MEET THE WEDDING TEAM
Our motto is "anything is possible" and we're here to make your dream day a reality. Holdsworth House has one of the longest serving wedding teams in the business. Alongside our housekeepers, reception, restaurant and kitchen teams, we work tirelessly to deliver the best customer service and your most enjoyable wedding day possible.
Hotel General Manager, Joseph
Joseph Farrar has always worked in hospitality, following in his family footsteps. Outstanding customer service remains his number one priority and Joseph can make almost any dream or idea into a reality. Joseph leads many wedding show-round appointments on weekends and midweek.
Wedding & Events Manager, Claire
Monday to Friday most wedding couples will be looked after by Claire Nicholl. With over 20 years' wedding and events management under her belt at Holdsworth House, Claire's exceptional knowledge and expertise is second to none. Claire will ensure the i-s are dotted and t-s crossed.
Weddings Master of Ceremonies, Tracey
On your special day, it's more than likely that the Master of Ceremonies on duty will be Tracey. She's been with Holdsworth House for over thirty years and LOVES her role looking after brides, grooms and wedding guests on the day. She'll tell you that no two weddings are the same and everyone gets her full attention and dedication. She's known to many as The Fairy Godmother!
Deputy General Manager, Chris
Chris Meehan knows every inch of Holdsworth House. Having worked previously as our Operations Manager, Chris oversees most wedding events ensuring the teams are on schedule and your day runs smoothly. Chris often conducts wedding show round appointments at weekends.
Wedding Manager Q&A:
Claire Nicholl, Holdsworth House's wedding and events manager answers some of our most popular questions.
I've worked at Holdsworth House for 25 years. In that time I've helped arrange over 3000 weddings. We ‘re exclusive – we only allow one wedding per day, but we average around 120 weddings per year.
I love dogs, so when I'm not working, I'm walking my dog.
25 years ago, I found the role really suited me. I'm a people person and stickler for detail. My colleagues joke that I have a photographic memory as I do tend to retain facts, figures, couples' names and all their wedding details!
Today, I can't imagine doing anything else. After 25 years arranging weddings, there's very little that catches me out, and no problem we can't resolve. Weddings provide a convivial working environment too – people come to Holdsworth House to celebrate. It’s not just an office job, I’m often on my feet meeting people and showing guests round the venue.
There's no denying that Holdsworth House is a beautiful, historic building and I think the gardens are the best of any wedding venue. But I don't think you can put a price on experience. It's not just me that's been here a long time, many of us in the wedding team have built our careers at Holdsworth House. Tracy, our Master of Wedding Ceremonies, has been here over 30 years, our General Manager around 10 years. When you have such a consistent, experienced team the confidence rubs off on guests and couples – they can relax fully and enjoy their day knowing they're in safe hands.
I also believe that because Holdsworth House is independent (owned by the same family since 1962), there's a level of care, love and attention that we all feel compelled to give, you truly go out of your way because its personal. We really are a family at the hotel.
First, we have an initial meeting and we discuss lots of ideas. Essentially at this stage I'm here to listen. I need to understand the couple's needs, expectations and their individual requests. I'll show the couple round the hotel, give them any advice and answer anything they want to know. Once a date has been booked, we'll schedule catch-ups and a wedding menu tasting. By the time the wedding comes, it feels like we're good friends!
I'm really proud that many couples are happy to open up to me. Many people look to me for clear, detailed advice or reassurance. In many cases I’m the holder of secrets too! Whether that's a surprise element of the day or something personal. I'm always professional, completely discreet and fully supportive.
In the run-up to their big day, our couples will meet all the teams within Holdsworth House. When they come for their wedding tasting they’ll get to know the kitchen and restaurant team. When they select their accommodation they’ll bump into our fantastic housekeepers. And, of course, everyone is warmly greeted by our reception staff who have incredible knowledge and a can-do attitude.
By the day of the wedding, our operations team has already been fully briefed and is ready to spring into action – it's like watching all the cogs of a well-oiled machine working together.
For the couple it's when you can completely let go and be in the moment. Inevitably things will change because people – like the weather – are unpredictable. But when you can truly trust the team around you to deliver, and you can look back on your wedding day with multiple 'wow' moments, then that's when you've had the perfect wedding. It's not about quantity, it’s 100% about quality.
I personally love it when couples bring their dogs to weddings as their ring-bearers! We also get Eric our resident cat photo-bombing wedding pictures sometimes.
Whilst most of our weddings are for 80 – 100 guests, we have some absolutely stunning small and intimate weddings. Our Stone Gazebo, in the hotel gardens, is the smallest licensed venue in England and only accommodates 10 people, so super-romantic ceremonies in here are just gorgeous.
Most weddings at Holdsworth House are beautiful white weddings, it's such a fairytale setting it's impossible not to get that thrill every time a couple ties the knot. But I also enjoy seeing the alternative events. From vintage themes to Steam Punk, or kilts and swords of military events – every wedding is completely different.
Honestly? You can relax completely here. We've been hosting weddings for over 50 years, not many venues can say that and we're not going anywhere; we're a very robust business. We're flexible, knowledgeable and great with people. At the end of the day, as beautiful as a venue is it's the people – the interaction between the guests and the team – that make the difference. The fact that we have stunning photo backdrops and gardens is of course a huge bonus!
The other reason is that we make your wedding so easy. Some venues are forever putting up barriers, saying what you can’t do. We say what you CAN do, and we’ll pull out the stops to make your dream wedding happen. We really do take care of everything, with genuine care and attention.
Make sure you book your venue and registrar (if applicable) early. Once that's in place everything else can follow on in due course.
Especially in the current economic climate, it's a very wise thing to do. If future prices/costs change, at least you've guaranteed the price of your wedding venue in black and white.
There are lots of Insta-friendly spots at Holdsworth House. If you've got a dress with a train, then a photo going down the stairs is beautiful. Insta photographer @Her_Dark_Materials called our halls a 'photographer's dream'. But my favourite spot has to be in the gardens with the historic facade behind you – it's completely timeless.
Food is a very important part of your day, so be sure your wedding venue includes menu tastings with your package. Ask the venue if it runs a fresh banqueting service like we do at Holdsworth House i.e., will they cook your wedding breakfast fresh rather than plating and reheating? It’s surprising what a difference it can make to the taste and quality.
If the last 60 years has taught us anything, it’s how to turn out the kind of food served in our fine-dining restaurant on a large scale.