reception and parties

reception-right

We’ve got a little system that works really well at our venue. You know that slightly awkward and annoying interlude when people come out of church or registry office and lots of the congregation end up standing around for ages while everyone goes crazy with the cameras. If you’re not very closely connected to the happy couple you can end up hanging around for what seems like ages for the one group shot that you might be in.

This is often the point at which some naughty or shorter attention span guests sneak off to the pub. Well we’re a whole event venue, ceremony and party in one place (and the nearest pub is a couple of miles away). So what we suggest for all but the smaller weddings is that you have a little drinks reception immediately after your ceremony. You come out of the pavilion as Mr & Mrs to rapturous applause and your guests are immediately handed a Mojiito bristling with fresh mint, a champagne cocktail, or catering staff dispense jugs of chilled Pimms in summer or Moscow Mules with a hint of fire in the Autumn. Welcome canapés at this point might be olive oil crostini with roasted & spiced butternut squash, or Cornish goats cheese & pink peppercorns, or local smoked mackerel with horseradish & watercress on toasted ciabatta – simple but effective.

Fruit juice & mini breadsticks and other little snacks for the children work really well while the grown ups get into party mood & you have your fabulous wedding pictures taken.

One of the first things we often get asked about is the catering side of things. This can be where you either spend or save a lot of money. You can spend £500 or £5000 in the blink of an eye, and it all depends on how you want to do things and where your budget takes you.

You can have a formal wedding breakfast, 3 or 4 courses with full waitress service, a more informal but still nicely served buffet, a speciality pig on a spit with amazing salads and great veggie options, to a more basic hogroast without many trimmings.

You can go vintage picnic with sandwiches and pies and lashings of ginger beer, or afternoon tea with a Cornish feel, clotted cream and scones, fairy cakes and chocolatey brownies.

You might want bowls of Thai curry, Moroccan tagine, or flatbreads & Mexican salsas – or maybe bangers & mash or local lobsters slapped on the bbq with Cornish new potatoes & mixed leaves. click here for preferred suppliers

We’ve got great local food from our local farmers, fishermen and artisan producers and caterers who can give you just about anything – especially if you’d like seasonal food with a low footprint and a local flavour.

If your wedding is intimate enough (maybe under 20) there’s nothing to stop you doing your own food, and we’ve had lots of smaller weddings doing just that very successfully. We’ve got a great site barbecue (made especially for us and the ultimate in recycling – it's made out of an old propane bottle and works really well) which we can put wherever you want and you can bring pre-prepared dishes, some salads and bread - and bingo. Do remember though that you really don’t want to be doing the cooking or worrying about the food at your own wedding, and the person you nominate will end up feeling a bit like the cook so it needs a bit of thinking through.

One of the many things that makes us stand out as a venue is the next point. We don’t charge corkage!

Astonishing, we know, but it’s a pet hate of ours. We think that those of you that want to, should be able to bring your own drink without  being penalized for it.

Most venues charge corkage automatically because they want you to buy their alcohol; we’ve even heard recently about a marquee company that was charging corkage to a bride who was hiring their marquee to put up on her Grandparents’ farm – they wanted her to take their caterers drinks packages rather than supplying her own wine etc – I’m glad to say they lost the job.

Of course providing your own drink isn’t quite as simple as it sounds; you’ve still got to think about storing it, serving it, glasses, ice, staff etc – but if you want to save money and don’t mind a makeshift bar knocked up by us with maybe some of our part timers brought in as unskilled bar staff then it could suit you very well.

Lots of you will want something more organized, particularly for bigger weddings (the more people you’ve got, necessarily the more professional you need the catering & drinks side of things to be) – one thing you don’t want is a shambles on your wedding day with things not flowing smoothly because too many corners have been cut.

So often it's going to be your proper caterers in charge of the drinks, or a special favourite of ours, a dedicated mobile bar team who do nothing but this, mostly at festivals and similar events, and can make a beautiful centrepiece of the whole bar area complete with fairy lights, decorations etc.

If you choose this option, you can decide to pay for everything yourselves, or pay a certain amount and when that’s gone your guests then pay themselves, or you might provide the wine and some champagne, and guests pay for their own pints and spirits. Again we try and provide much more flexibility than most venues in this most important area.

We’ve got some great local cake makers for your wedding cake, or you can organize your own. Lots of you are going for a wedding cheese cake with decoration on the rounds of everything from flowers to figs and pomegranates – and of course to give it that Cornish twist there’s great Cornish cheeses made in the county. You can even get a big heart shaped Cornish Yarg if we order well ahead.

Wedding favours are a hotly contested point; you either love them or you hate them. If sugared almonds sound too traditional, and individual chocolates too fussy (or wasteful of resources in their individual little boxes) then you might consider the increasingly popular sweetie table laid out with old fashioned favourites like pink & white coconut ice, home made fudge and lollipops. Be warned though – children can go overboard!

You can serve all these treats on everything from recycled palm leaf plates to unbleached paper ones, smart white place settings from event hire firms to fashionable vintage china. On a smaller budget we can source less smart crockery & cutlery from local Village Halls or with a more do it yourself wedding we’ve had couples simply use our blue and white enamelware from their tipis.

Music for the evening party is often really high on your list of priorities. This can be anything from a 9 piece rock n’roll to a foot stomping celeidh band, Big Band Swing, serious dance music, or perhaps a soul & Gospel singer – maybe a friend who’s a DJ or just your own compilation of music through speakers and an iPod.

Brides can at last speak for themselves when it comes to the speeches (hurrah!) – it doesn’t have to just be an exclusively male preserve with fathers & best men getting the laughs, although of course it can be – whatever you like.

When it comes to evening guests there’s various possibilities that come into play. Possibly not such a good idea is guests only being invited to join in at a certain stage of the proceedings, say 7 or 8pm, when they’ve come a long way and are already staying with us in the tipis like other guests who’ve been asked to be in on the whole day.

This can be quite awkward, and we’d advise against it. It usually makes sense to have everybody you want to the whole of your day so everyone can join in everything from the tear jerking I do, to the wine and song. However if you’ve got local friends and family and definitely want some of them to join you just for the evening then this is possible although will involve additional staff on duty to see them in, park their cars, show them where to go (not always obvious to guests coming in to a wedding later in the day at a large country venue with lots of different entrances and paths).

“For the evening we asked everyone to bring either cake or cheese and had a special tipi in the reception field dedicated to this – it was very popular!”
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© Cornish Tipi Weddings

Pictures: Green Photographic, Appleby Images, Khalile Siddiqui, Matt Jessop, Emma Bradshaw, Sandra Lane,
Jon & Candice Sims, Elizabeth Tom, Rob Cousins, Rupert Tenison, Daniel Start, Andrea Michele.

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