NAOMI GRAHAM & JONATHAN McCULLAGH
What were your wishes/requirements for your special day?
Jonny and I both love BBQ food! So from the start that was probably the number one requirement on our list! Neither of us wanted our reception in a hotel, we wanted somewhere more personal, unique, somewhere that would hold one wedding a day and would provide an intimate setting with loads of character and plenty of places for photographs. We wanted our guests to be impressed but to feel ‘at home’ and relaxed. We found everything we wanted and more with Hillsborough Castle.
Which venue did you choose for your reception?
Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland.
Why did you choose it?
We didn’t start out with a particular theme in mind for our wedding but my mum and I joked that the theme that developed was ‘understated elegance’ and Hillsborough Castle certainly fit this description.
Initially my sister and I went to look around Hillsborough Castle – I never thought we could afford it but loved the idea of having a nosy! We were blown away with both the Castle and its beautiful gardens. It was everything I had been looking for; full of character and provided an intimate setting for our reception where we could be close to our guests. We also felt that it had a very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and lots of places for guests to explore.
Being in Northern Ireland, we were hoping for sunshine but reckoned we needed to be prepared for rain and the Castle had plenty of photo opportunities both indoors and out. The staff were friendly and very helpful. The wedding co-ordinator assigned to us was fantastic – she encouraged us to come to see around a couple of times before booking. Nothing was too much trouble for her.
Another factor that was important to us was Hillsborough’s central location and making it easy for everyone to get to.
Which spaces did you use?
We used all of the ground floor of the Castle. On arrival at the Castle, refreshments were served in the State Drawing Room which had beautiful double doors that opened out onto a stunning sandstone terrace overlooking the ornately manicured gardens complete with a fountain. The reception was held in the Throne Room. Starter and dessert were served to guests but the main course – a BBQ – was buffet style. Guests moved through the Red Room into the State Dining Room where the BBQ was served, then returned to their seat to enjoy their meal. Both before and after the reception, guests were free to explore the grounds – 100 acres in all – and also to wander through the beautiful rooms in the castle itself.
Throughout the day Castle staff were on hand to help guests and they were always polite and friendly. The Castle even supplied a tour guide to answer any questions and this really helped bring the Castle to life for the guests.
Who did the catering and what food/drinks were provided?
The catering was provided by Jane’s Kitchen, Kells, Co Antrim. On arrival at Hillsborough Castle our guests enjoyed a sandwich and shortbread reception served on vintage china, with tea/coffee or sparkling apple juice.
Was there a particular theme?
The reception was decorated with the flowers that had been in the church, the table centre pieces were hand tied bouquets of flowers in ‘fish bowl’ vases which were given to our aunts at the end of the evening!
The large arrangements from the church were placed at either end of the straight top table, with chains of flowers draped along the front of the top table and cake table.
The cake itself was three tiered with the top tier being modelled on Lady Alice’s Temple which is in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle.
We felt welcome and at home in the Castle and the staff, without exception, were friendly, fun and considerate. We wish we could enjoy the day again as, like everyone else says, we felt it went far too quickly!
For more information or to enquire about booking Hillsborough Castle for your
wedding please contact the events team
on 028 9268 1342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.