With its magnificent house and mature gardens that maintain colour and volume all year round, Hardwick Hall is a stunning Elizabethan wedding venue that offers a beautiful setting for your big day.
The mansion itself was built in the 1590s and boasts incredible original features. The National Trust have strived to ensure that the building is much the same as it was in its original glory, and have restored every aspect of the design and décor with sympathy for the estate’s rich history. Initially, this was a ‘look how much money I have’ project, undertaken by the Bess of Hardwick – and only the rarest, most precious materials were used in the construction of the Hall. Nowadays, the Hall still appears to be a valuable, romantic and atmospheric venue, but the high ceilings and spacious events areas are somewhat overlooked as standard – although in their day, they would have been considered as a luxury and a sign of great wealth.
The spectacular Entrance Hall is licensed for wedding ceremonies, and features intricate historical Elizabethan tapestries. Up to 70 guests can be seated here, and there’s a Minstrel’s Gallery so you can have live music or a choir during proceedings. However, there’s also a hidden built-in sound system in the room should you wish to play your favourite records.
The East Colonnade adjoins the Entrance Hall, and provides the ideal space for your guests to enjoy an al fresco (but sheltered) drinks reception while you head off into the grounds or mansion to take your wedding photos. The Colonnade has far-reaching views across the manicured gardens and down towards the forest, and allows your guests the freedom to have a wonder around the gardens – which is especially useful if you’ve had small children itching to do anything other than sit still for the ceremony!
The happy couple will have exclusive access to the Long Gallery and The High Great Chamber for their photos.
The Long Gallery features tall windows for plenty of light, and historic portraits of royalty and aristocracy – as well as stunning scenic paintings of the mansion itself.
The High Great Chamber has hand-painted murals lining its walls. The floral patterns, musical instruments, birds and agricultural topographies on the walls make this a really beautiful room, and again, there’s lots of natural light here, and any good photographer is certain to be inspired by this unique and versatile setting.
While your guests sip their tipples and you take your photos, the staff will transform the Entrance Hall into your reception space. Able to hold 100 guests standing with a buffet or 50 guests seated for a meal, this room will already feel like your own (having tied the knot here just an hour beforehand), and will be decorated with the flowers and accessories of your choice. Due to the ancient timber frame of the building, candles aren’t permitted – but the room comes to life with just a few splashes of colour and some subtle personal touches. It’s already so heavily decorated in here with tapestries etc. that is really doesn’t need much adding to it!
There are also three lovely holiday cottages within the grounds at Hardwick that provide ideal accommodation for the bride & groom and their honoured guests.
Rowthorne Lodge is perfect as a wedding night retreat – a cosy former gate house that sleeps two in a luxurious double bedroom, has a specious lounge with lush sofas and flatscreen TV, and an idyllic courtyard garden for breakfast overlooking the grounds. There’s also a private path that leads through the gardens and out onto the Peak District, should you fancy a walk in the morning!
If you wish to accommodate your immediate family or guests of honour, High Hazels is a larger house that is set over three floors and has been has been recently renovated to a high standard. An elegant living room features a wood burning stove and large sofas, while the main bathroom upstairs (most of the rooms are en suite) offers an enormous rolltop bath with views over the gardens. This cottage sleeps 11 (12 if one of you is a small child who doesn’t mind a mini fold-out bed), and provides comfort, luxury and proximity to the venue.
Hardwick Hall is available for year-round weddings, and also offers a marquee in summer months that can house much larger receptions. Call Function Fixers to find out more about booking your big day at Hardwick Hall – we still have some last-minute bargains available here for winter weddings 2014, and are informed of upcoming spring and summer packages ahead of their release! Our service is free, so why not give us a call today.
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