Wedding Planning Advice

A Guide To PLanning Your Wedding At Southwood Hall

22nd September 2020

a guide to planning your wedding at southwood hall

You’ve booked Southwood Hall as your wedding venue.  You’re probably asking yourself where to start.  Planning a wedding is so much fun but can be a little daunting.  What type of things do you need to be looking out for and thinking of? I put together this post to try and help! Check out my guide to planning your wedding at Southwood Hall.

I also have an Ultimate Guide for Planning your Wedding Day.  This goes a bit more in-depth of what to look for at the very early stages of wedding planning.

1. Choosing your Suppliers

Once you have your date and venue all set, it’s time to think about suppliers.  Norfolk is blessed with a wide variety of wedding suppliers who can be on hand to help bring your wedding to life.  The team at Southwood Hall are fantastic and have a list of suppliers they invite to their Showcase events. 

The Southwood Hall Showcase is an invitation-only night for couples who have their wedding booked at the Hall.  It is a fantastic opportunity to get to meet lots of fantastic suppliers who are trusted by the team to provide you with an excellent service.

2. Your Wedding Preparations

When it comes to the big day itself.  The Cartshed Lodge is a fantastic location for your preparations.  It is also fantastic for a wedding videographer.  Full of light with the skylight and lovingly decorated it is ideal for any couple.  With two ensuite bedrooms and a large communal space which is ideal for having your hair and makeup done or for the gents to put their feet up in the morning of the wedding.

A short walk across the car park brings you to Southwood House which is always a hive of activity in the morning.  With plenty of space, there are often family and friends as well as the other half of the couple getting ready.

How To Choose Your Wedding Hair Stylist and Make-up Artist.

Wedding Suppliers at Southwood Hall

3. Planning your Wedding Ceremony

There is so much scope at Southwood Hall for your wedding ceremony.  Whether it is inside the coronation barn or amongst the trees in a woodland glade there is something for everyone.  The walled garden is a popular choice and adds a very elegant feel to your wedding ceremony.  The other popular option is under the garden rotunda.  The rotunda, itself, is fully licensed for legal weddings and allows your guests to oversee your full ceremony.

Your wedding ceremony will normally last a maximum of about 30 minutes.  If you choose a registrar led wedding they will tend to give you a list of options.  This allows your ceremony to be either a little shorter or longer.  Opting for a celebrant led wedding you have complete flexibility on your service.  Why not think about adding little touches that reflect you both.  You can even talk about adding in some personalised vows. 

How to write your own personalised wedding vows.

4. Drinks Reception

You’ve done it! You’re married! The grass area at the back of Southwood Hall is perfect for a cocktail reception.  Using the trough to keep your drinks cool.  It lends itself perfectly to a relaxed opportunity for your guests to mingle.  Use this time to greet as many of your guests as you can.  They will all want to congratulate you. A great way to end your move from your drinks reception into your formal photos. 

A confetti shot on the steps of the Hall is well worth it.  Have a conversation with your wedding photographer.  Some will prefer to gather your guests around you.  Others will ask your guests to form two lines and you walk through.  Whichever option you go with, the hall forms the perfect backdrop. 

how to plan your southwood hall wedding

5. Formal Family Photos

Again you have options when it comes to your family photos.  I find most couples choose to have them out the back on the grass.  This allows your guests to continue the party and be called up when needed.  I have seen on some occasions the front steps used as well as other areas in the grounds. 

Have a conversation with your wedding photographer about their thoughts.  When it comes to the photographs themselves.  Give your photographer a list, try and keep it short.  I normally say to couples imagine it takes 3 minutes to take a group shot.  Before you know it that’s potentially half an hour of your day gone.

Questions to ask your wedding photographer.

6. Take a Walk Together

A key part of any wedding day is the small amount of time you have together.  Make sure you plan in some time to take a walk around the grounds of Southwood Hall.  The gardens with their high trees are the perfect backdrop for some couples moments. 

Many photographers and videographers like to use the brick wall by the folly.  This adds a different dimension to your wedding photos.  Another personal favourite is at the right time of year, the clematis in the walled gardens looks spectacular.  You will have your photographer and videographer with you but this is an important time for you both.  Try and forget that you have company and just be together.

Southwood Hall wedding planning

7. The Wedding Breakfast

Another important reason to choose any wedding venue is the food.  Southwood Hall is blessed with excellent chefs who will provide you with a meal that you will remember forever.  

Many couples invite some of their guests to be meat carvers at the table.  It is always fun to see the surprised faces of those who have been selected as they don their chef’s hats.  The team at Southwood have so many options available for your wedding breakfast.  Just speak to them and they will be happy to help.

8. Speeches

Before or after the meal is often a big question.  Before the meal means those speaking don’t have to worry about waiting however after allows your guests to not be hungry while the speeches go on.  Southwood Hall has a strong and reliable sound system as well as the option of a big screen.  The big screen is often popular with the best men as they try to embarrass the groom. 

With wedding speeches, I would always try and keep them to a sensible length.  It is often said that around 7 minutes is a sweet spot. If you have the traditional three speeches then with gaps for changing of speaker you are looking at around 30 minutes.

How to deliver a killer wedding speech.

Wedding Speeches at Southwood Hall

9. Golden Hour

When you start planning your wedding at Southwood Hall, it is definitely worth checking when sunset will be.  The Southwood is well known for having some stonking sunsets!  Time it right and you can have some glorious couples photos and film in the stunning golden light. 

The golden hour starts around an hour before sunset and can often be at its best around 20 minutes before.  Your wedding photographer and videographer will thank you if you plan in some time at this point.  Looking back you will also thank yourself if you are lucky enough with the weather.  Sunset and golden hour can be the best time to capture stunning memories from your special day.

10. Party Time

There ain’t no party like a Southwood Party!  With the Hall being such a large space it allows plenty of space for a big dance floor.  Two of the biggest parties I have had at weddings were at Southwood.  Azara and Liam finished their winter wedding in style as the music dropped.  It had been such a fun wedding already and the atmosphere was buzzing.  The other wedding that comes to mind was Liam and Martyn.  These two guys had such an epic day that when the sunset the dancefloor just exploded with lots of dancing and laughter.

Whether you are looking to book a wedding band or DJ you can always have an awesome party at Southwood Hall.

Sparklers at Southwood Hall Wedding Planning

11. Evening Food

Hang on Mike, you talked about food already.  Yes, I did!  However, it is well worth adding evening food in too.  The evening food is another great reason to get married at Southwood Hall.  Whether you are looking to have pizzas in the wood fire pizza oven or utilise the Sausage Sizzler your guests won’t be disappointed.

12. At the End Of The Night

Once the day’s festivities are over, unlike some wedding venues, you don’t need to find your way to a taxi.  You can make the way to the garden folly.  There are not many venues where you can have your own fairy tale tower.  As your closest family and friends make their way to either the Cartshed Lodge of Southwood House, you can make your way through the private garden.

Night Time planning at Southwood Hall

I hope you enjoyed my guide to planning your wedding at Southwood Hall.  You can find some of my most recent wedding films at this wedding venue here.

About The Author

Mike Savory Best Wedding Videographer

Mike Savory is an award-winning Wedding Videographer from the UK.