Venue Showcase: Guildford Manor

If you’re looking for a place where you can have the wedding of your dreams while still enjoying all the perks of a relaxing spa day, look no further than this retreat!

Doug, the events manager at Guildford Manor Hotel & Spa, tells us everything we need to know about this beautiful venue.

Tell us a bit about yourself!
Man in suit smiling into camera.

I work in my family business, here at Guildford Manor. I’ve only been in the industry for a couple of years, but due to the exposure I’ve had during this time and working under some very experienced mentors, I feel like I’ve been organizing & promoting weddings for 10 years!

My first job was actually corporate finance, until I decided to join the family business – quite a career switch. Despite this, I’ve found that working in finance and organizing weddings actually have quite a lot in common – the importance of an eye for detail and trust building to name two!

What drew you to the wedding world?
Close up picture of a chandelier.

I really enjoy working with people and the human interaction element of the job. Also, working in a beautiful spa hotel in the Surrey Hills isn’t so bad, really!

What do you think makes Guildford Manor unique?
A bright room is shown with several tables.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the flexibility we offer our couples in organizing their dream day and the warm welcome we guarantee to all of their guests. Being a family business affords us that little bit of extra malleability, thus helping couples make our hotel feel like home for their special weekend.

How do you get to know your couples before the big day?
The bride stands at the altar, which is inside the venue itself.

Typically, when we take a booking, this involves several viewings. It’s not just about impressing the couple. You can be sure that if they like it, they’ll be back the next day with their bridesmaids & mum! Viewings are peoples’ first impression of the venue and, more importantly, the team.

Subsequently, menu tasting & in-person planning sessions allow me to build on my relationship with our couples. I’m also on call on my mobile at all times and very happy to answer strange questions at strange times of the day!

What do you think makes for the perfect wedding?

For me, the food. Simple as that!

What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve had at Guildford Manor?
The swimming pool for the manor.

The most memorable wedding we’ve had, by quite some distance, was when the post code we are situated in had a power cut during the evening reception!

Obviously there are some things which you just cannot plan for! That said, I am so proud of the professionalism our team showed in thinking on their feet and resolving the issue. The venue was flooded with candles, the bar stayed open and we were able to keep the dancing going by using some portable speakers. The couple thanked us for going above and beyond and averting a real disaster. What’s that saying about when life gives you lemons?

Why should a couple book Guildford Manor?
A bedroom with a queen sized bed.

We feel that the venue really sells itself. But if that’s not enough for you, I would say that one of our USP’s is that our package is reasonably priced and doesn’t require the couple to spend money on extras such as decorators. We have our own ornate lanterns to put down the aisle, we have 8 blossom trees that you can use for free, we have draping and fairy lights on the ceiling and lots lots more.

What is your #1 wedding planning tip for couples?

Attend as many Wedding Fairs as you can! They are a superb source of inspiration, both to see a venue looking its best and to meet suppliers who help you make your day extra special.

What’s the best photo spot at your venue?
A peacock in the garden.

There are a few contenders here, but our outdoor Pavilion under the fairy lights lends itself perfectly to those natural and romantic wedding photos that we all love. Perfect for those golden hour shots!

What part of your business are you most proud of?

The amount of bookings we’ve had since our refurbishment completed in December 2018 – we are well and truly back on the map!

How do you feel technology is changing the industry?

As a venue, the biggest way technology is affecting us is by elevating the importance of our digital appearance – be it on our social media account, on our website or on sites like Bridebook where we advertise. More often than not, the first time a couple sees the venue is on a computer or phone screen. Online reviews are also more important than ever and this is something that we really welcome.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to couples that are currently struggling amidst the COVID-19 crisis?

Open a dialogue with your venue and suppliers and talk to them about your concerns. They are probably perfectly legitimate concerns that many other couples  in your position are fretting about – however, that is not to say that they cannot be resolved.

What do you love about Bridebook?

Their mobile app – this is really easy to use and gives us an amazing virtual shop window to show ourselves off!

Check out Guildford Manor on Bridebook!