Feeling Special | Spotlight on Fetcham Park

It may seem blasé of me to call mansions and manor houses “Big Houses” but that gives you a better sense of what they really are. If you are having a small and intimate wedding it may not immediately occur to you that a mansion could be a possibility. Change your way of thinking, however, to imagine your family and friends sitting round an oval mahogany table enjoying good food, whilst chatting and laughing much like you would in your own home, then hosting your celebration in a Big House might sound perfect.

Main Image by Jackson & Co Photography

Shell Room Intimate ReceptionAfter writing my post “No Compromise” and “Choosing your suppliers” it made sense to approach a venue about their thoughts on minimum numbers and the importance of delivering great customer service. Little did I know that when I made that decision I would end up talking to a lady who completely represents the message I am trying to convey with You & Me.

Whilst setting up You & Me I had heard good things about Fetcham Park and even better things about Laura Caudery, the custodian of Fetcham Park. I initially contacted Laura to see if she would be interested in writing a post for me on the subject of small weddings at Fetcham.  This led to an invite to Fetcham for a chat with Laura and I quickly realised I was going to get much more than mere venue facts. So much so that it has made writing about our meeting that much harder. If I could sum Laura up in one word it would probably be POW! You only need to put Fetcham Park into Google to see there’s a lot of other people who feel the same.

It’s important that you know about Laura because Laura is Fetcham as much as Fetcham is Laura. She’s not just the face of the venue, but an integral part of everything it stands for. Annabel from Love My Dress said in one of her posts back in 2011:

“There are very few occasions in your life where you meet somebody who kind of knocks you sideways for being so genuinely, and exceptionally lovely.  The ‘where has she been all my life?’ kind of person, who after meeting just once, I guarantee, will leave you secretly hoping you’ll end up being best friends.  Someone who is not only super lovely {see thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate}, but absolutely dedicated to providing a first class service.  She works hard to align herself with only the very best providers in the industry to partner with and is passionate about making people happy.”               

Much like many of the people I have met and spoken to in the world of weddings their entry into that world was realising a gap in the market through their own jaded experiences. Though Laura and her family have owned the house for 15 years, it was down to Laura’s own disappointing experience hunting for a wedding venue that led her to host her wedding at Fetcham:

“Having been adamant that I wasn’t going to marry at Fetcham Park because my family always hosted celebrations there, I soon realised just how special a place it is when I began visiting other venues.

“I wanted to go through every part of the process with suppliers, from initial meetings and quotes, to managing and finalising plans and experiencing their service on the day. Even with my background in marketing and event planning, it was a steep learning curve as I soon realised that the wedding world can be a bit murky. Why, for instance, would some suppliers itemise VAT and others not? Why did it feel like I always had to be one-step ahead to ensure I got the service I expected? Given the sums and expectations involved, I began to question whether it could be managed differently.”                    

Thus Parallel Venues was born and it’s been three years since Fetcham added weddings to their portfolio. The expectations Laura had for her own wedding day form the backbone of the service she now offers to all couples. Her main goal? To make couples feel special no matter what their party size or budget. I could’ve left at this point happy knowing she was doing exactly what I’d love every wedding venue to do. But there really is so much more.

you-me-Emma Sekhon Photography-fetcham-park

The beautiful gardens and fountains at Fetcham Park. Photo by Emma Sekhon

You may already know but, as per my Choosing your suppliers post, the way to do this is through good customer service, in the case of Laura its exceptional customer service. Cue the Fetcham Park Difference. Without meeting Laura and hearing her tell you this herself, it’s quite hard to convey just how passionate she is about this. Perhaps knowing that she handles an average of 500 emails for any one bride shows she’s dedicated. Along with the Fetcham Park Difference Laura is constantly thinking about ways to improve the Fetcham park experience and make couples feel even more special:

  • When you visit Fetcham Park for your show around you’ll be made to feel right at home. Laura will give you a list of questions to ask subsequent venues and use as a comparison.
  • Upon booking, you’ll have a planning meeting with Laura and one of Fetcham’s wedding co-ordinators to discuss your hopes and dreams for your day and budgets. If you want them,
  • Laura will give you supplier recommendations. These are based on her personal experience working with the suppliers. She’s not paid to do this and she doesn’t get commission, she just knows these businesses like the back of her hand and trusts them to be able to interpret your brief into exactly the wedding you’ve always dreamt of.
  • She’ll liaise with the suppliers for you to make sure everyone is on the same page and ready for your big day. This also ensures that they are being totally transparent with their costs so that you can manage your budget.
  • Laura has put together comfort boxes for couples which include shoe polish, a sewing kit, mouth wash, indigestion tablets and all the little things we forget in our last minute, pre-wedding packing.
  • The notice of marriage displayed outside the house is put together with care and then rolled and handed to the newlyweds to take home.
  • In addition to all of the above she’s just joined forces with Design In Scent to create a Fetcham Park scent for couples as a reminder of their day. We all know how smell can evoke memories so this really is an innovative idea.
The "Notice of Civil Ceremony" outside Fetcham Park.  This is given to couples to take home as another momento of their special day

The “Notice of Civil Ceremony” outside Fetcham Park. This is given to couples to take home as another momento of their special day.  Photo by Captive Photography.

You needn’t think this is all reserved for those couples with big bucks to spend. EVERY couple gets the same Fetcham Park treatment, whether it’s a banquet for eight or a soiree for ninety. In fact, Laura and I both agree that Fetcham lends itself so well to small weddings. When I walked into the Shell room I could imagine myself happily enjoying a casual Sunday lunch gazing out towards the fountains, just as much as I could envisage relishing a wedding breakfast there. It was warm and homely and the space and décor are not overwhelming or intimidating as you might expect from a larger venue. For those with children, sticky fingers will not be an issue!

The Shell Room at Fetcham Park set up for an intimate celebration.  Photo by Bea & Jude.

The Shell Room at Fetcham Park set up for an intimate celebration. Photo by Bea & Jude.

An intimate wedding for 12 guests

An intimate wedding for 12 guests.  Photo by Captive Photography.

If you’re looking for an intimate wedding venue that offers exceptional customer service and stately home beauty and the POW!! factor from Laura Caudery then Fetcham Park is the venue for you.

Get a feel for how your wedding day might be with this beautiful film Laura has kindly shared with me:

Vinita & Kieran by Allora Visuals

Today, 30th October 2014, Fetcham Park celebrates three years opening their doors to weddings.  Here is a look back at the launch via Love My Dress:

Fetcham Park Launch Sunday 30th October 201

See what Laura has to say about Fetcham with this lovely film from Neale James Pictures:

A Portrait Film of Laura Caudery at Fetcham Park

J - Damian Bailey Photography(1) A - Juliet McKee Photography you-me-Emma Sekhon Photography-fetcham-park you-me-venues-Fetcham-Park-The-Salon you-me-venues-fetcham-park-salon-horeseshoe

you-me-venues-fetcham-park-great-hall-baryou-me-venues-The Shell Room Eddie Judd

Fetcham Park Main  The Salon Eddie Juddyou-me-venues-fetcham-park-winter

Additional images by:

Share The Honest Love

Have you heard about #sharethehonestlove well Laura Caudery started it right here with THIS blog post.  You can also read more about it on Love My Dress today.


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