This morning I went along to view Pembroke Lodge in Richmond. Situated in the heart of Richmond Park, this venue is picture perfect.
As I walked through Richmond Park at 10am this morning it was surprisingly really busy with joggers, walkers, dog walkers, cyclists and drivers. However, there were no major traffic pile ups en route which was a positive.
Now onto the venue itself. After about 10 minutes of walking through the park I saw a crowd of people gathered in small groups talking. To their right was an Information booth so I went and asked how far I was from Pembroke Lodge. I was told I was next to it. I took a few steps past the information booth and there it was beyond the gate.
The building itself is very picturesque and the gardens are brilliantly landscaped. A complete contrast to a venue I viewed last weekend.
As I walked towards the entrance I remembered the group of people I’d passed outside the gate. To be honest once I was within the grounds I forgot about them.
But do you really want to see all those people on the way into your big day? A crowd of strangers congregating? For me, no I wouldn’t. I asked the wedding planner about this and she explained that guests for weddings do come in via a private entrance, as does the bride.
The suite I went to see is called the Belvedere suite. It seats up to 140 guests and can hold 200 people for an evening reception.
The Belvedere suite is special. It seemed a little smaller in reality than it did on the website. But that could be down to the fact that they had sectioned off half of the suite for the wedding ceremony with a large pull down screen. Without the screen and having the room opened up, it is quite large and very bright as all the French windows open out onto the large sun terrace.
The views outside the Belvedere suite are breathtaking.
Throughout my visit, Sian, the wedding planner was very helpful and provided me with all the information I needed. She discussed numbers, services provided and of course the figures!
At Pembroke Lodge, Winter season is the 1st of October to the 31st of March and Summer season is the 1st of April to the 30th of September. Prices start from £350 to hire the Russell Suite (a smaller room seating up to 70 guests and 100 in the evening) on a Thursday low season to £1500 to hire the suite on a Saturday high season. Fridays are £450 Winter season and £959 Summer season.
In the Belvedere Suite, prices start from £500 Monday to Thursday Winter Season to £3950 on a Saturday Summer season. Fridays fare better at £950 Winter season and £2250 Summer season.
In order to get a rough idea on food and drink prices, a package including a drinks reception of pimms, canapés, a 3 course wedding breakfast with coffees to finish, half a bottle of wine per person and unlimited soft drinks would cost you around £80 pp inc. VAT.
I’ve been told by a colleague who got married at Pembroke Lodge a couple of years ago that the food is very tasty. The packages are not set so you can pick and choose what you want on your menu. Your choices determine how much you will pay per head for your guests.
A few things to mention are that within the hire fee all table linen, crockery, candelabras, master of ceremony, PA sound system, disco lights and starlight ceiling are all provided. Corkage is also an option at £12 per bottle.
There is also a car park outside the venue for up to 250 cars, however as of 10am the majority of these spaces were taken. However, as people visit the park and leave all the time I can’t imagine that your guests would not be able to bag any parking spaces.
One negative is that the lodge restaurant is open for business until 5.30pm, meaning that for the first 2 and a half hours of your reception (receptions start from 3pm in the Belvedere suite) the terrace is more than likely to have visitors dining or sitting outside. The terrace has been split off with a small row of hedges so there are clear boundaries between the two. It’s not a huge problem but it is something to think about.
To view the venue visit the Pembroke Lodge website