Your wedding should be your way, and for some couples, you might not feel as though a traditional sit down meal or a formal wedding day is very 'you'. At Dodmoor, we love to offer the flexibility to choose exactly how you would like your wedding day to be, accommodating a more 'informal' style if preferred.
This would mean having no official seating plan for the wedding breakfast, allowing guests to flow through both barns throughout the day, and sit where they would like for the meal. The overall style of the day can feel less traditional and a little different to the 'norm', creating a relaxed and exciting atmosphere for you and your guests! On a summer's day, you could have your speeches, cake cut and even your first dance outside. If this sounds like something you'd like, keep reading to hear how our 'informal' plans work.
Tables would be set up in both rooms (and outside if it's nice weather), and you can choose from original round tables with linen (you or your caterer would need to supply the linen), or for an even more relaxed vibe you could hire the Dodmoor coffee tables from our Hire at Dodmoor range. We have six coffee tables, each of which seat 8 guests.
Certain aspects of an 'informal' style day will depend on where you're having your ceremony (at church or at Dodmoor House - indoor or out) and how many guests you will invite, so it's always worth getting in touch with us to discuss your plans and ideas. However, we have outlined the main logistics for you below!
If you are planning to have your ceremony at Dodmoor House, we can seat a maximum of 110 guests in the Courtyard Barn (see here for outdoor ceremony seating capacities). After the ceremony, we would invite you and your guests either out to the courtyard or down to the lawn (in good weather!) or into the Catesby Barn (if it's winter or wet!) for the drinks reception. Two or three tables would have been pre-set in this barn, along with a couple on the mezzanine too. During the drinks reception, Dodmoor staff would then set up tables in the Courtyard Barn ready for when guests take a seat for food.
If you are arriving from church (in which case we could hold up to 120) or are having an outdoor ceremony, all tables could be pre-set in both barns, in the hope that you will be having an outdoor drinks reception and wouldn't require the barns for that part of the day.
If however you do get married in the Courtyard Barn, while you are mingling and sipping on cocktails during the drinks reception, we will set up some tables in that barn (possibly in the courtyard too if it's summer), creating ample seating for all of your guests. Due to the nature of guests sitting where they like (rather than to a seating plan), your wedding breakfast would need to be 'buffet style'. This could be anything from a hog roast or barbecue, a hot or cold buffet, or a food truck parked outside the courtyard!
With a buffet, this would likely be set up in the Courtyard Barn, or a hog roast/barbecue would be served from the courtyard (additional buffet tables can be set up inside the Courtyard Barn if it was cold or wet). Food trucks can park just outside the courtyard, so you would need to consider the little walk guests would need to make to collect their food, and whether or not the caterers could bring food inside if it was raining, but in the summer months, this can work really nicely!
Our recommended caterers Lemon Zest and Portfolio Events can both provide buffet style food, as well as barbecues or hog roasts, but you are of course welcome to use an external caterer if you'd prefer (please just note that an outside catering fee would then apply).
You would need to consider that your caterer needs to supply any required table linen, cutlery and crockery, as well as waiting staff for the service and clearing of the food. With a food truck, you might prefer to use paper plates/boxes/cones (whatever the food might come in!) rather than cutlery and crockery, but their staff would still be responsible for clearing.
If your chosen caterer cannot provide linen, crockery or cutlery, please don't worry! We can always put you in touch with one of our suggested suppliers, who can provide this for you.
After the meal, you and your guests can gradually move over to the Catesby Barn where the party will begin, and our staff would then clear down the Courtyard Barn, leaving a couple of tables in there for quieter evening seating if you wish. Your DJ or band could either set up in the Catesby Barn in the early evening, or arrive earlier in the day to be pre-set (this is something you would need to discuss and arrange directly with your supplier).
Regarding drinks, you are still welcome to opt for a Dodmoor House drinks package or take advantage of the no-corkage period if having an informal wedding day. This would start after the ceremony, and usually end after the food has been served ( however this might depend on timings and other aspects of the day, and would be discussed further with your wedding planner at your final planning meeting).
Above all, our priority is that you have the day you imagine and wish for, and if a more relaxed approach feels like your style, then we are more than happy to accommodate this for you!
Please get in touch now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you are thinking of having an informal wedding, and would like to discuss things in more detail. There are a handful of options, and we would always have a 'wet weather plan' in place too, so it's great to have a chat with us about this!
Happy wedding planning! #LOVEdodmoor