Abi and Dan’s wedding
When did you first discover Balmer Lawn?
Abi first saw Balmer Lawn before we got engaged, when she was with her mum driving back from Lymington. When we were searching for wedding venue options, she recalled seeing the hotel because of its striking exterior – and so we began to look more closely at what it had to offer.
What were your first impressions of the hotel?
When we first visited the hotel, we both loved the mix of traditional and modern design styles. The bar and reception area has a very relaxed atmosphere and the grounds around the hotel, including the stream, are really pretty. Every staff member we spoke to was really polite and helpful, so we started to think it could be a great venue for our wedding.
What attracted to you to the hotel as the ideal location for your wedding day?
A dream of ours was to get married outside, so when we discovered it was an option, we were keen to look around the venue. Having understood what the hotel could offer us and our guests, we couldn’t fault it; we loved everything about it. The outside gazebo area looked so pretty and peaceful – it was easy to imagine having our wedding there. As an independent hotel, Balmer Lawn seemed to be much more flexible and accommodating of the little things we wanted to change from the conventional, compared to other places we saw.
Tell us about your wedding day…
It was important to us that ourselves and our guests felt relaxed, and from when Abi arrived the day before the wedding, she was made to feel special and like everything was in control. We chose sage green for the bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s ties which complemented the outdoor venue where we were having our ceremony. Our flowers were largely white and cream, with lots of foliage, and the bride’s bouquet had blush peonies to accompany her Sophia Tolli dress. We had jars of gypsophila running down the aisle. Inside, we had pale grey sashes for the backs of the chairs as it went well with the colour scheme of the Beaulieu Suite. Similarly to the hotel’s design, Dan’s and the groomsmen’s suits mixed modern design with traditional elements: a modernised morning suit with a tweed style waistcoat. To encourage our guests to enjoy the July weather and Balmer Lawn’s beautiful outdoor space, we had an outdoor bar serving our welcome drinks and keeping our guests refreshed. During this time, the bride’s sister played saxophone on the patio whilst our younger guests played with the lawn games (joined by some older guests too!). This all kept our guests entertained throughout the formal photographs. We are extremely passionate about music and hired one of our favourite bands for the evening. The bar area provided enough space for our 9 piece band, a generous dance floor and space for people to chat at the bar. We ended our night by heading up to one of the nicest rooms in the hotel and felt thrilled at how our day had gone.
How many guests did you have for day and night?
We had around 92 day guests with another 60 joining us for the evening.
How did you find the process of booking/organising/planning your wedding at Balmer Lawn?
The process could not have been more simple. When we looked around the venue with the wedding coordinator, she talked us through the options for the ceremony and wedding breakfast rooms and gave us plenty of time to look at the venue and ask questions. We were then given refreshments in the lounge area whilst we went through the brochure and began to look at the finer details. A few dates were available around the time we wanted and there was no pressure to pay any money. We were able to reserve a date for a week whilst we arranged the registrar (something we were advised on by the wedding coordinator). This also gave us time to look at a few more venues and really think about our decision. Once we had paid our deposit and booked our date, we went back to see the venue and ask questions at wedding fairs a couple of times. The team always had time for us and was thrilled to show members of our family different parts of the venue. As the wedding drew nearer and we had more logistical questions about how are day would run, Ruth would always put our minds at rest with her calm manner and knowledge. Nothing was too big or too small and Ruth ensured that everything important to us was considered.
Was there anything particularly special/unique/memorable about organising/planning your wedding with the team at Balmer Lawn?
Ruth made us feel like she really cared about our wedding and that she wanted it to be perfect for us. We never expected to receive such a personal level of care from a hotel but that was the case with all the staff we dealt with. For example, on the morning of the wedding, Abi could see the pavilion from where she was getting ready, and she noticed a floral wreath had not been placed in the pavilion on the wall. As she watched, Ruth walked down the aisle with the notes she had taken during conversations with us, noticed it was missing and went to pick it up before climbing onto a chair and fixing it back to the wall! Additionally, throughout the morning, Ruth popped in occasionally to ensure the bridal party had everything they needed, simultaneously ensuring the groom did not bump into the bride, whilst organising the venue dressing. Throughout the meal and evening, Slavo was on hand to ensure we always had everything we needed, and kept things running smoothly without ever intruding.
Would you recommend Balmer Lawn to other couples planning their wedding day?
Absolutely, and we already have!
Will you be returning to Balmer Lawn for an overnight stay in the near future?
We live close by but would love to visit for a meal or to use the spa.
How did you find the food and wine tasting when choosing your menu?
We timed our tasting session to coincide with our anniversary. The food and wine were delicious and even better than we expected them to be! So much so that we were torn between all the options for our actual wedding meal, and we were thrilled that we were able to offer our guests a choice of 4 dishes per course, allowing everyone to have what they wanted. The restaurant staff went above and beyond – they ended our meal by bringing out some handmade truffles on a plate decorated in chocolate with the words ‘Happy Anniversary’. We were really impressed!
Any tips for future couples planning their special day?
We would recommend taking some time to figure out your budget and decide how many guests you’ll have before looking at any venues. Look at as many venues as you can (open days or wedding fairs are great as there is a more relaxed feel); the venue and the staff make up such a huge part of your day (and budget) and so it’s important to get that decision right! You need to feel like your point of contact with the hotel knows what they’re doing, and that they are listening to and understanding you well. You will have a lot of questions for them and you need to feel like you trust them with your wedding as, ultimately, it will be them running it on the day. Lastly, if you can afford it, get a band – they add a truly special touch.
What sets Balmer Lawn apart from other venues?
Having the option to get married outside was a big factor for us, but the main thing was the knowledge and level of care that we received from the wedding coordinator. We also really liked that Balmer Lawn is an independent hotel, and so the wedding package offered more flexibility compared to other places we had viewed.