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7 Wedding Floristry Tips From Jacqui O December 20, 2021

7 Wedding Floristry Tips From Jacqui O


Your wedding florals are so much more than bunches of flowers. They are the fragrant focal point of your wedding style; a source of scent that will evoke memories of your wedding for years to come and a symbolic accessory enriched with personal significance – whatever your flowers mean to you, they’re sure to be a key feature of your wedding day.

This is going to be the best day of your lives, however, I remember only too well when I was getting married and I kept saying “I’ve never planned a wedding before…” because I honestly had no idea what I was supposed to be doing! Just remember there’s no right or wrong way.

When it comes to choosing your wedding flowers, most couples will have an idea of colours, but perhaps not the flower names or even what will work at your venue. It’s OK to be unsure… Having a floral expert on your team will make your life a little easier and that’s where a trained professional like myself can help!

As a wedding and event floral designer, I meet couples every day who come to me for advice on how to use flowers to leave a lasting impact, what flowers are in season around their chosen date, how to achieve their desired look and fragrance, and what it will all cost. It’s a big subject that I have dedicated many years to understanding but to sum up, here are my 7 top tips to help you.

1. Make Your Flowers Personal & Unique

YOU are the secret ingredient, so be confident, authentic and weave your personality into your florals. Identify your style, are you free and spontaneous or are you neat and orderly? Thinking outside the vase by allowing your wedding flowers to mimic your passions and loves in life. Create purpose within your flowers e.g. Do you have memories of your fiancé bringing you roses? Does your grandmother grow hydrangea in her garden? Do you have a hobby or interest you want to show off? You can collect inspirational images of flowers, bouquets, table centrepieces you love by using Instagram and Pinterest as a source of ideas to create style boards to help illustrate your vision to your florist or floral designer (Do you want to know the difference between a florist and a floral designer? Read HERE)

2. Consider Seasonality

Flowers bloom naturally at different times of the year; some cut flowers will be readily available in specific months or only under certain weather conditions and will be the best quality in their natural growing season. For example, peonies look their best in May. You should also consider calendar events such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. Across the world, generally, prices rise due to the demand for flowers, so bear that in mind. There are usually too many buyers and too few flowers. Weather conditions can also cause shortfalls in certain types so it’s always good to be flexible with varieties. This does not mean you personally need to be an expert but if you want a particular flower, think about the time of year you choose to get married and ask the experts for advice.

Wedding Floristry

Credit: Emmy Shoots


Caring for our planet is all our ‘blooming responsibility’. At Jacqui O, we try to help and support our couples to get the best value from their ceremony flowers and create ways for them to be repurposed so that you and your guests can enjoy the beauty of your wedding flowers for longer whilst reducing the environmental impact on our world.  Some of our couples chose to place the ceremony arch behind the reception top table to frame them whilst others use it as a photo booth for their guests to enjoy. There are so many possibilities but asking your floral designer is a great way to see what is possible with your scheme. Also, if you choose Cheshire or British grown blooms (available Apr-Oct), you are preserving our planet; flowers that are grown not flown have a reduced carbon footprint and may have provided food and habitat to a huge variety of wildlife before being cut. Alternatively, see what props and accessories the florist has in stock by embracing recycled vessels and containers; every beautiful thing has a story along with a few dents and scratches.

4. What’s Your Venue’s Style?

Your florals should work with the surroundings of your chosen venue, not against them. If it’s a country estate venue, consider romantic and elegant with romantic garden flowers like roses, delphiniums, and dahlias. If it’s a rustic barn, try going organic and wild with the florals. If a wedding venue has high ceilings this offers the perfect opportunity to complement the reception room by using tall table arrangements. Combermere Abbey has so many possibilities for you to make the venue truly yours for the day, in the Glasshouse, I often suggest creating florals around the central column to ‘wow’ guests as they enter. And you have to say ‘I do’ in style by dressing the ceremony doorway that leads to the beautiful orchid maze leaving both you and your guests with treasured memories forever.

Wedding Floristry

Credit: Emmy Shoots

5. Accessorise, Accessorise

I like to remind my brides that your bouquet is your ultimate wedding accessory and should complement the beautiful detail on your dress. Our top tip is don’t hold your bouquet too high. It will hide you and your stunning dress; and after all, you are the real centrepiece of your wedding. Instead, carrying the flowers at hip height captures you at your best in your photographs.

6. Less Is More

Recently a bride remarked “I could go to a supermarket and buy flowers for a lot less”, I agreed she could but I asked would it achieve the look she wanted on her special day? There was a pause, the answer was “no”.  There is a misconception that you put the word ‘wedding’ in front of flowers and you will be charged a fortune. I went on to explain that if you bought a pack of roses would they open up into beautiful large, ruffled heads? No, well that’s because I am selective in the ingredients that go into your floral creations and work with the best growers and suppliers. Be open and share your budget with your florist, and if you have no idea just say. At Jacqui O, we often tell our clients the average budget for flowers at the venue as this provides a guide. Some couples will spend less, some will spend more depending on how important the floral aesthetics are to them. I personally recommend having a ‘must have’ list e.g., brides bouquet and buttonholes and ‘a nice to have’ e.g., welcome flower arrangements. Also, if a florist comes back and their quote is too high, give them a chance to rework it for you when you’ve decided what you want to remove or ask them for ideas particularly if they have worked at your venue before… They are an expert in the field after all. If the quote is very low, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best value!

Sometimes less is more. A few larger focal designs will make much more of an impact on you and your guests than lots of small flower arrangements spread through the ceremony and reception.

7. Hire An EXPERT

A floral wedding on average takes over a week to plan, prep and deliver, you’re not just paying for the final product—you’re paying for the talent, vision, creative expertise and service of a floral designer or florist. I have had clients in the past who allowed a friend or family member who is ‘creative’ to make the bridal party flowers or table flowers as a gift. On reflection, these clients often say they wish they had got a professional to create their florals. Although it’s a lovely gesture, will you be talking about the flowers for the wrong reasons in years to come or not be talking about them at all? If you want sensational flowers, hire the expertise of a trained floral designer who is skilled in the art of floristry to bring your vision to life!

Jacqui O is one of Combermere’s trusted and recommended wedding florists and is based in Cheshire.


Wedding Photo Tips From Doug Krier May 4, 2021

Wedding Photo Tips From Doug Krier

This guest blog was written by Doug Krier, one of Combermere Abbey’s recommended wedding photographers. Below, Doug talks through his 8 wedding photo tips for getting the best images, and what you should look out for when choosing a supplier.

Your wedding day is perhaps the most important day of your life, a wedding photographer has a monumental responsibility in capturing your special moments so that you can remember them forever. It’s often said that the day itself goes by very quickly, so wedding photography and videography means you can relive your day over and over again with your loved ones. It’s as if you’re experiencing it for the first time all over again.

This means, as photographers, we have a lot of pressure to capture your wedding photographs exactly how you’d like them. We’re not just taking photos; we’re capturing memories and emotions from your wedding day and placing them in a capsule to be cherished forever. We’re experts in our trade and often come with years of experience, but to get the most out of your photographer; it’s a good idea to understand and be able to convey what you’re expecting too. Here are my top 8 wedding photo tips for capturing the best memories possible.

8 Wedding Photo Tips For The Best Photos

Style First, Photographer Second

A big mistake that couples make when choosing their wedding photographer, is trying to join their styles together when, like a disjointed puzzle, the pieces don’t fit. My recommendation would be to think about the kind of photography you want (posed, candid, maybe a bit of both…?) and then work from there. You should research photographers who offer the kind of style that you are looking for. Trying to change a photographer’s unique way of photographing means you could end up getting pictures that neither of you are truly happy with. This would be my number one piece of advice. Instagram and Pinterest are two great sources of inspiration, and it’s better to start researching sooner rather than later.

Wedding Photo Tips from Doug Krier

Don’t Overthink It

Most couples tend to opt for relaxed and candid photography that captures the raw emotions of their wedding day. However, we do understand that it can be hard not to but try not to overthink your photography when the camera is on you. Wedding photographers like myself like to work with natural reactions and emotions, so this works best when you aren’t focusing on the photography. Remember this. Of course, there’s always the opportunity for a few more artsy shots too – down by the Combermere mere is one of my favourite spots – but for the most part, it’s all about capturing the atmosphere of the day.

Let The Photographer Know What You Want

If you have a burning desire to recreate a certain wedding photograph that you’ve seen or have a quirky idea that you’d like to try out, then please tell us. We’ll always do our best to accommodate your requests. I’ve had couples try out all sorts of fun poses on their wedding day, and these end up being some of the best as they capture your own individual personalities. If there are also certain poses or angles that you’d like to avoid, then be sure to let your photographer know as early as you can. It’s not a good outcome for either of you if you’re uncomfortable with certain photographs being taken, so communication is key.

Remember Every Moment Is Special

Morning jitters might be kicking in on your wedding day, and you might be in a hurry to get dressed and out the door as soon as possible but savour the experience and let us capture it for you. Shots such as tying ties, getting the dress on, having your hair and makeup done or even having a cheeky tipple with your groomsmen are all cherished moments that you’ll look back on and be glad that you didn’t rush through. Pre-ceremony photography also captures the final moments before you become a married couple, so give us the chance to take those photographs for you and help you remember those moments forever.

Take Some Quiet Moments Together

Your wedding day can be a very busy affair, meeting and talking with a whole host of guests, and generally just having a great time. It’s sometimes described as a whirlwind. Due to this, we often find that couples don’t actually spend all that much time together on their big day. To combat this, try and take 5-10 minutes out of each hour to go for a quiet stroll with your partner and catch up on the day. Not only does this help bring you both back to reality, but those quiet moments also make for some of the most beautiful and intimate wedding photos. In a venue like Combermere, there are many locations that are just perfect for this kind of photography, I’ve found. Whether it’s along the walled gardens, down by the mere or through the woodlands – there’s plenty of space for quiet reflection and gorgeous photographs.

Keep Your Kisses Natural

If I’m being honest, there is often a lot of pressure on getting your first kiss as a married couple right. All eyes will be on you, and it’s also often one of the best photo opportunities too. But… Try and keep calm. From years of experience, I’d say to not overthink it, keep it short and sweet but also meaningful. It’s easier said than done but try to imagine it’s just you and your partner in the room. The raw, honest, and intimate shots are often the best. Don’t try and change anything or be too posey – as the photo will only end up looking insincere and perhaps even a little forced.

Wedding Photo Tips from Doug Krier

Don’t Forget The (Sustainable) Confetti

After the ceremony, confetti moments are a must. Not only is it traditional to have your guests (supposedly a way to say ‘congratulations’ to a couple and wish a lifetime of luck, fertility, prosperity, and happiness upon them) throw confetti, but it also creates the best wedding photos. The post-vow shot that guests (so kindly for us) decorate with confetti and laugh is often one of the most emotional and enthusiastic photos in any wedding photographer’s portfolio. There’s no happiness quite like it. Though confetti throwing is not as traditional as it once was, we urge you not to forget about it – the photos are just so fantastic. There are more sustainable routes for your confetti moments now than traditional paper confetti, that have entirely the same effect (both on the camera and in real life). As part of its sustainability promise, Combermere Abbey does not permit paper confetti but does encourage throwing petals or rice to celebrate the newlyweds’ happiness.

Make Use Of Your Surroundings

Finally, don’t overlook both your surroundings and the assets of your wedding day as fantastic photo backdrops. I do many shots alongside the famous Combermere Abbey Crossley car, these make for some of the best wedding photos. Many couples also love to have their picture taken with the Abbey in the background; it ends up being a very unique and stylish shot. One of my top pieces of advice for your wedding photos would be to make use of absolutely everything around you. Woodland and garden shots are very popular, as they should be, but there are so many other opportunities available too. The more the better.

Wedding Photo Tips from Doug Krier

More Wedding Photo Tips?

If you have any further tips that you’d add for getting the best wedding photos, feel free to reach out to Combermere Abbey on social media.

Doug Krier is one of Combermere Abbey’s top recommended suppliers and has photographed many weddings over the years here. His contemporary approach when shooting weddings evokes the true emotion and narrative of the day. The classical approach is timeless, and he works tirelessly in an unobtrusive, friendly, and relaxed manner on the day. There are no bells and whistles, no over the top filters or moody backgrounds, just pure, elegant, delightful wedding photos. 

8 Ways To Surprise Your Wedding Guests April 29, 2021

8 Ways To Surprise Your Wedding Guests


Your wedding day is a day full of excitement and intrigue, not just for you and your partner, but for your guests too. Many couples want their day to be talked about for years to come, and one way to ensure this is to surprise your guests during your ceremony. Make your wedding day one to remember with these tips from our wedding planning team. From Combermere Abbey to you, here are eight ways to surprise your wedding guests.

Why Do Couples Want To Surprise Their Guests?

A day to remember is the dream of most couples, even those who opt for low-key, intimate weddings. When your wedding day is often talked about, it helps you and your spouse relive those special moments all over again, meaning the memories will never fade. Including a surprise moment in your ceremony is easy and there are many ways to do it.

How To Surprise Your Wedding Guests

Switch up the first dance

For couples who aren’t keen on a traditional first dance, why not surprise your guests with a routine instead? Made popular in recent years by viral social media videos, quirky co-ordinated dances to replace the more traditional options are a great way to make sure your guests never forget your first dance as a married couple. Plus, learning the routines together as fiancés is a great way to spend time together and have some fun.

How to surprise your wedding guests

Credit: Jordanna Marston Photography

Make a surprise entrance

Whether it’s bride or groom, a quirky arrival to your wedding day will be sure to a statement. If not the happy couple, then why not give your bridal party an interesting entrance? We’ve seen guests dancing up the aisle in the past (another trend made viral by social media), as well as all sorts of interesting transport such as decorated wagons, horseback, helicopters and even a vintage fire truck. Or you could simply consider our classic wedding car, the Crossley car is perfectly tasteful and is much loved by our couples and wedding guests alike for creating a showstopping entrance.

Consider your roots

We love embracing all kinds of backgrounds and histories at Combermere Abbey, and we fully recommend incorporating them into your wedding day… Especially if this would come as a surprise to guests. We recently hosted a Chinese/traditional wedding, and it was simply wonderful, or how about rocking up in a kilt in a nod to a Scottish heritage? We find this is a surprise that goes down particularly well with parents, and there’s nothing better than making your loved ones proud, is there?

How to surprise your wedding guests

Credit: Sarah Beth Photography

Start a flash mob

A flash mob is the epitome of a total surprise and is one of the most recommended ways of how to surprise your wedding guests in the industry. If you aren’t familiar, a flash mob is seen as an impromptu dance… It looks random, but tends to be planned by a handful of people who then inspire others to join in too. Why don’t you and your inner wedding circle surprise your guests with a good old dance off and get them involved too to put a smile on everyone’s face. Often seen in the streets of major cities, flash mobs are renowned for bringing the feel-good factor and are becoming more and more popular on wedding days too.

Make the first dance song special

A perfect way to surprise your loved ones is to keep your first dance song a secret, and then make it one that’s special to more people than just you. Perhaps you could opt for a song that holds a deeper meaning for your parents, or perhaps even the favourite song of a loved one who’s no longer here? The first dance is an ‘all eyes on you’ moment so make it one to remember with a beautifully chosen song.

Introduce a little magic

Wedding performances are becoming more and more common, from live music to amazing firework displays. How about you keep your entertainment on the hush to surprise your wedding guests, and incorporate a little magic into your big day? Magicians are famed for putting on a fantastic show. Ideal for keeping guests entertained between the wedding breakfast and the evening party, or for some light table-to-table entertainment throughout the day. Here’s some recommended magicians nearby to Combermere Abbey in Cheshire if you’re considering this. Be sure to chat to our team too about how we can integrate your chosen entertainment into your wedding day.

Hire a photobooth

A wonderful way of capturing memories of all your guests having a good time is to hire a photobooth, and even better if this comes as a surprise to them. Photo booths mean that couples get to enjoy seeing all of the memories made after the event too.

How to surprise your wedding guests

Credit: Steve Rooney Photography

Put on a show

Finally, we love fireworks here at Combermere Abbey – so why not surprise your guests by putting on a display for them? Even better if you can combine this with some wonderful music to create a lasting memory. Fireworks are just beautiful when released over the mere or our grounds, and are the perfect way to keep guests talking about your special day for years to come. Not to mention, firework displays create gorgeous photographs too!

How to surprise your wedding guests

Credit: Yana Photography

Many couples now want to surprise their guests on their wedding day, and we hope this inspiration from our team helps. For more advice on planning your special day, and exploring Combermere Abbey as a venue, please get in touch with our team by clicking here.


The Key Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue March 24, 2021

The Key Questions To Ask Your Wedding Venue

Viewing a wedding venue is one of the most exciting milestones for a newly engaged couple; brimming with emotions it can be easy to forget to ask some of the most important questions. Our wedding venue team has put together some of the most common questions that are asked during showrounds; and also some that they think all couples should be asking during the early stages of viewing a wedding venue.

12 Questions To Ask When You Visit A Wedding Venue

  • Do I have to use a certain supplier?

Sometimes venues might have a number of suppliers that they work with that know the venue well, so it’s worth checking this, especially if you have a particular supplier in mind that you’d like to use.

  • Do you have a list of recommended suppliers?

Most venues will have a supplier list of those who work regularly with the venue, sometimes couples like to go with them due to the familiarity they have with the location. At Combermere Abbey we have a list of recommended suppliers that we’ve worked with for many years.

  • What is the payment schedule?

Payment schedules will differ between venues so make sure you’re keeping a note of what you’ll be expected to pay and when. Following the pandemic, it’s also worth checking that there is security in place should your date have to change.

  • Do you offer the option to hold a date whilst we check with friends and family?

When you fall in love with a venue, you might want to book it there and then – however, we find that many couples wish to check with their friends and family and finalise their dates before putting down the deposit. One of the first questions you should be asking your wedding venue is whether this option is available.

  • How do we book our ceremony with the registrars?

You might fall in love with your venue at first sight and want to book in straight away, but it is very important to check your date with the registrars to ensure your preferred date is free. In a county like Cheshire, there are many wedding venues and so registrars can be very stretched in the most popular times of the year. This is something that is sometimes forgotten but very crucial to think about when booking a wedding venue; your wedding venue should be able to provide more information and advice. When you plan to get married, you must ‘give notice’ by signing a legal statement at your local register office to say you intend to get married or form a civil partnership, giving at least 29 days’ notice before the big day. It’s worth checking with your venue whether they will handle the administration tasks, or whether you will need to look after it yourselves.

  • What support do you offer throughout our planning & on our wedding day?

When you book with Combermere Abbey, we take you through the venue and it’s almost like having your own wedding planner with the venue. One thing to ask your wedding venue during your showround is whether you will be given this support, as it’s very helpful in taking some of the pressure off when planning for your special day. 

  • Are there any restrictions for decoration or suppliers?

It’s important to ask your wedding venue if there are any restrictions when it comes to decorations, or whether there’s access for suppliers. If you’re planning on having fireworks, for example, you’ll want to make sure sooner rather than later that your wedding venue can facilitate this.

  • What is your minimum & maximum for guest numbers?

Due to capacities, every venue will have a maximum number of guests and some may have a minimum too. If you have your guest list in mind already, this is a very important question to ask in one of your initial venue viewings to make sure the guidelines align with your own plans.

  • What are your sustainable policies?

Eco-friendly weddings are becoming more and more popular, and if this is something that you’re passionate about, it’s worth finding out early on if you’re viewing a responsible venue. At Combermere Abbey we’ve been completely organic since 1997, use sustainable insulation, recycle rainwater in the glasshouse and much more.

  • Is the venue licensed?

If you want to have your ceremony and reception in the same location, you’ll want to check that your wedding venue has a license. Our Glasshouse is licensed so our couples can legally get married there, or in the fruit tree maze if they wish.

  • Do you have accommodation on-site?

When you have guests travelling from all over, choosing a wedding venue with accommodation is a perfect idea as it means nobody has to worry about getting home and the celebrations can continue into the evening! At Combermere Abbey we have self-catering cottages that sleep up to 49 people, ideal for close friends and family attending your wedding.

  • Should we take out wedding insurance?

Following the pandemic and the impact that it has had on the wedding industry, it is highly advisable to take out wedding insurance should you have to cancel for a whole number of reasons. It is there to protect both parties. Many venues like Combermere make it a requirement of your booking.

Book A Venue Showround

Of course, you’ll probably have your own personal questions to ask to that are specific to your special day, so to book a wedding venue showround and ask our team for their advice, get in touch via our website.

Approaching Your Wedding Day During Covid-19 February 8, 2021

Approaching Your Wedding Day During Covid-19


Nobody knows how long the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to impact our lives, but we remain hopeful that we’ll see a return of wedding celebrations this spring or summer. However, we ought to be mindful that even when ceremonies can return, they are likely to look a little different. Here at Combermere Abbey, we’ve been thinking about what weddings might look like in 2021, and our wedding planning experts are here to talk about how to approach your wedding day with Covid-19 in mind.

Approaching Your 2021 Wedding Day

Wedding couple in the Crossley Car

Image credit: Cat Lane photography

Appreciating The Small Wins

One thing is for certain, when Covid-19 comes to an end, we’ll certainly appreciate the little things more. Whether your wedding date has changed from last year, or your original date is coming closer and you’re feeling unsure, if Covid-19 has impacted your big day, there’s no doubt that when it finally arrives, it will be extra special. We remain positive that larger weddings will make a return this year and you’ll cherish your wedding day with all the worries and concerns behind you after overcoming all the obstacles  to get there surrounded by family and loved ones

Celebrating Now… And Later

We have to accept that Spring 2021 weddings may well have to be treated differently.. Prior to the latest lockdowns in England, some celebrations were permitted, but limited to 15 people only. Should we see a similar rule in place as restrictions begin to ease, then you might consider a double wedding day. One where you enjoy the ceremony as planned with a select number of people, and then return later in the year to celebrate in style with more guests. Combermere is ideal for occasions such as this, and this is definitely an option we can discuss with our 2021 brides and grooms.

Preparing For A Change In Season

If you’ve had to change your wedding day, and the new date this year could mean your celebration is now taking place in a different season. For example, you might have postponed an autumn 2020 wedding, to a summer 2021 wedding.,The challenge will be to adapt and  update your venue dressing to suit the new season. You can read our advice on a change of wedding season on our blog, or why not get in touch with one of our suggested venue dressers for advice?

Considering Keeping Everybody Together

In the interest of reducing travel for your wedding guests, opting for a wedding venue with accommodation within its grounds is a perfect idea. Keeping your loved ones close by reduces their contact in hotels away from the venue, plus there are many perks for guests staying overnight at your wedding venue such as getting to spend the most time with them that you can.

Support Local Suppliers & Stay In Touch

We have been avid supporters of the #WhatAboutWeddings campaign at Combermere Abbey as it’s not just venues that have been impacted by the lockdowns – it’s suppliers too. A change in wedding date might mean that as your new date draws closer, you’ve had to look at other suppliers. Please consider supporting the smaller local businesses, often a one man band, you can find our list by clicking here. And for those who haven’t changed suppliers, make sure you’re in touch as your wedding day nears to find out what their Covid-19 policies are.

To find out more about our wedding venue please contact [email protected]. Or, you can keep up to date with us and get inspired o our social media channels. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.


8 Benefits Choosing A Wedding Venue With Accommodation August 26, 2020

8 Benefits Choosing A Wedding Venue With Accommodation

Picking your wedding venue can be one of the hardest parts of your wedding planning journey, you have to factor in location, capacity and often somewhere that’s suitable for your guests, as well as yourselves. Not to mention that you’re going to want to opt for a venue that you’ve truly fallen in love with. Ticking all of those boxes can be difficult. This is why many couples are now leaning towards a wedding venue with accommodation onsite, like we have here at Combermere Abbey.

Why? Well, there’s a whole host of reasons.

Below, our wedding planning team are going to tell you a little more about our Cheshire-based wedding venue, and the accommodation options offered to couples who marry here. They’re also going to reveal the perks and benefits of choosing a location and venue that has accommodation for your friends and family too.

Wedding Venue With Accommodation In Cheshire

Combermere Abbey is a unique and stunning wedding venue with accommodation, located in the heart of the countryside on the Cheshire/Shropshire border. We have been hosting wedding celebrations here for many years and of all sizes. From smaller weddings, to large celebrations.

Perhaps one of our most attractive offerings, is that everything you could ever need for your special day is right here on the estate.

Our brides spend the night prior to their wedding in our bridal preparation cottage, Stone Lodge.

Wedding venue with accommodation in Cheshire

The estate’s Crossley car will then escort the bride to her wedding ceremony, which is held in the Glasshouse or fruit tree maze. From there, the Pavilion is just a short walk away, where most wedding parties tend to have their wedding breakfast and evening celebrations. Then, the North Wing of the abbey is transformed into the bridal suite for the newlyweds.

Scenic backdrops encompass the abbey, from the six acres of walled gardens, mere and the woodlands. All wedding photography is completed on site. Then, the icing on the cake? We have 9 self-catering holiday cottages which can sleep up to 49 of your friends and family just yards from the event.

Wedding venue with accommodation in Cheshire

This inclusive offering is why so many choose Combermere for their wedding day.

Why Choose A Wedding Venue With Accommodation?

There are many reasons why couples will seek out wedding venues with accommodation; they include…

1. Travel

Being a great option for friends and family who live up and down the country, or even who are travelling from overseas.

2. Extended Celebrations

You can transform your wedding day, into a weekend of celebrations. In the off-season, wedding parties can stay for multiple nights. Otherwise, one night stays in the main season give you plenty of time to enjoy lots of time with your loved ones.

3. Time Together

Friends and family feel more involved in the day and can enjoy more special memories with you and at your venue.

4. Stress-Free

Worries melt away and there’s no need to leave the party early or think about driving home.

5. Relive Memories

You can come back and visit time and time again to relive special memories, as well as make more.

6. Exclusivity

The entire venue is yours, and what better place to call your own for the night than a 900-year old abbey steeped in history and class?

7. Easy Planning

Wedding planning is far less stressful, when you know everything is encompassed in one space.

8. Deals Available

You can often get deals when you book a venue, and accommodation together, such as our offering for Autumn 2021 weddings that we’ll detail below.

Our Venue-Accommodation Package Deal For 2021 Weddings

As mentioned above, we are currently offering a fantastic venue and accommodation package deal for 2021 weddings for the little availability we have left. This is ideal in particular for intimate weddings. We’re fully booked for the summer, but have a few dates remaining in October, November and December where you can benefit from great rates on the onsite accommodation for your friends and family, as well as the venue of your dreams.

This offer is exclusively for Autumn 2021 weddings, a season we love so very much, and think you will too. If you’re planning a late wedding for next year, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on our website, or by calling 01948 838 391,  to find out more about the package deal that we are offering. There’s a whole host of reasons as to why you should choose a wedding venue with accommodation, so don’t miss out on these dates.

With thanks for the lovely images: Paul Marbrook, Ronnie Lee Hill, Doug Krier & Lets Get It Shot

How To Have A Sustainable Wedding May 18, 2020

How To Have A Sustainable Wedding

We’re all becoming a little more conscious with our daily routines and are trying to become more environmentally friendly. So why should your wedding day be any different? Ethical weddings are a growing trend, and one that we love here at Combermere Abbey. Coupled with an idyllic countryside setting, we have the perfect wedding venue for an eco-friendly celebration.

Wedding ceremonies come by in their thousands and thousands every year, big celebrations have the potential to produce major waste – so if you like the idea of hosting a celebration that’s a little bit different, an eco-friendly wedding is a favourable route to take.

Why Consider A Sustainable Wedding?

Research from 77 Diamonds suggests that…

  •  4,910 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic was used up and left behind at British weddings last year
  • On average, £488 is wasted on food at every wedding
  • 15% of people would only eat one or two of their three courses
  • The same number, 15%, of newlyweds would throw the remains of their cake away
  • 37% of guests don’t eat edible wedding favours
  • A few hours at one wedding can account for 65% of a home’s wastage across an entire year

There’s no such thing as a perfectly ethical wedding, but even making small changes to your special day can have a big impact. Here’s some advice from our wedding planning team on how to have a sustainable wedding.

13 Ideas On How To Have A Sustainable Wedding

1. Choose a location that’s nearby

If you’re fortunate to have family that live nearby, choosing a local wedding venue will reduce the Co2 emissions required to travel. If your family live further afield, why not encourage them to stay onsite (if they can) or close to your venue the night before so they can choose an ethical way of travelling.

2. Pick a sustainable wedding venue

One of the most important things to do when planning a sustainable wedding, is to pick an eco-friendly venue. Do you know Combermere Abbey was named one of the UK’s top eco-friendly venues by Wedding Ideas Magazine? If you chose an ethical venue, they will help you tick all the boxes on your ‘sustainable wedding’ checklist. Be sure to visit your venue before booking to ask them these questions, you can now book a personalised venue showround with us to find out how we can support your sustainable wedding day.

How to have a sustainable wedding

3. Upcycle your own wedding invites

Now’s a great time to make your own wedding invites at home, is there a way you can make them sustainably? You could either use recycled paper, or even get super creative by creating invitations from other materials you have at your disposal – such as wood. Remember to try and use plant-based inks if you can.

Eco-friendly wedding invites

4. Consider an ethical wedding dress designer

Of course, if you want to have a sustainable wedding, you should try and incorporate eco-awareness into as many parts of your big day as you can. Perhaps you could opt for a vintage or ethical wedding dress designer? You’d be sure to get a gown that is truly unique and unforgettable.

5. Utilise a local florist

We work with many local and regional florists at Combermere Abbey such as Red Floral, consider choosing one for your special day. As well as making an eco-friendly and sustainable choice, you’re also helping to support a smaller, independent business – which is ethical in itself.

6. Develop an eco-friendly dinner menu

Could you talk with your guests before your wedding to develop a dinner menu that incorporates dietary needs, but that is also eco-friendly? Vegan foods are a popular choice for being sustainable, so it could be worth exploring your plant-based options if this is an avenue that you wish to explore.

How to have a sustainable wedding - vegan wedding food

7. Dress your wedding venue with sustainable décor

A sustainable wedding can still be a beautiful one. We have seen many brides and grooms who’ve had rustic, sustainable wedding décor which has made their special day really unique, as well as having benefits for the environment. Could you upcycle wedding decorations from pre-loved items? Make sure you opt for a venue that offers you a blank canvas (similar to ours) so that you can style your special day any way you choose.

8. Opt for homemade wedding favours

As mentioned previously, there has never been a better time to get creative with your wedding day – you have time to plan and create now. There are so many homemade wedding favours that you could make, some ideas that we’ve seen from previous weddings – and that we love – include: succulents to take home, pic n’ mix sweetie bags, wildflower seed packets (or seed bombs), homemade soaps and birdseed feeders.

9. Swap wedding confetti for an eco-friendly alternative

The wedding confetti throwing after you’ve exchanged your vows is a wonderful memory to treasure and it creates a fantastic photograph opportunity too. Why not make this important part of your ceremony eco-friendly too? You can use bio-degradable wedding confetti, or real flower confetti (take a look at Shropshire Petals for inspiration), and if you want to be really unique, we love the idea of using birdseed.

How to have a sustainable wedding - eco-friendly wedding confetti

10. Encourage reusable glassware

If you’re hosting an outdoors wedding in particular, you might be thinking about disposable cups for your guests’ drinks. We have a better idea. Why not opt for a recyclable glass bottle that they can reuse throughout the day (and night)? It’s not only more eco-friendly, but also looks great too and fits perfectly with a rustic countryside wedding theme.

Reusable glass for wedding - ethical ideas

11. Give something back to the environment

Once you’ve said your ‘I dos’, perhaps you’d like to give something back to the environment and create a wedding that you can cherish forever. At Combermere Abbey, for every wedding party, we plant a tree in our bridal grove; many of our past brides and grooms come back to visit it, a symbol of how their love has grown and blossomed.

Sustainable bridal grove at Combermere Abbey

12. Encourage an ethical wedding gift

Many wedding celebrations end in the giving of a gift to the newlyweds. Sometimes, people ask for charitable donations as an alternative.  You could select multiple charities who support the environment and use your wedding as the perfect opportunity to make a difference.

13. Plan a ‘no-fly’ for your honeymoon

Finally, your honeymoon is an experience that you’ll never forget – could you make it all the more unique by choosing something different and original? We love UK staycations, and one way to have a sustainable wedding would be to end your celebrations with an eco-friendly trip closer to home instead of jetting of on a plane. There’s a whole world right on your doorstep – you can explore it together.  If your wedding venue provides accommodation, why not extend your stay after your wedding day?  At Combermere Abbey, we often find our couples like to stay another night at our honeymoon suite in the North Wing.

Do you have any eco-friendly recommendations? Let us know your ideas for how to have a sustainable wedding, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

With thanks for the photographs: The Crawleys, The Minimalist Vegan, Rock My Wedding, Ronnie Lee Hill and Jason Mark Harris 💕

Winter & Autumn Weddings: Updating Your Wedding For A Change Of Season April 27, 2020

Winter & Autumn Weddings: Updating Your Wedding For A Change Of Season

The current situation may mean that unfortunately, some brides and grooms who were due to have a spring or early summer wedding, have had to postpone them. While a number of wedding parties may have chosen a spring 2021 wedding instead, others may have opted for a change of season so that they can still marry the love of their life in 2020 after all.

We won’t let Coronavirus cancel our wedding days; this is merely a postponement and we still intend to marry all of our lovely brides and grooms, albeit perhaps a little later than originally planned.

The impact that Coronavirus has had on weddings means that we’re seeing an increase in brides and grooms now interested in autumn and winter 2020 weddings. There’s an abundance of reasons as to why we love later weddings: the warm, rich autumn colours, the fresh cool air and the earlier, darker nights which create the perfect backdrop for ‘just married’ fireworks.

Autumn wedding fireworks at Combermere Abbey

Embracing A Change Of Season For Your Wedding Day

Due to the Coronavirus situation, it may be the case that you have had to postpone your spring wedding to the autumn or winter months. A change of season for your wedding day presents a challenge, but one that you can absolutely take in your stride and embrace.

Our wedding team has put together a few tips and pointers for changing the date of your wedding day…

Upcycle Your Wedding Décor

There’s a good chance that if you were due to get married in spring 2020, you may have already bought some – if not most – of your wedding decorations. That doesn’t mean anything has to go to waste. Why don’t you have a go at upcycling, you can spray paint décor in a lovely gold, or another autumnal colour. Here’s some more tips from Country Living on how you can make wedding decorations at home, there’s plenty of time now to experiment.

Autumn wedding decoration at Combermere Abbey

Write Down The Things To Appreciate About Your New Date

It can be difficult to grasp the concept that you’re not going to get married as soon as you thought you were; understandably leaving you with a mix of emotions. To help come to terms with your new wedding date, why not try jotting down everything there is to appreciate about it. First on the list should be that you are still going to be marrying the love of your life, as this is not a cancellation – merely a postponement.

Create Mood Boards & Get Inspirational

A new wedding date means more time to plan if nothing else. We have a lot more free time at the moment, so why not put some of that time into scrapbooking and creating mood boards for your new wedding date. Allow yourself to become excited with it all over again. We love Pinterest for creating themed mood boards, you can find our boards here to kickstart your inspiration.

If your new date means you’re now set for an autumn/winter wedding, there’s plenty to daydream about…

Autumn wedding sparkler send off at Combermere Abbey

Autumn/Winter Weddings: Ideas & Inspiration For Your 2020 Wedding

Autumn weddings are often decorated with vibrant, rich and romantic colours. The deep reds and browns of the falling leaves make for fantastic wedding photographs. With winter weddings, you can be treated to a crisp, clear sky and possibly even a blanket of snow to create a fairytale setting for your special day.

Here’s some of our autumn and winter inspiration that you can use for your own wedding day.

Autumn & Winter Wedding Décor

The promise of autumn brings with it an array of beautiful natural décor, as does winter. Tumbling leaves and deep, idylic colours are a common backdrop for Autumn weddings, whereas in the winter –  you might get snow. Support the beautiful setting that nature offers with your own autumn and winter wedding décor. Here are some of our favourite décor ideas for tablescapes, your wedding ceremony and everything in between…

Autumn wedding tablescape at Combermere Abbey Outdoors wedding decor ideas at Combermere Abbey Autumn wedding indoors ceremony decor ideas at Combermere Abbey

Wedding Favours

Now’s the perfect time to start re-thinking and possibly even creating, your wedding favours. Can you make them suit the theme of your autumn/winter wedding?

We love this idea of having blankets available to your guests if the weather is a little chilly.

Winter wedding decor ideas - blankets

What about this fantastic idea of gifting your guests an autumn-themed succulent so they can remember your special day forever by ‘letting love grow’?

Autumn wedding succulents idea

Golden Hour Wedding Photographs

With autumn and winter weddings, we often find, always have a great ‘golden hour’ photo opportunity as the sun begins to set. We have a number of picture-perfect locations throughout the Combermere Abbey grounds, so if you’re now set for an autumn or winter wedding, make sure you seize the opportunity to capture a truly magical moment. Here are some of our favourite autumn and winter golden hour wedding photographs…

Golden hour wedding photograph at Combermere Abbey by the lakeside Golden hour wedding photography - a dance at sunset at Combermere Abbey Golden hour wedding photography by the lake at Combermere Abbey

If you’re still looking for a wedding venue, don’t forget that in light of the Coronavirus restrictions,  Combermere is offering virtual wedding showrounds. You’ll get to explore everything that our countryside wedding venue has to offer from the comfort of your own home, and what’s more – you’ll also get to speak to one of our fantastic wedding team who can help you plan your special day. We’re also offering a no-strings-attached reservation deal because we’re so confident you’ll simply love Combermere Abbey. To find out more about our virtual wedding venue tours, contact us on [email protected].

Remember to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook to see what we’re up to.

Special thank you for the fantastic photography: Gingerbeard Weddings, Jess Yarwood Photography, Adam Lowndes, Style Me Pretty, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, Mark Tattersall Photography, PB Artworks & David Stubbs Photography 💕

Our Guide To Planning A Winter Wedding November 26, 2019

Our Guide To Planning A Winter Wedding

You’ve set the date for a winter celebration. But where to start with wedding planning? Rest assured, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven ideas for the perfect winter wedding day…

Light It Right

Décor will set the scene for your winter wedding, however you dream it to be. For a winter ceremony, the amber flickers of candles bring an instant warmth. Choose from dainty tea lights, lanterns or hurricane vases with clusters of pillar candles and place them around the central pillar of the Glasshouse for the ultimate romantic winter ceremony.

Cosy Up

Winter weddings are the perfect excuse to accessorise with luxurious faux fur wraps. Stylish and snuggly, wraps or shawls will help stave off a chilly evening.

Prefer a more alternative style? Throw on an embroidered leather jacket for an off-beat bridal look.

Gorgeous Greenery

Combermere Abbey’s stunning Walled Gardens boast an array of winter blooms and evergreens ensuring year-round interest for winter weddings.

Pose for wedding portraits beside the lake and steal a glance at your frost-kissed reflections sparkling in the water below. Combermere’s glorious grounds are exquisite in every season.

Deck The Halls

Christmas trees are a must-have for December weddings, but you don’t have to stop there. Experiment with DIY bauble decorations, miniature wedding bells and mistletoe to add a festive feel to your winter wedding.

Winter Warmers

Menus are no doubt a big decision in your wedding planning. At Combermere, we work alongside our hand-picked caterers, the Olive Tree and Pickled Walnut, to create bespoke menus for your day.

Think warming favourites like a hearty bourgignon for a luxury take on comfort food. Or slow roasted dishes served with dauphinoise potatoes and buttery vegetables. Choose a delicious warming pudding for the ultimate sweet treat.

Let Sparks Fly

As the night draws in and the party comes alive, gather with your guests in the Walled Garden to enjoy a spectacular firework display.

Dance The Night Away

The Garden Pavilion will be glowing from the party within. Choose a live band or DJ for a night of indoor entertainment. Or embrace your creative sides and create a bespoke cocktail to enjoy at the Garden Pavilion bar.

Ready to start planning your winter wedding? We’d love to show you around. Book your visit to Combermere Abbey.

Tips For Planning Your Wedding Reception At Combermere Abbey September 9, 2019

Tips For Planning Your Wedding Reception At Combermere Abbey


Your wedding reception is the point at which your wedding ideas come together in one wow-factor crescendo. From the decor to the dinner menu and dance floor playlist, co-ordinating your wedding ideas will ensure you throw the ultimate party that is unique to you. Simply use our top tips to help you pull it off.

Pop Open The Fizz

Tradition dictates that couples kick off their wedding reception with fizz, and who are we to disagree? Pop open the prosecco, pass the flutes around and raise a toast to your newly married status – you did it!

Spill out from your Glasshouse ceremony into the fruit tree maze for a setting you’ll never forget. This is a great opportunity for your confetti moment too.

Luxe Light Bites

With most couples opting to hold their ceremony at 2pm, the beginning of your wedding reception is also the ideal time to fill your guests’ stomachs as well as their glasses. Food is one of the easiest ways to personalise your wedding ideas and canapés are a great starting point.

We’ve heard of couples serving everything from oysters on ice to scones with clotted cream, with a whole host of gourmet treats in between.

Let The Games Begin

When you get married at Combermere Abbey, we want to make sure every guest has a great time. Entertainment is often one of the most deliberated wedding ideas, with larger features like musicians demanding a significant investment.

With that in mind, we take care of the little things so you can focus on the big features, providing garden games to every couple to enjoy on the Walled Garden lawns.

Dinner Is Served

Another meaty portion of your wedding budget is eaten up by your wedding breakfast menu, so have fun with it! You could incorporate all manner of wedding ideas, whether you choose an international-inspired menu to suit a globetrotting theme, or simply serve up your favourites.

Our partner caterers make it easy to create your day, your way, without your budget spiralling out of hand. Check out their top tips for the greatest foodie trends.

Party Time

As the party picks up, we’ll pull back the reveal curtain in the Garden Pavilion to reveal your DJ or band. This elegant interior trick makes it easy to give your wedding reception areas definition. With your dining area clearly distinguished from the dance floor, your wedding planning is a cinch! There’s no need to worry about where guests will go as tables are moved to make way for dancing. At Combermere, everything is catered for.

Raise The Bar

You may well have decided whether or not to have a paid bar at your wedding reception, but how much have you considered beyond this? While the opportunity is often overlooked, the bar offers one of the most exciting ways to add your own wedding ideas and entertain your guests.

Organise a gin tasting, serve personalised cocktails or host a pimp your Prosecco station. Any which way, our bar and lounge area promise ultra-chic surrounds.

Perfect timing

Getting the timing right is one of the most important elements of your wedding reception. Pacing out the gaps between canapés, the main event and the late-night nibbles takes practice. Luckily, our co-ordinators are on hand to help you get it right.

You should also consider the impact of any extra wedding ideas. That might be a sparkler send-off, or carving out a gap for golden hour photographs. Let your venue know your planned timings and they’ll keep track behind the scenes. Then let your hair down and party on, knowing your celebrations will run like clockwork.

After dark

Of course, the very best wedding receptions are the ones that aren’t followed by a long taxi journey. That way, every guest can celebrate however they’d like to. With our charming Courtyard Cottages for your nearest and dearest, plus the luxurious North Wing for you, the party never has to end.

Discover more about the romantic spaces you’ll unlock when you get married at Combermere Abbey.