Ali & Carl's Wedding Story
When looking for venues for our winter wedding, we had a number of boxes that needed to be ticked. Somewhere quirky where people could stay the night of the wedding and night before if possible, somewhere rustic, charming, with history, somewhere that would allow us to have candles during the ceremony and meal - and where we could have a fabulous party big enough for 100+ people and accessible from London and M4/M40. We looked at places in The Cotswolds and Surrey but nothing ticked all the boxes until we came across The Olde Bell in Hurley. We both knew it from having grown up not far away but didn't immediately think of it as a venue, but I am SO glad we did as I could not imagine a more perfect setting for our winter wedding.
The Olde Bell offered a number of different wedding packages and we opted for the Diamond Package which included exclusivity and all 44 rooms of the hotel including the lovely Malthouse which is a separate part of the hotel just next door to the main Inn itself, however we used The Tithe Barn for the ceremony, the wedding breakfast and the party which is situated just opposite.
Amy was placed in charge of co-ordinating our wedding when a previous co-ordinator left just 5 weeks before our big day, but Amy was absolutely fantastic from the minute she took over She was calm, patient, incredibly warm - and very organised! We had a great meeting with her and the General Manager Jeremy and we both came away feeling confident and content that our big day was in very safe hands. Amy replied to our emails almost immediately or at least within a couple of hours maximum (anyone planning a wedding will know how frustrating it is to have to wait for days to get a reply from a supplier) and didn't once rush or pressure us for answers to questions.
We had several alterations leading up to the day and a couple of big changes just days before the wedding, which Amy handled in her stride without any fuss or questions. Calmness and the ability to be very organised is exactly what any Bride and Groom needs in the run up to and on the big day!
We had 23 rooms allocated for our guests the night before the wedding as we wanted as many people to enjoy the venue as possible and we had 40 for dinner in the restaurant for the Friday night. The food was not only fantastic, but everyone was served together and it was a great way to kick off a memorable weekend - for guests to meet each other and for people to get to know the nooks and crannies and beautiful setting of The Olde Bell.
On the day, all the staff were really kind and supportive to Carl and I. Amy came up to the Bridal Suite (which was an amazing room) to say hello and was there straight after the ceremony to present us with a glass of champers! Aga was looking after us on the day under the General Manager Jeremy's watchful eye and calm presence. Aga and the team were brilliant and just went out of their way to ensure everything was perfect for us. She popped in to check I had everything I needed in the run up to the ceremony and I felt completely confident and calm because I knew the team were so good, I trusted them entirely. I'm a DJ so it was important for me to have music through each part of the day and the team ensured my ipod was where it needed to be at all times throughout the day.
We brought our own table names, guest name places and wedding favours which were all set up beautifully. The tables looked stunning. The service for the dinner was brilliant, despite one little hiccup resulting in a slight delay with a few tables' main courses but Jeremy went round to the tables to explain and I don't think they would have even noticed it was a little late! The food was gorgeous, we had really enjoyed our menu tasting which resulted in a lovely meal for all our guests. Thank you Rick the Chef and team for all your hard work.
The rooms reset from the meal to the party was so quick and impeccable. There was no doubt that everyone knew exactly what they were meant to be doing the whole time. During the party, it was important to us to keep as many people in the Tithe Barn for the party as possible so the team even set up a bottle bar in the Barn for us and we kept a separate bar open for those wanting spirits. The venue obtained a late licence at a small cost so we partied til 1am and they kept the hotel bar open til 2am for the hardcore party guests (Bride and Groom included)!
I had so many comments from our guests on how magical the venue was - which only confirmed exactly what we knew from the start, that The Olde Bell was the ideal place for our wedding. I couldn't recommend The Olde Bell and their team highly enough to any couple looking to book a fantastic, characterful and beautiful venue for their wedding. Thank you Jeremy, Amy, Aga, Pablo, Rick - and all the team! You helped to make the most important day of our lives absolutely perfect from the moment we arrived on the Friday afternoon to the moment we left on the Sunday afternoon. We'll never forget you! xxx