A Guide to Planning Your Wedding at Dodmoor House
We wanted to provide you with a helpful guide as to how your wedding could be at Dodmoor House (but please rest assured that we want every day to be as individual as possible so there is lots of room for flexibility!):
Day before: We would usually invite you over for a short 'drop off' meeting the day before your wedding, at around 10am (subject to change). During this meeting you are able to drop off all of your 'wedding items' (such as decorations, drinks or dresses!), and we would also use this time to go over the final details and discuss any last minute questions you might have!
Access for suppliers: Your wedding suppliers can arrive from 9.30am, please let them know this time when you make your booking with them so they are fully aware of how much time they will have on the day.
Arrival: Our Honeymoon Suite and interconnecting Dodford Room are guaranteed to be ready for you to ‘check in’ at midday. If you are the first wedding of the week (normally a Thursday), we could look at an earlier arrival time. It is the perfect place to add those finishing touches before the ceremony. If your ceremony time is before 1pm, you may choose to get ready at home or in a local hotel and arrive to the main house to see the registrars there instead.
Guests’ arrival: Our bar usually opens an hour before the ceremony for guests to order drinks on arrival.
Ceremony: Our Courtyard lends itself to be used as part of your aisle walk, once your guests are upstanding and the doors open and curtains drawn in the Dodford Room, you and your wedding party can make your way across the courtyard into the Courtyard Barn. Don’t worry, there is a wet weather plan if needed though!
Prior to the ceremony, you will both have separate interviews with the registrars. It is your responsibility to book your registrars for your ceremony (or to coordinate with your vicar/priest for church services).
The Courtyard Barn is where most of our ceremonies take place. The barn can have a more traditional set up with the aisle down the centre of the room or a slightly different layout in the middle of the barn. The Catesby Barn can be used for ceremonies with a more traditional layout for smaller weddings (less than 58 guests).
Drinks reception: We welcome you and your guests at the end of the ceremony with their first drink. The Courtyard is popular with seating on the lower level, the lawn is great for hot days with garden games and shade from the oak tree or you can feel cosy in the Courtyard Barn with the underfloor heating in the colder months or shelter from a passing shower.
You are welcome to have confetti after your ceremony and this can be thrown inside the Courtyard Barn or outside on the steps in the courtyard. Confetti must be dried or real petals please, as we can't allow paper confetti (even if it's biodegradable). Please ask us for suggestions for suppliers for dried petals if needed, or you can of course source your own!
The two main options at Dodmoor are our unlimited daytime drinks package or our no corkage policy (while the bar facilities are also available via waitress service). Drinks receptions tend to last about an hour and a half and are the perfect time for drinks, photos, canapes and mingling.
Meal: Guests will be invited through to the Catesby Barn for the wedding breakfast. There are different table layouts available depending on your numbers and taste. (If you have a smaller wedding and have your ceremony in the Catesby Barn, your meal will be in the Courtyard Barn).
Catering: We provide the tables and chairs, but everything else to do with your food must be organised with your caterer. This would include table linen, crockery, cutlery, and staffing for the laying of the tables and the service/clearing of food and disposal of rubbish. We have two fantastic recommended caterers: Lemon Zest and Portfolio Events. However you are also welcome to use an outside caterer (there is just an extra £50 for 2023, £60 for 2024, £75 for 2025 outside catering fee payable). We can also help to recommend more informal caterers who have worked at Dodmoor before, or you can have a look around to see what you find! Please just ensure you highlight to your caterers of the above that they would need to provide.
Music: Daytime music can be played from your i-pod on our music system in both barns and in the courtyard, or we can help to suggest some musicians to perform live.
Decorations: We love candles and fairy lights at Dodmoor (you’ve probably already noticed!), we have lots of decorations you are welcome to use including candelabras, table plan easels, candle holders, cake stands etc.
Speeches: These often follow the meal, although you could plan them before the meal if you have nervous speakers! Just check with your caterers as it may depend on your menu. We have a cordless microphone to use.
Tea and Coffee: This works particularly well when served buffet style by your caterers in the Courtyard Barn after the meal. This gives guests a reason to move through so we can transform the Catesby Barn for the evening party.
Early evening: You may organise entertainment for the early evening that works well before the evening ‘party’; popular ideas include magicians, quizzes, fun casinos, photobooths or acoustic music either in the Courtyard Barn or outside in the courtyard (until 9pm). Tables are set up here as a quieter room for guests in the evening, while evening food can be served in here too.
Evening Party: Our Catesby Barn is transformed into the party barn with your evening entertainment set up at the far end of the barn, with seating under and on the mezzanine. You may kick off the evening with your cake cut followed by your first dance after any evening guests have arrived.
Music: We have a great range of DJs, singers and bands who have performed at Dodmoor House in the past and can use our experience to help recommend the best option to suit your taste. We do ask that all live music finishes by 11pm, but a disco set can continue until midnight. We ask that all performers adhere to our noise limit of 94 decibels and provide their own equipment. Any bands not on our recommended list should use electronic drums please.
Bar: Our no corkage period or unlimited drinks package finish at the end of the meal. When your guests move through to the Courtyard Barn, the pay-bar is open for guests to purchase drinks from. We have a card machine or guests are welcome to set up a tab (we also offer waitress service to those guests outside or in the Courtyard Barn).
Evening Food: Your daytime caterers are welcome to provide food for the evening too. Alternatively we can help to suggest some great options for evening food, including Dodmoor’s burger bar, toastie or hog roast packages, or more of a street-food type feel, with pizza vans, fish ‘n’ chip vans or toastie vans that can park outside the courtyard entrance. There is no additional charge to change caterers but please ensure that your evening caterer provides enough staff to serve/clear away food and removes all rubbish to avoid any extra charges.
End of the Evening: Evening parties finish either at 11.30pm or 12am (it’s your choice), when the bar and the music stop. If you book an earlier ceremony you may want to finish earlier and leave your party on a high! Or carry on partying until midnight! Guests make their way home or to a local hotel and you retire to our Honeymoon Suite.
Honeymoon Suite: Our Honeymoon Suite is included in our venue hire fee for you to spend your first night together as a married couple. We will then serve a Continental breakfast to your room the following morning.
Local Hotels & transport: We have a great relationship with the Mercure Daventry Court Hotel to offer rooms (subject to availability) at a guaranteed rate for your guests with free transport at the end of the night for those who book onto a pre-organised allocation that we can help you to set up in advance.
Departure: We will pack up all your wedding items on the night of your wedding so they’re all ready to put into your car the following morning. You will then settle the bill for any extras (such as a drinks package) before we wave you off as a married couple by 10.30am!
Open Evenings: We love to keep you up-to-date throughout your wedding planning about Dodmoor House, with regular updates on social media, and we host Open Evenings every couple of months for you to revisit us, talk to recommended wedding suppliers and taste drinks from our drinks package
‘Day in Detail’ meetings: We are always available to help with any questions you may have by phone or email. Our main planning meeting takes place around 2-3 months before the big day on a midweek date (either in the daytime or starting at 5pm), and you will meet your designated wedding coordinator at this time. They will then finalise all of the plans for your wedding, including liaising with your suppliers in the lead-up to the big day. We offer lots of help!
If you'd like to download a copy of this planning page please click here