Frequently Asked Questions

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

General

What sort of a venue is Owlpen Manor?

Owlpen is a country estate in the Cotswolds, and home of the Mander family.  It is a deeply private Cotswold wedding venue where you can literally shut the gates and have the estate to yourself for a few days.  It really is genuinely exclusive!

What does exclusive use mean?

Exclusive means you have the place to yourself, so for three days there will no other events on the estate at all, unless you approve it yourself.  This means you really can call the place your own for a weekend, or for three days midweek, and have the wedding that you want with all of your loved ones there to share the day with you. 

What is ‘whole weekend’ use?

We believe that a wedding should last more than just a day, which is why we offer you the estate for three days in total.  Usually we hold weddings on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but whatever day of the week, the timeline works like this:

Day 1: Kick-off.  Arrive from 11am (or earlier if you need) and begin to decorate.  Maybe have a rehearsal.  Guests start arriving after lunch, and checking into their accommodation.  If you would like to hold an informal meal in the Cyder Barn that evening, we can arrange this for you. Alternatively, you might like to throw a barbecue for all of your closest friends and family in a holiday cottage.  Some of them have large and beautiful gardens, which make them perfect for this.  If you would rather make things easier, head to the pub in Uley, just half a mile away, or enjoy a quiet night in before the big day. 

Day 2: The BIG Day!  We follow your lead on this, so let us know how you would like to schedule things, and we’ll offer advice where we think it might be helpful, and do everything we can to make your dreams a reality. 

Day 3: The Aftermath…  Guests begin to check out of the holiday cottages from 11am, and where possible we try to arrange late checkout for those who would rather stay on a while longer.  The cottages are all available to rent on that night as well, if you’d rather delay your return to reality just a bit more.  If not, you are welcome to stay on the estate until 5pm if you like, perhaps to have a relaxed brunch in a garden or at the venue itself, or just to hang out and relive the moments of the day.  Let us know what you’d like to do, and we shall try and make it work!  

Is the venue easy to find?

Owlpen is tucked away in a valley beyond the village of Uley, so it can be hard to find if you don’t have directions.  However all satnav systems will take you straight to the estate if you type in our post code, which is GL11 5BZ.  If you do not, the best way to reach us is to head to Uley and turn off the main street at the Old Crown Pub, on the village green. The estate is just half a mile further on, and it is clearly sign-posted.  If you would like printed directions, we would be happy to send them to you by email so just let us know. 

Is your venue licensed to carry out civil ceremonies?

Two interior locations were licensed, as Approved Premises under the Marriages and Civil Partnership Acts, in 2018.  The Cyder Barn is licensed for 104 people, and the Great Hall of the manor house is licensed for up to 50 people.  Civil Ceremonies in the Cyder Barn, and informal ceremonies in the manor gardens, are free when booked as part of one of our wedding packages above.

Please note: Gloucestershire County Council charges a fee for registrars to visit all licensed venues.  You can find more information here: http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/article/106549/Plan-a-Ceremony---Fees

Can we have a ceremony outside?

Currently we are not able to offer official civil ceremonies outside, however we do regularly hold unofficial ceremonies in a number of locations, either in the gardens or in a woodland glade near to the Cyder Barn.  These can take the form of a blessing, performed by an official celebrant, or even an informal exchange of vows conducted by a friend or family member. 

 

Venue

What is included in the venue hire fees?

We include the following in our venue hire fees: access to the gardens and grounds; use of the Cyder Barn, pole barn (due for 2020) or marquee at no additional charge; event coordination; cutley; crockery; wine glasses; table linen; napkins; choice of round or long tables; festoon lights; bunting outside; parking; unlimited camping.

What time can we start decorating?

You are welcome to arrive from 11am the day before your wedding, so that you have all day to get everything ready.  If you’d like to get here early for any reason, just let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

What time do we need to take our decorations down by the day after the wedding?

The day after the wedding we ask that decorations are taken down by mid-day, but if you need to extend this time, just let us know.

What are the guidelines for decorations?

We try to be as flexible as possible, but we do ask that guests do not place candles or other naked flames on tables without a glass jar or sconce beneath it.  If you would like to attach anything to the historic fabric of the building place ask us first. 

Are we able to use the barn or marquee the day afterwards?

You can use the marquee on Sunday if you are having a meal provided by our caterers, but we cannot allow access to the space without any staff supervision.  If you would like to provide your own food ,and use the marquee, we will most likely have to ask for a fee to staff the venue.  

Do you have a music system we can use for our ceremony?

We have a music system which is suitable for music during the ceremony, and background music during a meal in the barn. However, it is not suitable for dancing and discos.  We can advise on local companies which provide good PA systems (best to contact Chinnick Theatre Services in Stroud in the first instance), and they can install them as well. If you use a band or DJ, they will bring their own sound system.

Can the suppliers come and see the venue before the date?

No problem at all, just let us know and we’ll arrange a time. 

Can we bring our dog to the ceremony?

We are dog friendly at Owlpen, so we encourage guests to bring theirs.  We ask that they are looked after by a designated carer, as you won’t have time to watch out for your furry friend on the big day, and when they are outside, please keep them on a lead where appropriate.

How many guests can this venue accommodate?

The manor gardens marquee location can seat 200 people.  The Cyder Barn seats 50, and when you attach a marquee to the side, it seats 120.  An extra 50 guests can be invited to the evening party after the meal has finished. 

What are the possible options in case of bad weather?

In case of bad weather the Cyder Barn is quickly cleared of chairs to become a space for a wedding reception.  It takes ten minutes to do this, and in that time guests gather in the marquee next to it.

Would candles have to be battery LED’s or do you allow open flames but enclosed in lanterns/jars?

We ask that all open flames have glass jars or sconces beneath them to protect our surfaces. 

Do you allow professional firework displays?

Yes we do, as long as you use one of our trusted local suppliers.

 

Booking

What do I need to do to secure my booking?

We ask for a deposit of £1000, refundable after the event has taken place.  You also need to sign our contract, and fill out the first page of our event checklist, so that we know how to contact you.  After that you can rest easy, and we'll schedule a meeting with you to discuss your plans, and make sure we are prepared for everything as we move forward.

When can I come and meet you?

We tend to hold meetings on weekdays, 9am to 5pm.  At weekends we are often busy with other events, sadly.  

Do I need wedding insurance?

Historically we have always advised our clients to take out wedding insurance.  As of June 2019, we now oblige everyone to take out wedding insurance under the terms of our contract.  It costs around £60, and you can find good insurance cover here: https://www.events-insurance.co.uk/.  Other competitive policies are available.

 

Facilities

Can you provide extra loos/ disabled loos?

Yes of course.  Just speak to our team and we’ll discuss options with you.

Do you have disabled access?

As Owlpen is set in a valley surrounded by hills, flat ground is at a premium!  The gardens are terraced, with steep steps leading to each one.  There is currently no disabled (DDA) toilet, but we can provide one at no extra charge.  For more information, please see our accessibility statement here: www.owlpen.com/accessibility

Is there a dressing room that the bride and bridesmaids can use prior to the ceremony?

Yes the make-up room is in the barn itself, and is adjacent to the bridal suite.

Do you have a room where you are able to store wedding presents?

Yes please speak to us directly about the best plan which suits you. 

How would car parking work on the day?

There is plenty of parking on the estate.  It covers a square mile of land so no shortage of places!

Do you have landing permission should we want a helicopter to whisk us away?

Yes we do.  Please ask at the office for details.

 

 

Accommodation

Are we able to check in earlier than 3pm?

We do our best to let guests check in before 3pm.  Just speak to the team and we’ll prioritise the cottages that you want first, so that they are ready in good time. 

Are we able to have a late check out?

We do our best to allow late check-outs at no extra charge, unless other guests are due to arrive that afternoon.  If you would like to stay, you can book the cottage for an extra night at 50% of the standard rate.

Are we obliged to take all of the cottages?

You do not need to take all of the cottages, but we find that almost everyone does.  We ask that you inform us within 90 days of your wedding if you do not require any of them, so that they can be made available to other guests.

What do you provide in the cottages?

The holiday cottages are all self-catering. We provide a tea tray on arrival ,with a pint of milk, tea and coffee, and biscuits.  The kitchens are stocked with condiments including olive oil and herbs.  They also have washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, cloths and toilet roll.  All bed linen is provided.

Are we able to have a BBQ in one of the cottages the night before the wedding?

Yes we think it’s a fun way of greeting your guests and making the most of the estate, so we actively encourage it.  Our caterers can provide you with salads or locally sourced cold meats if you like, to get you started. 

How many people in total do the cottages accommodate?

The boutique holiday cottages here at Owlpen sleep 40 people in total, in nine holiday cottages.  We can also arrange Glamping for another 40 people in our water meadows, not far from the Cyder Barn.

 

Food and Drink

Do you have a list of preferred caterers?

We do not have our own in-house caterers, but we do have preferred catering partners who do the vast majority of the events that we hold at Owlpen, mainly because they know the venue so well, work really hard, give good prices and cook amazing food!

Can we use outside caterers?

 If you would like to bring in outside caterers that’s fine, subject to discussion with us first.  If you’d like to use food vans or similar mobile suppliers, that can also be arranged.

Can we bring our own alcohol?

Yes.  If you would like to do this, we ask for a service charge of £10 per head, which covers all storage, staffing, licensing and glassware.  You can then bring in all of your own drinks until the end of the meal, when the bar opens.  If you would like to bring in all of your own drinks until the end of the night, the fee is £16 per head, in total.  We also offer a drinks package, where we provide all of the alcohol for you, and run the bar at the same time.  Sadly we do not allow guests to bring in their own alcohol free of charge.

Do you have the option of a paid bar?

Yes we are fully licensed, and the bar accepts cash and cards.

What types of drink do you supply in the packages?

Please contact us directly to find out about individual wine packages.  We also offer beer buckets, to serve during the reception, if your guests would rather not drink wine!

Do you supply soft drinks with the wine package?

Yes we provide apple juice, orange juice, elderflower cordial and water. 

Do you include a cake stand and knife if required?

Yes!

Can you supply examples of suggested menus?

Contact our caterers directly and they will be happy to supply sample menus to you. 

Is there a cost if we bring our own cake?

It depends on what you want.  Usually there would be a fee which covers staffing and tableware for the cake, unless you plan to do all of that yourselves (up to you!).  If you do bring in your own cake, or any other food that you want the caterers to serve, you must have wedding insurance, or public liability insurance, and sign a disclaimer.  The caterers cannot accept responsibility for any illness that happens as a result of eating food which has been supplied by you and your guests.

 Regarding the layout, what options are there for tables?

We supply long trestle tables and round tables, according to your preference. Just let us know and we can put together a table plan for you.