2020: Our Third Year of Weddings

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Alanis Morissette sang of 'rain on your wedding day' and for many people, their original plans were 'rained' on' by all that covid brought.

I was recently described as 'one of those people who always sees the cup half full' when I told a couple that rain on their wedding day was good luck!! It's true, I am!

I also believe that if you can tolerate rain, restrictions and face masks on your special day, then it's the real thing*

Opposite-sex civil partnerships became legal in the UK on new year’s eve last year and we were fortunate to host one of the very first Welsh ceremonies in our beautiful Reading Room on January the 2nd. This was a wonderful beginning to the year and allowed us all to better understand the importance and the meaning of such a union to many couples. Despite civil partnerships being a new concept to many of us, the significance to the couple is exactly the same as marriage as they pledge their love to one another and unite legally.

March brought along its own challenges and we unfortunately had to close the site until June. Even for the most relaxed of couples, there is an element of stress to organising a wedding and they way in which each of our couples spoke with me with such honesty and understanding about changing their wedding plans was humbling.

From August onwards, we hosted 11 celebrations -7 wedding ceremonies, 1 civil partnership and 3 wedding receptions.

The majority of our planned weddings for 2020 have been rescheduled to 2021, but some couples kept their original dates and instead changed their plans. Guest numbers were reduced, receptions moved outdoors, readings and speeches pre-recorded and played during the day. Zoom became everybody’s friend and guests were able to watch ceremonies in the most special video conferences of the year! Cardiff Register Office worked tirelessly to accommodate ceremonies, even sending in substitute Registrars with 60 minutes’ notice of others having to self-isolate!

Our Can't Wait Weddings offer was born from the knowledge that for many people, waiting isn’t an option. Many couples want to get married for legal reasons or to start families. Postponing without a definite end date to restrictions just isn’t an option for them. The Can’t Wait Weddings package has also made getting married a possibility for some couples who didn’t feel that they could afford a larger wedding, and for those who felt that they couldn’t justify the cost of a larger wedding when they have a mortgage and children!

Insole Court is a busy site comprising a room hire facility, desk hire business, gift shop, café and stunning grounds as well as being a heritage site, visitor attraction and wedding venue. We’re very fortunate that as we’re able to operate in different ways, hosting small weddings has been possible for us. For some larger venues which exclusively host weddings, we know that smaller weddings aren’t viable and really feel for these venues which have struggled and continue to do so through these difficult months.

At the end of this year our dear friend Emma Jenkins of EJ Catering closed the doors to the business to pursue new adventures. Emma and her team have been central to the success of our wedding celebrations having catered events at Insole Court since we opened our doors in 2016. It’s been a pleasure working with Emma and her team and they will be sorely missed. This void gives us a new and exciting opportunity to work with new caterers and to develop our own in-house catering offer having appointed a new Food and Beverage Manager just 6 months before the covid closure. Watch this foody-space!

I have always enjoyed smaller, more intimate weddings and it’s been such a pleasure to share this experience with our couples this year. Although for some it’s impossible to lower their numbers and big weddings with all their family and friends is the only way they see their day, some have been surprised by how special their smaller weddings have been. For many the one celebration has been enough but for others the anniversary party in 2021, “wedding part 2” will be the highlight of their celebrations, a day of love, fun and good company without the legal bit.

So as the year draws to a close, I find myself wondering what 2021 will bring. Will we host the 19 weddings we have in the diary? Will others postpone and smaller weddings be added to the diary? When will I be able to straighten a bride’s veil and quietly whisper ‘she’s arrived’ to a groom? The only thing that we know for certain is that ‘love will find a way’, and we’ll find a way to make it happen. We can’t wait!!

For more information about weddings, please contact [email protected]

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