More Wedding Bells


I had hoped never to have to write about wedding venues again, but Lorna’s still not convinced by the Phantom Shindigs page, and I can sort of see what she means. Besides, it does give me the excuse to use this pic I took last week of a jolly mode of wedding transport outside The Trafalgar Tavern.

Lorna writes:

“My boyfriend has just (finally!) proposed, and we want to get married in Greenwich and have our reception in Greenwich too.

I’ve read through all the information on your site (and all sites online it seems!) about weddings in Greenwich, and I’m still a bit blurry on what we could do to make our wedding ‘extra speicial’.

So I wondered if you, or your readers had any thoughts on what their idea of a perfect Greenwich wedding would be, or if they have been to an extra special wedding in Greenwich and why it was so!

So far with our venue research (the usual – Queen’s House etc) we’ve found that the venues are WAY too prescriptive on what you can and can’t do, and you have no freedom with suppliers etc. We’d ideally like a church wedding followed by a marquee in the park, but of course, Greenwich council won’t allow that – but clearly the Olympics is fine! ;o)

So, any thoughts, random ideas, advice would be gratefully received!

Our only stipulations is that it’s held within walking distance from Greenwich town centre and would work for around 120 guests! Winter, summer, spring, autumn all sound great to me, and I’m having HUGE problems deciding! We don’t have a budget yet – so the sky is technically the limit!

I think the key is not knowing what CAN be done in Greenwich – we only seem to know what CAN’T be done!”

The Phantom agrees that many venues seem to be extremely prescriptive – it was something that came up again and again when I was writing the Shindigs page – the dreaded “allocated wedding planner,” the stipulated “approved caterers” and the vast rules and regulations. Some of them I can understand – if the venue’s of great historic value, for example, but most just seem to be trying to squeeze as much cash as possible from the happy couple.

I would be terrified by the thought of an alotted wedding planner – the images that dance before my eyes cow me just to think about it. And many venues don’t seem to even consider giving you a quote without forcing you to go through one of these scary people. They may dress it up as ‘customer service’ and ‘added value’ but IMHO the venues have realised it’s more difficult to back out after you’ve had a huge quote if there’s a designated human who has created a wedding plan ‘just for you. It would be a tough bird indeed that would happily rack up wedding planners and play them off against each other to get the best deal.

You say that you want a church wedding. It certainly ends the agony of trying to find a civil venue for the ceremony itself, which is fraught with problems – the venues have to pay so much for a licence that they often insist on your holding the reception there too – which racks up the costs. I know you say that the sky’s the limit, budget-wise, but weddings are hideously, hideously expensive and people add a couple of zeros onto costs as soon as they know something’s for a wedding.

You should find basic details on churches on the Shindigs page – if you’re not a churchgoer at the moment, it might be worth considering attending a few services for some churches; others are less fussy.

I confess to be rather glad that Royal Parks don’t allow marquees in the park – they’d be a permanent fixture, but that does mean that marquees are out, especially if you’re keen for it to be within walking distance of the town centre. The only place I can think of that regularly has marquees is The Fan Museum, and that’s such a pretty garden it seems a shame to stick a whopping great tent over it.

Depending on when your wedding is planned, i.e. if it’s from Spring 2010, you could see at what stage the Cutty Sark will be (notwithstanding any more accidents.) I get the feeling it’s going to be a stunning venue – a quick call to the Cutty Sark Trust might see you as one of the first people to use it.

My problem is that I really did rack my brains for the Phantom Shindigs page – if there are other venues within walking distance of the town centre, I don’t know about them. But maybe someone else here will.

I know that it’s a really special day for you, but don’t get carried away, like a friend of mine, who is getting married next year. She has been planning it since last year, and every time I see her she’s worrying herself to a frazzle over some detail. That’s two years of agony for one day. After all, it’s two people saying they want to be together for the rest of their lives. The rest is just packaging.


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