Expert interview with Hilton Puckrup Hall's wedding co-ordinator Karen Openshaw

Hilton Puckrup Hall's wedding co-ordinator Karen Openshaw gives SoGlos the lowdown on what couples can expect when choosing to celebrate their big day at the Tewkesbury venue.

Get to know Puckrup Hall's wedding coordinator, Karen Openshaw, in our in-depth interview.
Get to know Puckrup Hall's wedding coordinator, Karen Openshaw, in our in-depth interview.

With beautiful sweeping grounds and endless possibilities for wedding in every season, Hilton Puckrup Hall offers a charming setting for couples looking to host their special days in Gloucestershire.

In this expert interview, the hotel’s wedding co-ordinator, Karen Openshaw, gives SoGlos the inside scoop on what it’s like to help couples plan their weddings, along with giving an insight into what the Tewkesbury venue can offer.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Puckrup Hall?

As the wedding co-ordinator, I help brides and grooms to arrange their very special day with us, including all of the initial planning and preparations.

What makes it such a special and unique wedding venue?

Puckrup Hall has its very own Regency Manor House which boasts a magnificent ballroom with its own croquet lawn area for stunning photographs. It also benefits from a beautiful drawing room and library area where guests can mingle with reception drinks.

How many weddings do you host a year?

We usually host around 60 weddings each year.

What’s the first step for couple who are interested in tying the knot at Puckrup Hall?

We recommend that they visit the hotel for a show round to see how lovely Puckrup Hall is and I then sit down with them to discuss their individual requirements to see how we can make their perfect wedding day.

What aspects of the day do you help with?

I work with each bride and groom to plan every aspect of their special day to ensure we have all details to be able to host the wedding of their dreams.

Can you tell us about the different rooms at Puckrup that are licensed to host ceremonies?

We have the Regency Ballroom situated in our Manor House which is a magnificent room and something a little different and very special which can cater for up to 180 guests in the daytime.

We also have a smaller room in the Manor House, which is ideal for ceremonies and celebrations for up to 30 guests, along with the Gloucester Suite in the main hotel, which is a more modern style and can cater for up to 100 guests in the daytime.

What’s the average cost of a wedding at the hotel?

It varies but we are currently running a special 2017 promotional offer which is an all-inclusive offer for 50 daytime and 80 evening guests at a cost of £3,800. Our exclusive-use Manor House Lord and Lady of the Manor package costs £95 per person.

Do you find that couples have a clear idea of the wedding they want when they come to you?

Usually yes they do. If they are shown the Ballroom and Manor House areas they seem to quickly be able to imagine themselves using this space for their wedding as it is a private area away from the main hotel, with its own croquet lawn and side gardens for their photos.

What’s your favourite part of the planning process?

I do love to see the bride and groom on their first visit as they are usually bowled over when they see and are always very excited at this stage.

Are you there on the wedding day as well as during the planning stages?

Two days prior to the wedding, couples come in for a handover meeting when they meet with me and their toastmaster for the day who will run the wedding for them. My job is now completed, with all details in place for the toastmaster to follow step-by-step to make their day extra special.

What have you found to be the most popular catering choices?

We have a very nice beef chasseur option on our all-inclusive package and this is proving a very popular choice.

What’s been the most unusual wedding that you’ve hosted at Puckrup Hall?

We did have a civil ceremony where the ring bearer was a barn owl. This proved to be amazing on the day and luckily the owl flew from the back of the room to where the bride and groom were standing.

What are your top three tips for throwing a great wedding?

Choose a venue and wedding co-ordinator you are comfortable with and feel relaxed straight away when you walk in for the first time.

I am a firm believer in you should be able to enjoy the run up to your wedding celebrations as much as the wedding day itself. There is no need for this planning phase to be stressful at all as we work to a very detailed contract which prompts all of the details we need from the bride and groom.

Don’t make things too complicated and ensure your wedding venue is happy to listen to and incorporate your own ideas for your special day.

For more information see Hilton Puckrup Hall, call (01684) 296200, or visit directly.

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