Tag Archives: Wedding Planning

Wedding and Occasions Fair

Our complimentary Wedding and Occasions Fair is this Sunday 24th January. Katie Foulds our Special Events Co-ordinator is always on hand with top tips and here she advises exactly what you will find this weekend. We hope to see you there!


If you have a special day in your life coming up soon, come and visit us at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa. This weekend for our Wedding and Occasions Fair on Sunday 24th January 2016 you will be able to personally speak to, and view, our large range of suppliers who will be more than happy to discuss your event, as well as the chance to view all of our private dining, event and wedding spaces.

Between 11am and 3pm the team at the hotel will be on hand to take you through every detail involved in making your special occasion a success, whilst offering a taste from the kitchen as our Head Chef Kelvin Johnson provides canapés for your visit. Once you have spoken to the suppliers; our experienced events co-ordinators have created a goodie bag for you take home for you to browse through the possiblities for your occasion.

Our suppliers range from professional pianists to wedding dresses, with some of them including Adam Hillier Photography, Mark Fish Suits, Beau Events chair covers, Harrison & Green florists, Shake disco and lots more. All our suppliers have been specially selected by us to ensure they really cut the grade.After all we want to ensuer that you event exceeds your expectations and requirements for the most satisfaction on the day of your special event.

Wedding Tips at Donnington Valley

When planning for your wedding day, catering will be one of the biggest decisions you will make. The food is one of the main things your guests will remember from the day, what they had, was there enough, was there too little and how did the food reflect you as a couple? Here are our best tips.


When it comes to deciding on catering for your big day there are a number of choices: a traditional three course wedding breakfast; a relaxed summer barbecue or even a Champagne afternoon tea. Try and be different – and think about the best bits from previous weddings you would have attended. Make it more about you and your partner.

Upon arrival following your ceremony, guests might be a little peckish; the perfect little appetiser would be individually handmade canapés. Time of year is key as to what this might entail – hot, cold, heavy or fresh. You might want the freedom to choose, some venues are more flexible here than others.

Drinks are also a very important part of the day and not everyone wants to drink, though some do! A range of beverages for your reception depending on the time of year including a Summer Pimms or hot winter cider toddy will go down well and don’t have to break the bank.

The main meal, often called the wedding breakfast, can come in a variety of guises – and our Head Chef, Kelvin Johnson, is happy to design a menu for our guests’ wedding day. Kelvin’s menus are influenced by the seasons, using the freshest ingredients from our local suppliers. Importantly for many, wines to compliment your menu sounds like a minefield but needn’t – our award winning wine sommelier, Chris Neeves would assist on selecting exactly what went with your chosen dish. Whatever you choose though, again consider what you and your partner like.

It is also nice to cater for others for example the vegetarians and children who might need something different to the rest. At Donnington we create ‘Little Meals’ – mini fish & chip cones or mini burgers and chips . If you have a large number of evening guests attending or have a family with a large appetite, a finger buffet is perfect, and we are able to customise to suit any dietary requirements. If you fancy something simple; a bacon, egg or sausage roll will go down a treat too and once the party starts can often be the saving grace!

And throughout the evening, something fun will keep everyone entertained and energy levels high! How about going for your favourite retro sweets, a popcorn machine or even candy floss! A great Summer treat is a slush machine which you can make alcoholic, adults only or even an ice cream stand- everyone loves ice cream!

It can be overwhelming trying to accommodate all of your family and friends’ needs. But most importantly remember the day is your day, and if you choose to have it at Donnington, we are here to make your day as special and memorable for you as possible.

Wedding Tips at Donnington Valley

Choosing a wedding venue is a source of great enjoyment – but also can be one of the most stressful and difficult decisions of the occasion. Our Special events co-ordinator Katie Foulds gives a few tips – her first in a series of top wedding tips – to help you plan the perfect day.

 Weddings at Donnington Valley.

When it comes to choosing a wedding reception venue there are of course a lot of factors which need to be taken into consideration. This can be very overwhelming to a couple and I often speak to brides who simply don’t know where to start.

The best place to start is for you to sit down and work out what type of reception venue you are drawn to. Are you interested in historical properties such as a country manor, castle, period hotel, or stately home? Maybe you’d prefer a barn style venue or even a marquee. I advise writing a list between you and your partner of what you’re looking for from a venue, such as: high ceilings, natural light, outside space, traditional features etc. By starting at this point you can easily eliminate the types of venues which don’t appeal to you both. This will instantly make the venue finding process easier and a lot less time consuming.

The next thing to do (if you haven’t already) is to plan your guest list. Knowing how many guests are attending your wedding reception will help eliminate down the venues that are too small or even too large for your needs. Having a number in mind also helps the venue quote for your wedding.

If you plan to hold your wedding ceremony at a different location from your wedding reception try to look for venues within a radius of a thirty minute drive from your chosen location.

Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a list of approximately ten, get in touch with the venues and organise a show round with the wedding co-ordinator.

When making your first enquiry always give the venue the following details:

  •  You and your fiancé/e’s full name
  •  The number of guests you’re interested in having attend your ceremony and/ or reception
  •   A date if you have one (if you don’t have a date, a rough month and year will always help give you an accurate quote)

Giving these details will mean the wedding co-ordinator at your venue can give you a quote as accurately as possible to your requirements and budget.



Top Wedding Trends for 2012

As the wedding season is fast approaching I have put together some of my top wedding trends for 2012.

• Lace, from trimmings, round cakes and on dresses Katherine Middleton has made the lace bolero a must have for a 2012 wedding

• Sweetie bars and candy carts: these could be outside for a summer wedding or inside in the evening. Catering for all kinds of budgets, these can be a really fun thing for your wedding and keep the kids happy too! Try the new local company bonappasweet.

• Brightly coloured bridesmaids. Gone are the pastel colours for bridesmaids, letting 
them have something lovely and bright helps bring a splash of colour to your photos

• Bands are back! Although Djs are still a popular choice more and more of my brides are opting to add a set or two of a local band. A great group to try are: Got it covered: 07886 361088

• Brollies and wellies, come rain or shine you will have super photos in the shade or the shelter. Get something fun and make it part of the day – you can’t change the weather after all so work with it.

These are just a few of the top trends for 2012. If you are planning your wedding for this year or next do not hesitate to come to Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa and meet me.

Beth Willis
Senior Events Co-ordinator
Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Wedding Planning Tips

  1.  Work out your budget, and stick to it or you will fall in love with all the things you can’t have!
  2.  Think about your guest list – who do you really have to have, who would you like if possible and who will be happy with an evening invite. It will make finding a suitable room at  your prospective venues much easier if you have a minimum number
  3. Make a list of things you think you want and don’t want in a venue – there is no point looking around a venue for a candle lit wedding breakfast if they don’t allow candles
  4. Make a list of all the parts of the wedding package or items that you will want on your day, you don’t want to be paying for elements you don’t want
  5. Ask for a bespoke quote based on your items so you can see the full costs of your plans and don’t be afraid to ask to have it re-calculated if you want to add items in or take them  out
  6. When trying on your dress sit down – you need to be able to eat that amazing 3 course meal you have paid for 
  7.  Try the food at your venue, you cannot be expected to pay for food for all your guests without having either eaten in the restaurant or had a menu tasting
  8. Tailor your menu to what you want, you have every right to change it to make it perfect for you and your guests tastes
  9. Don’t stress about the weather! If the forecast isn’t bright sunshine then be prepared to work with it and have fun – have some pretty umbrellas at the ready and some wellies for some fun photos – your photographer doesn’t need to stay dry!
  10.  Remember that if you are having a civil ceremony or partnership, that the venue is not allowed to book the registrar. You should contact them as soon as possible to book this directly with them, without them it is not legal!

If you are searching for a wedding venue in Berkshire why not call 01635 568106 and book an appointment with Beth Willis, our wedding co-ordinator at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa.

Donnington Valley Hotel Wedding Fair – Sunday 25th September – FREE

Meet Beth, over 25 wedding experts and be treated to a VIP tour of the venue. For further information, please visit:

The Royal Wedding

What wonderful weather we have had for weddings! Over my last 4 years here I have seen it all from snow covered roof tops to waterlogged locations.  So how lovely that so far all our spring weddings have been able to enjoy this wonderful sunshine. Luckily we have plenty of space to cater for all eventualities, but if only I could help order the weather my brides would like!

I am of course keeping my fingers crossed for the most high profile Royal wedding of my generation to get the same weather. Kate and William are bucking several royal wedding traditions, which only proves to all the couples out there, that they have the control over their big days and that being flexible to get the day that they want is key.

Of course the royal wedding theme has expanded in more than that of Kate and Williams attitudes, large ranges of street party memorabilia has been released mostly in the traditional red, white and blue for those wanting a true British feel. The real details of the wedding of course are still under wraps but it is anticipated that she will be keeping things simple, sleek and elegant, something that will be swiftly fashionable and duplicated after the 29th.

Dress and cake makers are poised at the ready to help couples with replicas as soon as they can. To celebrate at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa we will be showing the ceremony on the Mezzanine at 11am and for those who want to make a weekend of it, we have created a special Royal wedding celebration package please take a look at our website for details.

So to all those brides out there trying to stick to tradition, keep everyone happy and do it all themselves, remind yourself that Kate and William have managed to have what they wanted and kept some of the most demanding parents on the planet happy. With their own wedding planner Lady Elizabeth helping them with the logistics and pressures, I am glad in my own downsized way to be able to do the same for our brides and grooms in the effort to make all our brides, the princess of their very own weddings.

Beth Willis
Senior Events Co-coordinator Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa