Archive for the ‘Greenwich Weddings’ Category

A Use For The Rotunda?

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Rather slow off the mark this morning, folks, thanks to a tedious hacking incident with Twitter. Apologies to anyone who discovered rather more than they needed to about “The Phantom’s” love life…

All fixed now, I hope – thanks to everyone who let me know about the security breach.

But onto happier things. You may remember Robbie, who plays with local band The Mores. Well, he’s getting married to his ‘Amazonian photographer’ (what an image that conjures up…) and wants to have the wedding somewhere around Woolwich.

I don’t normally cover wedding-venue questions on the main blog any more, since they got so frequently asked that they’ve got their own page these days, but something he’s been saying intrigues me.

He says ” I have been dealing with Major Gleeson on the matter of hiring the Rotunda for our party. All was going well, we went to have a look at it, he seemed fairly excited by the idea, saying nobody had ever done anything like that before (that’s what I like to hear!), and thought it could be done.

He came back with a fairly stiff figure for the hire charge, but we managed to swallow it, until today when he called to say that the fire regs guy had just had a look, and would only allow us to have 60 guests in there! No good. So I am currently trying to negotiate some sort of fire safety situation with the army, possibly hiring a fire engine to sit outside for the day, but it is looking like it might be a shade too pricey for us.”

Before I get onto Robbie’s next question, which of course, is about alternative venues, let’s just think about this.

A few months ago, I was very worried about the Rotunda, and I continue to be concerned about what will happen to it – when we discussed it before, we wondered if it could be done up and used for dignitaries during the Olympics – but using it as a wedding venue afterwards would bring in money to pay for its upkeep and give us that all important ‘legacy’ that everyone’s talking about. I know it’s not an obvious area for the type of people who can afford such places, but I suspect that word might get around and it could be a newly trendy spot (not least from Household Cavlary people…)

The reason why the fire safety guy must be concerned about it is, I presume, the somewhat fragile condition the place is in – but it it was given proper upgrades and facilities, it’s surely big enough to take more than 60 people – not least because of the space around it, now that the big guns are gone. It has a wonderful green area around it, it’s not that hard to travel to and it could make some serious cash for the Army, who own it.

I truly hope that Robbie manages to work something out with the Major – the guy’s a good bloke, charged with an impossible task of protecting a truly unique building with no cash. If it works as a wedding venue once, perhaps he could be persuaded to petition for money as a long-term investment.

In the meanwhile, though, we have to assume that Robbie and his Amazonian Beauty (don’t you just long for them to have a Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed wedding – with the pair of them dressed as Theseus and Hippolyta, her being given away by Oberon, Titania being head bridesmaid and the Rude Mechanicals as the ushers? I’d pay good money to hear Bottom’s best-man speech…) have to make alternative arrangements.

I’ve already directed him towards the Phantom Shindigs page, but there may be a bit more thinking-cap required. He says:

“We are really desperate to have our wedding party somewhere in Woolwich, we think it is a fantastic area with so much potential, and we have a brilliant opportunity to get a large number of people to come and see the place.

I am really running out of ideas for suitably quirky places for us to have our party, we’ll be expecting around 200 people or so, and we don’t have too much time left, especially if the Rotunda isn’t possible.

We really don’t want to do anything that is too traditional, we have been trying to do something that shows how amazing an area this could be if people just use a bit of imagination, and realize it’s potential. If you can think of anywhere, however weird, indoors, outdoors, derelict, someone’s house, it doesn’t matter, I would hugely appreciate your thoughts.”

My first thought would be Peggy Middleton House – I don’t actually know what state it’s in just now I haven’t been to that area for ages – but if it’s a shell, it would be a great bow-out for the place – very grungy (good luck persuading the Council…)

Another, slightly left-field idea would be to contact the Council Film Unit and ask them what they have on their books – I bet they have abandoned warehouses etc.

Woolwich isn’t quite my area – but it definitely IS some Phantophiles’ manor – so – any ideas, guys?

Wedding Planners

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I can’t believe I just typed that title. Wedding Planners are a breed who creep the hell out of me. Hence the gap in the Phantom Weddings Section that Brian and Ruth have discovered.

I’m a hands-on kinda Phantom and I have never ‘got’ the concept of ‘planners,’ wedding or otherwise. But Brian and Ruth need suggestions for someone to work with, preferably based in Greenwich, so I’m asking you. Have you used a planner for your Happy Event? Were they any cop?

More Wedding Bells

Saturday, September 27th, 2008


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.

Phantom Kneesups

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

My most frequently-asked of all frequently asked questions is about events. Mainly weddings, I’ll grant you – but also birthdays, anniversaries and even kiddies parties. It’s usually venue-hire questions – what, where – and the all-important how much.

I thought I’d just do a monster FAQ to cover it all, but it didn’t take long to work out that that just wasn’t going to cut it. So I’ve made a whole new page to explore the ideas of celebrations in Greenwich.

And here it is – in future you’ll find it listed in the site map to the right under Weddings and Events…

It’s not supposed to be exhaustive – or even particularly inventive – it’s just where I sat down and brainstormed for a while, then burned a bit of shoe leather. I came up with quite a few “whats,” a lot of “wheres” but sadly very few “how-much’s.” Most venues keep that kind of thing to themselves and, when I called them, wanted to assign me to some ghastly ‘personal service planner’ before they would even consider giving me a ball-park figure. So sadly, the leg-work is still mostly for the would-be happy couple. At least I can start you off…

It’s a work-in-progress, which I’ll be adding to as I think of things.

I’ll be delighted to hear your ideas and suggestions – especially if you have good (or bad) memories of places you’ve used yourself.

One thing to bear in mind, Lovely Phantom-People. I’m not really looking to become some kind of local businesses and services listings page, so please don’t ask me to plug your bridal dress shop, limousine hire or wedding planner service just at the moment. Best pages to place that sort of thing is in mags like Meridian and The Guide.

I may change my mind on the services thing, I’ll see how things go in the future – though as always I won’t be doing any paid advertising save for the little GoogleAds down the side over which I have no choice-control.

Let me know what you think, guys, and how it can be improved. Should I just have a bunch of links to services – or steer clear of that kind of thing? Your shout.