An interview with Katie and John
Q. Hello, can you tell me a bit about you both?
A. We are John & Katie Ivison from Sheffield
Q. How long had you been engaged for before you started looking for a wedding venue?
A. 6 years engaged and 5 years together before that! We had a lot of time to dream about this wedding and what we wanted before actually going out and looking at venues.
Q. When you were searching for a venue, what were you looking for and where?
A. We were looking for a DIY wedding venue where we could stay for a few days not too far from Sheffield. We had around 20 people coming from abroad and 100 guests coming from all sides of the UK. It was important to us to be able to spend a full weekend together with our guests.
John is a chef so we also wanted to be able to do our own catering. We also wanted to bring our own booze from France!
We put in google search DIY wedding venue Yorkshire/Derbyshire and up popped Hargate Hall!
First Impressions of Hargate Hall
Q. What appealed about Hargate Hall when you first found us?
A. Everything! The description was exactly what we wanted. The venue, sleeping capacity, marquee, location, price and then so much more!
Q. What did you think when you first came to look around?
A. Wow! Better than expected. The building, the main hall and the staircase as we walked in wowed us and then it just kept on giving. We couldn’t believe the size of the place. It felt grand but with a very relaxed homely feeling. It was the first and only place we visited. We knew it was the perfect venue for us as soon as we walked in.
Q. Did you have any doubts or concerns letting yourself in for compared to a “traditional” wedding venue?
A. None what so ever. We do a lot of party’s (not to this scale) but we saw this as a bit of a challenge.
The only worry was the allocation of the apartments. Some people had to share with people they hadn’t met before, but this was explained to them and no one complained.
The Wedding Plan
Q. What was your plan for your wedding weekend?
A. The plan for Friday was to get everyone staying for the weekend involved with decorating the Hall, setting up the marquee and help prepping the food for the wedding breakfast. This way the guests could get to know each other. We made lasagnes, Garlic bread & salad for tea, followed by Tiramisu and enjoyed a few drinks in the main hall once all was set up.
The Saturday, we had everything at Hargate so we didn’t have to worry about the logistics of getting all the guests back and fro for the ceremony. We thought about this because we were getting married on New Years Eve. There was always the possibility of snow so we wanted to minimise the travelling.
After the ceremony we had drinks in the bar/main hall and then we moved over to the marquee and had a 3-course meal for the wedding breakfast. In the end, we moved up to the Main Hall for the desert as it was on the cold side. We opened up the big downstairs apartments for the evening which was nice for people to just wander around and relax. (Note: for all new bookings, we now include a 2nd heater automatically during winter months)
For the evening, we did joints of beef & pork for sandwiches which went down a treat without costing the earth!
The Sunday, those who were still feeling human helped clean up and then we caught up with guests. It was nice because everyone just came and went as they pleased so guests went walking, eat comfort food, and relaxed. Food wise, we did loads pots of soup, Stews and dumplings with crispy bread, cheese & pâtés and had a load of leftovers to finish off.
After the wedding
Q. Did everything go to plan?
A. More or less. There were a few oven issues in the marquee on the day but the apartments all have ovens so we managed the cooking this way. We forgot the kid’s food in the fridge at home (of all people!) but again we had far more than enough of the adult food so we just shared this out (luckily the guests were all understanding and helpful).
Q. Was it more, or less effort, than you thought and was it worth it?
A. It was what we expected, which was a lot of work and planning! But all so worth it! We would recommend anyone to give it a try!
Q. Would you do anything differently?
A. We would plan more heaters in the marquee as it was pretty cold and our food menu a bit better (the salmon roulades fell apart!) but other than that, we wouldn’t change a thing!
Tips and Advice for others
Q. How would you describe Hargate Hall?
A. BEST WEDDING VENUE EVER!!! It made our wedding weekend what we wanted, which was absolutely perfect for us! We had so many guests compliment us on our choice of venue too. Thank you Julie and Anthony for providing such an amazing place.
Q. And finally, because we are different to a lot of other venues, do you have any advice to others starting out on their wedding planning?
A. Check lists are great. Work out a budget and try and stick with it. Get a few quotes and shop around for stuff. Overspending is very easy, make sure you don’t get carried away! We got a popcorn machine for a few hours, our one indulgence…we wouldn’t bother in hindsight. Ask others on the Hargate face book page for advice, it is great for that!
We are both quite chilled people (much to my mums’ annoyance!) and of the mind frame that if anything went wrong to just go along and take it in our stride. At the end of the day as long as the ceremony went ahead, and our loved ones were there to share our special day with us, that was all that really mattered to us!
Thank you both very much for your answers. If anyone would like to know more please comment below!