Image by Kate Nielen Photography.
It’s hard to know where to start when I think about Wickham House… There is just too much goodness everywhere you look. Earlier this year I was a guest of Philippa & James, owners of this ridiculously handsome country house. As well as being taken on a superb guided tour, I sat in their kitchen, drank coffee and chatted about weddings.
Philippa is quite extraordinary and I left feeling thoroughly inspired by this lady. I think I actually called her ruddy brilliant. With a long and successful career in the City, Philippa & James alongside their Events Manager Isabel, are now pouring their energy and passion into their beautiful home and offering it to couples for their big day celebrations.
“Wickham House combines timeless elegance with the laid-back charm of Berkshire’s rural countryside. A stunning location for luxury marquee and tent weddings, Wickham offers a blank canvas to design a completely bespoke wedding with the spectacular backdrop of our family home. Whether you are planning an opulent affair or a celebration with a bohemian twist, Wickham House is the idyllic location…”
I can’t help but agree this is a truly idyllic spot, press play and watch this fab film by Burlison Photography, then continue to read all about your wedding day possibilities punctuated with the dreamiest of images by Kate Nielen Photography.
The Planning Process
The attention to detail at Wickham House is second to none, so it’s no surprise they work solely with Wedding Planners. They can recommend the right planner to enable your wedding day and, alongside your chosen planner, they will help you design your dream wedding. Whether you want a lavish classic affair or perhaps a slightly more relaxed-bohemian weekend, they have wonderful relationships with several different planners, all varying in style.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to the ceremony location at Wickham House as there are three quite enchanting spots to choose from.
Next door, quite literally, is their charming Village Church. Surprisingly spacious it can comfortably seat up to 200 guests! The privacy this Church offers is wonderful and there’s absolutely no need for your guests to travel from ceremony to reception at this venue. If however you are not local to the area but still want this traditional element to your big day, then you are able to attend the Church once a month for six months prior to the wedding day. There is also the option to host a civil ceremony within the estate or a registry office ceremony followed by a Blessing in the church.
The Walled Garden
Now I’ve seen a fair few walled gardens in my time, indeed I even chose a walled garden for my own big day, BUT this has to be the best walled garden… ever. The entrance, both grand and promising, absolutely mirrors what lies beyond. Designed and lovingly crafted by Philippa & James, this Walled Garden was my personal highlight of the venue tour. The garden provides a spectacular yet intimate setting for a wedding ceremony and the Pagoda is licensed for Civil Ceremonies for up to 200 guests seated on the sunken lawn. Within this magical setting you can also find a stunning pool, a pavilion and gorgeous gardens galore. I could honestly have stayed here all day!
As if Wickham House didn’t offer enough, there’s The Barn; a wonderfully cosy wet weather option for a Civil Ceremony. It can accommodate 125 guests seated theatre style or for larger parties, the space can be extended by a small marquee to cover the terrace directly outside the sliding doors.
You can host your entire wedding day at Wickham House; after the vows have been said and you’ve kissed your newly acquired husband or wife, you and your guests can move seamlessly onto your drinks reception. The drawing room terrace allows the handsome building to act as your backdrop and guests can spill out onto the formal lawn overlooking the marquee site and the downs beyond. If however you’re smitten with the Walled Garden, you can stay in this location and move from the Ceremony, through the gardens, to the Pavilion and pool. On a hot summers day it would be a slice of Miami cool in the heart of the Berkshire countryside.
If you’re having a slightly smaller, more intimate wedding there is also the option of hosting your guests in the Dining & Drawing Rooms within the Main House; you and your guests would arrive at the front door of the house, and make your way through the hall to these two stunning rooms, one filled with period paintings, and the other with modern art. Both of these rooms open out onto old York stone terraces, an idyllic setting on a glorious day.
The Marquee Site & suppliers
Wickham House was made for a marquee wedding. The Marquee site is spectacularly positioned in the most scenic part of the grounds and super close to the house for your guests, basically just a hop across the ha-ha!
As with everything, Philippa & James have put in careful thought and consideration when creating their marquee location. On the tour I was given a rather detailed run-down of all the work that had been undertaken preparing the marquee site for weddings. Sometimes these details aren’t passed on to the couples, but actually their thoughtful planning has made this an easy, fuss-free and superb spot for your chosen marquee.
And what marquee will you choose…? They believe that every wedding should be a unique reflection of your personal preferences as a couple and so Wickham House doesn’t provide a permanent marquee structure meaning you are free to choose the style of marquee most suited to your day. Their principal marquee partner is Covered Occasions but they also work with and recommend a number of exciting, unusual (and cheaper) options. We love the divine Indian tents by Raj Tents, the Bamboo tents by Ascot Structures, the Orangerie and Grand Pavilion by LPM Bohemia, and the Tipis and Sailcloth traditional tents by Creative Structures. They really do have something for everyone and every style of wedding!
Aside from actually marrying my husband, the part of my wedding day that I loved the most was the getting ready ritual. It was perfect. These really are precious moments and I think a beautiful setting will always make any nerves dissolve. This is where Wickham House have it so right.
Within the Main House there are two beautifully decorated guest rooms offering the perfect backdrop for those ‘getting ready’ photos. If you use these rooms on the morning of your wedding, you’re also free to wonder into their large, warm and oh-so-friendly family kitchen. In here you’ll find everything you need, including bloody good coffee and some moral support if required!
The other location and quite similar to my own wedding day prep area, is the barn. Here you can relax, giggle, have room for a quiet moment or two and get ready with your closest friends & family. With the ambience of a luxurious ski chalet, the barn is situated just 30m from the Main House. It has a large changing area upstairs complete with dressing table and cheval mirrors and downstairs a shower room, a sitting room area with open log fire, a bar and a kitchen where you can help yourself to refreshments of a caffeine or alcoholic nature!
I know for a fact that Philippa has also checked out the best spots local to Wickham House, so you may prefer to book the luxurious bridal suite at nearby five-star hotel, The Vineyard and arrive at the venue in style.
A trend that we’ve picked up from our American friends, the Rehearsal Dinner is an optional extra at Wickham House. The Barn is a wonderful spot for an intimate family dinner the night before the big day. They can provide you with a choice of menus ranging from something quite simple and homely to something truly exceptional. The Barn has a piano, an awesome music system and a large TV and has been described by many as the best small party space you could imagine.
When you hire Wickham House, you have both the Walled Garden and the Main House, both perfect in different ways for your wedding photography – from couple shots to formal family shots, you couldn’t ask for more. One location I particularly loved was in The Library, it has an incredible gothic alcove built (in 1865) entirely of stone. When I popped into this room the light was just magical and I know you and your photographer will have lots of fun seeking out those alternative shots.
Don’t let the grand nature of this venue fool you. Wickham House is a place of celebration and that can also mean a something a little more unique. If boho is your thing then why not take a look at their new Glamping option! You’ve got the tipi in place, now why not plan an entire village of Bell Tents for your guests to sleepover in. They can fit 25 beautiful tents at the end of the Oak Avenue, a picturesque setting to wake up to and an instant cure for any fluffy heads the morning-after-the-night-before.
The Bell Tents are pure luxury with real beds, cotton duvets, pillows and blankets so you’ll get the best night sleep possible. They have also included toilets & showers in the village to create the best possible stay.
So what do you think…? Pretty amazing right…?
You can check out the listing for Wickham House right here. We have all the finer details including some costs for you. If you’ve seen enough then you can contact Philippa or Isabel by emailing them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots of love…