When planning your wedding and booking your venue, it's useful to know exactly what sort of staffing is involved, and what sort of support will be provided by the venue's team. You might be wondering - do I need to hire my own wedding planner? Do I need someone to set everything up? Who will serve the drinks? Who will serve the food? And the list goes on...
It can be confusing! So we wanted to lay it out as simply as possible for you, so you have a full understanding of 'who does what' for your wedding at Dodmoor House.
First up, your 'wedding coordinator'. Within your venue fee at Dodmoor, your own 'dedicated wedding coordinator' will come included in that price. You should note though, that this person won't be 'assigned' to your wedding until around 2-3 months before the Big Day. At that time, you will come in for your planning meeting, where you will then meet your wedding coordinator. This is so that we can ensure they are definitely able to be there on your special day!
From there, they will get to know you and your wedding, find out all the little details, and take all the information to put together the plan for your day. They will also liaise with your suppliers, to confirm timings and logistics etc. They will be your person of contact from that point if you need anything, and will then be there on the day too, running things from behind the scenes and making sure everything is ticking over as it should be. We're even there for things like pinning on buttonholes or holding your dress!
If you're wondering who will line your wedding party up for the aisle walk, or usher guests to where they need to be, that will also be your coordinator. They are there to clock watch and let you know as and when things will proceed. For example, seating your guests for the ceremony, ushering guests from the drinks reception to the wedding breakfast, letting everyone know that the first dance is about to take place etc.
It's these parts of the day that couples often wonder 'who is going to help with this?!', and that person will be your coordinator. It might be that you have some keen groomsmen who are hopeful to help out too - that's of course great, and makes it feel more personable too! But fear not, your coordinator would still be there to just give them the heads up as to when they would need to usher or announce anything important.
Prior to your planning meeting, any member of the Dodmoor team will always be happy to help with anything you might need! Whether that's some questions in an email, a phone call, or a consultation or venue visit before your planning meeting. Our team of wedding coordinators are more than happy to provide any support or guidance you may need, in the run up to your Big Day.
The set up
The set up of the day is one that we get asked about a lot. Do I need to set up the venue myself? Can anyone decorate for me, or do I need a venue dresser? Who will lay the tables? All valid questions!
So, the setting up of the furniture is done by our trained 'set up' team on the morning of the wedding. They will put tables and chairs in place, for both the ceremony and wedding breakfast, and prep the venue to make sure it's looking its absolute best (inside and out!).
The team will also lay the linen onto the meal tables (which your caterer would need to supply, but we'll come onto that!), and then it would be down to the catering team to 'lay' the tables with cutlery etc.
In regards to decorative items and 'the pretty bits' - this would usually be in the hands of your coordinator (subject to what the items are, and how much of it there is). We are totally happy to help with putting out any straight forward décor for you, such as pre-made centre pieces for the tables, candles, signage, vases and the likes. If however you are thinking of getting a little more detailed and experimental with your venue décor, then this may be where you have to decide to hire in a professional venue dresser.
While we want to help as much as we can, it's important to know that your coordinator will also be sorting lots of other details behind the scenes, so they can't have all of their focus on decorating the venue. This would also apply to anything floral - while we would love to say we are, we certainly are not florists! Anything fresh/flower related would need to be provided and set up by a professional florist on the morning of the wedding. Your suppliers would have access to the venue from 9.30am!
If you have any questions about this, please do get in touch to discuss your ideas, and we can advise you on exactly what we could help with, or what you might need to assign to a venue dresser etc. instead.
Now comes the catering side of things! When booking Dodmoor for your wedding, it's important to understand that your suppliers are separate to your booking with us, and you will have your own contracts with them. This heavily applies to catering, as we do not and cannot get involved with any aspects of food and catering, so it's therefore helpful to ensure that you book a professional catering team for your wedding, who can provide exactly what you require.
Your caterers will need to supply the linen, crockery and cutlery, as well as their cooking utensils and their own team of staff to lay the tables, and serve and clear all food on the day. They can access the kitchen from 10am on the day, and would also be responsible for setting wine glasses (which we provide) on the tables, along with any place names and favours you provide (they will hopefully know the table plan well!).
If you find a catering team who are ticking all of your boxes but just aren't able to supply the linen (and possibly cutlery and crockery too), then we can always put you in touch with a local supplier who can provide these items for you instead. This will mean that you can still have the caterers you want, but they must still confirm they have a team of staff to lay tables, and serve and clear all food on the day.
We recommend two catering companies (who are amazing and know the venue like the back of their hands!) and these are Lemon Zest and Portfolio Events. However, you are not restricted to using these if you have something else in mind, and are welcome to use an external caterer instead, if preferred (please just note that an outside catering fee of £60 would apply, if you didn't use Lemon Zest or Portfolio).
We would also recommend looking at the more informal catering options under Daytime Catering on our suppliers list for other catering firms that also work here often!
If you do find a caterer who you would like to book, but has not worked at Dodmoor before, please put them in touch with us first before confirming your booking. That way we can check they are happy with our catering terms and conditions, and can provide them with details of what they need to provide, as well as what is expected from them and their team on the day.
We should also just stress that we do need you to hire a professional catering firm for your wedding please, as self-catering isn’t possible due to our health/safety responsibilities.
An important one! Who is serving the drinks?! That would be us. Whether you choose to provide your own drinks at no corkage (for the drinks reception and meal, and toast for speeches), or opt for one of our drinks packages (for the drinks reception and meal, and toast for speeches), our staff will provide the glassware and service throughout.
We will wait with trays of drinks to serve guests immediately as they come out of the ceremony, and would then proceed to set up a 'drinks station' in the location of your drinks reception. Along with serving from this station, we will also ensure that one or two members of staff are circulating your guests at all times to offer top ups and fresh glasses where needed. Our rule is that no glass can be left empty!
We will also be responsible for clearing any empty glasses and keeping the venue tidy of any drinks or bottles etc. The staff would then move from the drinks reception to the meal room, where they will continue to serve guests with wine (or any other drinks you might choose for that part of the day) and water! We can also keep the bar open for service too, in case guests might like to purchase something.
Our staff will run the bar too (with a bar manager on each shift), which will become exclusively open during the evening, when the drinks package or no corkage comes to an end after the end of the meal/speeches.
Please note our bar prices are different to the daytime drinks package prices.
There are some parts in the day (which you likely won't even notice!), when we have to clear the furniture to prepare for the next part of the wedding. For example, after the ceremony in the Courtyard Barn, we will clear those chairs to allow space for either an indoor drinks reception or a a seating area for the early evening. After the meal in the Catesby Barn, we will clear the tables to create the dance floor space and re-arrange the room for the evening, creating a whole different atmosphere to the daytime!
Our staff will be 100% focused on these aspects of the day, so there is no need to worry about assigning ushers to move any tables or chairs! You and your guests will go about the day, as we move and re-arrange around you, ensuring you are all relaxed and none the wiser.
We will also make sure to take extra care with anything that is yours when we are turning round the rooms. Decorations will be carefully moved if needed, and everything from centre pieces, name cards and favours (from the tables) will all be put aside and kept safely boxed up in a locked room. These items will then be given back to you the next day!
We don't like to think about this bit, but by midnight it will be the end of the day! At this point, you will start to wave off your guests and say your goodbyes. If you're then wondering - do we need to clear up? Nope! You can head off to your Honeymoon Suite for the night, and our staff will take care of everything.
During the clear up, anything that belongs to you or your guests - whether that's decorative items or a forgotten pair of shoes! - will be packed away and closed in our lock up overnight. This would then all be given back to you in the morning on checkout (after your breakfast is served to you in the Dodford Room!), and you would head off as the Newlyweds.
We hope this all makes sense! Of course, we always advise speaking to us directly if you do have any questions or want to clarify anything specific, so please get in touch if you need to!