I make no apologies for calling it ‘new’. The Wynnstay Arms has been around a while of course (it was built in the late 18th century, at the gateway to the Wynnstay Estate), but this is a major refurbishment and upgrade, and Robinsons’ Brewery have spent £1.9m completely transforming both the interior and garden.
We were invited along, just before the re-opening, to sample it for My Wrexham Wedding and Phil Rees Photography (Natalie came along for a female perspective on things!). And we loved it.
They’ve done a great job. The function suite, meeting room and bar area have been redesigned, and they’ve kept the Coaching Inn feel, but it’s now much more contemporary and elegant. The bedrooms (all en-suite) have been tastefully and beautifully decorated, including the Bridal Suite (with a four-poster bed) and there’s a very practical family room.
… and there's some thoughtful little touches too - like fleece blankets to keep you warm when you’re sat outside on a summers night.
A major selling point for weddings is the size of the function suite which can seat 160 (with capacity of 200 for the evening), and with prices on their Banqueting Menu pitched in the £20 to £30 per head range, it’s a very affordable option.
The garden and exterior isn’t as big as some venues, but they’ve certainly made the most of what they have. The gateway arch between the main building and the stables has been closed off, and a patio area created, with new paths linking it to the re-designed and re-planted gardens. As a photographer, I’d have no problem finding suitable backgrounds here, and of course it’s in an attractive little corner of Ruabon, with the stone estate worker’s cottages and the main estate gates just a short step away.
All in all, it’s a great addition to the area, and I’m sure it will sit very well with its chosen target market. Pop along if you want to have a look – it’s now fully open. Or contact them on email@example.com for a brochure
Images courtesy of Robinsons Brewery
Holt Lodge has been a popular feature of the local wedding scene for many years, and owners Alex and Andrew Smeaton celebrated 21 years at the venue last year. There can’t be many local people who haven’t been a guest at a wedding there, and stood on the iconic bridge in the gardens for a group photo … and wondered if it’ll take everyone’s weight (thankfully, it always does!)
The venue is known to provide some very cost effective wedding packages. Right now, they have fantastic packages for weekend weddings in 2018 starting from £2800, and their top of the range Gold Package for 50 day and 100 evening guests is a very affordable £6,400.
But they also have a much wider range of packages than most people would probably realise including their special “Sweetheart” offer, and can put together a bespoke package for exclusive use of the venue, or for a marquee in the grounds.
The Garden Lounge (which accommodates 110 for the ceremony and evening reception) was fully refurbished a few years back, and Rafter’s Restaurant has been redecorated recently with more refurb work taking place during 2017.
And of course they offer accommodation for your guests, with a total of 37 en-suite well equipped rooms, and a stunning bridal suite with king-sized bed, and en-suite bathroom.
From a photographer’s perspective, I’ve always enjoyed shooting at Holt Lodge, and I like the fact that there’s a wide choice of backgrounds to suit either a traditional style with the gardens and bridge, or a more contemporary one (in the nearby longer grass say). And plenty of hard standing when the grass is a bit damp for heels and smart shoes!
All in all, it’s a venue that offers a lot, and one that will continue to update and improve its offering to stay at the forefront in this competitive market. But also one that deserves a closer look too, to see the full range of packages they offer, and their exclusive use possibilities.
A better way of finding your wedding suppliers
Since Christmas I've been hanging out in a nationwide wedding group on Facebook, and it's been a bit of an eye opener. In many ways, it's a great group - it has 72000 members, and unlike many groups that are just a series of adverts, there’s a fair bit of discussion too.
But barely a day goes past without someone reporting problems - that their photographer has double-booked, or cancelled on them (sometimes with just days to go), or that they’ve bought items from a business that has just a Facebook page, only to find that the page has then disappeared and they've been scammed.
And don’t even get me started on the complaints we see from brides-to-be who’ve bought dresses from China!
Not all the businesses there are scammers of course. The majority are completely honest. But many are quite new, and as two out of three businesses fail in the first 3 years (apparently), that can add to the risk too. And there's rarely much mention of quality, or customer service - it’s all about which supplier can offer the lowest price, and a bit of a Dutch auction.
There has to be a better way!
Buying at wedding fayres is one answer, and we've got some great fayres locally run by Wrexham Wedding Trail, Want to Celebrate and others.
And we're not trying to compete with that, but we’re aiming to complement it, and to offer an online ‘virtual wedding fayre’, with trusted & reliable suppliers, that's available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Suppliers who are well established, committed to the industry, and who give great service and deliver on their promises.
Plus (unlike most directories) we’ll also offer help and advice, and we’ll have probably the most comprehensive diary of wedding fayres in the area.
We’re still growing, and not where we want to be just yet, but if the initial response is anything to go by it shouldn’t take us too long!
If you’re one of the suppliers we’re looking for, and haven’t signed up yet, come and join us?
How Do I Choose My Colour Scheme?
By Nicky at Blue Leaf Event Hire
As part of my role, I attend the wedding showcase days organised by the local venues I provide venue dressing for. The thing that stands out is how many couples are finding it tricky to pick the colour of their chair sash which is ultimately their wedding colour scheme.
The reasons for this typically are:
● They can’t match the exact colour
● They can’t agree on a colour
● They can’t decide on whether the colour goes with the function room
The starting point when selecting a colour scheme is really your bridesmaid dresses. You may have an idea in your head about the colour you want your bridesmaid/s to wear, but then when you start trying dresses on find that colour doesn’t suit your bridesmaid/s or a quite simply that another colour stands out to you that you’d not previously considered.
You will find the colours of the bridesmaid dress collections are reflected in the menswear cravats & ties etc too.
Matching A Colour
Assuming as I am that the majority of couples will try to match the bridesmaid dress colour to their chair sashes some issues may arise.
Unfortunately there are a few colours that do prove tricky to match. One of which is dusky pink - which is a pain because it is such a popular colour this season. But what exactly IS dusky pink? You only have to go on Pinterest & search for dusky pink venue decor to see how varied the colour can be. The first thing to say is, take along something that is of the colour you want to match. Don’t rely on an image on a phone as screens will make colours look different than they are.
If you don’t have a fabric sample from your bridesmaid dress shop then bring along one of the following:
● The little loop you use to hang the dress on a hanger (assuming it is the colour you want)
● Buy some ribbon in the shade you want
● Look at the paint swatches in a DIY store - bring one along if it is the right shade
My advice is do not put yourself under huge amounts of pressure to get an EXACT match. There is no such thing. The reasons for this are:
● Lighting in the room will affect the look of the sash colour. This will vary through the day & evening.
● The fabric of the sash will not be the same as the bridesmaid dresses & therefore will look different anyway.
● While the chair decoration make a huge difference to the look of the room, no-one is going to notice if the shade is not exact! They will be too busy looking at the overall finish & you!
Solution : The solution to this if it proves to be a problem is to choose a blending colour. In the case of dusky pink, people will often chose an ivory or a champagne sash or maybe even an ivory lace sash. This will compliment the main colour scheme but not over ride it or clash with it.
Couples Can’t Agree
Are you & your partner struggling to agree on a colour? Everyone has favourite colours & we often see people wanting to choose their favourite football team’s colour!!
● What colours did you agree on? Bridesmaid dresses? Flowers? Grooms outfit? Groomsmens Outfit? Is there 1 colour that features throughout? If so, would that suit you both?
● If you each have a colour & can’t decide on just one then why not alternate your chairs with both? ● Is there a 3rd colour you both like that would complement each colour you can’t agree on?
If so, bingo! There’s your answer.
Can’t Decide If The Colour Matches The Function Room
Function rooms vary greatly in their decor. Some are neutral others more ornate. I am lucky enough to work in both types so have advised couples on this many times. Consider what it was about the room you liked when making your decision.
If you are absolutely dead set on having a specific colour for your venue decor then have it! It’s as simple as that. Your room will come together as a whole. The table linen & chair covers will provide a neutral background as they will likely be ivory or white. The sashes, table stationery, flowers etc will then provide accent colour. The colour of the walls & curtains, as beautiful as they may be, will simply form part of the backdrop & will not work against your chosen theme.
If you decide you like a colour that does complement the room then great!
The important thing is not to allow the colour of your chair sashes to cause you stress or headache! While I will be the first person to tell you the details are important, it is not important enough to cause stress! It will still look beautiful whatever colour you choose!!
Change of ownership for My Wrexham Wedding
Up to January 2017, My Wrexham Wedding has been owned and run by Natalie Edwards.
Natalie created the website in January 2012 to help brides and grooms to easily find wedding suppliers, in and around the Wrexham area. The website has gone from strength to strength but with Natalie taking on a new job, and with family commitments, she's decided to take a step back, and has passed the role, and ownership, over to myself - Wrexham based Wedding Photographer Phil Rees.
I'm not planning any drastic change of direction for the site - I hope it'll still be the best way to find trusted wedding suppliers in the area, the definitive wedding fayre diary, and for the Facebook page to be the place to ask for help & advice on planning a wedding in the area.
The website has had a bit of a 'face-lift' though, and I'm hoping to draw on my experience of photographing 200 weddings, and my regular contact with brides and grooms and other wedding suppliers, to expand the 'help and advice' part of the role, and make My Wrexham Wedding the 'go to' site for anyone just starting their wedding planning.
You'll hopefully see that aspect grow rapidly over the coming months, and of course if other suppliers would like to contribute by submitting posts on their own area of expertise, I'd love to hear from you.