Fetcham Park {A Venue That Cares}

Written by Emma Hla

One Sunday afternoon not too long ago, the boy and I made our way into Surrey to attend a little Afternoon Tea soirée at the majestic Fetcham Park. I say majestic because as soon as this wedding venue comes into sight it really rather takes your breath away…

I felt very privileged to be attending what was, essentially, a gathering of Fetcham Park’s 2014 and 2015 couples. Newlywed and newly-engaged faces surrounded us as we entered and the warmth of the house embraced us immediately. Our wonderful hosts, Laura Caudery, Victoria Stanton, Anna MacDougall, Louise Grace and Helen Andrews were all on hand to chat, mingle and talk to the excited guests. We were treated to tempting cakes by Le Papillion Patisserie {this is pretty much where my husband could be found all night!}, Prosecco from Les Caves de Pyrene and delicious canapés by Kalm Kitchen. The house had been luxuriously dressed by Anna, of Friend of Faux fame, and it all just looked so ruddy beautiful. There was also music by Melisma Music and Emotion Music and tea and coffee was served in vintage cups by A Cup of Vintage.


Images by Eddie Judd Photography.

I’m not sure there are many venues that invite their couples back but I know Laura truly believes that they’ve become part of the house and so, staying in touch with them and hearing their news is the most natural thing in the world. Of course, Laura and the team at Fetcham Park also had a wonderful reason to throw a party for their couples – Fetcham Park recently won Best City/Town Wedding Venue at The Wedding Industry Awards 2015. Laura says… “We wanted to thank everyone for supporting us; after all, without their votes and feedback, we’d never have won!”

To me, Fetcham Park is the epitome of the Coco Story… I started this directory because I wanted to find beautiful venues that care and then share them with couples embarking on their own journey. So, it seemed only right to ask Laura and her Fetcham Park family to share their own thoughts and tips on the wedding venue hunt.

This is a rather epic post… So I suggest snuggling in and taking your time to absorb the fabulous advice from Laura and Anna, aka Bride & Glory

Notes from Laura Caudery


Image by Eddie Judd Photography, Laura Caudery at Fetcham Park.


You’ve probably been told multiple times that finding your venue is the most important aspect of planning your wedding. There’s a very good reason for that: your wedding venue will inform when and where you get married, your guest list and even the style of your wedding.

What people are less likely to share with you is just how stressful the whole process can be. All too quickly, the initial excitement of getting engaged is forgotten as you become overwhelmed with finding the ‘perfect’ venue. I think it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ venue. Choosing a venue will involve a degree of compromise but what you’ll learn along the way is what really matters to you; for some it’s the perfect ceremony space, for others it’s a beautiful garden and if you want an extended celebration it’ll be somewhere that offers you the option of on-site accommodation. Only you’ll know what’s right for your wedding day and often it involves a lot of research, and time.


Images by Eddie Judd Photography.

What I tell every couple though – and this might sound strange as a venue owner – is that at the end of the day, we’re only ever the backdrop on your wedding day. You’ll have a wonderful day wherever you choose to celebrate as the most important thing is having all your friends and family together in one place!

With that in mind, what might help you when trying to decide where to book are these helpful hints on what to look for from your wedding venue from Wedding Coordinator extraordinaire at Fetcham Park, Anna of Bride & Glory.  These are the things we pride ourselves on at Fetcham Park and I based my business around them as they’re exactly what I was looking for as a bride-to-be myself… I just wish I’d found Anna too!

Notes from Bride & Glory


Image by Eddie Judd Photography.


I am always delighted when I get the chance to share some of the lessons I’ve learnt over the past five years of being a wedding coordinator. There is something to be said for letting people make their own way through life and that we all learn best through a bit of trial and error. When it comes to looking for the right wedding venue, however, having a bit of clever advice under your collective belts can make all the difference between finding ‘just’ a pretty venue and a venue that will make planning and living your wedding day utter bliss.

This topic couldn’t have come up at a better time. I’ve just spent a few weeks with three venue searches, all for very different clients and with three briefs that couldn’t have been more different. The common denominator for all of them has been my surprise at the vast variances in which venues have responded to my enquiries. Mahoosive or bijou, art deco town hall or barn, rockingly cool bar or more conservative hotel (and even a former Church that is now a school, only running events as a side business) – the difference of impressions venues made was pretty staggering. I have experienced the full range, from the über-charming and efficient handling to those I’ve had to chase umpteen times, only to be given incomplete information, delivered in the rudest of manners. Cripes – I sound like my mum! But seriously, I am calling with potential business, why would you not try your darndest to make a good impression…?

So what I’ve learnt, again, is this: just because a venue looks good on paper (or more likely, the web) doesn’t mean the team behind it will live up to the glitzy impression you’ve been given. And likewise, just because a venue may not have the snazziest and professional looking website does not mean that you might not have the pleasure of dealing with a team that will make your wedmin journey a joy to behold.


Images by Eddie Judd Photography.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I may be a little prejudiced here. Over the past twelve months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the team at Fetcham Park, who have taught me a thing or two about how finding/working with the right wedding venue can be a pleasure rather than a chore.

They bravely set out on a mission to make every Bride & Groom’s venue experience one to remember – for all the right reasons. Every couple that walks through the door, be that for a first viewing or a planning meeting, couldn’t be made to feel more warmly welcome. How do they do it…? By pulling together a team of people who love their jobs and genuinely care for each and every couple they meet. That’s something you can’t fake and it’s one of the many reasons why Fetcham Park has just won the accolade of Best Town/Country Wedding Venue in the country for 2015. And it’s not just a pretty title – what makes it so particularly special is that the award is voted for by couples who have celebrated their wedding day at Fetcham Park and can therefore pass realistic judgement on the level of service they received.

Why am I waffling on about this one particular venue…? Because for me, it has proven to be an excellent example of what a gigantic difference it can make to work with a wedding venue that truly cares about you as a couple, and not just their bottom line.


Images by Eddie Judd Photography.

For today, I’d like to tackle the question of how to find a venue that not only looks right but also delivers the level of service you deserve. So when you set off on your venue search, bear these few pointers in mind…

You only get one chance to make a first impression…

An oldie but definitely a goodie. How is your enquiry handled when you first call or email…? Do they get back to you quickly or are you left chasing a response…? Do you feel that you’re talking to someone who is delighted to hear from you or just another enquiry…? By all means, if it’s a venue you’re really keen on, give them the benefit of the doubt if the first impression isn’t quite right. But beware: if they can’t be bothered to make an effort when they first speak to you, chances are they may not necessarily improve over time.

All that glitters ain’t gold…

At the risk of completely contradicting myself, also beware of those venues that are the opposite of Point 1. Those that dazzle you with Champagne, canapés and promises when you first visit, only to go cold once they’ve got your money in the bank. This one is a tough one to judge by first impressions only, but there are ways of finding out whether the service they delivered lived up to the promises made. Before you sign on the dotted line, ask to speak to couples that have celebrated at the venue previously. Any decent supplier will have no issue to direct you towards two or three couples that can bear witness to their service and, hopefully, sing their praises.


Images by Eddie Judd Photography.

I wanna hold your hand…

Oh the weird and wonderful world of wedmin, it can be a little overwhelming at times. It’s important to know what level of support you can expect from the venue team. Will you have a dedicated contact you can get in touch with when you have questions…? Someone who will ideally have met you personally and know what your wedding day is all about (rather than just a name and a date in the diary)…? Will that person also be there on your wedding day…? Trust me, the latter is not always a given. You’ll want to make sure you know exactly how much help you can expect so you can judge whether this will be sufficient for you or whether you may need to bring in extra help.

What’s in a recommendation…

I always find the way a venue works with suppliers to be a great indication of its ethos. I’ve often been asked by venues to join their supplier lists purely based on a website search (and the fact that I’d have to be willing to pay them for the privilege). It makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would you trust me enough to recommend me unless you’ve actually worked with me and seen first hand whether I’m any good at what I do…? In my book, the same goes for any other suppliers too. If your venue has a recommended supplier list from which you can (or sometimes must) pick, ask them how they came to be recommended suppliers in the first place. Have they worked at the venue and are you able to see samples of their work…? How often does the venue review whether they are keeping up with the standards they’d expect…?


Images by Eddie Judd Photography.

It really all boils down to this: you are about to spend a major amount of your hard-earned money on your wedding day and you’ll want to make sure every single penny of it goes to people you’ll simply love working with. Whether venue or supplier, you should feel comfortable that you are dealing with a business for whom you’re not just a date in the diary but a couple who is entrusting them with one of the biggest celebrations they’re ever likely to host. This may sound corny but, in an ideal world, you’ll walk away from a meeting feeling like you’ve just spent a couple of hours speaking to a new friend. If you can pair that gut feeling with the relevant research (see point 2) and if asking the right questions reveals nothing but good feedback, you can be pretty sure you’re on to a winner.

Now go forth and conquer, darlings.

Good luck!


Photography Eddie Judd Photography | Canapés Kalm Kitchen | Vintage china A Cup of Vintage | Prosecco Les Caves de Pyrene | Flowers Friend of Faux | Cakes Le Papillon Patisserie | Singer & saxophonist Melisma Music | Bespoke Fetcham Park bridal entrance music Emotion Music

There really isn’t much more for me to add, just a huge thank you to Laura, Anna {Bride & Glory} and the Fetcham Park team. Oh and of course Eddie Judd Photography for capturing the evening so beautifully!

If you want to see why this venue won at The Wedding Industry Awards, then just take a peek at what their couples have to say here.

Lots of love…

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