Last week I had the pleasure of being shown around Wickham House by Deputy Venue Manager Isabel Stewart. Wickham House sits in 52 acres of parkland and looks out over the rolling Berkshire countryside. The house itself dates from the late 18th century and boasts many splendid period features. It is the much-loved home of Philippa and James D’Arcy, who have spent the last ten years transforming it into the spectacular exclusive-use wedding venue it is today. It is a truly wonderful setting for a luxury marquee wedding.
Visiting any venue during the winter months requires more than a little imagination. Chilly winds, wet grass and rather colourless gardens all make it difficult to picture your wedding day. Kate Nielen's beautiful photographs certainly helped me visualise Wickham House in the summer, but in truth it wasn’t hard to see its potential - despite the weather!
Getting married at Wickham House
There are several options for your marriage ceremony at Wickham House. Isabel began by showing me the charming 12th century church that adjoins the estate and comfortably seats up to 200 guests - quite a large number for a parish chapel. Usually after a church wedding, an undignified scramble into cars and mini-buses ensues. Not at Wickham House. Here, your drinks reception is only a few steps away.
Should you wish to have a civil ceremony, you have the option of getting married in the romantic surroundings of the Walled Garden. Through a set of wrought iron gates, the pebble pathway leads you to an immaculate sunken lawn where 180 guests could watch you marry beneath the elegant pagoda. Come May/June, when the garden is ablaze with colour, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in Italy!
The third option for your ceremony is inside the newly-built Barn that sits beside main house. This also provides a homely setting for a rehearsal dinner and, on the wedding day itself, looks like a lovely space for the bridal party to get ready.
A photographer's heaven
As you would expect, the gardens offer lots of beautiful backdrops for photographs, as do the many established trees that dot the grounds. Inside the house, Isabel showed me several characterful rooms that are available to use for group shots and couple portraits.
A truly memorable wedding reception
It is hard to imagine a more idyllic setting for a drinks reception than the Walled Garden. Its winding paths connect a series of landscaped terraces and guests are free to wander from one to the next, discovering different drinks and canapé stations as they go. The terrace beside the turquoise swimming pool is the perfect stage for live musicians, but the pool itself is one place guests aren't encouraged to explore!
Across the manicured lawns from the house, sits an impressive marquee site. With views out across the downs on one side and back towards the house on the other, it is an outstanding setting and would make for an unforgettable evening celebration. I could almost picture the fireworks going off at the end of the night!
An exciting choice of preferred suppliers
Wickham House have a varied list of preferred suppliers, spanning high-end marquee companies, florists and caterers. Most have been personally hand-picked by Philippa based on their high quality and experience.
As I drove away, my mind was buzzing with ideas. Wickham House could as easily stage a luxury festival celebration, complete with glamping village, as it could a quintessentially English wedding, followed by a traditional reception.
I hope it’s not long before I’m back…
If you would like help finding your dream wedding venue, I offer a venue search service. I will research a shortlist of potential options based on your needs and wants, potentially saving you hours of painful admin and wasted visits. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credits: Kate Nielen. Kate is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer based in London. She specialises in beautiful weddings and luxury events.
For more information about weddings at Wickham House, please visit their website www.wickhamhouse.com