Frequently Asked Questions
There's so much to take in as you think about your big day and so many questions it can become quite overwhelming.
For many of you, this is first time round and you often don't know where to start.
That's why we are here to provide answers to many of your queries.
Take a look through our FAQs below to tick some of those boxes.
We are the experts, ready, willing and here to help and guide you through the process.
Frequently Asked Questions...
Who looks after us during the process?
The events team will process your booking and handle the administration side of things from initial confirmation through to final handover stage. This is when you will meet with the function manager who will be looking after you on the big day when you will finalise details and agree on the final payment total. This means you would usually have an initial showround, interim appointment and final appointment, so three planning meetings in total.
Do you offer weekend or evening appointments?
We realise that everyone has commitments and therefore offer flexibility providing we are given a little advance warning. If it’s more to view the function space anyone will be able to show the rooms, providing they are free of course.
Are the registrar fees included?
The fee for your registrar to conduct your civil ceremony is not included in our charges. Please contact Colchester Registry Office for further details on 0345 603 7632. The ceremony is usually quite short and completed in around 20 minutes unless you are having any readings etc.
Do we need to provide the ceremony music and who plays it?
Yes you do and we encourage you to check your choices with the registrar to ensure they meet the legal requirements. It’s worthwhile considering the periods which this will be used for – as guests arrive and are seated, the grand arrival, signing of the register and walking out to. You can use the same music or provide up to 4 separate tracks on a device which we like to check beforehand and hotel staff will manage this on the day for you. We don’t suggest you rely on the internet but download instead.
Are we allowed confetti?
Yes you can but we do ask for this to be biodegradable and limited to outside. If the weather is not fine we will consider this on the day itself.
Where can we take photos?
Many utilise the gallery for group aerial shots by the main doors and the front entrance is often used as well. There is also a private area with laurel bushes providing an all year round backdrop of greenery and our courtyard patio can also be used.
Can we provide our own decorations?
Yes you can although some of our packages do include some table decorations and we work with a fabulous supplier Louise at WeDoWeddingHire. She can transform the functions room with some amazing themes and ideas. We just ask that if you do provide your own, you use only WHITE tac on the walls and do not use pins, nails or staples.
Can we have candles in the venue?
You can but they must be the led battery operated types due to safety reasons and not a naked flame. This includes tea lights on the tables.
How do we go about choosing our menu?
There’s lots of delicious dishes on our menu but you do need to select one of each course to create a set menu. We will however cater for any specific dietary requirements providing you let us know in advance. Furthermore, our packages include a complimentary taster where the wedding couple pick between two dishes on each course which our chef will prepare for you on a complimentary basis. Other members of the wedding party can join and will be charged £25.00 ahead, payable in advance.
How long will it take for the meal to be served on our big day?
This can vary on a number of factors but generally a good rule of thumb is to allow 2 hours plus up to 30 minutes more for speeches. This is a guideline for when planning the flow of your day.
Do you have a microphone for speeches?
Yes, we can provide you with a cordless hand held mic or a clip on lapel mic. We also offer the use of a projector to link up to a device to show any funny and embarrassing videos and pictures.
What size are the tables?
They are mainly 5 feet diameter which can take up to 10 guests but we recommend arranging your seating plan to accommodate 8 on each to allow for comfort and some elbow space. The top table is generally a long rectangular table and we would suggest limiting guest numbers to 8-10 maximum due to the width of the room.
Do you have high chairs?
Yes we have a number of high chairs on site but you need to let us know your requirements in advance.
What about child prices?
This varies upon age but in short, under 5’s are free and can be catered for with a simple meal or we are happy to heat baby food for the little ones. The slightly older ones can have a kiddies meal and we have a separate menu for this from £15.00 ahead. For the older ones, they may prefer a smaller portion of the adults menu and are charged at half the chosen package price up to 12 years and includes soft drink alternatives.
What time should we invite our evening guests?
Again this varies dependent on the time you sit down for your wedding meal but whatever time you agree, your guests will be on time as they do not need to worry about being first to arrive as they will be joining others. 7.00pm to 7.30pm is often a good time but we’ll review your schedule and flow of the day individually and advise you accordingly.
Do we have to use your DJ?
You are more than welcome to bring along your own DJ or band but we require a copy of their valid public liability insurance and pat testing certificate. We have an excellent relationship with our resident DJ Sean, who has been working with us for a number of years and therefore comes highly recommended and why he is included in a number of our packages. The venue does have a sound limiter which we would discuss with your evening entertainment provider.
What time does the bar close?
We call last orders at 11:30pm to allow for half hour drinking up time as the disco finishes and the evening comes to a close.
Can we bring our own alcohol?
As our primary business is the sale of food and drink we do not offer corkage or the facility to provide your own. Instead we offer a competitive wine list, reception drinks offers and packages that include drinks.
Can we run a bar tab?
Yes you can and we’ll agree an initial limit and advise you when this is getting close. We’ll need a card swipe to open up a tab on the till and clear understanding of any limitations and restrictions. Sometimes it’s good to issue your guests with a token to make this more manageable. The bill needs to be settled at the end of the night.
Can we have fireworks?
Unfortunately we do not allow fireworks or Chinese lanterns.
What time does the music have to stop?
The standard finish time is midnight but for an additional charge of £30 per 30 minutes you can extend to 1.00am when pre-arranged. We do need to consider our sleeping residents so therefore 1.00am is the latest. Bar service will be at the discretion of the Hotel during this extended period and the decision of the Manager On Duty is final.
Do we get special room rates for our guests?
Yes you do and we operate a simple process providing you with a promotional code to use when booking online through our own website. The discount ensures your guests will gain the best rate available in comparison to the likes of Booking.com and Expedia. There's options to book a flexible rate or a slightly cheaper advance purchase rate which is paid for at the time of booking with specific terms and guests may also use the pool and health club facilities.
What time can guests check in to their rooms?
2.00pm is check-in time but we understand that some guests may travel a distance to join you on your big day. We therefore offer a limited number of rooms with a guaranteed early check-in from 11.00am so they can check-in, relax a while and fresh up before joining you for the celebrations.
What about the payments?
A non-refundable £500.00 deposit secures your date and then we request a further 50% payment calculated on the remaining total 6 months prior to the date, with the final balance payment made 12 weeks beforehand.
We are often asked if couples can make additional payments throughout the process and of course we are happy to work with you on a payment plan and confirm your running payment totals to date. All payments are made through an online payment portal, the same system we send your contract on to secure your date.
Do the prices include VAT?
Yes, all of our prices include VAT at the prevailing rate, although some elements may be VAT exempt. There are no hidden fees.
Do I need to allow for a price increase if booking way in advance?
Yes, you do and we’ll discuss this during the initial appointment. As some weddings are booked a couple of years in advance it’s understandable that prices can change whether that’s ingredients, supplier costs or general inflation. For this reason, we suggest you budget for a 5-10% overall increase.
Does it cost extra to hold our wedding on a Bank Holiday?
Not currently and if that changes we’ll let you know at the confirmation stage.