An Autumnal Inspired Lunch at Holywell Hall

Written by Katrina Otter
Holywell Hall, an exclusive and quintessentially English country house wedding venue near Stamford, Lincolnshire, holds a very special place in my heart.

I first visited Holywell Hall back in 2015 and planned the very first wedding there in 2016. Since then, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have planned numerous weddings and parties within the private Georgian House, the Walled Gardens and on the croquet lawn with its incredible vantage point overlooking the lakes, House, St Wilfrid’s Church and the extensive grounds and gardens. With my Coco & Kat hat on, I’ve also worked alongside Coco Wedding Venues, offering creative consultancy services to the venue owners as part of Holywell Hall’s journey to becoming the perfect wedding venue to bring a quintessential English and classic country marquee wedding to life.

As the venues resident Wedding Coordinator, I truly believe that Holywell Hall is one of the most spectacular places in England to say your vows.  I also believe that you really need to see, experience and immerse yourself in all that this venue has to offer in order to fully realise how indescribably special it is.

Which leads me on to the title…

At the end of October, our mist and burgundy Bureau Design invitations for an exclusive lunch at Holywell Hall were sealed with their personalised wax stamps and posted out to some of my Wedding Planner colleagues and Coco Wedding Venues, who of course came along for the journey (after all, an event at Holywell wouldn’t be complete without Mrs Hla, the exceptionally talented, creative and styling force behind the Holywell Hall website and recent brand editorial). With the invitations posted and our guest list confirmed, we had the perfect opportunity to showcase the venue in all its glory and allow those attending (with a glass of pink fizz in hand) to fall in love with the splendour of Holywell Hall.

It was incredibly important to me when planning and styling the lunch to ensure that I worked alongside, and therefore showcased some of the phenomenal team of suppliers on the venue’s preferred and recommended suppliers list.

Step forward Brigitte from Moss & Stone who was integral to the day itself.  Having worked together at the venue on numerous occasions, Brigitte and I drew inspiration for the lunch from the elegant and light filled Garden Room, the surrounding Garden Terrace with it’s beautiful blooms and the changing seasons. From there, the overall autumnal colour palette was set, and the styling elements evolved.

Brigitte says “Holywell Hall’s larger landscape is full of stately, ancient trees but within this nestles a beautiful younger arboretum packed with interesting and slightly more unusual specimens displaying autumnal colour and fruits. Holywell also boasts a glorious walled kitchen garden packed with fruits, vegetables and flowers laid out in a quintessentially English style below the traditional glasshouses. The Hall’s gardens carefully and lovingly tended, wear each season beautifully and the abundance of this season, autumn, was in full spate.

Flowers should have a sense of place and sit comfortably within the setting. Given that autumn was beginning to work her magic outside, the florals needed to reflect the changing season and feel of the gardens surrounding Holywell but at the same time make sense within the essentially neutral colour scheme of the Garden Room conservatory. The simple, elegant colour palette used, combines a very soft grey alongside touches of aubergine, emerald green and hints of metallics.

With all of this in mind the floral palette required was clear – moody autumnals using an abundance of dark glossy fruits alongside deep plum foliages and neutral, blush flowers with hints of soft lavender.

Guests began their visit in the glorious Entrance Hall where they enjoyed their drinks by a huge, roaring open fire.   A large urn of flowers tumbling with overflowing fruits sat on a central table, adding to the welcoming atmosphere and setting the tone for the dining tablescape that was soon to be revealed”.

Brigitte continues “The long banqueting style table conveyed a sense of opulent elegance whilst still allowing the guests to chat easily. The tablescape featured three low bowls of garden style flowers with additional glass bud vases of single stems dotted down the table length. Raised bowls of tumbling fruits falling onto the table, dark plums, figs, blackberries, apples, quince and blueberries were also interspersed amongst the flowers alongside beautiful tapered lavender coloured candles in glass holders.  A chocolate cosmos finished off each guest’s place setting – a simple dark rich plum coloured flower with a beautiful chocolaty scent – delicious!

The fireplace was similarly dressed with a garden style tumbling display of fruits and flowers echoing the tablescape and adding another floral focal point to this beautiful room.

Many of the flowers were sourced from local British growers, including the last of the dahlias and garden roses, a delicious dark plum grapevine with black grapes, phlox crème brûlée, grasses, hydrangea and of course all the gorgeous dark foliage.  All the flowers were also arranged into water avoiding the use of floral foam. Flowers are more jubilant and last longer in water and the wider environment is much happier if micro plastic floral foam isn’t used too! Reducing the environmental impact of a special event should always be considered and given the beauty of Holywell Hall and its stunning landscape, caring about this whilst enjoying a spectacular lunch makes even more sense!”.

Brigitte’s blooms, foliages and fruits were then paired with a soft grey linen from Just 4 Linen which worked perfectly alongside classic and luxurious pearl handmade dinnerware adorned with a beaded border, matt gold cutlery and crystal glassware from Duchess & Butler.

The glassware also elegantly complemented the Garden Rooms’ chandeliers, with the candlelight and natural daylight bouncing off the combination of crystal and Wedhead’s stylish Louis Ghost Chairs with their flowing, elegant and graceful lines.

With the styling elements in place and our tablescape set, our guests were treated to a gastronomic feast courtesy of Crown Catering, an exceptionally talented, creative, experienced and professional catering company based on the border between Cambridge and Suffolk.

To start, we dined on soy glazed duck breast with pickled enokitake mushrooms, mushroom purée, wasabi crumb, light soya jelly and puffed nori cracker. For mains we were then treated to not one, but two courses of pan roasted halibut and then an assiette of pork. With the fizz free flowing and our guests revelling in their majestic surroundings, Crown Catering served a bespoke Black Forest gateaux “sphere” that perfectly complemented the overall autumnal tone.

A final thank you to Hannah Duffy Photography for the images… you can also see more of Hannah’s work gracing the pages of the Holywell Hall website and as part of its exclusive Coco Wedding Venues listing.


Venue Holywell Hall

Planner Katrina Otter Weddings

Photographer Hannah Duffy Photography

Caterer Crown Catering

Florist Moss & Stone

Tableware Duchess & Butler

Stationery Bureau Design

Chairs Wedhead

Linen Just 4 Linen

Assistant Rachel Dalton Weddings

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