Wedding winner: Arley House and Gardens celebrates prestigious award

The wedding industry has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many heartbroken couples have been forced to put their nuptials on hold or downscale their celebrations at short notice.

And it wasn’t just brides and grooms that found 2020 tough as venues up and down the country had to shut their doors, losing the income stream on which they depend.

But with the vaccine roll-out gathering pace, there are hopes that this year will be one filled with plenty of weddings.

And among those ready and waiting to ensure couples have a day they will remember forever is Amy Applegarth, who is the events manager at award-winning Arley House and Gardens in Upper Arley, Worcestershire.

The venue has quickly garnered a reputation for offering a bespoke and personal service since first opening its doors in May 2018.

But, due to Covid restrictions placing a limit on the number of guests that could attend celebrations, it hosted just five weddings in 2020.

“A lot of couples chose to postpone which we were happy to do because we wanted to look after them at a very anxious time.

“The intimate weddings we had were really special. This year is incredibly busy and we’re looking forward to more weddings when the vaccine is rolled out,” says Amy.

While weddings are on pause, the venue has been offering virtual tours until they can open their doors to couples once again.

As well as helping brides and grooms who chose to go ahead with their ceremonies, when restrictions allowed last year, the team at Arley House and Gardens had another reason to celebrate.

The venue was recently named the West Midlands regional winner for Best Venue (other category) at The Wedding Industry Awards for 2021.

It’s the second year in a row that the venue has been recognised by the awards as it was also named Best Countryside Venue in the West Midlands at the Wedding Industry Awards in 2020.

The event aims to recognise and reward excellence amongst professionals in the wedding industry and finalists are voted for by their own customers and independently judged by experts in the field.

“The Wedding Industry Awards are voted for by our couples and we’ve won in 2020 and 2021 which for a new venue is no mean feat.

“We’re immensely proud of how much we’ve achieved. We’re really grateful to our couples who voted for us and to the judges who voted us a winner again for the second year running. It’s been lovely to read the feedback,” says former flight attendant Amy, who has been working in the wedding industry since 2014.

Catering for weddings of all sizes, the country house sits within the Arley estate which includes more than 1,600 acres of woodland, rolling countryside, as well as the walled gardens of Arley Arboretum.

As well as six individual ceremony areas and a range of indoor and outdoor reception spaces, there is also the Grange, a grade II listed Georgian house that has recently been converted into 14 luxury bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.

“We’re a modern country house so we’ve got everything you would expect from a country estate, from the countryside views to the Italian Garden, which is absolutely spectacular. It is the jewel in our crown – it’s really quite special.

“We also have all of the modern technology like a BOSE sound system and lighting technology that couples are looking for now,” says Amy.

The team prides itself on offering a limited number of weddings with only one at weekends and a maximum of three a week.

This allows them to dedicate plenty of time to all of the finishing touches and as well as running through any last details with the bride and groom the day before they tie the knot.

“We stay true to what we offer to our guests. We give couples the wedding they want, not just the one they expected. We offer bespoke weddings and a personal touch,” says Amy.

“The estate is owned by the Roger and Douglas Turner Charitable Trust which gives out grants to charities. Everything we do as a venue benefits the trust and that’s a pretty good feeling,” she adds.

Amy loves seeing all of the hard work and planning come together on the big day and watching the smiles on the faces of the couples and their loved ones as they say their vows.

“There is nothing more joyful than seeing two people get married. It’s such an amazing feeling to be part of a couple’s day and making sure every detail from the table to the ceremony is perfect. I enjoy being part of such a special life moment, it’s a feeling that can’t be replicated,” she tells Weekend.

Arley House and Gardens is hosting a spring wedding showcase on March 28, from 12-4pm. Places need to be booked for the event which includes tours of the ceremony areas and suites as well as the chance to meet suppliers, including wedding decor, marquees, photographer, cake maker, wedding dresses and gentlemen’s attire.

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