We introduce a Venue today in Buxton, Derbyshire – local to Cards by Sophie HQ! An absolutely gorgeous place place to get married, which offers a Do it Yourself option for your wedding!

1. Introduce yourself and your company!

We are Julie and Anthony Knox. We own Hargate Hall in Buxton. The Hall comprises of 12 self catering holiday apartments and when we originally took on the Hall it was run very much as a holiday venue. Today although still run as holiday accommodation our main business is as a Do It Yourself Wedding Venue and Party Venue. The Hall becomes yours for the weekend and you can have the wedding of your dreams. You can cook for all your guests or bring in a caterer (which is the usual option), have a barbecue, or anything else you can think of. The choice is yours. You can bring your own alcohol on site and we do not charge corkage!

Hargate Hall Outside View
Hargate Hall Outside View

2. What made you start your company?

Anthony wanted to work on his own, hated meetings (particularly the ones where al you do is dicuss the previous and the next meeting) and wanted to think outside the box and Julie was a stay at home mum with 3 little ones. The youngest being 6 weeks at the time of the move! Hargate Hall was never in our plans but once we stumbled upon it and fell in love with it we started a whole new chapter in our lives throwing ourselves in to the tourism market.

3. Can you give us a typical ‘day in the life of’ – we’d love to know what you do day by day, even the what-might-seem-like-boring bits!

Mondays and Fridays are the busiest in terms of cleaning the Hall and apartments and maintenance of them all and the Hall. Tuesdays – Thursdays is usually about tackling a big job and hopefully having it finished by 4 pm Friday for when the new guests arrive. We also have the paperwork side of the business to tackle which takes up a lot of the evenings and to top it off 4 little people who need taking care of. Saturdays are now mostly taken up with a wedding, but we also fit in an hour of gymnastics, followed by an hour of athletics in Buxton for the kids. We need to be in the Hall 1 hour prior to the wedding to make sure there is no drinking and eating taking part in the licensed space and to help with any last minute details. We stay till the end of the ceremony. Although we do sell the Hall as DIY we are on site to help out should we be needed and to make sure the wedding runs smoothly.

4. What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of the job has to be attending the wedding and being with the bride just before she makes her entrance down the main staircase. I love walking in to the Hall every Saturday and seeing how the bride and groom have decorated the Hall. It is different every week and there are so many fabulous ideas. We have started to write a blog about each wedding so you can see how varied they are.

5. How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family life? Some secrets to your success please!

Sadly no secrets! We have 4 children 3 of whom are now in full time schooling and a cheeky 3 year old. The children have to fit in to our schedule in the school holidays they come in to the Hall with us whilst we work we don’t have help with the child care they deal with it really well. They like to be part of it. We have a family meal together every evening and the rest we can do in the evening when they are asleep. We have no options other than to get on with it. It has been a very hard few years as in the midst of all this we also had our 4th child. We do like a challenge so we all just keep smiling and carry on.

Hargate Hall
Hargate Hall

6. Do you manage to ever switch off the phone or laptop, or always sneakily checking emails and calls 24/7?

Never well there was one occasion when someone telephoned on Christmas day just when we had sat down for our meal, as they wanted some info about the Hall ! But realistically any enquiry can turn into a booking, and it often pays off to reply as promptly as possible.

7. What top tip would you give couples that are getting married?

Any couple should decide how they want their wedding day (or weekend in our case) to be, and what their budget is, and stick to both.

8. If you’re already married, what one thing do you wish you’d done differently?

We would have liked to spend more time with our guests, which I guess is where the idea for a weekend long wedding party came from.

9. What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?

The most unusual was a couple who wanted a Bedouin themed wedding. They found a marquee company who supplied drapes, rugs, and low seating and tables to turn a marquee into a Bedouin tent. They then did the same in the Main Hall. The poor registrars conducted the ceremony with a full size camel peering over their shoulders!

Hargate Hall
Hargate Hall

10.  How long do you usually take from start to finish with a couple? Please explain the process that you run through with clients so our readers can schedule it all in…

To view the Hall for a wedding is usually 1.5 hours to show them around, look at photos of how other people have decorated the Hall and talk through their ideas. We have a wedding forum listing the recommended suppliers that have been to the Hall before that we suggest the couple choose from, though they can also bring in their own suppliers. Most of the planning the couple do themselves, but we are in constant talks and e-mails with them to answer questions as they arise or make suggestions. It is wedding planning with a twist. We feel we sell it as DIY but we do a lot in the background which hopefully supports our brides and grooms. It is lovely to then attend their wedding and see their plans be fulfilled.

11.  When do you recommend placing an order, please tell us how much notice do you need and how far should couples order in advance of the wedding?

We only have 2 weekends left in December for this year and are starting to fill up for 2012! Some couples have a fixed date in mind so they need to be getting a venue booked quickly others plan around what is available. We have just taken 2 bookings for weddings in March this year only giving the couple 8 weeks to organise everything. The main restrictions are the availability of a venue, registrar and your guests, everything else can be put together quite quickly. The sooner you book the sooner you can start planning. Bride and grooms love the idea of how flexible we are and how the wedding is a weekend celebration with family and friends.

Hargate Hall
Hargate Hall

12. Any added extras?

Because of the speed with which we are filling up at weekends, we have decided to launch a mid-week wedding package. Although we pride ourselves on being a venue without packages, this does not work so well for mid week weddings. We have put together a very comprehensive package using local suppliers for everything. You can have exclusive use of Hargate Hall just for a day.

What a lovely introduction to Hargate Hall, please visit their website if you would like to know more, or contact Julie & Anthony directly!

If you’re a wedding supplier and would like to be featured in our Supplier Spotlight, please get in touch!