A Q&A with The Bodleian Libraries | Wedding Venue in Oxford

A Q&A with the Bodleian Libraries

Written by Emma Hla
Image by Weddings by Nicola & Glen | Co-written by Megan Ratcliffe.
We’re very happy to be handing our blog over to Megan Ratcliffe and the iconic Bodleian Libraries in Oxford today.

We’ve asked the team to take us on a tour around their dreamy spaces – Divinity School and Convocation House – introduce us to some of their recommended partners as well as share a few useful tips about choosing your venue.

Notes from the Venue

Megan Ratcliffe says…

Hello from the Bodleian Weddings Team! We are a friendly team of three and we are based in the heart of the historic city, Oxford.

  • Kate – Venue Hire and Marketing Manager
  • Megan – Wedding and Events Coordinator
  • Martha- Wedding and Events Coordinator
  • Hannah – Wedding and Events Officer (soon to be returning to the Bodleian)

What do you love about your job?

Our team loves knowing that every single wedding at the Bodleian differs in style and feel. It makes us happy to know that perfect memories have been made at our venue which makes the job all the more rewarding.

We enjoy witnessing how the wedding day comes together, like a well-rehearsed show. Every part adds another layer of eminence – particularly when florals, linens, lighting, stationery balances each other beautifully.

What do you offer?

We offer three exclusive spaces for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Our three main rooms are Divinity School, Convocation House and Chancellor’s Court.

We are a dry hire venue, which means that catering, florals, furniture etc. must all be arranged and organised separately to ourselves. We view this as a great opportunity for couples who want to put their own stamp of individuality on the venue, especially if they have a specific theme or style in mind.

How would you describe The Bodleian Libraries? Iconic, historical, opulent, magnificent, dramatic.

The Bodleian brochure has a list of recommended suppliers. The only suppliers that we ask couples to use are our fantastic sole caterers Oxford Fine Dining and AV and Lighting team, THAT Event Company. These teams are fully experienced with the historical building and spend enough time there to probably know the spaces even more than we do!

The Bodleian Library is a working library and depending on University term times, the closing hours can vary. The library is also a popular visitor attraction. For couples fascinated by books, academia and history, we often recommend doing a tour of the library (The Duke Humfrey’s) after your wedding ceremony, or shortly before your wedding breakfast.

What words best describe your venue?

Iconic, historical, opulent, magnificent, dramatic.

What do you want to achieve for your couples?

We always like to make our couple’s dreams and visions a possibility. A historical, working library does mean that exclusivity varies, but as a proactive and flexible team, we always find ways to shape timelines and options based on our couple’s needs. For example, we work closely with our neighbours, the Sheldonian Theatre. Couples do have the option to hire the Sheldonian for a drinks or evening reception space. It is also a fabulous wet weather alternative and many couples have enjoyed making use of this incredible space in the past. Whatever their style or preference, we love building relationships with couples from their initial enquiry, to on-the-day delivery. We would like them to feel completely at ease about handing over their most important day to us.

Gaining this trust has been incredibly important during the pandemic too. Couples have had to make the difficult decision to postpone their wedding to a later date. This has proven emotionally and mentally draining for every couple. Therefore, during this difficult stretch of time, it has been even more important for the Bodleian Weddings team to remain flexible and responsive to each couple.

Couples who have booked their small wedding ceremony with us needed the reassurance of knowing that our venue will be safe and ready to ensure their day can still go ahead. Our aims have adjusted to suit and respond to the unprecedented times in the best and safest way possible.

Tell us a little bit about your prices / packages

The Bodleian Weddings team are now taking lots of bookings for 2022.

Ceremony only package:

Hire Time: 12:00pm – 15:00pm

Maximum Guests: 100 ceremony

Rooms: Convocation House & Chancellors Court

Fee: £2,700 INC VAT

Included:

  • Experience Wedding Coordinator offering venue & supplier guidance, and support throughout the process.
  • Dedicated venue Staff on the day
  • Private entrance to the Bodleian for your guests

Ceremony and Reception and Reception only packages:

Hire Time: 16:00pm-01:00am

Maximum Guests: 100 ceremony/120 Dinner / 200 Evening

Rooms: Divinity School, Convocation House & Chancellors Court

Fee: £7,700 INC VAT

Included:

  • Experience Wedding Coordinator offering venue & supplier guidance, and support throughout the process.
  • Dedicated venue Staff on the day
  • Private entrance to the Bodleian for your guests
  • Audio set-up and uplighters for your Band or DJ

Do you have any tips or advice couples looking for a wedding venue?

It may sound like an obvious one, but really do spend some time reading through the T&Cs and iron out all the questions you have before you decide to sign anything.

Only decide to book the venue when you have seen and know about the event spaces.

Talk to your venue! They are the real experts here, so use them to help guide your decision making.

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