Weddings are not usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Youth Hostels. But with many UK hostels located in fabulous historic buildings, it’s no surprise that many couples are choosing this option.
Rebecca Bourne, who is Deputy Manager/Weddings & Events Coordinator, at YHA Hartington Hall spoke to us about juggling the needs of weddings with the hostel’s other commitments – and what happened when it snowed!
Tell us a bit about your venue?
YHA Hartington Hall is a 17th century manor house in the middle of the Peak District in England. As well as housing a traditional youth hostel, the Jacobean building is also a restaurant and a beautiful weddings and events venue. Our hall is in a lovely unspoilt area of Derbyshire and has lots of great period features such as oak panelling and log fires, as well as our special self-contained luxury suite ‘The Roost’. There are some truly amazing backdrops for wedding photos and you can even stay for honeymoon!
How long have you been doing weddings & how did you start?
YHA Hartington Hall has been hosting weddings since 2000. This happened when a local asked if it would be possible to get married here and kindly paid for our first years’ license as a wedding venue!
Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical working day can involve anything from manning reception, taking phone call enquiries, making accommodation bookings, showing potential brides around the grounds, meeting with brides to go over final wedding arrangements, organising our famous beer festivals and coordinating a wedding on the actual big day…
How do you market your venue for weddings?
We mainly use online wedding venue listing websites, however we do get a lot of business through personal recommendations and word of mouth from customers.
What’s been your best moment?
The best moment is always hearing that the bride and groom have had an amazing day and knowing that you helped make that day extremely memorable!
And the worst?
My worst moment was being snowed OUT of the venue during a wedding. The bride and groom had come all the way from Germany and many guests had come from as far as Japan. A lot of the guests had to abandon cars and walk some of the journey or many were collected by local farmers on tractors.
A replacement vicar was even called when the original one came from London and got as far as 5 miles away only to get stuck. Luckily, due to the community spirit in Hartington and our hardworking staff everything turned out perfectly and the bride and groom and their guests certainly won’t forget it in a hurry!
What’s your biggest challenge going forward?
Our biggest challenge is balancing weddings with the YHA’s charitable objective – to ensure that we work towards helping young people gain a greater knowledge of their surroundings, while also ensuring this magnificent hall is available for celebrations.
Do you have a top tip for someone starting out in the wedding business?
Be flexible! Brides want to hear that you are going to help them achieve THEIR dream day not be told what they must have.
You can find out more about Hartington Hall at www.yha.org.uk/hostel/hartington