including keeping Steeles Barn hidden throughout the day until we are ready to move through for the wedding breakfast, our team will do the grand reveal, take a step back and watch as guests gasp with surprise and walk through admiring the beautiful room they see in front of them.
It’s a special moment when a couple see their venue beautifully arranged for their wedding for the first time. How do they usually react?
It doesn’t matter how many times a couple have been to see the venue, when they see THEIR dream set up, after months or even years, of planning, it is always a really emotional moment. We have lots of happy tears which is very rewarding for the couple and for us as we love helping create that ‘wow factor’ for their special day.
Unlike say making a wedding dress, which takes a lot of work, but is done in advance, most of your work can only be carried out immediately before a wedding. Do you find this stressful, or do things always go according to plan?
We spend a lot of time with our couples, planning and discussing their special day and it is important to us to help create the perfect day that has been designed carefully. Sometimes the couples book a supplier that maybe hasn’t turned up when they were expected, or maybe got stuck in traffic, we then step in and sort this, so the couple aren’t even aware that it’s happening.
For example, when a couple’s cake supplier hadn’t turned up, we rang and sorted it straight away which meant the cake supplier managed to get here before anybody noticed, the couple still doesn’t know to this day!
And finally, what are the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of your work?
The wedding industry can be a very challenging industry with lots of new venues opening every year, we have to work hard to keep the venue developing into bigger and better things and keep up with the trends.
Even once the wedding is finished, the couple’s call in after breakfast to thank us and say they’ve had the best time of their lives, this always leaves the team smiling for the rest of the day. Some couples also keep coming back for other events such as our pop up restaurants and our Christmas Ball.
It’s also very rewarding receiving thank you cards so thank you to all those who have taken the time to send these, the whole team here really do appreciate it!
All images courtesy of Heaton House Farm