Christina Sparkle

Leicestershire wedding venue review

Last week I blog hopped onto Chloe’s Adore Blog and, in particular, the review of East Midlands wedding venues. She has a fab selection of venues listed but I was disappointed to see none of them were in Leicestershire. So here’s my own little review of wedding venues that we considered for our big day. You’ll notice most are within Leicestershire and all details are based on the info I collated in my Google wedding doc in January 2012.

We were looking for a venue that could fit 60 guests for the wedding breakfast and that somehow combined my DIY / Martha Stewart / SoCal farm wedding ideals. Not an easy task!

1. City rooms – BEST BARGAIN

Location: Leicester City Centre
Capacity: 120

The City Rooms is a stunningly beautiful venue which dates back to the 18th century; beautiful for a traditional look, Bronte/Austen theme or even a goth wedding. The bar, dining room and ball room are all breathtaking and the ideal backdrop for photos but there is no outdoor area for piccys unless you want to stand outside the Irish bar opposite. Apparently the bedrooms are equally as fabulous.

The pricing looks steep at first glance (£50 per head) but when you look closely you will see this includes bucks fizz on arrival, wine on the tables and sparkling wine for toasts. The venue hire is also free on the proviso that you meet the minimum capacity requirements. That is why it gets best bargain.

2. Mercure – MOST SPECTACULAR

Location: Leicester City Centre
Capacity: 250

The King’s Ballroom at the Mercure is possibly one of the most spectacular sights in Leicester City Centre. I often used to walk past on a lunch break and marvel at the sight from the the street below. Any wedding in this venue is going to stick in your guest’s mind forever, the venue provides a beautiful backdrop for photos but again, there is no outdoor area. The entrance is unfortunately no where near as grand as the inside but once you’re in there really is no reason to leave!

The pricing is fair at £31.50 per head but then the venue hire is a lot on top of that and you need to fill the room to justify that. My 60 person wedding would only require one of the generic conference rooms which are also on offer but that’s definitely not what we wanted.

3. Quorn Country Hotel

Location: Quorn village, Leicestershire
Capacity: 260

Quorn is the village that my mum lives in so I considered this venue carefully as it would mean I could easily stay over the night before with my bridesmaids and have everything on hand.

This hotel is very nice, the whole venue is oak clad and quite handsome. It has neat little gardens along the river side for outdoor photos, ceremonies can be held in the Orangery/conservatory and smaller weddings like mine have their wedding buffet in the bar/library area but must share this with other hotel guests. Larger weddings are reserved to the conference facilities just over the courtyard.

With a £35 per head menu and £510 venue hire the Quorn Country Hotel comes in at an average pricing amount. It might not have quite the personality and DIY style that some brides might be looking for, but that leads me right on to…

4. Quorn Village Hall – BEST DIY VENUE

Location: Quorn village, Leicestershire
Capacity: 100

This venue really spoke to my DIY mentality, especially after I saw Jennie + Mark’s wedding on Rock n Roll Bride which also took place at the Village Hall. It has a genuine 50s style (soon to be repainted), a flexible outlook on how much you want to decorate and suprisingly lovely facilities (read: toilets and kitchen).

This actually turned out to be my second choice venue just because of the world of decorating possibilities. The venue hire is modest at £9 per hour (for Quorn residents) which worked out at about £250 for the Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. With a Hogroast or something similar you’re looking at about £10-£15 per person including buying bucks fizz/wine/champers.

The downside is that you have no staff, no dishwasher, no bar (unless you want to buy a mass load of alcohol and have a free bar), and no linen for your tables. On the upside, tables and chairs can be provided by the venue and I did combat all of these issues by contacting the bride featured above who kindly explained how she dealt with them and even offered to do this for my wedding as she now runs this service as a business.

This venue is ideal for those on a tight budget, those who are having the ceremony and photos elsewhere (lots of nice churches around!), and for those going for a genuinely vintage look.

5. Mythe Barn

Location: North Warwickshire
Capacity: 150

This venue isn’t complete yet, it should be ready in May 2012 but is still taking bookings for June onwards. From the graphic concepts it looks like this will be an lovely venue, specifically built for weddings and surrounded by idillic countryside. It also has the barn style that is my ideal.

The stumbling block for me is the price. £53 per head was the highest I found of the venues I looked at, but then that does include bucks fizz on arrival, wine at the tables and sparkling wine for the toasts. Then you realise that on top of that premium cost per head is the venue hire. On the date I looked at they are asking £4,750! That’s £5k!! Which when compared to the other venues I’d considered was 5-10 times the amount.

I did email Mythe Barn to double check that this venue hire cost didn’t include the price per head but the emailed me back to assure me it didn’t. I did enquire as to why it was so much more than other venues but they didn’t reply.

You know, perhaps I would go along to see what is built already and fall in love with the sheer beauty. But for me, the price has completely put me off even going to see it. Especially as I know I would have to pay deposits before I even get to see the finished product.

Mythe Barn do have a comprehensive pricing structure that includes discounts for mid week dates and out of season weddings, they are also represented by a premium wedding venue finder so they really are pitching for the top end of the market, not my “small” gathering.

6. Rothley Court Hotel

Location: Rothley village, Leicestershire
Capacity: 50

Although I didn’t actually visit this venue I still have to give it a mention. Rothley Court is a delightful country house-style hotel in the Meet Inns chain. If you haven’t heard of the Meet Inns offer for weddings then you might end up reconsidering your whole celebration right here!

Basically, you pay £999 for 50 of your guests to have a full three course dinner, including all the usual drinks and there is no venue hire. An incredible bargain. That is, if you can get your guest list down to 50 (or maybe up to 50?!). This offer is only available for weddings on Sunday – Thursday and as you can imagine they get booked up incredibly quickly.

If you are in Leicestershire and can wait for a date then I would highly recommend you consider this option. Rothley Court seems to be one of the most beautiful venues in the Meet Inns chain so you would be mad not to give it a look!

7. Halstead House Farm – BEST FOR US

Location: Tilton on the Hill, Leicestershire
Capacity: 150

This was the first venue I saw a price list for and I thought the £28.50 price per head sounded ridiculous. Little did I know this would be the most modest of all the venues I would find. The venue hire does bump the price up a lot at £1,350 which was 2-3 times more than others I had seen but you are actually hiring the entire farm for the day, not just a room.

The reception room, the Opera Barn, satisfied my Barn-style ideal and there is lots of space and flexibility to decorate according to your own style. The surrounding countryside provides a beautiful backdrop to the whole event and the farm provides lots of fun nooks and crannies for interesting photography. Because it is a farm on the edge of a small village there is no chance of random people crashing your wedding because they took the wrong turning in the hotel corridor.

This is the venue that eventually won us over. It ticked every box and the bonus is that we won’t need to transport several oldies to 2 or 3 venues over the day because everything can be in one place. One beautiful, DIY meets Martha Stewart meets SoCal farm place.

I hope this review is of help to someone out there who is looking at Leicestershire venues, or even any UK venues. My top tip is to make sure you compare not just the price per head but what is included in that (i.e. drinks) and the venue hire too. Use your Google Doc for the best way to compare each venue. Oh, and don’t forget to haggle wherever you can!

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