Driving through the wrought iron gates and along the manor’s gravel driveway, you can’t help but feel like you have stepped back in time to a land of regal princes and princesses. The fantasy is further enhanced by the skeleton styled keys to each bedroom, which look like they have been stolen from the pages of children’s storybook. Whilst tucked away in a rural corner of Suffolk, you could be forgiven for believing that you belonged in the royal court. Waking each morning in a four poster bed, dining at long table for breakfast, gazing across nine acres of landscaped gardens, a weekend at Woodhall Manor is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
The beauty of a wedding at Woodhall Manor, when compared to other grand estates, is that it is a private property, therefore the main house must be hired in its entirety. Many couples will find this appealing as it guarantees that you won’t be bumping into any other brides or honeymooning couples during your stay, though for some they may find it a little cost prohibitive. Having said that, Woodhall Manor regularly advertises heavily reduced rates for late bookings on their website; currently, a wedding at the Manor in July costs just £4000.
Inside the main house, there are 12 elegantly adorned bedrooms, including a choice of two contrasting bridal suites: Room 7 (my favourite) is bright, airy and even has a private balcony in which to sit on and admire the grounds. There are his and hers sinks and a delightful two-person bath tub to enjoy a leisurely soak in. Room 1 also has a very grand, king-sized four poster bed and is luxuriously styled with an open fireplace and his and hers showers. The highlight to this suite has to be its enormous Jacuzzi bath, which is large enough to fit your entire wedding party, let alone just the bride and groom! (I’m not exaggerating, we couldn’t resist trying… a bit squashy but perfectly possible).
If you are not able to accommodate all of your sleepover guests within the main house, the manor also has a country cottage onsite with two more bedrooms, one twin and one double. Indeed, a great selling point of Woodhall Manor is its versatility. Depending on the size of your guest list, the venue has ceremony spaces licenced for between 36 guests and 130. For a romantic summer wedding, I would be tempted to tie the knot underneath the Dovecote inside the Manor’s original walled garden. It is both secluded enough for an intimate wedding, yet large enough for a more lavish affair. The largest banqueting suite is set aside from the main house and has beautiful exposed beams in keeping with the ambience of the manor. It can accommodate up to 200 evening guests, so you will have plenty of room for dancing after dinner.
Occasionally when planning their wedding, couples find managing multiple vendors tricky. Whilst Woodhall Manor recognises that one size doesn’t fit everybody, all of the catering is provided onsite. There are options for differing budgets: a barbecue, hog roast, buffet or a full 3-course meal perhaps, it’s up to you. We wolfed down a plate of traditional roast beef during our stay, saving room for a full English breakfast in the morning. Our only disappointment being that there wasn’t quite enough.
The manor is happy to provide extras to put those finishing touches to your special day. Our slightly bizarre request was for a traditional punch bowl and punch glasses (yes, they were able to source one) but more usual requests that they will gladly help you with include a sweet cart, Royal Mail post box, chair covers, floor candelabras as well as garden lighting to enhance the already impressive venue. Additionally, Woodhall Manor has a resident DJ and a late music/bar licence is available should you wish to extend the party to beyond midnight.
Woodhall Manor is full of quintessential English charm and is the perfect setting for a traditional white wedding with a little touch of the spectacular. If you decide to book, then I would greatly encourage you to ensure you utilise as many of the enchanting spaces within the main house as possible. Your photographer will likely agree that a beautiful backdrop awaits you around every corner. An excellent 4 stars.
The Fairytale Bride Rating:
The Fab Stuffs:
- Several versatile spaces for you to choose between to best suit the most intimate of elopements or extravagant of parties.
- The manor house can be rented for exclusive use by you and your guests only.
- Indoor and outdoor ceremony spaces include the Dovecote, which is perfect for summer weddings and the Nelson Room with its warming log fire.
- Two stunning bridal suites, both with a view of the manor’s beautiful landscaped gardens, provide gorgeous backdrops for photo opportunities.
- Access to the hot tub and croquet lawn can be arranged if desired.
The Sad Stuffs:
- Woodhall Manor is a private property, not a hotel, and must be hired in its entirety. Rooms cannot be rented individually (though you may charge your guests separately should you wish).